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Device – Self-Titled (Album Review)

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Device – Self-Titled (Album Review)

David Draiman is a man with few peers and with such a unique vocal presentation it can be difficult to separate the man from Disturbed; a band that would catapult him to international fame. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your philosophical bent, Disturbed entered a hiatus between 2011 and 2015, resulting in a series of side projects by the various band members. Bassist, John Moyer, would join Adrenaline Mob and form Art Of Anarchy, while Dan Donegan and Mike Wengren formed Fight Or Flight. Draiman, of course, went on to form Device with former Filter guitarist, Geno Lenardo. Device, while not completely dissimilar to Disturbed, in part due to Draiman’s unique vocal presentation, does have a greater electro-industrial sound than Disturbed that fans will undoubtedly adore.

You Think You Know is a hard-hitting start to the album and in some ways is reminiscent of Disturbed’s Believe era. Despite that, You Think You Know sounds fresh and unencumbered by the link to Disturbed. The rhythm elements are fantastic, but the drums are sadly a little flat, especially in the high-hat region. This is due, in part, to the over-compressed nature of the album whereby the dynamic range is brick-walled rather badly. When you listen to this song, and much of this Self-Titled album, it becomes apparent that the music is screaming to be heard with more separation and depth. Yes, the highly compressed nature of this style of music is somewhat of a trademark, but I feel it was taken a few steps too far and could have been dialled back a little to allow a greater sense of scope, rather than the wall of sound that is currently present. Nevertheless, I love You Think You Know and believe it is the perfect song to commence the album with.

Penance is stadium worthy as that rhythm will get you moving. Perhaps the only questionable aspect is the tempo. The chorus and overall musicality are perfectly timed, but I do wonder how Penance would have sounded if the vocal delivery was sped up a little.

Vilify is a great song, but the electro-industrial elements are a bit too in your face and sound as if they were added as an afterthought. Yes, I understand this is the style Device was aiming for, it just feels as though there are two songs here, instead of one coherent one.

Close My Eyes Forever (feat. Lzzy Hale) is amazing! I love it and could listen to it indefinitely. This is most certainly a song for my lost on a deserted island playlist. Lzzy Hale is one of the greatest rock/metal vocalists in the world today and the duet with Draiman has a sense of purity that could only have been made in heaven. As much as I love the Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford original, this edition takes the song to a new level while simultaneously paying homage to the original.

Out Of Line (feat. Serj Tankian & Terry “Geezer” Butler) is a raw and riff-driven song full of attitude. Seriously, turn this song up to 11, you’ll thank me later.

Hunted started out promising, but I don’t like Draiman’s lyrical presentation on this song. Subsequently, I’ve got to call Hunted a B-Side.

Opinion (feat. Tom Morello) is a great left-of-the-centre song. The rhythm is disjointed, but that is where the magic happens proving that order and chaos can coexist.

War Of Lies is a solid track, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Haze (feat. M. Shadows) is enjoyable and while there are moments of brilliance, I don’t feel Shadows is presented as prominently as he should have been on this track as his input sounds a little lost in the mix. A shame considering just how exceptional he is as a vocalist. In all honesty, if you didn’t know Shadows contributed to this track, you’d be forgiven in missing his addition as there is very little sign of the vocal prowess the Avenged Sevenfold frontman is known for.

Through It All (feat. Glenn Hughes) is a sensational closing track that encourages me, like all good closing songs should, to listen to the album again.

While there are no major disappointments on this album, it is frustrating that this self-titled release was never issued on vinyl. The cover art alone demands a larger canvas and the greater dynamic range, provided by the vinyl mastering process, would be a welcome addition. Similarly, it frustrates me that the edition available to Australian audiences, via digital downloads, streaming, and CD, are limited to 10 songs. There are, however, three additional songs that have been made available on various editions of the album. A Deluxe Edition that includes a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Wish and A Part Of Me. The Best Buy Exclusive also includes the track titled Recover. Are these additional songs any good? Well, I have reluctantly taken to YouTube to check out the tracks, despite the poor audio quality, and one can understand why they weren’t included on the core album. That doesn’t change the fact that in the era of streaming, these songs should easily, and legally, be available to fans the world over.

