Indestructible is the fourth album by Disturbed. A self-produced effort, Indestructible is the first Disturbed album that did not feature Johnny K, the producer of Disturbed's previous three albums, The Sickness, Believe, and Ten Thousand Fists. Indestructible was recorded at Groovemaster Studios in Chicago, Illinois. The album features two songs, "Perfect Insanity" and "Divide", that were written by Disturbed prior to their first album, The Sickness, but were never previously released.
The album features significantly darker themes than any of Disturbed's previous work, according to the band. Some of the lyrical themes involve actual experiences that vocalist David Draiman had endured over the course of the past few years prior to making the album, including "bad relationships", a motorcycle accident that he was involved with, and even one about him dealing with suicide. To match the aggressive attitude and nature of said themes, Draiman told the other band members to create darker, more textural music than they have before. Despite these dark themes, the title track, "Indestructible", is a song of encouragement, meant to help soldiers that are fighting in wars feel strong.
Indestructible was released on June 3, 2008 in compact disc format, and also as two different limited edition and special edition digipaks, and it shipped over 253,000 units in its opening week. The album was met with mixed reviews by critics, earning a score of 57% on review-aggregating website Metacritic, based on six reviews, but the album still managed to peak at number-one on the Billboard 200 in its first week, making it Disturbed's third consecutive number-one debut on the Billboard 200, which had only been achieved by five other rock bands prior to the album's release. The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 2009, for shipping over 1,000,000 copies in the United States. The song "Inside the Fire" was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award in the "Best Hard Rock Performance" category.
Recording and production
After touring in support of the band's previous album, Ten Thousand Fists, the band took a break. During this time, drummer Mike Wengren got married, and guitarist Dan Donegan had a child. After the break, the band went to Groovemaster Studios in Chicago, Illinois and began writing music. Indestructible is Disturbed's first self-produced effort, without Johnny K acting as producer, as he did on the band's previous albums, The Sickness, Believe, and Ten Thousand Fists. The band was comfortable with self-producing, despite having Johnny K produce two consecutive number-one albums, and this being their first time without him. As vocalist David Draiman reasoned, "we learned it, and we'd like to try [self-producing]."
Early in the writing process, Donegan created guitar riffs. The rest of the band then listened to the riffs, and wrote the rest of the music, with the riffs being the base. As Donegan commented, "The writing process is ... pretty much the same since the beginning ... of this band. It's always been riffs; something musically that I'll come up with [that begins the writing process]." Wengren commented, "We're always tossing around riffs and beats, but it isn't really until we get home and we are able to clear our minds, decompress for a little bit, and then hit it, especially Danny and I, and just start throwing the riffs and the beats out, that the music starts to finally come to life." Bassist John Moyer left the studio during the recording process, due to his wife being pregnant. Donegan and Wengren sent him demos through e-mail, and he continued to write bass lines for the songs from his home studio. Regarding electronics on the album, Donegan said, "When the basic guitar, bass, [and] drums were being laid down, at first I didn't really see a whole lot of room for some of the electronics, but as the songs were starting to develop, I was just in that frame of mind to try and toy around with some of the electronics."
When the instrumentation was completed, Draiman began to write melody lines for each song. Draiman commented, "I'm a big believer in the vibe of the music and the feel of it, how the song makes you feel musically should dictate what it is to be about and so if you start with something that has meaning, but the music doesn't support the meaning, then what good is it?" The first song completed musically was "The Night", and Draiman completed the melody line in three days. This caused Draiman to tentatively call the record The Night. As Draiman recalled, "The instrumentation was so cool and so dark and textural that I right away kind of jumped into it." When the first batch of songs were completed, the band sent them out to their record label, Reprise Records, and waited for their approval to continue writing more songs. After they received approval, they wrote the rest of the songs featured on the album.
Titling the record
Indestructible took the longest amount of time to title when compared to Disturbed's previous records, according to Wengren. The band had originally wanted to title the record The Night, because it was the first track to be completed, and it defined the musical direction the band wanted to use with Indestructible. The record had a song whose working title was "Defend", but it eventually was re-titled "Indestructible". When the title was changed, the band felt the title had, as Donegan reasoned, "made a bigger statement". Draiman said they titled the record Indestructible because the title "... kind of symbolizes the fact that we're still fucking here, that we haven't been destroyed, that we withstood the test of time."
