Music, My Stories

The Record Vault: Music As A Weapon

The Disturbed Record Vault series is almost at an end.

“Music as a Weapon” is a series of concert tours created by Disturbed. All up this tour did the rounds seven different times.

In 2001, the first edition featured Disturbed, Drowning Pool, Adema, Stereomud and Systematic.

In 2003, which is also the tour captured on the CD, it featured Disturbed, Chevelle, Taproot and Unloco.

In 2006, the tour featured Disturbed, Stone Sour, Flyleaf and Nonpoint.

In 2008, the tour came to Australia and New Zealand which I caught. It featured Disturbed, P.O.D., Alter Bridge, Redline and Behind Crimson Eyes.

In 2009, the tour featured a bigger line up, with Disturbed, Killswitch Engage, Lacuna Coil, Chimaira, Suicide Silence, Spineshank, Crooked X, Bury Your Dead, Born of Osiris and After the Burial.

In 2011, the line-up was Disturbed, Korn, Sevendust, In This Moment and StillWell. It’s also the first time the tour had co-headliners with Disturbed and Korn. The Australia and New Zealand edition had Disturbed, Trivium, As I Lay Dying, Forgiven Rival and These Four Walls.

But back to the “Music as a Weapon II”.

It was recorded at The Aragon in Chicago in 2003, and released in 2004.

The DVD also contains Disturbed’s video for their single “Liberate” and it was Disturbed’s last release with bass guitarist Steve Kmak.

On a different note, it was also Unloco’s final release before splitting up. But vocalist Joey Duenas did form a new band called “Anew Revolution” and released two excellent albums called “Rise” in 2008 and “iMerica” in 2010. But that band is also no more.

“Loading the Weapon” (instrumental)

An instrumental track from Disturbed that is not on any album. I love the mood that this track creates.

“Bound”

It then explodes into “Bound” from the “Believe” album.

“Myself”

This CD was my first exposure to Taproot. The live recording didn’t captivate me to listen any further.

“Dehumanized”

It was written and recorded for the “Believe” album, however it didn’t make the final cut. But it was played live during the “Believe” tour and released as a B side to the “Stricken” single from the “Ten Thousand Fists” album, alongside “Hell”.

And it was finally released on “The Lost Children” album.

“Forfeit”

My first exposure to Chevelle and I was instantly a fan. The live recording isn’t the best, but the Tool like grooves into a concise 4 minute song was of interest to me.

“Fade to Black”

From Disturbed.

A Metallica cover. And how good is the whole intro with the acoustic arpeggios and lead break.

“Empty”

My first exposure to Unloco.

“Sumtimes”

Taproot’s other song on the album. It’s like Staind and the track is more accessible than the previous one. But still not interested.

“Darkness”

From the “Believe” album. The piano and acoustic guitar is haunting. Draiman’s vocal delivery is excellent.

“Bruises”

From “Unloco”. This song was in “The Matrix” movies and various video games.

“Prayer”

From the “Believe” album, the fast staccato riffing in the Intro isn’t as powerful as the album version, but I do like the slight increase in tempo which makes the fast staccato riffing even faster.

And Draiman delivers vocally.

“The Red”

David Draiman makes an appearance with Chevelle. Its pitchy especially when Draiman joins in with the harmonies but that’s what performing live is all about.

“Poem”

Song number three from Taproot. The riff sounded interesting and a bit complex, so from this song, I would go on to check out more Taproot eventually.

“Stupify”

From “The Sickness” album, and Peter Loeffler from Chevelle and Joey Duenas from Unloco make an appearance.

In the end, it’s live with no studio overdubs and very different to the live albums I grew up with, (which were basically re-cut in a studio).

I also like how Disturbed put three unreleased songs on this album.

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2001 – Part 3.7: Adema – Adema

Labelled as Nu-Metal. I never understood what that label meant. Even though I hated the “hair metal” tag back in the late 80’s, it was easily understood why the record labels and media outlets labelled bands with that term.

But Nu-Metal always had me confused. To me it’s all just music.

The bands that started to make inroads in the early 2000’s, had the same aggression and rage as a lot of the bands I grew up with. Just because they didn’t have guitar solos, had shorter hair, dressed differently and played syncopated riffs, it didn’t make them that much different.

And the majority of these bands had even bigger arena rock choruses than the bands who made it in the 80’s and still had a level of success without MTV pushing them, which was very different to the 80’s as all the bands then got to a million in sales on the back of the exposure MTV generated.

The vocal tones of singers in the 2000’s were different as well.

Growing up in the 80’s my ears got used to the Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, Sebastian Bach, Ronnie James Dio, Tom Kiefer and David Coverdale style vocals.

And then in the 90’s with the advent of Grunge, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley and Eddie Vedder (along with others) changed what a vocalist should sound like.

Rob Thomas, Trent Reznor and Jonathan Davis further changed the expectations. And I was like a pariah within my hard rock friends, who hated all of these singers because they didn’t have the range of the metal and hard rock singers of the 80’s.

Back to Adema, the album came out in 2001, but I didn’t hear it until 2003. I have written about them in a Record Vault post, previously.

Adema is Mark Chavez on vocals, Tim Fluckey on lead guitar and keyboards, Mike Ransom on rhythm guitar, Dave DeRoo on bass and Kris Kohls on drums.

Everyone

The Intro riff reminds me of P.O.D and Godsmack.

The Chorus reminds me of Korn. I like how songs do that.

Everyone is the same
Quick to point the blame
All I know is that life is a struggle

Truth right there.

Blow It Away

So many influences here.

The Intro music reminds me of Godsmack.

In the verses, there is a Nirvana bass feel, with Korn like guitar embellishments.

Lyrically, it’s a nasty song about a relationship gone bad and if you’ve seen American Psycho, you will know what the singer is thinking.

Giving In

The Intro hooks me in, with its combination of Deftones and “Come Undone” from Duran Duran.

