Disturbed, "Asylum"

76 Billboard Rating

Changes from album to album tend to be subtle and incremental for Disturbed, which is exactly what its fans prefer. The Chicago quartet has a defined sound that's been consistently satisfying for the past decade, since it unleashed 2000's "The Sickness"-chunky, muscular grooves that support Dan Donegan's guitar acrobatics and David Draiman's force-of-nature vocals. All that is intact on album No. 5, "Asylum," which adds some new tonalities to producer Donegan's range. (Check out the layered assault on the track "The Infection" and the bluesy flavor of the set-opening instrumental "Remnants.") And a failed relationship has given Draiman's lyrics even more emotional heft on such songs as "Crucified," "My Child" and "Sacrifice." Larger issues-like the environment ("Another Way to Die"), the Holocaust ("Never Again") and accountability ("Innocence")-also get an airing. There are enough brains and brawn to make this an "Asylum" any head-banger would be crazy to avoid.