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51XWeKopmIL. SL500 AA300 It’s hard to believe that Chicago’s DISTURBED have already been at it for over a decade. The band that rose to stardom by inviting listeners to get “Down With the Sickness” has come a long way from the dark clubs of the Windy City (anyone remember the bassist auditions at Oasis 160?) to headlining arenas and playing host to their growing MUSIC AS A WEAPON tours.

On their fifth studio effort, ASYLUM (due out next Tuesday via Reprise Records), the band turns in what is arguably their most powerful performance yet, broadening their sound well beyond the chugga-chugga riffage that has become synonymous with the band – though there’s plenty of that to be had as well.

From the opening track “Remnants,” the album carries a feeling that recalls the majesty of early-80’s METALLICA, beautifully opening the record with it’s instrumental guitar work leading up to, and blending seamlessly into the title track, which finds the bassline rumbling into frontman David Draiman’s call to release.

While past albums have held to a distinct “Disturbed” sound, ASYLUM seems to have allowed the band’s influences to bleed through, such as the FAITH NO MORE-esque composition of “The Animal” (not vocally, but musically), and the IRON MAIDEN-esque elements of “Never Again.”

Lyrically, ASYLUM is every bit as dark as INDESTRUCTIBLE, but what should be noted is the manner in which the entire band “clicks” on this one. Guitarist Dan Donegan shines, while bassist John Moyer and drummer Mike Wengren have forged what is possibly one of the tightest rhythm sections in metal.

Admittedly, I’ve long respected DISTURBED as a band, while not considering myself “a fan.” ASYLUM has changed that.

Rating: 4/5

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