And it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album, about giving in to your addictions or giving in to the darkness that loneliness brings due to your addictions.

Freaking Out

The rapped verses have enough melody to keep me interested and the music/feel of the song reminds me of New Order.

The Way You Like It

My second favourite and the flow of the song is great, with a catchy Chorus.

More Linkin Park like.

Close Friends

A bass riff in the verses which reminds me of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

Do What You Want To Do

Aggressive song about living the life you want to live.

Skin

Phased out chorused guitars shimmer and glimmer in the verses over a jazz-rock fusion drum groove. Then the Chorus riff kicks in, abrasive, compared to the verses.

Pain Inside

It’s got all the synth electronics that bands were using back in the day.

The chorus gospel effect on the guitars gets me interested and the verse drum and bass groove keeps the momentum going.

Once the power chords come crashing in for the Chorus, I’m sold.

Speculum

The acoustic guitar gets some use but it’s not a ballad.

There’s so many people dying
You complain about your situation

Death gives perspective.

Drowning

The intro riff reminds me of Muse.

It’s like a needle in my spine
It stings inside
Poisons me with time
I can’t deal with your lies

Relationships are tough. They could lift you up or bury you.

Trust

It feels like a song from “The Crow” movie with a bit of “Come Undone” by Duran Duran as an influence.

I’m so alone, empty and lost, it’s easier to let you go
Time will erode the shame and the fault, it’s easier to let you go

We become focused on achieving something and when we do, we realize we also lost something along the way, like a relationship that you didn’t want to lose.

And that’s the album.

The band was active up to 2009 and then disappeared, only to resurface in 2021 with a new song and possibly a new album.

But it all started here. The debut gave them the valuable rookie card.

Crank it.

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The Record Vault: Disturbed – Immortalized

It’s the last album I purchased and much later than its release date at a discounted price. At the time I was still endeavouring at keeping my Disturbed collection intact.

So “Immortalized” is the comeback album after the hiatus, released on August 21, 2015 by Reprise Records. It’s also the comeback album for “The Guy”, the Disturbed mascot.

Between “Asylum” and “Immortalized”, there is a five year gap. “The Lost Children” doesn’t count here as it was an album of leftover tracks.

One song defines this album and it’s the cover of “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel. As soon as it was released as a single it went to Platinum, and by November 2017, it was 3x Platinum and right now its getting close to 4x Platinum.

The album itself was certified Platinum in January 2018. So in an era of no sales, Disturbed is still pulling good numbers.

The band members David Draiman (vocals), Dan Donegan (guitar) and Mike Wengren (drums) perform on the album. Bass player John Moyer was not present, due to working with Adrenaline Mob and Art of Anarchy so Donegan did the bass. But Moyer is still pictured in the booklet.

Kevin Churko is producing and his run of certifications continues similar to Olsen and Werman back in the 80s.

The reviews at the time were not kind to the album with sentences like “It won’t change the minds of those who weren’t fans before” or “Immortalized” is fans-only release as it feeds the target audience”.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing and “The Sound Of Silence” for better or for worse brought in a whole new audience.

“The Eye of the Storm” (Intro)

You hear the sound of a vinyl record starting, all dusty and then a demented tremolo effect arpeggio starts, complemented by a guitar lead.

“Immortalized”

The Intro riff is classic Disturbed.

“Secure a legacy that will never die, be immortalized”

What kind of legacy is up to you?

“The Vengeful One”

It reminds me of “Louder Than Hell” from Motley Crue. And I like it.

The drum groove sets the pace and then one of my favourite riffs on the album just explodes the same way it does on “Louder Than Hell”.

Pure head banging bliss.

“The rabid media plays their role / Stoking the flames of war to no surprise / Only too eager to sell their souls / For the apocalypse must be televised”

There are no views for happy moments. Chaos, death and destruction gets people glued to their screens.

“Open Your Eyes”

It’s catchy and easily digestible.

This song has John Feldmann (from the band Goldfinger, plus he has a history of writing and producing other artists like Papa Roach, Black Veil Brides, 5 Seconds Of Summer) and Nick Furlong (another songwriter who has worked with Papa Roach, Good Charlotte, All Time Low, 5 Seconds Of Summer) as co-writers, along with Draiman, Donegan and Wengren.

But regardless of the songwriters, it’s still a Disturbed cut, through and through.

You’re hypnotized, demoralized
Believe every line that they sell you
Start channelling whatever will remains
Discern from what’s fiction and what is true

Open your eyes

People need to read more critically and research different point of views. But with social media being such a massive force of nature, it’s very easy to surround yourself in an echo chamber, hearing the same thing, over and over and over again, until you believe it is true and you refuse to see another point of view, which could be true.

“The Light”

A hard rock song, reminding me of “My Hero” from Foo Fighters in certain sections.

And how good is the vocal melody in the Chorus. Pure AOR Melodic Rock.

Four punch knockout combo right there.

“What Are You Waiting For”

I wasn’t surprised that they had a cut that sounded like Five Finger Death Punch on the album. The track is also co-written with John Feldman.

The lead break has a lot of the Digitech Whammy Pedal effects.

“You’re Mine”

The electronic element is back, then again, Draiman’s side project “Device” did sound like this.

“Who”

The riff is a derivative of “Indestructible” and the gang vocal chants are here.

“Save Our Last Goodbye”

It starts off with a person leaving messages on a phone.

The heavy songs were getting derivative at this point in time although I still enjoy listening to em, just to hear what Draiman does with the vocal melodies, or if there is a guitar lead or an interlude that makes me bang the head.

And this song from 3.07 has this Judas Priest like riff in the Interlude which definitely gets the head banging.

In the last minute, it breaks down to a piano and Draiman’s falsetto before building up again.

By the end of it, the person is still calling the number to leave a message and the number is no longer active.

“Fire It Up”

I feel like they started off with an idea to do a song like “We Will Rock You” but once it went through the Disturbed blender, it ended up sounding like “Fire It Up” and if anything it feels like a Godsmack track, with the lyrical line, “when I fire it up, it feels alright”.

