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 411mania » Music » Album Reviews
Disturbed - Asylum Review
Posted by Ben Czajkowski on 08.31.2010

Track list:

1. Remnants
2. Asylum
3. The Infection
4. Warrior
5. Another Way to Die
6. Never Again
7. The Animal
8. Crucified
9. Serpentine
10. My Child
11. Sacrifice
12. Innocence

The Chicago rock group, Disturbed, has definitely come a long way over the last ten years. They started out with a throaty “oo-ah-ah-ah-ah” and dropping plates, and they’ve moved to vicious growls, bass drum kicks that would cause any healthy woman to miscarry, and headlining tours of which most bands could only dream. Asylum is just the beginning to that.

Disturbed’s sound is harsh, and it is rapidly moving toward the darker side of pure rock and metal, as the content runs from social ills to broken hearts. This is ground that the band has covered before, multiple times, and that’s where some of the problems blaze through.

Don’t let this first track fool you. The album opens in a rather disappointing fashion with “Remnants”, which is an extremely weak and effortless instrumental offering. As one of the few rock bands with a defining instrumental capability at their disposal, Disturbed really disappoints with this one, as the intended opening to “Asylum”. Sure, it might pay some homage to their senior rock inspirations, but it pales in comparison. It’s one thing to include nearly a minute of near-silence somewhere on the album as a brief respite, but I find it to be another thing entirely when you start your album off with nearly a minute of near-silent filler.

Luckily, “Asylum” quickly kicks up the gritty bass drum and guitar work that I’ve come to know and expect from the band. My interest is rewarded: the album really starts with Draiman passionately intoning, “Release me!”. At first, I didn’t like this track. It felt a bit too one-dimensional for an opening track, but after listening to it a few more times with my system turned way up, I began to peel back the layers. This one is definitely for fans of Indestructible. I found myself repeating the hook to myself after listening: “And the loneliness is killing me.” Don’t be too surprised if this hits your radio – HARD – as the second single.

“The Infection” is one of my favorite tracks from the album. It really harkens back to the days when Believe saw dozens of spins in my Walkman. It’s much more forgiving than “Asylum”, and the vocal style and instrumentals harkens to “Remember,” with some funky guitar shredding. I found myself head-banging along. Classic Disturbed here with Draiman finding the true edge to his emotional destitution.

“Warrior” immediately through me for a loop, and I haven’t come around to liking it. It makes and attempt at reviving some of the nu-metal rap aspect from ten years ago. The problem is that Draiman fails miserably at resurrecting some of the charm from their debut. It’s fast-paced, and it could have easily been a Gears of War EP reject track.

Sitting at number four is the first single from the album, “Another Way To Die.” As a Disturbed track, it is pretty middle of the road. It’s another vague, almost obligatory commentary on global warming that was stretched to fit the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a straightforward carbon copy of “10000 Fists” and the cover of “Land of Confusion”, and it offers effectively nothing, from the aging rock band.

Back to what Disturbed does best: a hearty track to head-bang dance along to. “Never Again”, to me, alludes to the conflict that Israel faces with Iran. At the core, though, it deals with the struggle the Jews faced during World War II with the Holocaust. As far as a political commentary goes, this is head and shoulders above “Another Way To Die” and offers some of the most inspired lyrical work on the album. At least in the verses. The chorus could have used a little more work.

At the core of the album, there is “The Animal.” And it rotten and quite hollowed out. It might as well be written about the characters from Twilight or Underworld. What a crap chorus:

For the animal’s soul is mine
We will be completed right before your eyes
I have no control this time
And now we both shall dine in Hell tonight

Yeah, try again later.

“Crucified” does nothing to rejuvenate the sloth from the previous track, and this is right about where I find myself letting my mind drift to the other things I still have to do. While I can empathize with the loss of a relationship and the pain that it brings, it’s another slow track with uninspired lyrics and instrumentals. Disappointing.

“Serpentine” was the track that I immediately took to. It has some bad-ass opening riffs that reminds me of something from Sevendust’s new album (mostly “Unraveling”). The pounding drums and the heavy stringwork gave me something to head-bang along to. The problem that I found, though, was that the more I listened to it, the more it became the same uninspired, vague lyrical work that is very uncharacteristic of the frontman. Draiman could have easily just plucked an angsty poem from a teenager that just had his/her heart broken. And some of it just doesn’t make sense. For instance, the opening verse:

See the dogs come running
Smelling blood now
To an open sore
On the parasite
Countless hunts have fallen
Hard to number
Damnation’s whore
Is looking for a victim tonight
With an angry soul
And a wicked design
Your will cannot endure
And your heart is torn away

I understand that the song has a theme of a succubus preying on men. My beef is that I don’t think it was delivered the way that Draiman could deliver it.