Overall, Device’s Self-Titled album is exceptional and while Draiman has stated that there is no intention to release more music under this moniker, I hope he reconsiders this position as this work complements his work with Disturbed in much the same way that Corey Taylor’s Stone Sour complements Slipknot.

Device’s Self-Titled album is available to own on CD and iTunes.

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Motionless In White - Graveyard Shift (Album Review)

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Motionless In White - Graveyard Shift (Album Review)

If memory serves me well, the last heavy metal album review on Subjective Sounds was Sepultura’s incredible Machine Messiah. Yes, it has been far too long my fellow Metalheads! Interestingly, just as I was largely unaware of Sepultura, at the time of the review, I similarly know very little about Motionless In White.

While one should never judge an album by its cover, the artwork for Graveyard Shift is AMAZING! Without even playing the first song, I knew it would be a hard hitter. However, I wasn’t prepared for the sonic perfection that was to captivate me for the entire length of the album.

Another reason why I decided to give this album a listen was that Korn's Jonathan Davis features on the song Necessary Evil. Davis is a musical genius and doesn’t associate himself with average or substandard musical endeavours. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Rats immediately sets the tone for the entire album. I knew within seconds that I was going to love this album, although my family were questioning my sanity as I kept turning the volume up to ear bleeding levels. Rats is one of the best songs to start any metal album on and the mastering, as I will detail later, is amongst the best I have ever heard in the heavy metal genre.

Queen For Queen continues the intense beat and rhythm with a song that has elements of Linkin Park, albeit it with a much heavier and demonic sound.

Necessary Evil (featuring Jonathon Davis) is a masterpiece that every Korn fan will adore.

Soft is the wrong name for this song as it is hardcore, especially from a vocal perspective. The guttural death growl vocal shifts in and out throughout the song. Overall, it reminds me of a mix between Slipknot and Sixx: A.M. You should simply turn this song up and get the headbanging started.

Untouchable is sonic perfection. I absolutely love the industrial metal style. It has an incredible rhythm and while some may think it isn't hard-hitting enough, following Soft, I absolutely love the melody-infused sound. An exceptional song!

Not My Type: Dead As Fuck 2 will see you unable to control your body as it convulses to the beat. I absolutely love this song and is that a little Sheri Moon Zombie laugh I hear? If you're not pissing off your neighbours yet, you're missing out on the entire experience and you need to turn that volume knob to the right!

The Ladder is the first song on the album that I'm not connecting with. There is too much thrash in the guttural vocal for my liking.

Voices is incredible! Yes, it is inspired by the original Linkin Park sound, but Voices is exceptional and is so much more than a Linkin Park imitation.

LOUD (Fuck It) is awesome! It is a fun song that reminds me of Limp Bizkit.

570 returns the album to the guttural vocal, hard hitting, fast riffing sound that we have heard throughout much of the album. Vocally, it is a little more relaxed than The Ladder and subsequently, I really enjoy the song and overall rhythm.

Hourglass has an incredible vibe that returns my thoughts to the musicality experienced in Necessary Evil.

Eternally Yours, as the final track, ensures that I am compelled to listen to the album again and check out the rest of Motionless In White's catalogue. Eternally Yours is no B-side. Quite frankly, there isn't a bad song on the album. Despite not connecting with The Ladder, it does fit the album and style of the band. I have no doubt many of you will enjoy it.

Graveyard Shift is an incredible achievement from a sonic perspective. There is no lack of dynamics and brickwalling is not apparent at any volume level. It is recorded, mixed, and mastered with nothing less than pure perfection.

For this review, I listened to the 24/88.2 kHz TIDAL Masters/MQA edition of the album on TIDAL Hi-Fi. I also listened to the standard TIDAL Hi-Fi 16/44.1 kHz edition and while it is the same mastering, the bass, soundstage, and overall sonic signature is noticeably more accurate with the TIDAL Masters/MQA edition. That said, I wouldn't be disappointed if I only had access to the TIDAL Hi-Fi 16/44.1 kHz edition.

Graveyard Shift is available on Vinyl, CD, the TIDAL Store (16/44.1 kHz FLAC), and iTunes (Mastered for iTunes). Unfortunately, even with that stunning album artwork, the album is not yet available on vinyl. For those who prefer streaming, Graveyard Shift is also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

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