“The Sound of Silence”

My brother was singing this song on the day he died from a brain aneurysm and he’s not even a Disturbed fan, but he heard the song on a TV show and it stuck with him.

And I didn’t really care about this song or this version, but a life experience has changed that.

“Never Wrong”

It’s a throwback to the debut album, with a repeating lyrical line done in the Draiman drawl.

“Who Taught You How to Hate”

A great title.

A long time ago I came across a quote like “a child’s life is like a blank sheet of paper, which every person leaves a mark on”.

So how did that child grow up to hate?

Now for the bonus tracks, “Tyrant”, “Legion Of Monsters” and “The Brave And The Bold”.

“Tyrant”

I like the lead break.

“Legion of Monsters”

Inspired by a Rolling Stone article on the Boston Marathon Bomber. It’s angry and energetic.

“The Brave and the Bold”

I like the Blues Rock riff to start off the song. The Chorus is pure Disturbed and the lead break is excellent as there are a lot of Randy Rhoads type licks chucked in and I like it.

For comeback albums, it was well received and while the reviewers said the album is for hard-core fans only, this album actually grew Disturbed’s fan base.

In Australia, Canada and the U.S, the album went to Number 1. In Austria, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K, it was a Top 10 album. In Belgium, Holland and Portugal it was a Top 20 album.

For certifications, it was certified Platinum in Australia, Canada, Germany, Norway and the U.S. It was certified Gold in Austria, New Zealand, Sweden and the U.K.

The “Immortalized” tour was earning on average $200K in B level cities (using California as a guide, San Diego is classed as a B level city) and about $400K in A Level cities (like Los Angeles) a night.

Good or bad, acoustic guitar songs would become very prominent on the next album “Evolution” released in 2018.

The touring cycle was done and the bad was starting a trek of shows to commemorate “The Sickness” 20 year Anniversary before COVID-19 put a halt to proceedings.

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The Record Vault: Disturbed – The Lost Children

“The Lost Children” was released on November 8, 2011.

By the time this album hit the streets, Disturbed was on hiatus for an indefinite period of time. The band had been on a five album cycle of release and tour. 12 years in total without really having a proper break.

The music industry was also going through another transition. The U.S labels weren’t approving Spotify to operate until they got a percentage stake in the company, so P2P piracy was at an all time high and while the labels procrastinated, YouTube became a dominate streaming service which paid even less.

In the break, Draiman would produce a few bands, with Trivium being the biggest, form a new project called Device, which released an album that sounded like “The Sickness” while Donegan and Wengren hooked up with the “Evans Blue” singer Dan Chandler to form “Fight Or Flight” and release the excellent hard modern rock album “A Life By Design”.

Meanwhile bassist John Moyer would hook up with Adrenaline Mob for the “Coverta” and “Men Of Honour” releases, Art of Anarchy for their 2015 and 2017 releases, Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime project and its 2015 release.

Because of these projects, Moyer wasn’t available to play on “Immortalized”, released in 2015, but returned to the band to tour and then played on “Evolution” released in 2018.

“The Children” in the album title is another term for “The Songs”. And “The Lost Children” is all of Disturbed’s non-album tracks up to 2011.

“Hell”

It’s from the “Ten Thousand Fists” album.

I feel like the riff got tweaked and used to better effect for “Indestructible”. But it doesn’t mean that this song is inferior.

Lyrically it’s about s person in a relationship who keeps coming in and out of the persons life, and every time they come back in, they mess up their world a little bit more.

“A Welcome Burden”

From “The Sickness” album cycle and the song appeared on the “Dracula 2000” soundtrack.

Its flow is like the debut album and it’s groovy Nu-Metal riffs.

“This Moment”

It was written for the “Transformers” album, but never used.

And man, what a riff to start it off.

“Old Friend”

From the “Asylum” album cycle and a song which appeared in Dexter.

The Intro riff hooks me in. It’s head banging and almost progressive by it’s notes phrasing.

The Chorus as usual is huge.

“Monster”

From the “Ten Thousand Fists” album cycle and a riff similar to “Stricken” starts the song off.

I like the single note runs in the Verse riff.

And an excellent guitar lead is also present.

“Run”

From the “Indestructible” album cycle.

A fast double time Intro gives way to a groove verse. Actually the drumming from Mike Wengren is a stand out on this.

“Leave It Alone”

From the “Asylum” album batch of songs. The song has excellent riffs throughout.

In the Verses, there is a natural harmonic lick that comes in on certain bars.

The Chorus riff gets the head banging with its military like groove.

For the solo, it goes to half time and how good is that bluesy solo lick to come out of the lead section.

“Two Worlds”

A song from the “Ten Thousand Fists” album cycle.

Can melodic rock, Sabbath and Nu-Metal be a thing?

On this song they exist in harmony.

And I always enjoy a Donegan solo, but this time it’s the riff after the solo which gets me to pick up the guitar.

“God of the Mind”

A B-side from “The Sickness” and it also appeared in the “Valentine” movie. It’s a derivative version of the songs that appeared on the debut.

The verses do remind me of Tool but I feel like the song has more NIN and early Filter influences.

“Sickened”

A B-side from “Ten Thousand Fists” and a massive head banging Intro kicks it off.

For the verses, a tom-tom drum pattern provides the focus while the guitar belts out chords.

And as usual, the Chorus is melodic and big.

“Mine”

A B-side from “Asylum” and the song is about religion as a catalyst for war.

The first part with the spoken samples of leaders and newscasters with Draiman chanting “hey“ is excellent.

After that I feel like the song becomes a thrash groove song. Wengren on the drums is the star here.

“Parasite”

A B-side from “Indestructible” but with a riff that brings back memories of “Fighting For The Earth” from Warrior.

“Dehumanized”

A B-side from “Believe” that they played live regularly with a big Chorus.

