Classics Du Jour

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Disturbed: Defying Genre

DST Photo_smallerThe band Disturbed is something you might, at first, not expect to read about in these pages.  Disturbed is not classic rock per se, but in their unique way they have managed to perfect a classic sound, which has always distinguished them from normal metal fare.  In some ways they remind me of a modern Judas Priest.

That is because of one main element and most important ingredient—MELODY.   The metal bands that seem to appeal to the largest audiences all have that in common—they can be heavy as hell, but they also possess real songs with real melodies, and ones that you can sing along with.  Think about it, Priest, Maiden, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Metallica, Motörhead, just to name a few, all have songs that we sing.  For that matter, most of those mentioned still get played on classic rock radio stations in some form.  If Disturbed had been around in the 80’s they might be considered a form of classic rock today.

I became a fan of Disturbed the first time I saw them on TV.  I can’t remember the show but David Draiman and the rest of the guys just captured me.  Like a lot of classic rock people a certain amount of metal beats very strong inside of me.  I had a blast working with, and got to play a large part in the careers of the Blue Oyster Cult, Judas Priest, and Alice In Chains during my days at Columbia Records.  I also had the pleasure of working with Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden on one of his solo albums (turned out we were both fencers so we got our gear on and fought all the way up and down the Columbia Records famed 12th floor hallways in the Black Rock building ‘till they kicked us out and made us go to an unused floor).

I know the real thing when I hear it, but you nor anyone else needs my vote to know how important Disturbed is to the genre of hard rock and metal.  While so many metal bands are content with just screaming into the mic 24/7, Draiman, (who can scream with the best of them) can also really sing.  And he prefers to show many dynamics in his vocal arrangements.  That makes his vocal performances terrific and all the more memorable.

Which leads me to “The Sound Of Silence.”  I think this is simply one of the best rock versions of a song I’ve ever heard.  In fact, it’s so good it defies genre.  And isn’t that just the best!  If you read about Disturbed, David Draiman is quoted as saying that the band took its name from being disturbed by the conformity that so many people are forced into.  Well this has to be the most non-conformist metal song ever recorded!

If that wasn’t enough, the video is just wonderful.  I’m sure it means different things to different people, but for me it speaks about all the war refugees and the potential of greatness when human beings can come together.  In this video one side has all the musical instruments and the other all the music.  If they can meet and share each other’s gifts the potential is enormous.

Over 8,000,000 people have watched this video—that rivals Adele!  And the song is being downloaded like crazy.

Recipe–take one of the greatest songs ever written by one of our most treasured songwriters, Paul Simon, and have it performed by one of the best bands in the land with the great voice of David Draiman, and you get real magic!

What a great way to start the year!


© Paul Rappaport 2016

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