Disturbed, suicide, and the beauty of heavy metal

June 22, 2009 at 6:35 am (Band and Genre Info)

The band Disturbed began in the midst of the early-to-late-90s Nu-Metal revolution, a movement which includes such bands as Staind, Slipknot, and even arguably Korn, who is thought to have begun the style. Nu-Metal had a very heavy sound and would also contain drum loops and beats, connecting it somewhat with Rap and Hip-Hop. However, it’s sound was closer to Heavy Metal, but with its rather simple arrangements and notable lack of guitar solos could even be compared to a heavier version of Grunge.

Nu-Metal’s origins could be explained by the emerging blends of Rap and Metal, initially pioneered by the Anthrax/Public Enemy duet, combined with the influence of the more experimental bands of the earlier Metal era – some noting Faith No More’s “Angel Dust” as a highly influential album. Either way, the genre sold millions during its initial time period and since many of the bands are still around today, you could say it’s quite a success.

For me, Disturbed was one of those bands whose sound always caught my attention: it was one of those things where I would switch on a radio station not knowing what band was on and I was always curious to see where the song was going, only to find out it was them. This happened on multiple occasions with Disturbed songs, but the most surprising was on “Inside The Fire” where I caught a very surprising guitar solo:

“Inside The Fire” guitar solo

From a sales perspective, it seems most band’s initial endeavours hold a certain “musical reserve.” And for Disturbed and other Nu-Metal bands it makes sense, considering the post-grunge era in which they emerged, which had an utter lack of solo sections or other musical interludes and more subdued musical arrangements. But I believe this song is from the band’s 5th studio album “Indestructible”, leaving them open to much more experimentation.

The guitar solo is then followed by the final chorus:

“Inside The Fire” final chorus

“Give your soul to me for eternity,
Release your life to begin another time with her.
End your grief with me,
There’s another way,
Release your life,
Take your place inside the fire with her.”

In his high school years, lead singer David Draiman’s girlfriend committed suicide. The details I’m not sure of, but with a song about a subject matter this personal, I found it interesting the subject matter took as long as it did to appear on a Disturbed album.

The Metal genre (and its sub-genres like Nu-Metal) has a reputation for being “bad”, “evil” or even the insane 70’s/80’s-era claim that it was the “devil’s music”, where its lyrics were thought to be devil barking orders. “Inside The Fire” is a song literally about David talking with the devil:

“Inside The Fire” verse

“Devon lies beyond this portal,
Take the word of one immortal”

The temptation of having a lover in hell and the tempting offer of the “Immortal” (being, of course, the Devil itself) shows a song about pain and suffering and the understandable reaction to such a tragedy. And though, quite literally, the song is about the devil offering tempting offers, if you hear the song in its entirety, it’s certainly not about doing the “Devil’s work”, but about that heartbreak and confusion and utter turmoil and the option of such an extreme reaction.

Disturbed, a band whose members belong to four major religions: Islam, Christianity, Wicca, and Judaism, often write lyrics not about the evils of the world, but of a human reaction to those evils. There is a sensitivity contained in the heaviness, which is why I am drawn to them in the first place. And for me, without the heavy sound itself, I wouldn’t feel the passion and, in the case of “Inside The Fire”, the pain of such an insurmountable situation.

purchase “Inside The Fire” MP3 at Amazon.com

(note: in order for clips to be legal, I need them to stay under 30 seconds in total. I therefore will attempt to post to links for the discussed songs directly if you decide to purchase)



  1. Jack said,

    Nice write up. I have never heard Distrubed before that I’m aware of (and cannot check the links at work), but I am intrigued enough that I think I’ll grab that song when I get home, and give it a good listen.

    • barrytalksmusic said,

      Definitely check out this song, but my advice is to deal with Disturbed on a song-by-song basis. Their albums tend to get repetitive, but their gems really stand out. Thank you for checking out the post, too.

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