“3”

A B-side from “Asylum”, originally released as a digital single to benefit the “West Memphis Three”.

The lead break is shred-a-licious.

In case you weren’t aware, the West Memphis Three are three Metal heads convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys. During the trial, the prosecution asserted that the juveniles killed the children as part of a Satanic ritual.

Due to the dubious nature of the evidence, the case generated widespread controversy and was the subject of several documentaries. Celebrities and musicians held fundraisers to support efforts to free the men. Metallica, Pearl Jam and Disturbed come to mind.

And after serving 18 years they were freed and the real killers still walk the streets.

“Midlife Crisis”

A Faith No More cover and a B-side from “Indestructible”. And each Disturbed cover is a great rendition. This song could pass as a Disturbed original.

“Living After Midnight”

A Judas Priest cover which starts off with the “Painkiller” drum Intro and a B-side from “Asylum”.

By the end of it, the album didn’t feel like a put together cash in. It actually felt like a new Disturbed album as the sequencing of the songs didn’t follow the chronological release of the songs.

Sink your ears into “The Lost Children”.

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2001 – Part 3.4: Saliva – Every Six Seconds

“Back Into Your System” released in 2002 was the album that got me into the band. I purchased it because it had ONE song on it, written by Nikki Sixx and James Michael called “Rest In Pieces”. That’s right folks, I purchased an album that I’ve never heard from a band that I’d never heard off, based on ONE song written by an artist I was familiar with.

And man, that album blew me away, so I went back and listened to the first one “Every Six Seconds”.

Released in 2001, it’s listed as their second album on their Wikipedia discography, however on Spotify it is their first. Their independently released debut from 1997 doesn’t rate a mention on Spotify.

In July 2008, “Every Six Seconds” was certified platinum by the RIAA.

Saliva for this album are Josey Scott on vocals, Wayne Swinny on lead guitar, Chris D’Abaldo on rhythm guitar, Dave Novotny on bass and Paul Crosby on drums.

The cover is like a Glam Rock disco album but the influences are Sabbath, Crue, Steve Earle, Metallica, Sevendust and Skynard.

“Superstar”

Sitting at 18.1 million streams on Spotify.

Written by vocalist Josey Scott.

I think it appeared in a “Fast and Furious” movie as well.

It’s like a Guns’N’Roses cut on some sections, and even the vocal melody of the “all that I” section sounds like an Axl vocal melody.

“Musta Been Wrong”

It’s got a metal groove which sounds like Bush or the groove which is known as the “post grunge” or “Nu-Metal” riff, but vocally it’s an amalgamation of what Oasis created in the mid 90’s and hard rock from the 80’s.

“Click Click Boom”

Sitting at 146.799 million streams on Spotify. Written by Scott, D’Abaldo, Swinny and producer Bob Marlette. I was listening to P.O.D at the time and this song could be interchanged with a track from their “Satellite” album or anything from Kid Rock’s “Devil Without A Cause”.

The riff is sleazy and as good as any hard rock riff that I grew up with. Production wise, it’s got all those Korn sound effects with arpeggios and downtuned industrial sounding guitars

Vocally, the word rapping is different, but it works.

Check out the section from 3.16 to 3.30 when Josey Scott is singing, “it’s all inside of me”.

“Your Disease”

Its a heavy Dropped D bluesy in the riff department.

“After Me”

The vocal melodies get me interested in this song.

There is also a brief guitar melodic lead which enhances the interlude.

“Greater Than/Less Than”

It feels like an Alice Cooper cut, from his “Brutal Planet” and “Dragontown” era’s.

Six songs in, I wasn’t bored at all.

“Lackluster”

Sevendust comes to mind listening to this.

“Faultline”

A tremolo effect shimmering chord progression starts the song. Under it, is a heavy palm muted groove. The shimmering guitar part changes to a shimmering arpeggio riff.

“Beg”

Another heavy riff to start it off, with a loudspeaker vocal melody in the verses. The octave melodic idea reminds of Tool and the song “Sober”.

“Hollywood”

Another cut written by Josey Scott as the strummed acoustic guitar riff starts it all off. “Take A Picture” from Filter comes to mind. Also “Life Is A Highway”. And for some reason “New Tattoo” from Motley Crue also comes to mind.

“Doperide”

It’s been a skip since day one and still is.

“My Goodbyes”

An ominous tritone arpeggio riff starts it all off. The longest song on the album and a perfect closer.

Overall, Saliva’s has a dropped D rock/metal “Soundgarden” meets “Bush” meets “Tool” meets “Alice In Chains” sound with bluesy Southern/Country Rock influences.

Bob Marlette as the producer got those Mesa Boogie Rectifiers sounding big, loud and messy (but tight as a G-string tuned to A).

Check it out.

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The Record Vault: Disturbed – Ten Thousand Fists

After the excellent “Believe”, I was eagerly anticipating this release and I was a first day buyer. The cartoonish comic cover got my attention, as people from all walks of life are together, raising their firsts in the air.

Released in 2005, “Ten Thousand Fists” is the third studio album from Disturbed.

John Moyer joins David Draiman, Dan Donegan and Mike Wengren this time around. However, Moyer was considered a session musician during the time of recording, and only became a full-time member during the tour supporting the album.

Johnny K is also producing. This would be his last album with the band.

The album was also dedicated to Dimebag Darrell, who was murdered the year before the album’s release.

“Ten Thousand Fists”

A great song about the metal show and the glorious sight of “ten thousand fists in the air”.

Musically its classic Disturbed, in which the vocal melody follows the syncopated drum and guitar riff in the verses.

The Chorus’s by now have become anthemic for Disturbed.

You will remember the night you were struck by the sight of ten thousand fists in the air

The interlude with the backwards guitars gives it all a Middle Eastern vibe. Check it out.

“Just Stop”

Another killer riff to start the song off. Check.

Verses is syncopated, with riffs, vocals and bass drum. Check.