Regarding the choice of the title, Moyer commented, "Usually there's some name or phrase that sort of sums up, you know, what the vibe of the record's about, so this one's Indestructible, and it is an aggressive record, this record's about kicking ass." Donegan, commenting on the meaning of the title, stated, "We feel that we've become indestructible to be able to survive this long in the business, and continuing a success with it." Draiman concluded, "We have been through a lot. No matter what gets thrown at us, as a band, no matter what happens in the musical environment, we're still here, we're still viable, and still standing."
Musical style and lyrical themes
Vocalist David Draiman states that, lyrically, the album was inspired by various occurrences of bad luck that happened to him. "I had a motorcycle accident, and I had my garage burn down with most of my vehicles," Draiman commented. "... I’ve had really bad relationships that I’ve been in and out of. They’ve left their mark", he concluded. The song "Indestructible" is "an anthem for soldiers", Draiman comments. "It’s meant to be something that would make them feel invincible, take away their fear, make them strong and that’s what this whole body of work on this record does. It’s music to help you feel strong," he concludes. Cuts such as "Deceiver" and "Inside the Fire" are about "really bad relationships". "Inside the Fire" is about "standing over the body of my girlfriend, who just killed herself, and the Devil is standing over me, whispering in my ear to kill myself," says Draiman. The song "The Night" is, "just kind of meant to portray the night almost as like a living entity that sets you free. You're enveloped by it, enmasked by it," Draiman comments. The band's vocalist also says the song "Perfect Insanity" is about "toying with the idea of insanity. Coming at you from the perspective from the individual who is [insane] and warning people around him, particularly his love interests, about his psychotic tendencies." Draiman says the track "Divide" "is meant to detract from the idea 'oh, let's all be one, let's all be united!' Fuck that, be yourself, be an individual, stand out, make your mark, make an impact." Commenting on the meaning of the song "Façade", Draiman says it is, "... a song from the perspective of a girl in a relationship where she's abused ... she's thinking about killing him, like you see on the news."
To match the themes Draiman had in mind, he told his bandmates, "give me your darkest, nastiest, [most] aggressive tribal rhythmic shit you can". Prior to the release of the album, guitarist Dan Donegan supported this, stating, "musically, it's a lot ballsier than we've written [before]." He continued, saying, "[We're] trying to get a good blend of the elements of the past three CDs to try to evolve into something fresh and new for us as well." Dan Marsicano of 411mania commented on the song "Perfect Insanity", claiming it has "...a short but sweet shredding solo, double bass drum work, and fast picked riffing...". He goes on to propose the same for the song "Divide", saying it "follows the same pattern [as "Perfect Insanity"], with aggressive guitar work followed through by Draiman’s vocals..." Marsicano also proposes that "Inside the Fire" has "...a memorable solo and a dark theme surrounding it," and says that "The Night" is an "epic-sounding track that has one of the best solos that Donegan has ever done and a catchy chorus." Chris Akin of Metaleater proposes that the album is full of hooks, and that guitarist Donegan takes a "much more 80s approach", due to his guitar solos. Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone proposes that the album contains "meticulously constructed guitar skronk, serrated verses and cathartic refrains".
The marketing campaign for Indestructible began in late 2007, with a strategy of hitting fans early and often. Promotion began with distributing stickers at live events. Reprise Records also partnered with Hot Topic retailers, which put an album teaser on all Disturbed merchandise, and eventually began selling a limited edition 7" vinyl record with two songs from the album on it. In March 2008, Disturbed performed a concert in Kuwait, for United States military stationed there. The concert was streamed live on MySpace, and more than three million people viewed it. In February 2008, an audio sample was posted on Disturbed's MySpace profile to promote the album Indestructible. The sample, titled "Perfect Insanity", is actually a song written early in the band's career that never previously appeared on an album, but was expected to appear on Indestructible. The track was later made available for download, in its entirety, on Disturbed's website for promotional purposes. Another sample, titled "Inside the Fire", appeared on Rock on the Range's MySpace profile in March 2008. The track was anticipated to be the album's first single, with a music video directed by Nathan Cox. On March 24, 2008, "Inside the Fire" debuted on more than sixty radio stations. It was released for digital download the next day. On May 2, 2008, the music video for "Inside the Fire" appeared on Disturbed's website.
