I know a great many people that hated Disturbed. They considered them to be a poser metal band. They hated vocalist David Draiman and his pompous attitude. They didn't like their hits. They called them formulaic. To be sure, Disturbed has taken every bit of the hatred that most metalheads throw at a band like Nickelback these days. Yet, whatever the case was, they still sold a lot of music. Maybe it was truly "teenagers and girls" that bought their music, but whatever it was, they moved product. Being a Disturbed fan myself, I was excited about the thoughts of this new project from Draiman. He claimed it to be very "Nine Inch Nails". It was claimed to be very heavy. It had all kinds of hype behind it. The result? Well, maybe it's just me, but it's pretty damn close to what you would expect from the next Disturbed release. There are subtle differences to the sound, but overall, there won't be a single Disturbed fan out there that will be put off by this release. In fact, I'd bet most of those that are just casual radio fans won't even know it's a new band.
I'm quite sure the purist fans will immediately jump out and say that I'm being ludicrous here. They will claim all the new "industrial" elements that have been incorporated. While that is true, the reality is that they are subtle. Songs like "Vilify" could easily be songs that simply didn't make TEN THOUSAND FISTS or ASYLUM, with a bit of industrial bleeps and bloops mixed in to give it some effect. It's similar to if Disturbed would have sat in the studio with Static X for a recording session.
In fairness to Device, it's probably not going to be easy to escape the Disturbed comparisons as long as Draiman is the vocalist. He has not only a distinct sound, but very recognizable elements to his vocal performances that define him as a vocalist. He doesn't expand a whole lot from what we've come to expect. He shows a bit more range than normal when he teams with Halestorm's Lzzy Hale on their cover of Lita Ford's "Close My Eyes Forever". This song seems destined to be a big hit at radio.
The place where Device does differentiate itself from Disturbed is by the inclusion of a lot of guest appearances. Serj Tankian from System Of A Down shares vocals on "Out Of Line", and does a solid job. "Haze" finds Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows taking on some vocals, while legendary vocalist Glenn Hughes chimes in on a cool song called "Through It All". Guitarist Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) lays in some signature guitar parts on "Opinion", and the great Geezer Butler adds some thump to the previously mentioned "Out Of Line". The guests are everywhere, which is fun. Overall though, the music is primarily what you would expect from Disturbed.
PITRIFF RATING - 75/100 - DEVICE is a cool release. It's got some industrial stuff mixed in, but ultimately it's got the same vibe as you would expect from the previously established sound of Draiman's last band. It's a cool release, although it's not likely to make you forget THE SICKNESS or BELIEVE any time soon. A solid listen.