David Draiman is one of the most well known vocalists in the rock community today. His animalistic sounding growls and seemingly Maynard James Keenan inspired vocal style make his a voice that is instantly noticeable when listeners hear it. The problem is that just as Keenan’s side project, A Perfect Circle, was instantly compared to Tool because of Keenan’s iconic vocal style, so has Draiman’s new side project, Device, been compared to Disturbed. While the first pair of tracks on Device’s self-titled debut do bear some semblance to material recorded by Disturbed, that similarity begins to fade early on. The album’s third song, ‘Vilify’ has more of a pure rock sound. Right from its opening verse, it impresses just as much lyrically as musically. Draiman sings defiantly as the song opens, “As you vilify/Every single move that I make/And try to bind me/In your insanity/You’ll come to know/That you never had control/from the onset/Go find another lapdog, f***er.” The defiance doesn’t stop here. The verbal assault against those who would run their mouths seemingly just to run their mouths runs nonstop through the song with full on intensity that is sure to get the blood and body flowing.
If there was still any question of comparison to Disturbed even in ‘Vilify’, then those comparisons will be erased even more in the album’s very next song, ‘Close My Eyes Forever.’ Some might cringe at this, but it almost comes across as a ballad style piece, especially with the addition of vocalist Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) give it even more of that sense. And if that’s not proof enough, one need only look at the song’s lyrical content as argument for that comparison. Lyrically speaking, it comes across as a song of lost love. Draiman and Hale sing here, “I know I’ve been so hard to you/I know I’ve told you lies/If I could have just one more wish/I’d wipe the cobwebs from my eyes.” This one song isn’t reason for anyone to worry, as it’s the only time through the course of the album’s ten tracks that the album’s intensity drops off.
The intensity built early on in Device’s self-titled debut picks back up not long after ‘Close My Eyes Forever.’ What’s more, as the intensity rebuilds through the album’s second half so does the separation of Device from Disturbed. It all starts on ‘Out of Line.’ This socio-political piece offers a solid mix of electronics and heavy, foot-stomping, head banging guitar breaks that would make any metal purist proud. And the inclusion of Serj Tankian’s (System of a Down) equally distinct vocal style adds even more musical flavor to this song. One can’t ignore the addition of Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) on this track, either. The mix of music, star power, and lyrical heaviness makes it just one more of so many tracks from which listeners will be able to choose as a favorite. The intensity and separation from the band members’ primary bands builds even more in ‘Opinion.’ The guest guitar work of Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) is surprisingly unlike what Morello has recorded with his other side projects. And it definitely helps to maintain this song’s identity from anything even remotely related to Disturbed. It is one of those pieces that has to be heard to fully understand this.
If the guest appearances from Tom Morello, Geezer Butler, and Serj Tankian aren’t enough to convince listeners as to the identity of Device, then perhaps ‘War of Lies’ and the album’s closer, ‘Through It All’ will do the job. The heavy bass and vocals from Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) mixed with Draiman’s vocals make this one of the album’s more surprisingly interesting songs. That’s because of the fact that the song starts off very slow and deliberate. But a little more than halfway through the song, it picks up, and carries the listener up to the song’s final fading moments. Those moments are just subtle enough to allow listeners to catch their breath after the musical rollercoaster on which they have just taken a ride. And having caught their breath, any listener that went into this album thinking it would be just another Disturbed record will have seen that that belief was in fact completely wrong. While it might have started out with some similarity to Disturbed, that similarity is soon erased, and a new band with a sound that bears only the slightest closeness to the prior arises. It definitely turns out to be a record that any fan of Disturbed and any hard rock fan in general will want to check out at least once.
Device is currently touring in support of its self-titled debut. Among some of its more notable scheduled concert dates are performances at the “Welcome to Rockville” Festival on April 28th in Jacksonville Florida, the Carolina Rebellion Festival in Rockingham, North Carolina on May 4th, and the famed Rock on the Range Festival in Columbus, Ohio on May 19th. The band has even more dates that audiences can find out about when they “Like” Device on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Devicetheband. Audiences will also find a link to download the band’s album via iTunes on the Facebook page. That link is http://smarturl.it/deviceitunes for those that may not be able to get to the band’s FB page.
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