Song Impression: Disturbed – Are You Ready

If you know me, then you know Disturbed has always been my favorite band. After three years of waiting after their last album Immortalized, we are getting the new album. This will be the seventh full-length record the group has put out, and they have said we will be getting something ambitious. The record is titled Evolution, fitting since every song is supposed to have its own unique sound. Now we have been delivered the first single, Are You Ready, let’s see if it is a worthy single of showcasing their new album.

The song starts with an electric opening right before Mike Wengren’s pounding drums come in, quick bursts from guitarists Dan Donegan, and David Draiman saying, “Are you ready?” to lead the listener into an explosive introduction. A bouncy beginning as David shouts, “Get up,” multiple times as the rest of the band are smashing out heavy riffs and heavy drumming to follow with the powerful singing.

The first verse barely slows down to maintain that energy, a speed in which we have not heard from Disturbed in a very long time. With the absence of David’s animalistic noises, this could possibly be a song we would find off of The Sickness with its aggressive energy. The same riffs are steadily going from bassist John Moyer and Dan’s guitar work with Mike laying down a steady beat to keep up with the melody. For added layers, the initial electric sounds can be heard in short bursts throughout the verse. Adding those electronic elements is another thing that the band has dismissed from their music for a long time, but now they are bringing back those combined layers.

The chorus slows down enough to have an added melodic focus. As the instrumentation stands strong, David mixes his iconic aggressive sound while slowing down at moments to add some dynamic sounds to the chorus. Out of the band’s usual sound for their harmonic choruses, this is something that stands out as trying to keep a certain level of power and energy throughout the song. After a short chorus, the song goes back to the vigorous sound from before.

After the second verse, Dan goes into guitar solo mode which is much better than anything we heard off of their last album. While I love Immortalized, none of the solos were as captivating as something off of Indestructible or Ten Thousand Fists. Here we get something closer to what we are used to when it comes to a Dan Donegan solo with a mix of heavy use of the whammy bar and speed to make for an excellent break from the heaviness that we endured throughout the song this far before going back to a fast and heavy ending.

Are You Ready is easily one of Disturbed’s most energetic and heavy songs they have ever released. When the band put up a poll for fans to decide if the first single would be heavy or a ballad, they were not joking on the heavy option. While the band is not the heaviest group in the rock world, they have an iconic sound that has drawn fans to them for years. If what they say is true, we will be getting an album full of unique tracks and things we have never heard before, or have not heard in a long time by the quartet rockers. If this is how they are starting then this could be one of the best albums in their career.

You can view the music video for Are You Ready below along with a link to pre-order the album Evolution which comes out October 19.

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Header image via Reprise Records/Disturbed

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Song Impression: Behemoth – God=Dog

The Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth has been riding high years. Since the last record, The Satanist, which came out in 2014, fans wondered when we will be getting the new record. After all, critics and fans alike loved The Satanist, the band’s tenth album. Not many bands get to a point where arguably their best album is something that comes out so late in their career. Now the band has released the title of the new album, I Loved You at Your Darkest along with the first single, God=Dog.

The track has a rhythmic and groovy sound to start off. It gave me a false sense of safety before the traditional Satanic brutality that is Behemoth. The speed quickly picks up with faster, but still maintaining a nice rhythm with the guitars and bass, while the drums are firing like a machine gun. This makes for an intense instrumental intro that gives a dominant start to the song before the first verse.

As the speed continues, we get Nergal guides us into the first verse. His screams are brutal and in moments he starts talking in a haunting tone. During those moments of speaking, an operatic voice can be heard adding to some atmosphere to these words, “The holy river Ganga flowing through my muddled hair. In the ancient times before I learned ov who I am.” His voice just adds to the level of power and horror to his words. With lyrics such as, “There’s serpent coiling around my neck,” and “If I am a missing link between the pig and the divine. I shall cast the pearls before the swine,” Nergal shows he has not lost a beat in writing excellent lyrics to continue his statement about religion.

Halfway in the song, you get to catch your breath after the first verse. Short bursts of the guitar as the drums halt to slower pacing lends itself to some contrast from the relentless verse. Now that you caught a few breaths of air, it is time for the band to grab you by the throat through the rest of the song.

The second verse starts with the same horrific voice and singing in the background as he says, “I am no good shepherd on an ox. But a solitude ov the loneliest star,” before going back to gruesome screaming.

