So on one hand you have Simon & Garfunkle‘s 1964 ambient folk hit ‘The Sound Of Silence‘, a warning about the dangers of lacking empathy within society for the Vietnam generation in the form of a US folk anthem.
On the other hand, you have Disturbed: A nu-metal powerhouse fronted by David Draiman. They are known for ingeniously-absurd headbangers such as ‘Down With The Sickness‘ and are going to be rocking Download Festival this summer.
How on Earth do these two pieces fit together?
Well, the idea first came to Disturbed, during plans to do a cover for their most recent album, ‘Immortalized‘, as they normally include at least one on each major album. In the past, they have done hardcore and somewhat aggressive covers of ‘Land Of Confusion‘ by Genesis and ‘Shout‘ by Tears For Fears which have gone down a dream, but they wanted to do something different this time.
In an interview for Philadelphia’s radio station, 93.3 WMMR, David Draiman explains how the band’s drummer, Mike Wengren, suggested the Simon & Garfunkle hit and the band knew it was the one after the haunting opening piano notes were played to them, and David did “the longest vocal session of [his] career”. After experimenting with multiple variations of the track, they did it. They created something both wonderfully distinct from the original track, and from Disturbed’s traditional musical trend.
Despite this track being released last year, the song has since exploded online after the music video (link below) and a special live performance on the ‘Conan’ show last month. With the music video now having nearly 50 million views on YouTube, and the track having more than 30 million listens on Spotify, it is safe to say that it has been well received around the world. But my message to you is that this is not simply just an impressive cover of an old 60s song, it is so much more.
The moments of emphasis in this cover are well-thought and invigorating. The vocal range Draiman demonstrates is not only highly emotive but truly sensational, so much so that Draiman himself admitted “tearing up listening to it, because it had been so long since I have allowed myself to go to that place vocally”. Simon & Garfunkle were the embodiment of countercultural icons of the 1960s, and Disturbed are, arguably, an aging dad-rock group still living off the fame of screaming 2000s hits. And yet once in a while, two opposite sides of a spectrum come together to create something truly admirable and significant, not just to fans of either side – this stunning rendition can be relatable to everybody. Disturbed capture the meaning behind these 60s lyrics that now have new-found relevance in our world – from the baritone annunciations to the haunting crescendos that send reverberations down one’s spine. The music video even takes the songs deeper meanings and develops them. With images of instruments being ‘rediscovered’ by otherwise hopeless individuals, the group questions what has happened to real musicianship?
This cover is not just for devout fans of either Disturbed or Simon & Garfunkle, but for anyone else looking for some hope or simply looking to experience a rare artistic moment within popular music.
Check out their somewhat art house music video here