WORDS: Alex Piercy
Since DISTURBED went on Hiatus in 2011 there has been a niche void left that few other bands have been able to satisfy. Whether you were drawn in by vocal powerhouse David Draiman or the infectious riff age of the back-line, the last four years have certainly been a long wait for us die-hards, and it’s about damn time we received something new before our copies of The Sickness wear out from over usage.
Immortalized starts off with an atmospheric opener Eye of the storm, containing exceptionally fuzzy yet beautiful guitar work, sadly let down by a sloppy and disjointed transition into title track Immortalized. This poor mixing sadly defeats the purpose of an atmospheric opener and makes it hard not to wonder how it made it onto the final cut of the album. However please ensure you pass through this as what follows for the next 3 tracks is classic DISTURBED at their best. The extremely bouncy riff and stadium chorus of Open Your Eyes is just begging to be blasted out to a sold out arena show, and despite a fairly average first impression of lead single The Vengeful One it will either grow upon you after additional replays, or you will appreciate it better from its place in the track listing as the track stands much stronger in the ensemble than individually. At the quarter way point of this album however we can expect a divergence in opinion on the following material as the band begins to tamper with the status quo, producing a sound that still is reminiscent of the bands earlier releases, yet adds some new twists to the mix.
The most commonly repeated criticism of DISTURBED is that their songs blend too much into one another due to a lack of diversity dynamically and rhythmically between their tracks. Though some certainly appreciate the consistency this song writing produces Immortalized shows that the Illinois quartet have heard this complaint over the last four years, processed it and attempted to overcome it without losing to many of the purists along the way. Whether they succeed however completely depends on whether you fall into one of two groups. If you are someone who religiously follows the constraints of a single genre, and find that anything not conforming to the set template is blasphemy and therefore (in your opinion) does not qualify as legitimate music, you should put the record down around the midway point. If you’re someone who has an open mind, eager for experimentation and progression in your favourite bands there will be some sweet surprises for you throughout the record.
Examples include The Light which see’s the band tread into power-ballad territory, whereas their initially strange choice in cover (SIMON AND GARFUNKEL’S The Sound Of Silence) lets us see a softer side to Draimans vocals, adding further diversity to the album and giving a perfect opportunity for lighter waving should they include it in their live set list. Not everything they attempt will resonate with you however. Fire It Up, an ode to the bands favourite herb comes off as cringe-worthy due to some poor and simple lyric writing, while some tracks especially Save Our Last Goodbye, sound a little bit too overproduced and would have benefited from the man behind the sound desk taking a step back, to allow the band to step forward.
One thing is certain, after your first play through of Immortalized, whether new fan or old, you will be left with some new opinions on DISTURBED. Some will discard this record for a few tracks that appear to be more “poppy” or “mainstream” than earlier records but hopefully the majority of this camp will see there is enough material on here with the essence of their earlier catalogue to make it worth a purchase. Immortalized is far from the strongest record DISTURBED have or hopefully will ever release, but considering the amount of bands who just keep pumping out clones of their debuts, and the years in-between their last release, DISTURBED should be commended on taking a middle path, giving the fans enough of what they want whilst still caring enough about their own progression, to attempt tweaking their sound and occasionally stepping out of their comfort zone.