We wondered what the guys from Disturbed would keep themselves busy with during their band hiatus announced in 2013. Would they enjoy some time off or would they pursue other projects? We got our answer when Disturbed front-man David Draiman announced a new hard-edged industrial-influenced project called Device. Although the album will sound very familiar to Disturbed fans, its punch comes in the form of a great list of featured artists on the album adding to the mix.
The band-members consist of David Draiman performing lead vocals, Geno Lenardo (ex-Filter) on guitar, Will Hunt on Drums and Virus (Dope) on guitars, backing vocals. Draiman said in an interview:
“It started to develop very naturally and organically. Geno [Lenardo, ex-Filter] is a brilliant songwriter in his own right and a tremendously talented sound designer as far as the electronic palette is concerned. Together, we made this monster. It’s not metal. It’s got a dark electronic vibe. At the same time, these are big, anthemic, and intensely melodic songs. It’s futuristic rock.
“I took a page from the hip hop guys out there who always have everybody and his mother on their records,”
Right off the bat, the heaviness is evident in ‘You Think You Know’, a full-on rocker that feels like a cross between Draiman’s Disturbed days with a little early Nine Inch Nails influence. Draiman is vocally on par as always as he belts “You think you know, but you’re horribly blind / You think you know that the story’s defined / You think you know, but your heart has gone cold inside.”
Followed by ‘Vilify’, also the first single, we get one of the strongest songs on the album and a great choice for a single. The track highlights Draiman’s vocal dexterity and is the perfect blend of what he’s previously done and what he’s trying to accomplish with his new band.
Mid-way through the album there starts to form a very subtle separation from the heavy, faster-paced metal of Disturbed with their ferocious chugs and rhythmic grinds of guitars to intricate guitar melodies and rapid-fire solos. Draiman’s vocal style, on the other hand, is too similar to his work in Disturbed. While it doesn’t reach out as far back as the rhythmic rap-influence of The Sickness, many of the songs could easily be compared to those found on Indestructible or Asylum. That being said, Draiman still retains a considerable amount of skill in his voice. He can sing melodically and cleanly, but knows when to lay down the heavier vocals when the time is right.
The guest appearances lifted this album up a few notches on our rating meter. With the lack of a different and fresh sound compared to Disturbed, using the great list of rock-legends can be perceived as a crutch that Device is resting on in order to achieve the sound they were aiming for. Yet, the guest appearances added the “fresh” feeling we were expecting from a new album. Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler does some classic Bass work, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello is featured on the track ‘Opinion’, and Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale appear on the Lita Ford/Ozzy Osbourne cover “Close My Eyes Forever”. This particular track feels forced for a song that doesn’t blend in with the rest of the album. Other contributions are System of a Down’s Serj Tankian’s on the track “Out of Line” and Avenged Sevenfold’s M.Shadows which all make a great contribution to the début album of Device. Rounding out the guest appearances is Glenn Hughes formerly of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, though his performance sounds more honorary than progressive, giving the vocals a solid range and melody.
As an artist, Draiman deserves credit for thinking outside of the box and attempting to expand his horizons, and the début disc definitely provides a solid foundation in place for future Device recordings. Still, Device doesn’t fulfill the experimental and lofty promises that the band has created during its development. It’s not an industrial album. This is a Disturbed album with a massive list of guest appearances. Device will appeal to fans already enjoying Disturbed and other bands such as Filter. Although they manage to pump out some solid “Fist in the air” metal tracks we could not help but feel a touch of Deja-vu when writing this review.
1. You Think You Know
4. Close My Eyes Forever (feat. Lzzy Hale) (Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne cover) Lita Ford, Ozzy Osbourne
5. Out of Line (feat. Serj Tankian & Geezer Butler)
7. Opinion (feat. Tom Morello)
8. War of Lies
9. Haze (feat. M. Shadows)
10. Through It All (feat. Glenn Hughes)
11. Wish (Nine Inch Nails cover) Trent Reznor
12. A Part of Me