Anthemic chorus. Check.

Just stop enough of the limitless critical comments on my life
Just drop the judgment and all of your pseudo-involvement in my life

We might see our Metal hero’s as indestructible, but they are normal like all of us and they have feelings, which do get hurt within relationships.

“Guarded”

A speed metal cut, as it comes racing out with double kick drums and fast alternate picked lines.

Guarding yourself from the love of another
Left you with nothing tonight

How much are you willing to let people in?

Then it goes into an arpeggio riff that reminds me of Coverdale/Page’s “Whisper A Prayer For The Dying”.

“Deify”

“Deify” means to worship someone or treat as a god.

The song starts off with a sampled speech of George W Bush Jnr before it cranks into an angry song against the Bush administration.

I won’t let them
Deify you
They view you as the new messiah
Deify you
Renew belief in some demented man

It’s a divisive time. A lot of people disagreed with our Government’s at sending soldiers into Iraq and Afghanistan. And look how that’s worked out for Afghanistan at the moment. And Iraq hasn’t been stable since.

Check out the speed metal in the Interlude.

“Stricken”

One of my favourite tracks on the album. It has a groove riff similar to “Remember” in the intro.

The Chorus is anthemic as you would expect by now.

And finally Dan Donegan shreds.

2005 was the era for guitarist who didn’t normally shred on albums to start shredding.

“I’m Alive”

Another song with an anthemic chorus.

How good is that Tool like groove in the Bridge?

There will never be a reason why I will surrender to your advice
To change myself, I’d rather die

Would you rather fail doing it your way or on someone else’s advice?

“Sons Of Plunder”

The dog and bird barks are back vocally with the catchcry “Tell me you like it” as Disturbed rocks the new metal sounds in the verses and goes all anthemic in the Chorus.

At 1.53 it goes into this bass feel that reminds me of “My Friend Of Misery”. But the way the guitars and drums build it back up, needs to be listened to.

Lyrically Draiman is attacking artists that create soulless songs just to have a hit.

You say you’ve found yourself a new sound
The shit’s loaded and ready to go
A bit too much just like the old sound
Already heard it for the hundredth time
One hundred more, all have the same sound
Running around with all the sheep that you know
“It’s so sublime, they’re breaking new ground”
“They’re sure to have another hit this time”

It sounds like the decline of Hard Rock music between 1988 and 1992.

I’m still surrounded by the “new sound”
I’ve had enough and I’m ready to go
A strangle-hold throughout the world now
The new obsession will fade in time
A thin reminder of the past now
All convoluted hardly ready to go
Their whines and moans will never last now
I think you’ve given us our fill this time

And the Grunge came (“the new sound”) that took over the world only to see if fade within 5 years.

“Overburdened”

The bass riff again echoes an influence of “My Friend Of Misery” with a bit of the “Orion” interlude and “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” interlude chucked in.

Then it becomes a groove cut, reminding me of Tool. And all of those little references to songs I know, makes me like this song a little bit more and it also gets me to check out those influences.

Lyrically it’s about war.

Check out the anthemic Chorus.

At 3.54, the Bridge begins. The riff is like ascending before it descends giving an eerie feeling.

At 4.26, Donegan clicks on the wah-wah pedal and we get another lead break. His style is more bluesy, but when needed he can break out some fast legato lines or alternate picked lines.

And the song ends the way it started, with the bass riff.

“Decadence”

A throwback to the debut in the intro and verses but the Chorus is the new Disturbed. Anthemic and melodic.

“Forgiven”

How good is the interlude/bridge section between 2.00 and 2.43 and then Donegan breaks out another lead break?

“Land Of Confusion”

The Genesis song from 1986 gets disturb-iz-ied.

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in

This is truth, but how many are willing to risk being uncomfortable.

There’s a perceived safety in comfort so we put up with our Government’s invasion of our privacy and removing more liberties in the name of security and keeping us safe.

“Sacred Lie”

Verses like the debut album. Check.

Anthemic Chorus. Check.

Massive drumming. Check.

My conviction is stronger today
As I fight to uncover your sacred lie
And the fear isn’t going away
As the soldiers still die

Remember the war on “weapons of mass destruction”. The biggest bullshit ever.

“Pain Redefined”

Read the comments for “Sacred Lie”, but this one has a lot more electronics, like “The Game” from the debut.

Then again, how can I not mention the massive Chorus.

“Avarice”

Avarice means extreme greed for wealth or material gain.

So we get a speed metal barrage to finish the album off just to show the anger.

Politics and evil
All one in the same
Satan hides behind a different name

There is a small demented chromatic like lead break I like which kicks in over an ascending chord progression.

In Australia, it was certified Platinum. In Canada, it was certified 2× Platinum. In New Zealand, it was certified Gold. In the United Kingdom, it was certified Gold and in the United States, its certified 2× Platinum.

It charted well in a lot of other European countries. It was everywhere.

P.S. All the solos on the record are excellent. Kudos to Dan Donegan for stepping up.

P.S.S. This is Disturbed at their best and itt’s a great addition to any Heavy Metal Collection.

P.S.S.S. The “wah-ha-ah-ah!” scream is still there.

Wah-ha-ah-ah to it. Crank It.

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The Record Vault: Disturbed – Believe

Album number 2, released in September 2002. David Draiman is on vocals, Dan Donegan is on guitar and keyboards, Steve “Fuzz” Kmak is on bass and Mike Wengren is on drums. It’s also the last album to feature original “Fuzz” before he was booted from the band in 2003.

It’s also produced by Johnny K and the band members. And the mix from Andy Wallace is excellent.

The lyrical focus is different this time around. While “The Sickness” dealt with violence, “Believe” is more of a spiritual album.

Prayer

As soon as the opening staccato riff for “Prayer” starts off, in syncopation with the kick drum, I was hooked.

One thing that was clear to me when I played it, was the anthemic melodic rock Chorus in which Draiman soars, and this vocal style would appear across all of the songs on the album.

