When Chicago hard-rock band Disturbed “went to sleep” for a while after the touring cycle for 2010’s Asylum came to an end, it took no time for their fanbase to become rabid with anticipation of a quick return. Over the years, all band members assured supporters that a return would happen when they all felt the itch; the timeline was simply unknown. So it came as a most pleasant shock recently when it was confirmed that Disturbed had not only ended their hiatus, they had secretly started writing material last year, holing up for several months in a Las Vegas studio recording their sixth studio album, Immortalized, early this year.
Disturbed has been dependable and consistent since their exceptional 2000 debut The Sickness. Their sound is immediately identifiable, especially exhilarating live, with frontman David Draiman’s commanding, unique vocal intonations backed by crunchy, volatile guitar riffs from Dan Donegan.
“Immortalized” is a powerful, sing-along title track, encouraging determination and celebrating strength. In that sense, it is in the vein of 2005’s “Ten Thousand Fists” or 2008’s “Indestructible,” though this song has its own unique rhythm and appeal. This is one of the album’s most aggressive moments. “Oh, and in the calm before the storm / another legend will be born / another battle will be won, we will rise…” The dark, mid-tempo “The Vengeful One” kicks off with a suspenseful drum beat from Mike Wengren, and it has a completely insane, tremendous, memorable chorus, with some of Draiman’s most phenomenal vocals to date.
At times, Immortalized is best described as goosebump-evoking. “The Light” is beautiful, melodic, yet nice and loud. The lyrics are simple, but inspiring… “Don’t let hope become a memory” is a particularly powerful line, and Draiman’s delivery of it is simply fantastic. Though a couple of tracks don’t quite live up to the others (“Who”, “Fire It Up”), at no point does Immortalized truly lose momentum. “What Are You Waiting For” recalls the ferocity and raw sound of The Sickness, with such a pulverizing chorus. Sure to satisfy those who crave something extra-heavy, “Never Wrong” wastes no time in pairing blistering riffs with Draiman’s scathing scream of rage: “It’s plain to see that you have lost your damn mind!”
Over the years, Disturbed has taken on some notable covers, putting their own twist on “Shout” (Tears for Fears), “Land of Confusion” (Genesis), “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (U2), but never before have their covers been quite as awe-inspiring and captivating as their haunting take on Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” here. Accompanied by strings and violins, Draiman’s voice is phenomenal, as usual — and his sound is unlike anything ever heard on previous albums. This demands the repeat button plenty of times — mesmerizing, to be sure.
Immortalized is Disturbed’s fifth consecutive record to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts, an impressive feat shared only with Metallica and Dave Matthews Band. They are truly one of a kind, and this release has pleased their legions of devoted fans. Anyone who has enjoyed Disturbed before is guaranteed to enjoy Immortalized. This is not to say that they have repeated themselves or made a carbon copy of a previous release. Instead, this is just a reassurance that all the wonderful ingredients that have effortlessly created this easily recognizable, occasionally impossible to describe in words, Disturbed sound over the past 15+ years are here in abundance. Welcome back.