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Guns N’ Roses, Slipknot and Disturbed will headline the 2019 edition of Louder Than Life this September in Louisville, Kentucky.
Disturbed front man David Draiman, guitarist Dan Donegan and drummer Mike Wengren, along with then-bassist Steve “Fuzz” Kmak released their breakout debut The Sickness in 2000 and immediately began infecting heavy metal with hit singles like “Stupify” and “Down with the Sickness.” Their follow-up, Believe (2002) debuted at Number One on Billboard’s Top 200 chart. Current bassist John Moyer joined the band in 2003 and their next two releases, Ten Thousand Fists (2005) and Indestructible (2008) each also debuted at Number One, making Disturbed one of only six rock bands in history to have three consecutive releases debut at Number One. The band has sold in excess of 11 million records worldwide and had eight No. 1 singles at Active Rock Radio. Smash hit “Inside the Fire” garnered the band their first Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 2009. All these accomplishments have set the stage for Disturbed to open their Asylum.
Disturbed began building Asylum as soon as they got off the road in the summer of 2009. Officially entering Groovemaster Studios in February 2010, the band set about self-producing the album, as they did with Indestructible. Draiman declares, “This record shows a certain degree of maturation and enhanced complexity. Asylum is still identifiably Disturbed, but the evolution is clear. It preserves the elements of what we do but at a more advanced level.”
“We took our signature foundation, and we tried to build on that,” adds Donegan. “For every album, we’ve pushed ourselves even more than in the past. Asylum is no exception.”
There’s a duality to the title that encapsulates a thematic thread for Draiman. “The immediate connotation of the word Asylum is the image of a mental hospital or sanitarium, but it’s also meant to be a haven or a safe place,” says the singer. “The dual meaning of the word pushed things over the edge for me. The title track itself deals with the memory of a lost love driving you. You’re not able to let go of that memory and it brings you to the point of insanity. At the same time, that memory is a safe place for you; it’s a haven you go to when times are tough. Overall, this record is a reflection of that.”
First single “Another Way to Die” is classic Disturbed, blending a syncopated riff with a hypnotic hook. Donegan reveals, “Thematically, the song’s about global warming and how the choices we make affect the planet. It’s a new topic for us, and it’ll hopefully raise a little awareness.”
Storytelling remains a central component of Asylum. About “Animal,” Draiman states, “That song is huge. It’s written about someone who is an actual werewolf, and it’s inspired by films like Underworld and Wolfman. It’s about someone who enjoys the power and lives for the transformation.” At points, the lyrics become nearly cinematic in scope. Draiman goes on, “All of the songs deal with dramatic elements such as pain, loss, suffering and remorse. There are no flowery subjects here. The lyrics on this record are a lot less cryptic than they’ve been in the past. They’re far more direct. I felt it was time for me to write like that. Some of these subjects required that approach, and these songs tell stories.”
Not only did the band tread new territory lyrically on Asylum but also musically. Their first instrumental track “Remnants” ignites the album intensely. Donegan divulges, “We’ve never done a pure instrumental piece before. Our plan was to start the album that way and build anticipation with something fresh. The vibe sets everything up perfectly.”
Then there’s “The Infection,” which will no doubt be a crowd favorite. From its percussive stomp to the wah-pedal solo, the song feels like it could derail, but it’s forged together by Disturbed’s focused fire. “It’s one of those tracks that makes you feel like getting in the car and going over 100 mph,” laughs Donegan. “It’s got a cool driving groove and an extended lead.”
“This is a statement for us,” says Draiman. “We’ve never strayed from our identity. Disturbed records are always going to be rhythmic and powerful. They’re always going to deal with the darker side of things. They’re always going to be records you can take with you for a little bit of inspiration. That will forever be a common theme with every one of our records.”
The frontman concludes, “We want fans to walk away from this record with strength and release. That’s exactly what Asylum’s supposed to be. Hopefully, this is an album for people to deal with the insanity of today’s times; it’s another piece of music to help get you through the chaos and madness of the world in which we live.”
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