The most disturbing aspect comes in the last verses. As Nergal screams one sentence, children repeat after him. Having a choir of children to stand by him as they say things such as, “Is a God to live in a dog? No!,” and “Jesus Christ, I forgive thee not!”

Before the last verse, we get an excellent solo with added chaos from the other instruments. This is a nice break that shows more contrast to the chaotic track. There is some peace with the destruction that adds a level of complexity to the song.

God=Dog is an excellent way to introduce fans to the new record. We don’t hear a ton that is too new for the group, but we get hints of their further evolution here and there. The song is evil and relentless throughout. During slower moments of the song, you never feel safe as you should feel during a Behemoth track. Fans of Behemoth will get everything and more with the new track that came along with a brutal music video full of nudity, violence, and evil religious symbolism that make Behemoth’s message still stand strong.

Comment below on what you thought of the new track and if you are excited about the new album. I Loved You at Your Darkest comes out on October 5. You can listen to the new track and pre-order the new record below:

Header image via Nuclear Blast

Song Impressions: Beartooth – Disease

Caleb Shomo’s band Beartooth has not only released one single off of their upcoming album titled Disease, but they have put out two songs, Bad Listener and DiseaseBad Listener is a heavy, fun, and powerful tune that is all about succeeding in the music business. The title track is what I will be looking at instead due to both other plans for articles, but also it is a song that will better represent the overall themes of the record which is depression.

Lyrically, the song sticks to the same theme as the other albums which is Caleb’s struggle with his mental health. Here we get one of the most powerful songs in Beartooth’s catalog along with a single that sets the stage for what’s to come in the rest of the album. The first verse starts the song off with a compelling line, “If I fall again, will it be the end?” which gives the song a melodic and somber start before going into the more energetic verses and choruses. The second verse continues with, “Stuck at the surface, not making progress.” which gets to the best part of the song which is the chorus. Beartooth has always had memorable choruses due to their melody and being able to be catchy in a way that will be stuck in your head for weeks. Disease is a prime example of how Caleb will get in your head with, “I still feed my insecurity when I know the cost,” and “Will it bury me? Or will clarity be the cure for my disease?” Caleb has extensively talked about this being the hardest album to make both physically and emotionally throughout his Twitter and recent interviews. You can feel his emotion and know precisely why this might be the band’s most powerful statement musically and with their message about the struggle with mental health.

Vocally Caleb demonstrates his range as always here. With the melodic first verse, to the somber pre-chorus, and to the energetic chorus. He has been one of my favorite vocalists ever since I got introduced to Beartooth within the last year or two. There is a particular style that comes to a Beartooth song both vocally and instrumentally, but there is something slightly different here in Caleb’s approach. Of course, there is a lot of emotion in the vocals, but the melody has a different feel than any other song in the band’s previous material. With powerful lyrics, he must get it inside of his fans’ heads and with this vocal approach, he has executed this flawlessly.

Instrumentally the band has always been simplistic that gets the job done. Nothing is quite crazy regarding complex riffs or intricate drumming. The first verse starts with light guitar work in the background as Caleb sings. Then everything comes together in fast and heavy. The second verse has exciting dynamics between each instrument. Heavy bass riffs and powerful drumming as the singing continues with some rapid-fire guitar riffs coming in every so often. The pre-chorus goes almost silent as the guitar quietly plays and some drum cymbals are hit as the song is about to dive into the chorus. While the instrumentation is not doing anything spectacular, what works is how everything comes together and their dynamics.

Beartooth has made two excellent albums, and now they are on their way to make another excellent and emotion provoking album. With each record taking a new stance towards Caleb’s issues, this might be the biggest statement yet. While mental health is often tackled in music, especially this scene of music, Beartooth has been able to do it, unlike most other bands. If the rest of the album is up to this caliber, then we might have the most compelling Beartooth record to date.

Disease comes out September 28. You can watch the music video for Disease and pre-order the album below:

Image via Red Bull Records/Beartooth

Song Impressions: Toronto Blessings – Give Nothing

Toronto Blessings is an alternative rock band from England. Back in May, the band released their single Give Nothing. A classic rock vibe with an injection of synth to make for a groovy rock and roll track that fits in the modern era of rock. For such a small band, they managed to get some solid production for a professional sound.