In April 2008, a limited edition pre-order digipak of Indestructible was made available for order exclusively through Disturbed's website. The limited edition package featured the entire album, with a B-side track titled "Run", a DVD featuring a documentary about the making of the album and some instructional videos, a "wrap-around" poster, a special VIP laminate which grants access to special Disturbed events through 2009, and a special code which grants access to the "Inside the Fire" special website add-on. Another special edition pre-order of the album was on iTunes Music Store, and featured three live bonus tracks, as well as the entire album. Yet another pre-order of the album allowed customers who pre-ordered the album through Best Buy retailers to download the two songs, "Inside the Fire", and "Indestructible" as playable content on the video game Rock Band. Three songs from Disturbed's first online concert performance from DeepRockDrive were mastered and put on the EP, Live & Indestructible. On August 20, 2008, a music video directed by Noble Jones for the album's third single and title track, "Indestructible", was posted on Disturbed's website. The single was released digitally on September 29, 2008, and the music video was officially available for purchase the next day, packaged with the EP, Live & Indestructible. Noble Jones directed a music video for the fourth single from Indestructible, "The Night", in January 2009, and it was released in late March 2009.
On the review-aggregating website Metacritic, Indestructible received a score of 57%, based on six reviews. Being the first self-produced effort by the band, they had more leeway to create music without any outside interference, suggests 411mania writer Dan Marsicano. He concludes that the self-production also led to a lack of guidance, though, which ultimately works against the album, rather than helping it. Guitarist Dan Donegan's guitar work was praised, and About.com writer Chad Bowar suggests that some songs on the album are guitar-driven. Metaleater writer Chris Akin also praises Donegan, saying, "If there is growth in the band, it's in the guitars. Dan Donegan takes a much more 80s approach than he has on past recordings." Allmusic writer James Monger praised Indestructible, suggesting that rather than taking melodic elements from acts like Pantera, like Disturbed's previous records are suggested to, the album takes musical elements from acts such as Metallica or AC/DC.
Indestructible did, however, receive criticism. IGN writer Jim Kaz proposes that vocalist David Draiman has an "overly-forced" vocal delivery. Kaz also finds, "The tunes are largely similar in style and structure ... In essence, there's very little that stands out." He goes on to say that the album already seems obsolete, "There's just too much of the very recent past on Indestructible to move away from it. So in effect, it sounds a bit dated ... already." It is also suggested that, although possessing a reliably solid foundation, the album lacks a meaning behind its drive: "They wind up sounding a little lost on Indestructible, stabbing their weapons without any reasons behind each parry," says PopMatters writer Andrew Blackie.
Sales and impact
Indestructible shipped over 253,000 units in its opening week. It is also Disturbed's third consecutive studio album to debut at number-one on the Billboard 200, and remain in the top ten for five weeks, making Disturbed one of six bands to ever achieve three consecutive number-one debuts. It also peaked at number-one in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Indestructible was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in July 2008, for shipping over 500,000 copies in the United States, and was certified platinum in April 2009, shipping over 1,000,000 copies in United States. The album has also sold over one million copies worldwide. The album's lead single, "Inside the Fire", received significant radio airplay. The single remained at number one on Mediabase's Active Rock chart for fourteen weeks, setting a record as the longest running number-one single on that specific chart. "Inside the Fire" was also nominated for a 2009 Grammy award in the "Best Hard Rock Performance" category. The title track, "Indestructible", also reached number-one on Mediabase's Active Rock chart, making it Disturbed's second number one song on that chart in 2008.
- Indestructible (4:38)
- Inside the Fire (3:52)
- Deceiver (3:49)
- The Night (4:46)
- Perfect Insanity (3:57)
- Haunted (4:42)
- Enough (4:20)
- The Curse (3:25)
- Torn (4:09)
- Criminal (4:16)
- Divide (3:36)
- Façade (3:45)
- Run (3:13)
- Parasite (3:25)
- Stricken (Live At the Riviera) (4:27)
- Down with the Sickness (Live At the Riviera) (5:14)
- Just Stop (Live At the Riviera) (3:51)
- Stupify (Live At the Riviera) (4:22)