Liberate

It could have come from the first album as the verses follow the staccato singing with the catchcry of “liberate your mind, motherfucker you’re so narrow minded, narrow minded”.

The Pre-Chorus has Draiman doing fast spoken vocals on one track and on another he’s doing middle eastern ohhhs and ahhhs.

But the Chorus. Anthemic.

Wengren on the drums deserves special mention here. Its percussive and frantic.

Awaken

It’s a heavy rock song with a foot stomping groove and as Wikipedia tells me, it deals with America’s never-ending obsession with “wallpaper music”. I didn’t get that impression from the lyrics but…

The vocal style from “The Sickness” is prevalent here as he spits out the words like a machine gun.

Check out the outro riffing and how the bass drum is in unison with it.

Believe

Another staccato style riff in the vein of “Prayer”.

The Chorus. Brilliant.

All your belief cannot absolve your sin

Check out Donegan’s multi-layered guitar parts after the second Chorus.

At 2.36 it goes into a Tool/Deftones style groove. Instead of head banging, you sway.

Remember

One of the best Disturbed songs. The opening riff grooves and man its heavy.

And vocally, David Draiman really announces himself here as a force to be reckoned with.

The Chorus you don’t get to hear until half way through as the song goes, Verse, Pre, Verse, Pre and then the Chorus. But when it comes in, it explodes out of the speakers and totally worth the wait.

Wikipedia tells me that “Remember” delves into the cutthroat nature of the music industry as well as Draiman’s resistance to indulgent partying. But I don’t get that view by looking at the lyrics.

Check out the multi-layered guitar parts in the last Chorus.

Intoxication

It’s more of the same style from the debut album, with the vocal line and guitar line and bass drum pattern all syncopated in unison.

The Chorus is massive and it rhymes vilify with sanctify and I like it.

Rise

The intro riff is metal at its best.

There is another riff in the song which I always called the Chorus riff, but I think it’s played just after the Chorus.

Mistress

The riffs are cool to jam on.

At 2.09, a change of groove comes in, with slightly distorted arpeggios. It percolates before it crashes back in to the main riff.

Breathe

The intro/verse riff is a great riff to jam to. And checkout the bass riff which compliments it.

At 2.56, this Tool “Schism” like groove kicks in and I’m jamming it.

Bound

A flanged/phased wah riff kicks off the song, before the effects are taken off and its good old distortion cranking through.

You can call this a relationship song.

At 2.33, the song goes into a few grooves which they use for an interlude. No solos are allowed on Johnny K produced albums.

Devour

Great riffs in this song, especially the riff just before the anthemic Chorus.

At 2.35, a simple riff kicks in which they build back up into the Chorus.

Darkness

And for the fans who said Disturbed sold out with their cover of “The Sound Of Silence” must have forgotten about this song, which is just acoustic guitar, piano and strings. And one of their best.

In Australia and Canada, it went Platinum. In the U.S it went 2x Platinum. In New Zealand and the U.K it went Gold.

Crank it and believe.

I guess the word “motherfucker” was too much for the censors, so they felt the need to sticker it.
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The Record Vault: Disturbed – The Sickness

I was working as an Insurance Broker in Sydney during this time. And everytime I went for a walk during lunch time to the record shops, the flyers for Disturbed always grabbed my attention, but I didn’t buy.

Then they got added to the Ozzfest festival. Ozzy apparently said, he’s seen the future of heavy metal and that is “Disturbed”. Then I got a transcription of “Voices” in one of the guitar magazines I subscribed to and after playing through what I thought the song sounded like, I was very interested.

So in 2001, I made the purchase.

And I looked at the band member names. Totally unrecognisable.

From Chicago, they formed in 1994. The band currently (2021) is vocalist David Draiman, guitarist/keyboardist Dan Donegan, bassist John Moyer and drummer Mike Wengren.

Donegan and Wengren have been involved in the band since the start, with Moyer replacing former bassist Steve Kmak and Draiman replacing original lead vocalist Erich Awalt.

In 2000, the band released its debut album, “The Sickness”.

In the U.S alone (and if you like to use the RIAA sales metric as a gauge for success) it went Gold by August, 2000.

Platinum by November, 2000.

2x Platinum by October 2001.

3 x Platinum by March 2003.

4 x Platinum by September 2008.

5x Platinum by June, 2018.

It went Platinum in Australia, 2x Platinum in Canada, Gold in the U.K

“Voices”

“Are you breathing?”

“Soooooo”.

And a new trademark is born.

The metal groove of the riff became known as the “Nu-Metal” riff.

And Draiman talks about some freaky shit, and the staccato vocal delivery from Draiman was so unique it got me interested. It was just so different from the 80’s type of singers I was so used to.

“The Game”

The NIN electronics plus bass drum acting like a metronome and a catchy vocal melody hooks me in.

And those dog barks from David Draiman. WTF. But I liked it. It was different. Very different.

Also the syncopation of vocal melody, guitar riff and bass drum was insane when I first heard it.

“Stupify”

The groove on this. And the vocal style of Draiman was bizzare, it was like he had a health issue the way he was singing. But I couldn’t turn it off. I wanted to hear what he would come with up with next.

At 2.33, this Middle East style vibe kicks in, before the heaviest part of the song kicks in when Draiman is singing “Don’t deny me”.

The guitar riff takes the style of Korn and guitarist Dan Donegan has this ability to take influences from what was current like NIN, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Tool and put it all into his metal influenced blender, and out comes the magic brew of Disturbed.

“Down With The Sickness”

The drum pattern and riff to kick off this song is now iconic, along with Draiman’s bird like calls “Oo Wahahahah” and the disturbing Bridge, which has Draiman talking and screaming at an abuser.

In the live arena, there are a sea of faces jumping up and down and head banging, like an ocean swell about to hit the stage.

“Violence Fetish”

The riff is jarring.

