Required Listening: ‘Sound of Silence’ by Disturbed

Who knew leather and ill-advised piercings sounded so good?

Time To Read: 5 mins | October 10, 2017

There’s a video game franchise called Gears of War. The premise is utterly unoriginal: aliens are taking over Earth and you have to fight them off to keep your family and friends and McDonalds McNuggets from being wiped out of existence.

However, this Xbox title with a worn-out theme holds a special place in my heart for two reasons: first, one of the most embarrassing moments of my life happened when a best friend and I attended a Gears tournament in 2007. The shame haunts us to this day, but that’s a story for another time — remind me.

But secondly, it was the first time I’d seen a trailer with background music that genuinely surprised me:

The above clip is the first Gears teaser from over ten years ago. The song is a cover of ‘Mad World’ as first made famous by Tears For Fears.

You need to first understand that I didn’t have a liberal upbringing. Bacon was good, welfare was bad, and the extent of my artistic knowledge was recognizing college football team logos. Tangentially, I wasn’t exposed to indie music or films. All I’d ever known and loved were over-produced big budget summer movies and classic rock – which, don’t get me wrong, I adore to this day. But the idea that someone could slap a slow, dark track into an action clip had never crossed my mind, and seeing that video left a creative mark.

It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint an exact moment when you developed a new passion – when you first started liking asparagus, for example, or when you began to realize *gasp* country music wasn’t all bad. But in this instance, I know the exact moment I started getting into indie covers of pop songs.

Enter Disturbed. If you’re unfamiliar with the band, they’re a metal group best known for screaming ooooh-ah-ah-ah! and attaching two trailer hitches to singer David Draiman’s face. We used to listen to them as pump-up music before football games. Or put another way, tracks with names like ‘Down With The Sickness’, ‘Ten Thousand Fists’ and ‘Inside The Fire’ are not suitable music for putting the kids to bed.

So to hear a metal band’s front man start gently nailing a Simon & Garfunkel classic turned a lot of heads last year – and yes, this viral cover is over a year old, but I just found it and it’s been on repeat for a week. If you’ve heard this before, well, as a teenager in Singapore recently yelled at me, “dealy with this!”

Some songs are a rollercoaster, taking the energy up and down and up and down for the duration. This ‘Sound of Silence’ cover is a constant climb, spending the first-third sitting softly on the launch pad (a fitting tribute to the original) before launching into the stratosphere without losing an ounce of beauty. Oh, and in case you think this is a horrid bastardization of the song, know that Paul Simon himself reached out to the Draiman and told him he loved the cover.

As always, listen now, thank me later:

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photo: the band disturbed, with lead singer david draiman confused as to where his hands go. btw, their outfits feature zero color — no photo has ever less needed a b&w filter

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Malcolm Freberg
Malcolm Freberg
American writer living permanently on the road. Believes rye whiskey is superior to bourbon, Belle is the best Disney princess, and that selfie sticks should be snapped in half on sight. Hosted a travel documentary for AOL & played Survivor a few times.

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1 Comment

  1. Edgar

    Haven’t listened to these guys since like Freshman year of high school but holy crap this was good. That voice definitely brought back some memories of singing/screaming Down with the Sickness on Rock Band 2!

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