The song starts with some synthesizer with some quick, explosive drumming thrown in along with a steady bass keeping up with the rhythm. When the vocals come in, they are a bit distant, just under the surface of the instrumentation. The chorus brings everything together when the guitar kicks in with some heavy riffs and the vocals become clearer.

The verses are much more interesting with the distant vocals and synthesizer. The sound is much more unique and distinguished. The choruses are a more typical rock sound that feels less fresh and unique. The song turns hard driving with the instrumentation while the vocals are not doing much different besides the production making them sound clearer.

The lyrics are not the strongest but are the best component of the song. With lyrics like, “And who picks up the pieces of a broken mirror of rage,” and “We all live in the same old shit, we all should be ashamed,” the song is able to bring out some emotion. The lyrics are not complimented well with the vocals which are nothing special and not much is done regarding range or melody.

The instrumentation has a right blend of how the synth, bass, and drums come together. An enjoyable rhythm that feels more original. However, everything is very simplistic. The guitar riffs are just fast to make for a hard-driving and energetic chorus for a crowd to enjoy, without much substance.

Give Nothing is not the strongest rock track, but it gives room for the band to grow. With a particular sound that can be developed, Toronto Blessings could have a bright future ahead of them. Every band needs time to define themselves, and they certainly need that time. The track is nothing surprising, but not bad either. Overall, this is an average rock song for someone to listen to casually.

 

 

Song Impression: Erra – Disarray

Erra is easily one of my favorite metalcore bands around. The band’s two first records are great but have some flaws regarding instrumentation. Breakdowns tend to sound all the same and start blending. Some songs were not always distinctive. Since the band’s last album Drift, the group has taken a more mature approach. With new vocalist JT Carvey (ex-Texas in July) and a more clear and mature sound to the instrumentation, the band made their most melodic record yet. Now the group has announced a new album called Neon along with the first single Disarray. The band continues the progression from the last record in a significant way.

The song strikes a balance between melody, speed, and heaviness. JT starts off with mid-range screams that he did throughout the last record. The instrumentation keeps at a steady pace with a focus on technical riffs and keeping a melody throughout the song. Jesse’s cleans frequently come that complement JT’s screams.

Similar to the last record, Drift, the instrumentation shy away from breakdowns and focuses more on the technicality and melody. The band feels more rounded with this style. With more complicated instrumentation gives them an edge over many other bands in metalcore. While the first two albums are great, the breakdowns tended to sound the same. When riffs or solos came in, then those would be more enjoyable and distinctive. Based on how similar Disarray sounds to a lot of the songs from Drift, it seems that Erra has finally found their identity.

JT keeps a mid-range of screams throughout the entire song. At times he puts out a deeper scream, but for the most part, he remains with the same range. This is precisely how his debut to the band sounded with Drift. I hope to see more variety from him in the full album since he does have the ability to show a broader range. The older records from the band showed a greater range of screams from brutal lows and screeching highs.

Jesse’s clean vocals are always enjoyable. Like many metalcore bands, his vocals are a higher pitch that complements the low screams to strike a great balance. The already beautiful instrumentation also is complemented by Jesse’s melodic voice. He uses some more range than he usually does. Some power is used during the chorus while some other parts he sings more softly. The song feels more dynamic with his range along with JT and him singing back and forth.

The lyrical style of Erra has always thought and emotion provoking. The songs are in an ambiguous style that holds enough passion for getting a reaction. A lyric example from the first verse says, “The wolf kicked in the door, intruded in your home.
And you see it as a privilege to be consumed.” As always the music does not feel repetitive in any way. The song keeps my attention with a diverse set of lyrics and vocal dynamics to elevate the emotion through the song.

I am loving the new Erra direction. The band is at their most mature sound to date especially since they are progressing the song from Drift. I sure do miss some of the heavier aspects from the old music, but if a band can be focused on making themselves distinctive as an artist, then that is more important. My only concern is that I hope to hear JT use his range more throughout the album. Other than that, I have high hopes for the new record. It sounds excellent and shows growth within the band.

