The band that made the whole world sing "EW AH AH AH AH" is back with another slab of molten mall metal. Their fifth effort, "Asylum" sees the band still riding that rocket to the top of the hard rock mountain. Love 'em or hate 'em, DISTURBED are undeniably one of the biggest things going right now. While we've yet to see if the band has the legs it takes to rank them up there with a band like METALLICA or KORN, they have, over the course of five albums, cemented their name as one of rock's most successful acts. Unlike the aforementioned acts who have continually evolved by experimenting with their sound, DISTURBED seems to have found a formula and stuck with it. There's an old adage that states if it ain't broke, don't fix it and "Asylum" sure in the hell doesn't see DISTURBED calling any repairmen. And why would they? The popularity of tunes like "Stupify", "Down With The Sickness" and "Ten Thousand Fists" should be reason enough to keep beating the proverbial horse until it's gasped its last breath.To their credit, DISTURBED have managed to squeeze a few twists and turns in "Asylum" to keep things fresh, but have stuck close enough to the formula to keep their legions of fans happy. The band's first instrumental tune, "Remnants" gives guitarist Dan Donegan a chance to showcase his soloing ability and the axeman rips the world a few new assholes with high-octane riffing on "The Infection" and "Never Again". Slower and darker than the rest of the disc, "Another Way To Die" adds a much-needed dynamic to "Asylum". The harder-edged tunes come across as a little heavier thanks to the inclusion of the aforementioned and the mid-paced and deliberate groove of "Sacrifice". Kudos to the band for stepping out on a limb with their hidden cover of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", although purists will undoubtedly see it as a hatchet job that sucks the depth right out of the original. As it was on previous DISTURBED albums, the focal point of "Asylum" is once again the vocals of David Draiman. Probably the most identifiable voice in modern rock, Draiman leads his loyal listeners through tales of heartache ("The Infection"), personal loss ("My Child") and the Holocaust ("Never Again"). As poignant and powerful a lyricist as he can be, Draiman also explores not-so-topical topics when he caters to the "Twilight" brats (Jacob fans at least) on "The Animal" and waxes poetic about demonic succubi during "Serpentine". Lyrical validity notwithstanding, Draiman knows how to lay down a vocal hook and "Asylum" is full of them. The problem is, he still hasn't stepped outside the box he built when the band debuted. Many of his vocal patterns could be swapped in and out of a number of songs from the band's catalog. But, like I said earlier, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The bottom line about "Asylum" is this, if you were a DISTURBED fan yesterday, you'll be one tomorrow. If not, then don't hold your breath in the hopes that this release will finally sell you on them. The band has a solid grip on their fan-base and show no signs of letting go anytime soon. There's no faulting said fans either as DISTURBED has all the necessary tools. A solid rhythm section, a flashy riffmonger for a guitarist and one incredibly energetic frontman. Couple that with the band's ability to pen catchy (albeit formulaic and at times generic) tunes and you've got a recipe for continued mainstream success. The sheep are going to graze on this grass for a long time to come.
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