As “Serpentine” peters out, and I tried to maintain my focus on the album. Suddenly a baby crying! And then, as quickly as that started, some of the most vicious and emotional instrumentals slam through the speakers into my ears. “My Child” is definitely the darkest track on the album and yet filled with the most essence. It covers the emotional gamut that Draiman ran after impregnating a girlfriend and her subsequent loss of the fetus. As the track closes, it fades into a flat lining heart monitor. Every time I listen to it, it gives me chills. Definitely the most psychologically evocative track on the album.

“Sacrifice” is another snoozer, overall, as the album draws to a close. Oddly enough it has the best solo of the album that goes on for about 30 seconds. It’s what I had been waiting for the entire album, and I was not disappointed by the guitar work.

“Innocence” immediately gets your head banging. This won’t be a ballad-esque closing. No, Disturbed wants to leave their audience with some thrusting beats and haunting vocals about corruption that leaves you wanting to spin the album up again.

That’s where the regular version of the CD ends. I won’t go into the U2 cover or the live tracks because, to me, they’re a standalone piece to this album.

After five albums, Disturbed has perfected their sound; they might have even become a bit more hard rock than before. That patented bass drum kick and guitar sound that I could pick out of a police lineup. Sadly, though, all of the humor that made me fall in love with the band is gone. Replacing it is the darkness of the world, sounds about death, corruption, and depression that come across as a bit uninspired, even though it has perplexed Draiman for the last few years. In the right mood, this is a good album to put on as background noise with a few memorable lyrics and riffs here and there. Asylum is a good next chapter in the book of Disturbed, but it needed more moments of true greatness to be anymore more.

The 411: Overall, I found Asylum to be a solid follow up to Indestructible. However, most of the lyrical effort and delivery on the part Draiman comes across as melodramatic, at times, as opposed to their previous works. The signature sound of the band is holding true for them, and fans of the band will probably be pleased with most of what they find here, since it’s not much of a break with their previous two albums. I found it to be a lot less mainstream and a shade or two closer to the blackness that is enveloping Draiman’s soul.
Final Score:  7.0   [ Good ]  legend

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Comments (10)

Decent effort from Disturbed, but a bit disappointing at the same time. Maybe the songs will grow on me, but right now I really only love "Another Way to Die"...

Posted By: Whatev (Guest)  on August 31, 2010 at 12:26 AM

It's Funny Ben, the way you wrote this review it seems as if, idk, you were gonna give Asylum a 6.

Posted By: Josh (Guest)  on August 31, 2010 at 12:30 AM

Ben, since you got your lyrics for this review from DisturbedMB, could you please credit us with a link? Thanks!

Posted By: dude527 (Guest)  on August 31, 2010 at 12:53 AM

Ben, since you got your lyrics for this review from DisturbedMB, could you please credit us with a link? Thanks!

Posted By: dude527 (Guest) on August 31, 2010 at 12:53 AM

Now THAT'S pretty weak.

Posted By: Live from the 305 (Guest)  on August 31, 2010 at 08:16 AM

@Josh: I was leaning toward a 6.5, but then I remember all the other albums I've heard this year that were a 6, and this was still a cut above them. In the end, it's still a C. Shrug.

@dude527: I did not use your site for lyrics. Your site currently does not even load. For the record, I used xtralyrics and letssingit.

Posted By: Ben Czajkowski (Registered)  on August 31, 2010 at 11:21 AM

"Back to what Disturbed does best: a hearty track to head-bang dance
along to."


Posted By: "head bang dance" (Guest)  on August 31, 2010 at 02:27 PM

I was gonna get this album anyway most likely. I can only assume it'll be like Indestructibles; some memorable tunes, some not-so-memorable but still pretty good.

Posted By: Guest#2783 (Guest)  on August 31, 2010 at 04:58 PM

I'm a big fan of Disturbed and have been there since the beginning. Sadly though, I was very disappointed with this new album. It reminded me of the Believe CD and I believe the next album will be heavy again.

Posted By: guest (Guest)  on September 01, 2010 at 02:44 PM

Besides Asylum and Another Way to Die, I found this album pretty weak. Not many moments of greatness, if any. Sickness is still the best, Believe had some incredible songs. You can combine the best songs of Indestructible and Asylum and still only get a 7.5/10 cd. Way to much uninspired work.

Posted By: Li (Guest)  on September 01, 2010 at 09:57 PM

...excuse me Ben

Posted By: Chris (Guest)  on September 01, 2010 at 11:18 PM


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