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Disturbed "Believe"

Best Nu-Metal Album

The following was originally published in our Sophomore section. 

Review by antiGUY
This album is actually shocking, I’m not talking about the lyrical content, I’m talking about the musical direction it took. Forget all you know about Disturbed their nu-metal debut. At times “Believe” actually sounds like a metal album we would have heard in the mid 80’s and at other times it sounds more like a Soundgarden album than the likes of Korn. Even stranger is the band’s liberal use of thrash guitars and 80’s goth accenting. I never thought I would see the day where I would actually be writing a positive review of a Disturbed album. Yes, their debut had it’s moments and they do put on one hell of a live show but this album sounds like it was produced by a much more sophisticated band then the Disturbed we came to know a couple years ago with their multiplatinum debut. 

Perhaps Disturbed saw the writing on the wall and nu-metal’s recent fall in popularity? Maybe they opted to go nu-metal on their first album to make a name for themselves but then with this album decided to make the music they really wanted to make? All I know is I was not prepared for this album when I put into the CD player, it took me totally off guard but once the shock wore off I found myself really getting into the songs.

One of the biggest surprises if frontman David Draiman’s vocals; who knew he was this strong of a singer? Sure his vocals on “Sickness” where powerful and his had that distinct cackling style he put into the mix but on “Believe” he really seems to have found his voice. Pardon the pun. 

“Prayer” kicks things off strong with a sound that borders on Soundgarden meets Alice in Chains. The guitars are pulled back in the mix and the drop tuning that is the keystone of nu-metal has been replaced with more traditional metal riffing from guitarist Dan Donegan. In this context Drainman’s vocals are the driving force behind the music and he does an exceptional job. 

“Liberate” is a pure metal rocker with a catchy chorus and again shows us David Drainman’s strength as a vocalist. 

“Awaken” is perhaps the closest Disturbed gets to the nu-metal sound while still avoiding falling fully into it. The song is showcased by drummer Mike Wengre’s almost tribal beats and David Draiman leads the song with verses that sound similar in temperament to Godsmack’s Voodoo but the chorus carry that big rock sound of 80’s metal mixed with a little nu-metal flavoring in the guitar and bass lines. 

On the title track the band really shines. Draiman let’s all hang out and he puts the full power behind his vocals at the right moments. Donegan delivers precision riffs and Mike Wengre and Fuzz hold it all together with a driving yet melodic rhythm. 

The rest of the album measures up as well. Disturbed seemed to looked deep inside themselves as a band and found that inner spark and talent and let it all hang out with this album. They are not above trying different things and don’t appear to want to limit themselves, the lush ballad “Darkness” is perhaps one of the biggest surprises on this album. 

The bottom line: Forget all that you thought you knew about Disturbed from their debut album. “Believe” is one sophomore album that falls into the rare category of a successful band that far more than measures up to their debut and actually grow by leaps and bounds musically and break new group with their second studio effort. Disturbed have found a new path away from what you would expect from a heavy band in 2002 and instead have returned with an album that not only shows they have what it takes as song writers but have enough musical vision and talent to produce music that will make them contenders in the long run. Again, I was not prepared for what I heard on “Believe” and while I once doubted this band’s level of success and fame, this new album has indeed made me a believer. 

CD Info 

Disturbed – Believe
Label: Reprise 
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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