“Bring the violence its significant”

“Fear”

It’s like soundtrack music at the start but when the riff kicks in, it’s more of the same.

“Numb”

It has this Deftones/Tool like feel in the music which I like as it offers some variation from the previous tracks.

“Want”

The verse riff is cool to jam to.

“Conflict”

It feels like a re-write of the first four songs with “en-e-me” as the catchcry.

“Shout 2000”

I really like what Disturbed did with this “Tears For Fears” song and how Dan Donegan created the heavy palm muted riff.

“Dropping Plates”

A groove metal cut, a fan favorite.

“Meaning Of Life”

It starts with electronica and the riffs from Donegan build nicely while Draiman is singing “I wanna get psycho”.

Lyrically there wasn’t anything that grabbed me, but the music, the grooves and staccato vocals definitely got me thinking differently when it came to writing riffs.

Disturbed would nail it with the next two albums, “Believe” and “Ten Thousand Fists” which I consider superior to “The Sickness” and both of them did good business in the multi-platinum figures. But those stories are for a different post.

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2001 – Part 2.5: System Of A Down – Toxicity

Guitar World (September 2001 issue): What guitarists have been most inspirational to you?

Daron Malakian: Dave Murray of Iron Maiden and Randy Rhoads. The thing about Maiden’s solos was they were melodic, tasteful and easier to play than Yngwie Malmsteen’s. But as much as I loved Randy Rhoads or Eddie Van Halen when I was young, I still never wanted to play like them. I always wanted to play like myself.

The answer made me depart with $20 for the “Toxicity” album. But System Of A Down took me a while to get into.

This band is capable of delivering whacked out but accessible instrumental passages, enormous riffs and bone shaking grooves, augmented by a vocalist with a style which is hard to describe.

“Toxicity” came out in September 2001 with Rick Rubin overseeing the production. The terror attacks couldn’t stop the album from selling and going Platinum within 2 weeks in the U.S.

In Australia, we made it 5x platinum. It was basically huge.

Let’s start with my favourites.

“Aerials”

I call it “Whisper A Prayer For The Dying” as the clean tone arpeggio riff in dropped D reminds me of the Coverdale/Page song. This familiarity made it a favourite straight away.

Hang around until the 2.30 minute mark, when that intro riff is played with power chords and Serj starts singing “Aerials, in the sky”. It’s powerful and a sing along.

Aerials in the sky
When you lose small mind
You free your life

“Toxicity”

The power of the music and the drumming.

Serj is again delivering a killer vocal.

Conversion, software version 7.0
Looking at life through the eyes of a tire hub

How can you not like it?

No one was writing shit like this.

At the 2.40 minute mark, this Iron Maiden like riff comes in, which they then jam on.

“Chop Suey”

It opens with an acoustic guitar strummed riff, then the drums come in and a Spanish flamenco like feel is created. Then the madness starts when the distortion riff kicks in.

And the verses.

WTF..

The way the vocal line is delivered, it just doesn’t make sense. Then the pre chorus kicks in and it’s all melodic and somehow it all hangs together.

But it’s a song about suicide and they are trying to capture the frantic killer thought process about putting on your make up and leaving the keys on the table.

But the outro.

Wow.

Serj is nailing those melodies and when you think he couldn’t get higher, he goes higher. And Malakian is there as well, harmonizing. At 3.27, it ends. So I pressed repeat on my CD player just to hear it again.

And now for the rest.

“Prison Song”

It’s the opening track.

It has clean tone singing, rapping, death metal growls, high pitched falsetto funk and talking. They cover so much ground with this song.

They’re trying to build a prison for you and me

The private prison system needs inmates, so there are people doing time for minor drug offenses instead of being treated for their addictions.

Serj always writes about politics and this is basically a song on the three strikes law. The three-strikes law significantly increases the prison sentences of persons convicted of a felony who have been previously been convicted.

“Needles”

I usually skip it.

Then again just listen to it, as the lyrics talk about pulling a tapeworm out of your arse.

Which Serj has explained is symbolism for releasing yourself from the toxic control of society.

Okay.

Next.

“Deer Dance”

This is what SOAD is about. Weirdness and still making it sound like a rock or metal song. At some stages it sounds like a Rammstein cut, with weird vocal lines.

Then at 1.41, this palm muted riff kicks in, and a vocal line from Serj which is catchy.

“Jet Pilot”

The way the music sounds, if you play it with clarinets and accordions, it sounds like an Eastern European folk dance.

But in this case it’s all distorted and Serj’s manic vocal line brings a crazed intensity about wiring eyes of a horse on a jet pilot while he flew over the bay.

Yes.

“X”

It’s less than 2 minutes long. Actually the majority of the songs are short. It’s like SOAD knew that streaming is on its way and having shorter songs means that you get paid more.

For example, you still the same cents if the song is 2 minutes or 4 minutes or 8 minutes long. The only difference is that 2 minute song can be played a lot more within the hour than the 4 minute or 8 minute song.

Then again they did mention that The Beatles songs structures played a huge part in condensing these songs . And if you look at the times of The Beatles songs, most are under 3 minutes.

“Bounce”

A song about a pogo stick and orgies.

And Disney had no idea on the content when they used it for the family-friendly animated film “The Secret Life of Pets”.

“Forest”

It’s got this Dio “Gates Of Babylon” vocal melody when Serj sings “Why can’t you see that you are my child / Why don’t you know that you are my mind”.

“ATWA”

It’s melodic and heavy and the vocals are chaos personified.

“Science”

The riffs in this song are excellent, hard rock like.

And the vocal melody is hypnotic, about science failing the Earth and the people and how letting the reigns go is what faith is about, not control.

Make sure you stick around to the 1.40 mark. That whole exotic feel.

“Shimmy”

It’s like classical and punk which rhymes education and fornication and indoctrination with nation.

“Psycho”

It movies between aggression and melody.

Like the lyrics which go “Psycho, groupie, cocaine, crazy”.

