Sounds of Silence gets Disturbed

A good musical cover does not need to surpass the original. That is probably a good thing as most them don’t.

Some covers are unique as when Natalie Cole did a technology-made-possible duet with her father, Nat King Cole, singing Unforgettable. A precious few covers surpass the original as when an aged Johnny Cash covered Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt.

A good cover, to this writer’s ears, uses different phrasing, intonation or musical arrangement to bring out nuances different than the original recording.

On their recent project, Immortalized, the hard rock band Disturbed released an unlikely cover, that of 60s icons Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sounds of Silence. To say that it differs is to call a trip to Mars a jaunt.

But, it is not what you might expect.

Lead singer David Draiman (interesting bio) demonstrates an impressive range beginning very low with only piano accompaniment. Solo vs duet, piano vs guitar, slow, deliberate pace vs quicker harmonies make for an attention grabbing contrast. As the intensity of the song builds so do Draiman’s vocals, but until then he’s restrained and reflective. Lush orchestration eventually swells lifting his growling, sermonic vocals. When Draiman’s gutteral “And the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they’d made” erupts, you’ll feel like the prophet has spoken. This, I imagine, was Simon and Garfunkel’s lyrical intent.

My friend Jeff Collins calls it the best cover ever. I’m not ready to go that far, but Disturbed forced me to hear the song with new ears. And, that’s what great covers do.

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

  • Rich P.

    I have to agree with your friend on this one. Being a child from the 60’s I have hear a lot of music. A lot of covers. I have always gravitated towards the hard rock side but enjoy some country, classical, even German Industrial(Rammstein). That all being said Disturbed’s covers have always been a throwback to earlier eras and song styles. The picking of SoS(Sound of Silence) was a huge gamble.
    Look at earlier cover, Tears for Fears Shout, Phil Collins Land of Confusion, seemingly safe and near to their style, easily integrated. But to attack SoS? To go into uncharted vocal and musical territory? To leave at 10+ year comfort zone of sounds and screams?
    Its a classic from the first 10 seconds. Fact. Beautifully done. When you can be moved, by whatever means, is powerful.

  • Rick Moore

    Marty, I heard this for the first time last night. Must have listened/watched a dozen times….listened to it twice on treadmill this morning…..AMAZING….I am NOT a musician of any sort (just an old basketball coach who loves music) but I was struck by the exact things you mention….I shared those with my son who barely even knew the original song. I wanted to hear another Disturbed song and the lyrics were not what I would listen to regularly. I want to find out a bit more about the lead singer….obviously he is TALENTED, but as with so many great artists seems he may have some deep “issues” ( I know we ALL do—-some are more profound than others). Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • YJ Draiman

    This is the best rendition of SOS since its release in 1964. A powerful and moving melody and lyrics performed by a first class band. Disturbed and David Draiman performed exceptionally with a tremendous feeling that captivates the audience. The song played at Conan just added to the creativity, mistiness and professionalism of Disturbed.

    Keep on climbing the charts worldwide – close to 100 million hits on youtube and 22 million on Conan