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Disturbed - 'Asylum' http://ns2.rocktopiarecords.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ab/a7/e0/930_DisturbedAsylum_1295989073.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 25, 2011    
 
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Disturbed's fifth studio album.

'Asylum' is Disturbed's fifth studio album since the bands debut release 'The Sickness', back in 2000. Now some may question Disturbed's inclusion in the pages of this web site but as the musical lines identifying various styles of rock music become increasingly blurry it's apparent that artists have to be treated on merit, rather than reputation or misguided opinion. Certainly not AOR and not even melodic rock in the truest or most accepted sense, but if the likes of Shinedown and Papa Roach can both be championed by Fireworks then Disturbed in my opinion, are equally worthy of attention. I have to confess that 15 or so years ago I would have dismissed a band such as Disturbed without hesitation (or investigation) yet as I've matured it seems the more AOR/melodic flavoured acts have become both boring and safe. My musical tastes have developed to encompass many bands I wouldn't even have considered worthy of my time and because so many of the acts at the melodic rock end of the musical spectrum are simply studio projects the material cannot be carried forward and performed in the live environment, which is where the likes of Disturbed excel. 

The songs featured on 'Asylum' have an intensity and power that would give the pink & fluffies nightmares, but there is no denying the quality of the melodies and in Dan Donegan Disturbed have a guitarist who isn't afraid to back up some incendiary riffs with some imaginative and soulful solos. 'Remnants' provides a suitably atmospheric introduction to the crushing title track and this short instrumental shows that the band aren't afraid to try something new despite the somewhat unavoidable 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' idiom. 'The Infection' contains some great work from Donegan and though the subject matter is hardly enlightening the hook elevates the material to a level of acceptance bordering on commercial. David Draiman's lyrical themes follow the usual dark & tortured blueprint and his brooding & menacing vocals, fitting the music perfectly, are now distinctly identifiable with the band. The likes of 'Another Way To Die' and 'The Animal' are imbued with equal amounts of aggression and melody, all based around Draiman's trademark vocal attack and Donegan's inspired guitar work. Similarly 'My Child' and 'Innocence, both dark and unsettling yet counterbalanced by some great performances and instantly memorable hooks.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The production and mix simply enhance the messages the songs are trying to convey, highlighting the rhythm section's rock solid foundation and Mike Wengren's drumming being worthy of particular mention. A lack of subtlety or variation is a criticism that can be levelled at 'Asylum' (and possibly all the Disturbed releases) but as the album progresses I still find there is enough quality in the material to keep me interested. The limited edition digipak version of the album features a hidden track which is a nice run through U2's 'Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' as well as 2 live tracks ('Down With The Sickness' and 'Stricken'). The bonus DVD includes a lengthy and informative 90 minute history of the band as well as an hour long dissection of the guitar work attached to several songs, and is a nice addition to the CD.

On reflection there is an inescapable inevitability to the Disturbed albums so I guess if you were already a fan then 'Asylum' is something of a 'must have'. If you have never experienced the band before then you could do a lot worse than track this round little piece of plastic down.

Dave Bott

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