Album Review: Device

Photo Courtesy of Metal Hammer Magazine
Photo Courtesy of Metal Hammer Magazine
Listen to Device on SoundCloud:

By: Haley Holmes 

With all the hype surrounding Disturbed vocalist David Draiman’s new side project, I’m sure we were all expecting the moon. Unfortunately, for this listener at least, Device fell a bit short. With promises of a more industrial sound, far different from Disturbed, Draiman was making promises many hoped he would keep. Sadly, though the record is as high a quality as any Disturbed piece, it just isn’t as different as we might have expected.

With an A-list of guest musicians, from Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) to Serj Tankian (System of a Down), one might have predicted that Device’s self-titled debut album (which drops today, April 9th) to stretch far beyond the musical niche that Draiman has already carved for himself. At least that is what we were led to believe. But, as should have been expected, Device doesn’t stray far from Disturbed though it is clearly different. Those differences are miniscule on the first three tracks of the album. Sounding more like missing links form Disturbed’s collection of B-Sides, The Lost Children, “You Think You Know”, “Penance”, and “Vilify” do not live up to the claims laid upon it.

Not until the fourth track of the album do we begin to see the differences between Disturbed and Device. In a duet with Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale, Draiman attempts to do justice to the Ozzy Osbourne/Lita Ford song “Close My Eyes Forever”. While Hale and Draiman perform well together, and Hale manages to match Lita Ford’s talent on the original, the song seems ill suited to Draiman. Nothing in his presentation of the song lives up to the vocal reputation he has set for himself. And compared to the original, no one can compete with Ozzy Osbourne.

The rest of the album lends itself to the industrial influences that David Draiman was shooting for (seen mainly on “Haze” the song featuring M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold) though they are subtle. The most notable track of this nature is the song that Draiman said sparked the entire Device venture: “Hunted”. Though it contains more electronic backing than many Disturbed songs, there are clear similarities between “Hunted” and “The Animal”, a single off of Disturbed’s 2010 album Asylum. Both tracks speak of the visceral, animalistic hunger that is a common theme in Draiman’s lyrics. Unfortunately, they are a bit too similar for this listener. The song overall is average, once again seeming more like a bonus track on Asylum than a side project.

In short, this album may include guest stars (including the unmentioned Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine and Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple) but it sadly doesn’t live up to them. If I was giving stars, this album would receive 3.5 out of 5 at most. It doesn’t reach the points that Draiman claimed it would. It is far too similar to Disturbed to be anything better, and I must say it was slightly disappointing. The record itself is still very enjoyable, and probably will go over on a far more positive note if one ceases to expect something different, and starts to expect something similar to Asylum. It’s good. It’s just not different.

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