Neon comes out August 10, and the album can be pre-ordered below:

Image via Luis Descartes

 

Song Impression: Parkway Drive – “Wishing Wells”

The Australian metalcore band Parkway Drive have enjoyed a great career over the years. With each album, the group grows more prominent in the metal scene than the previous record. With all that popularity and always hearing about them, I only started getting into the band last year. When I finally sat down to listen to their music, I became obsessed. They are easily one of the best metal bands in the previous decade. Their last album Ire was a step in a new direction. Having that same style, they have always had along with some new elements. Now, after a few videos teasing they are making new music, we finally have a new song off of the upcoming record.

The song starts off with some birds in the background and what sounds like wind. An acoustic guitar starts playing, and Winston starts talking. If you have never heard their music, he does not sing, but will usually mix screaming and talking. The beginning is somber and leads the listener into an area of uncertainty as to where the song is going. Then things go to the typical Parkway style with a powerful scream saying “Until I am done!”.

The song is still slow but has changed its tone to a more intense feeling that is ready to grab you by the throat. A harmony being played from one guitar and the other keeping up the intensity along with the drums and bass covering the rest of the ground. All of the music dies down for the first verse.

Heavy riffs and bounding drums lead into the first verse. The band has definitely been able to expand themselves into new directions instrumentally. Winston mixes his screaming and talking perfectly. The right words are being brutally screamed while some lyrics are being said with that classic aggression that Winston can apply without even screaming.

The chorus is a lot more melodic than the crushing verses. Some of the most unique sounds that have come out of their guitar work right here. While Winston goes for slow pacing but lowers his screams for that added heaviness. After the second chorus, the music dies down into the bridge.

The bridge leads the listener to a bass-heavy moment with the same guitar riff from the chorus. Drums are rapidly beating relentlessly. Winston takes a moment to talk directly with a dark and heavy tone. He leads out of the bridge and into the finally crushing seconds of the song with the words, “Face me!”.

With the last part being full of fast riffs that cut through with speedy and in a violent manner. With interjections from Winston’s intense screams that leads to the ending of the song. The song is relentless and emotional.

Regarding the lyrics Winston has this to say about the new tracks meaning, “‘Wishing Wells’ is the compression of grief into song, It’s attempting to place blame when there is none, seeking answers where there is only emptiness, and ultimately trying to find some kind of reason and meaning to justify the ultimate loss we will all be faced with in life. This is how this chapter begins and will end.” Which makes everything make sense both lyrically, instrumentally, and even the birds in the beginning. A feeling of a dark and cold place that feels isolated with pain.

The new song starts somber and ends brutally heavy. Parkway Drive is heading in a new direction again. Ire gave them the confidence to do what they want. The band has their own style and sound, but continuing to expand to be familiar while being new at the same time. If the rest of the new record is like this, then maybe Parkway Drive will have the best metal album of the year. Expect the new record to come out later this year. Hopefully, we can get more information soon. Check out the new song below:

In the meantime, check out the band’s merch:

Image via Epitaph Records

Song Impression: Jonathan Davis – What It Is

Jonathan Davis has finally debuted the first single off of his upcoming solo album. The new song, What It Is, is a chilling track caught me by surprise since I knew of his upcoming solo project, but was not following it in particular.

The song’s verses are filled with drums and a piano that makes for a beautiful and chilling tone. Jonathan’s voice comes in and elevates this feeling even more. With a more powerful chorus that still has some elements from the verse. The guitar comes in to fill the gaps for a heavier sound but does not add a whole lot overall. The song has an orchestral style that makes everything feel huge, which is precisely what you would expect from Jonathan Davis. There is a hint of industrial mixed in too. Everything is different from his work in Korn but is familiar enough to make it easy for fans to dive into this song.

Lyrically speaking, there is a lot of emotion. Anguish and internal conflict are felt from Jonathan’s vocals and lyrics. “I have done everything, everything. Not to feel what it is I’m feeling.” There is a nice variety of lyrics that flesh out what is being said and not being too repetitive. The glimpse into what is going on in Jonathan’s heart and mind is powerful.

Vocally, if you love Jonathan’s style, then you will love this song. His eloquent way of singing grabs you right away. His melody carries throughout every second most beautiful. Everything with the instrumentation and vocals come together for a powerful and beautiful song that is a notable standout from other rock music currently coming out lately.

Besides feeling that the guitar work is not that strong, everything else in the song is superb. I can not wait for his solo album to hit this summer. What do you think and are you excited about his upcoming solo album? Give it a listen below:

 

Buy the song here:

Image via Shutterstock