Disturbed – Immortalized

Disturbed-Immortalized

Disturbed’s quest to “Secure a legacy that will never die”, remorselessly exclaimed during the title track of their sixth album, has, surely, already been achieved over a fifteen year recording career that has seen them outsell all but a handful of their contemporaries, and with a stellar canon under their belt. But as they “feed on domination”, they’re back to prove that, despite a hiatus of five years, they’re still the top dogs.

No mistake is being made here: Immortalized (Warners/Reprise) further cements their status as pack masters of mainstream metal. There are few surprises, a tweaking and refinement here and there, an absence of “Wah-ah-ah-oh”’s, but Disturbed are back at bat and swinging for the fences with the same World Series winning technique and bluster they’ve always had, armed with a consistent and strong collection of anthems, an assembly that serves to showcase the best of everything they’ve had to offer throughout their career.

As cock-of-the-walk with inflated chest puffed out, assured, this is a release that shows strength in depth by having a tail that wags as strong as the top order hits and there is an excellence in simplistic execution prevalent throughout. Songs are punctuated by unashamed chugged fist-pump and head-bang inducing riffs, syncopated verses are rhythmically and melodically strong, bridges lift and escalate songs to powerfully delivered choruses that open out to epic anthems as, in a lot of ways, Disturbed call to mind Manowar in terms of style and structure. Tracks are based around the succinct pounding rhythmic guitaring of Dan Donegan with great vocals (and vocal lines) raising each track to the rafters. While the rhythm section may dependably underpin, once again, David Draiman is the star, his distinctive tones and melodies firing this album up.

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Whereas Asylum and especially Indestructible (both Reprise) had a tendency at times to sound a bit rote and by numbers, when the melodious ‘The Light’ rolls in, ‘Open Your Eyes’ – a festival anthem in the making, crafted for a sea of voices to join in as (ten thousand) fists fill the air – stirs, the dark metallic ‘Save Our Last Goodbye’ powers by, ‘What You Waiting For’ lurches and bounces, ‘Never Wrong’ gets down with The Sickness (Giant/Reprise) and the piano-led  inspired cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence’ brings gravitas and a change of emotion, all under the controlling voice of Draiman, this is an album with depth, angles and shades at each turn, all while remaining undeniably and unashamedly Disturbed.

And that’s without taking account of the more straight-forward stadium metal belters of ‘Who’, ‘The Vengeful One’ or the title track…

If they do indeed feed on domination, then there should be some full and sated bellies.

 

8.0/10

 

STEVE TOVEY

A Sound Of Thunder – The Lesser Key Of Solomon

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There is a particularly bitter feeling of disappointment that only comes from realising that an album – though good – is not QUITE as awesome as you thought it was going to be.

When ‘Udoroth’ came thundering out of The Lesser Key Of Solomon’s (Mad Neptune) intro like the vengeance of True Metal – all churning riffs, portentuous keys and Nina Osegueda’s throat-shredding Metal shrieks – I had my 9/10 review half-written already, and there are other moments across the album that are as good.  ‘Elijah’ wouldn’t be out of place on a classic King Diamond album, and the epic swagger of ‘Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb’ is exactly the kind of high that the brilliant artwork promises.  A couple of listens in, however, the initial kick starts to wear off and it becomes clear that these are peaks rather than the general standard.

With the exception of the tracks named above, the album largely sits in a quiet intro/big verse/anthemic chorus format that fits them comfortably but feels repetitive over several tracks.  Aside from ‘Udoroth’ they never hit quite as hard as they clearly can, largely defaulting to a middle-of-the-road Stadium Metal level which works well but feels like they’re selling themselves short. Some of the longer tracks also suffer a little from their own length – closer ‘House Of Bones’ in particular – and succumb to unnecessarily meandering.

I absolutely must stress that The Lesser Key Of Solomon is a catchy, effective and extremely classy collection of stadium-friendly big Heavy Metal songs from a band who are great at what they do. Even as I’m writing this I’m wondering if I’ll regret these words in a month’s time when the album clicks and I realise what a depth of song-writing A Sound Of Thunder achieve here, but at the time of writing it feels like a band who’ve not quite pushed themselves as hard as they could.

Recommended for anyone who likes their Metal pure and unburdened by extremity – and anyone who’s enjoyed the last three Iron Maiden albums – but I hope their masterpiece is still ahead of them.

7.5/10

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RICHIE HR