Known for hard-hitting rock tracks like The Sickness, Chicago nü metal band Disturbed aren’t exactly known for their admiration for the soft folk music of the ’60s and ’70s. Nonetheless, the award-winning heavy metal outfit has somehow covered Simon and Garfunkel’s signature track, The Sound of Silence, during a live appearance on Conan in 2016 – and it’s surprisingly good. The cover is from their 2015 album Immortalized. Bands throughout the ages have tirelessly covered the decades-old Billboard hit. In fact, since the track’s release in 1965, musicians have recorded more than 60 covers of the iconic folk-rock piece, according to Smithsonian Magazine. This includes more recent covers from artists like James Blake who produced his electronic interpretation in 2015.
But at least for Blake, the cover seems somewhat appropriate. When it comes to Disturbed, it’s hard to imagine saying the metal band’s name in the same sentence as folk-pop. But the band’s Conan performance just shows that the alternative metal band is more eclectic than we think. Accompanied by a packed string section, piano and a pair of massive timpani, frontman David Draiman delivers an admittedly spectacular performance on the Conan stage, turning Simon and Garfunkel’s folk-rock hit into something completely different. That’s not to say Draiman goes metal on the song — electric guitars are conspicuously absent from this Disturbed performance.
Rather, Draiman’s distinctive baritone gives the song an even darker quality. And even when Draiman has to deal with the high notes, he tackles them with surprising ease. Suffice it to say that Draiman isn’t just a respectable vocalist in the metal genre. With grace and aplomb, he breathes new life into a cherished American classic, adding something new to the song’s long musical history. But for fans of the group, this should perhaps come as no surprise given the group’s early success. With their hit The Sickness, released in 2000, the group immediately reached the top of the charts.
The album entered the Billboard 200 list and was eventually certified five times platinum, according to AllMusic. Writing on the cover, he adds, “The band’s shameless melodramatic reading of Simon & Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence, which effectively uses the sleek piano and vocal treatment that helped Gary Jules resurrect Tears for Fears’ Mad World, and The hymn and refreshing mid-album upbeat gem The Light impresses with its unapologetic theatrics and David Draiman’s powerful vocal bends.
But to fully appreciate Draiman’s “strong vocal turns” and enjoyable “theatrics” of the cover, it’s worth watching the performance itself. There is something for everyone, folk fans as well as metal fans.
What do you think of Disturb’s rendition of The Sound of Silence? Are you a Simon and Garfunkel fan? Let us know and be sure to pass it on to all your musician friends and family members.