“Arto”

An instrumental using traditional Armenian instruments.

Check out the first three songs I mentioned and if you like then go deep and pull out that tapeworm.

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The Record Vault: Creed – Live (DVD)

It’s just called “Live”.

This concert was filmed on their “Full Circle” tour in 2009. Joining the usual 4 members, Scott Stapp, Mark Tremonti, Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall, is Eric Friedman on guitar.

Friedman has an interesting story.

Tremonti really got behind him around 2002/3 but his journey starts in 1996, when Kenny Wayne Shepherd pulled him onstage for a jam session. He got a Fender deal at 13 and a developmental record deal with Steve Vai’s label Favored Nations at 15. He appeared on the excellent Submersed album “In Due Time” (released in 2004) and as the rhythm guitarist with Creed on their reformation tour. He’s also in the Tremonti band.

Creed gets blasted for various reasons by critics and haters, but if you look at their output and the years those albums came out, you will notice that their releases acted like a bridge between eras.

“Human Clay” is that album that bridged the 80’s and early 90’s with the newer sounds from the late 90’s. After “Human Clay” we would get hundreds of derivative bands, in the same way we got hundreds of hard rock bands in the early 90’s.

I think of “Human Clay” in the same way I think of “Sad Wings Of Destiny” from Judas Priest which bridged the derivative blues rock from the early 70’s and space prog rock into a sound that I know as metal.

“Bullets”

It’s a great opener, very metal like. Check out the intro riff for aggression.

It’s also the second single from Creed’s third album, “Weathered”.

When I watched em in Sydney on the “Weathered” tour, they also opened with this one.

“Overcome”

“Please allow us to re-introduce ourselves. We have overcome”, Stapp said as he introduced the song.

From the new album, and it was like Creed never broke up. But it was a different Creed as well, as Tremonti delivers a killer lead break.

“My Own Prison”

“When we got back into the room after six years of not playing together, I asked Mark, “what do you want to play” and he said, “let’s go back to the beginning”” was how Stapp introduced this song.

And “My Own Prison” begins. Its slower tempo groove fits perfectly in the set list after two heavy openers.

“Say I”

One of my favourite tracks from Creed as it incorporates a few different feels and styles. If you like Tool, then the verses would remind you of Tool. If you like hard rock, then the pre-chorus will remind you of hard rock. If you like metal, then the intro and chorus riff will remind you of metal.

For me, this is a deep album cut and to see it in the set list, I wish I was in Houston watching the show.

And they jam the interlude groove, which I didn’t think they would do. But they did, making the concert experience different from just playing the song as per the recording.

“Never Die”

“This song is about innocence”, Stapp said in his introduction. I still reckon this is an awesome Pearl Jam song. Maybe more so for the vocal than the music, as the riffs from Tremonti incorporate so many different styles. And if you read his interviews, you will feel like you had the same upbringing as him and his discovery of music.

“Torn”

One of my favourite songs to jam to. Tremonti is a master at creating a great riff.

“A Thousand Faces”

This is another album cut, which defines the Creed sound and make sure you check out the Tremonti solo towards the end of the song.

“What If”

How good is the Chorus and that chromatic Metallica/Megadeth like interlude?

Then they jam. The solo section has Tremonti and Friedman trading licks and none of it is from the studio recording. It’s all part of the live show.

“Unforgiven”

If you are a fan of Creed because of “Higher” and “What’s This Life For” then you will be bored by this song. It’s basically speed metal and aggressive.

And Creed brought back the big Rock N Roll show. Check out the photo below.

They had a similar stage design with pyro and flames in 2003, which at the time was “anti trends” as most bands from 1994 and onwards operated in shadows.

“Are You Ready?”

The groove of the riff is head banging stuff.

“What’s This Life For”

One of my favourite songs from the debut. It’s a ballad, but those last two minutes of the song, are excellent.

“Faceless Man”

“This next song is very personal to me”, Stapp said as he introduced this.

Its cinematic and this part of their music always get overlooked. This track was hidden behind the hits, “Higher” and “With Arms Wide Open” but this track is the piece d’resistance on the album as it moves between rock and ballad and rock and ballad.

And I hated learning it, because I had to change my tuning to an open D5 tuning. But, I believe the open D5 tuning just makes you play with an eastern feel, so make sure you check out the main eastern sounding riff.

This song is Creed folks.

Put it on and crank it.

“With Arms Wide Open”

The anthem, with its “Dust In The Wind” inspired progression. And while it was written for the birth of a child, the song has taken on many different meanings. Tremonti’s finger picking gets a highlight moment, but that defining moment would come with “One Last Breath” a bit later on.

“My Sacrifice”

This song doesn’t get the respect it should. The riffs are stellar and the vocal melody is iconic.

“One”

From the debut album, another song with a killer riff that is fun to jam.

“One Last Breath”

On Songfacts, Tremonti mentioned that “One Last Breath” is one of his favourite riffs. On YouTube it’s got a massive amount of views. On Spotify, it’s at 135.3 million streams, even more than “Higher” which is sitting at 110.1 million streams or “My Sacrifice” at 127.3 million streams.

This song really highlights Tremonti’s clean fingerstyle.

In a Guitar World issue, Tremonti mentioned how he would have devoured all the Classical/Baroque stuff, but subliminally his style developed by devouring the acoustic pieces from metal and rock artists, like “Mechanical Resonance” and the style of Frank Hannon or the fingerstyle stuff from Metallica on their slower tempo songs and instrumentals like “Call Of Ktulu”.

“Higher”

The closer. If you don’t know it, then you haven’t been part of the mainstream.

By the end of it, the band is drenched in sweat, Stapp went shirtless and the thousands of fans in attendance would have gone away happy. It’s not always perfect, but hey, that’s why it’s called the live show. And no live show is the same as the last show. If we wanted perfect, we would listen to the studio albums.

P.S. I forgot that I had this DVD when I did the original Record Vault post on Creed.

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