Review Summary: Nothing new here, just Disturbed doing their thing, well as always
’Solid’ is the name of the game for both Asylum and Disturbed as a whole. Since 2002’s Believe, the band has been putting out good records back to back. While keeping the core of their sound the same, Disturbed have gradually been working on the little details and have improved with each record, with Asylum’s predecessor Indestructible being their greatest work so far. Taking into account the band's constant improvement in the past, Asylum could have turned out as the band’s best work to date. Well, let me tell you right now that it isn’t.
Asylum is the first Disturbed album that visibly has no new features (except the two and a half minute instrumental at the start of the disc). Donegan's guitar work is very reminiscent of Indestructible (good rhythmic riffs and excellent solos), the lyrics are in typical Disturbed fashion, being akin to Believe and Indestructible, and the overall feel of Asylum is very much alike to its predecessor, too. Not much has changed for Disturbed during the last two years. So what does this lack of progression result in? Nothing new really, just another good Disturbed album.
Even though the general reception for Asylum has been fairly positive so far, I’ve already read some reviews that are criticizing Disturbed for the lack of said progression, and are labeling Asylum as "watered down" and "recycled". In all honesty, I can't see this being neither. Even though the core sound of Disturbed, as mentioned above, has remained the same since Believe, the band has never stopped progressing (until now); never have the members taken the back seat and stopped working on the little things. Songwriting, Donegan’s guitar work, Wengren's drumming, Draiman's vocals - they have all improved with each album. With that in mind, my guess is that since Indestructible turned out so well, and the band was so content with the result, the members thought they’ll have another crack at that same formula. Does that necessarily make them lazy and unmotivated? No, that just means they wanted to make an album as good as the previous one.
You can’t really bag a band for trying to reproduce their best work - in this case Indestructible – in order to achieve a result as good. Yes, Asylum is mainly Indestructible vol. 2 and yes, it is inferior, but to call it watered down or just plain bad doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you liked the band’s last outing (and it also makes no sense to do the exact opposite). Asylum features most of the qualities that made Indestructible so good: catchy, rhythmic guitar work, Donegan's constant efforts to spice up the guitar section by adding more prominent leads and solos, Draiman’s commanding vocals and presence, a somewhat dark undercurrent etc. All this brings us to the conclusion that Asylum is nothing more than an album for the band’s fans. Those who liked Disturbed before will also like this, and those who disliked them before are going to hate this.
If we look into the band members' individual performance on Asylum, we will find that there aren’t any big differences compared to their last release. The only big aberrance that catches the ear, or more appropriately, doesn’t, is Wengren’s drumming, which to this point had become more and more commanding with each new album Disturbed put out. Even though he does a good enough job on keeping the pace and adding decent fills on Asylum, it all sounds a bit safe by his standards and you don't notice him nearly as much as on Indestructible. This is where the bad thankfully ends though. Draiman is as good as ever, displaying some of the best melodic singing he has ever done, Donegan is at exactly the same good level he was on Indestructible, belting out enjoyable guitar lines in almost every song, and Moyer does a good job of being exactly as unremarkable as always. He’s not bad, just nothing special either, but hey, at least he’s good at being consistent.
The songs themselves on Asylum are divided between great and decent but nothing special (like on every other Disturbed record). Thankfully the tracklist is pretty cleverly done, so the more run of the mill cuts, like "Never Again", "Sacrifice" and "My Child", don’t bring the overall quality down too much. The tracklisting is also good in the sense that both the first and the second half of the album have an almost equal amount of good tracks, meaning that despite a few weaker cuts, Asylum should be able to hold the listener's attention throughout its runtime.
With the great tracks bringing us catchy, rhythmic metal tunes with good vox, and the weaker ones being decently played, if somewhat underwhelming cuts, there isn’t a whole lot more to say about Asylum then I already have. Disturbed are still Disturbed – you’ll either love them or completely hate them, like it always has been, like it always will be. Fact is Asylum is a Disturbed record through and through; it has its enjoyable parts, it has its boring parts, but as a whole, it is another solid outing from a rare commercial metal band that is actually good.
I pos'd, good review, though I will just tell you what adam knott (Knott-) told me. It's not a great idea to review an album and take shots at other reviews (though i def laughed at your shots at mine,hehe, awesome). This does little for the readers that do agree with the other reviews (on this site a lot of readers), basically limiting your audience to smaller group, rating aside, and cuts your objectivity short.
Indestructible vol. 2 and yes, it is inferior, but to call the album watered down
this seems to be a contradiction, as you saying that this is inferior implies that it is watered down (compared to Indestructible), to me anyway. Whether an album is a direct copy of the past or not, as I stated in my review, it just comes down to if the songs themselves are good, especially for a band like Disturbed. For me, they just weren't.
You spend a lot of time comparing this to indestructible so having not heard the album it makes it a little harder for me to get a grasp on the sound but i also get that having not heard indestructible basically means i wont be wanting to hear this so its all good
I can see where you're coming from (I guess), but really, I don't think I took any wild shots at anybody here. I mean, I guess you might see some parts of the review as taking shots at you, but really, they're just differing opinions. Never did I imply that your version (or other negative reviews) is laughably wrong or anything. The only time I guess I came very close to that is when I said the "In all honesty, that simply is not the case" line, which I think I will go and change right now. I'm taking the "the review is just my opinion" stance here. It's not a fact, nor do I treat it like one. It's just my view. I appreciate the input, though.
Thanks to all the others too, and Simon, I know I made a good amount of comparisons to Indestructible, but I also mention the characteristics of this album on their own inside the review at various parts.
I know, and it's vital to put this in context, but all I'm saying is to be careful with that. It doesn't matter if you take shots specifically at anyone, either. In the case Knott got me for, I was going against all positive reviews. If you are going to make a backbone for a review, use the strengths of the album, not the faults you may find with the opinions of others.
Hehe, you were taking shots at mine too :p you even said those same things in the thread of mine that you disagreed with (watered down and recycled).
Yeah now that I look at it, I guess I did take some shots at you :P. And i'm definitely grafetul for your input.
Also, I do think the backbone of my review is still based on the strengths of this album (only in the third paragraph do I mention, and compare, other reviews for this album, and I do it briefly). Besides, imo the mentioning of negative reviews led to a fairly logical part of me defending the album based on its strengths (which are similar to Indestructible) and offering my own, positive view on the album.
right, which I can understand. And I agree you do found the review much on the strengths too (more like indestructible, slightly worse), but idk i got the feeling the other was there a bit more than was needed. But that's my opinion on your written opinion (which you gave of mine too), so anyway