OH BOY! I CAN’T WAIT FOR NU METAL POWERHOUSE, DISTURBED, TO RELEASE SOME NEW MATERIAL!
Look… Disturbed has been on hiatus since mid 2011. Not that any of us actually noticed, since the only place we hear Disturbed, the radio, hasn’t stopped playing the same 6 songs on repeat since long before said hiatus. So they come back and everyone is super excited. Well… not anyone who I know, like or care about, but the fact that the new video has over a million views on youtube in 24 hours means SOMEone is listening.
So I listened.
First, some history. I am currently 26. That means I was born in 1989. That also means that I was an impressionable youngster when “nu metal” broke onto the scene. Stemming from rap metal, it quickly took over. Rock radio stations had classics, the rock and roll scene, and this new awkward, anemic, oddly hip hop or techno driven, super processed metal music. Rap metal kept going along side, and we also got industrial metal in the process. This was all well and good, since musical fads, good or bad, come and go.
So it went. Approximately mid 2000’s it was down for the count. Linkin Park started making bad radio music. Evanescence disappeared entirely. Creed was the butt of every joke. POD lost and got back the same member at least 65 times and didn’t release an album for what felt like a decade. Slipknot started playing acoustic guitars. Nu metal was done for.
Except for the fact that Disturbed just WOULDN’T let it die. In 2007 they released a Gold selling album called “Indestructible”. SkyNet had become self aware.
I owned their second album. I was 12. I could “ooh-wah-ah-ah-ah” with the best of them. I moved on to much more musically satisfying avenues.
So onto 2015’s newest Nu Metal Revival Masterpiece, Disturbed’s “The Vengeful One”.
First of all, it opens with a very similar drum beat to “Tom Sawyer”. Look, Disturbed’s drummer, we all like the holy trinity, but you’re not fooling anyone. You just really wanted to open a song with “Tom Sawyer”. Even if it was meant to be a joke or a nod to your idols, that was definitely a couple beats away from Tom Fucking Sawyer. How dare you.
Okay… letting it go. Now we get the badass riff. Whats a metal song without some low tuned chunky riff straight from the bowels of hell? Well… apparently it’s a Disturbed metal song, because this opens about as bad-ass as a Bee Gees tune. So far I am NOT ready to jump into the pit.
Onto the vocal. Well… it’s certainly David Draiman. Who could mistake that awkward, over annunciated snarl with anyone except Mr. Dangly-lip-thing McBald-guy?
Typical simple melody pedaling on a single note until the end of the phrase. Worn territory with the rolling double time word delivery. He never says anything profound, never hits a note that really draws you in. He’s just leading you to the chorus. But on the way we find that the song pulls way back and gives way to some programmed atmosphere and a much more vulnerable vocal. This is new. Restraint. Subtlety. Maybe they will turn over a new leaf-
CHORUS! Oh man… you guys really had me going there. I almost believed for a second that a big yelling chorus about absolutely nothing wasn’t going to come next. Guitar part stays boring. Vocal goes to that weird mildly eastern sounding vocal melody. Nothing happens. Just nothing happens. It’s a Disturbed song. They are all the same and have been since the mid 2000’s.
Second verse, same as the first!
Seriously. It might as well be the same verse. Then comes the same pre-chorus and chorus move. Sure, it’s kinda catchy, but it is far from new or interesting.
Things get a little more metal in the bridge. Rocking some “we still got it!” they cut into a some quick double kick work sprinkled throughout the bridge. Guitar work stays as boring as ever. Is there even any bass guitar in this? Anywhere? Is this even a song?
Hardly. Another chorus and a fake out ending that you totally see coming. 4 minutes of your life are gone. That same 4 minutes will be hastily ripped from your existence repeatedly until they release another version of this song and call it something else. And even then, you will likely hear this one.
Look, I’m at like 700 words on why this band and this song bore me to tears, but do you want to know why I even bother? Because I know full well that at least 3 of these guys are talented musicians. The bassist joined Adrenaline Mob in his time off. Not just anyone gets to be in Adrenaline Mob. They are capable of so much more. There are glimmers of hope in a few of their songs. They have a trademark sound. Sure, it is all Pro Tools processing, but you know a Disturbed song long before any wild guttural mating calls come in. Disturbed could drop the “we don’t know what we’re doing” act and write some music worth a damn. But they don’t. And they certainly Won’t. So there it is. After 4 years this is the best they come up with. Enjoy, you tapout shirt wearing, monster energy drink swilling, ironic mohawk sporting Mayhem Fest patrons.
You know the ones. I don’t have a snappy graphic for that. Use your imagination.