Although he spent many years railing against his Jewish upbringing at orthodox schools taught by strict rabbis, Disturbed frontman David Draiman learned a thing or two about God when he was young and oppressed, and it shows in his music.
"Prayer," the first single from the band's upcoming second album, Believe, is about a pained, impassioned conversation between the vocalist and the Lord, and the video will be based on the biblical book of Job, in which God tests a man's faith through a variety of ailments and tragedies.
In the video treatment written by Draiman, the singer walks down the street and passes various scenes of desperation including a prostitute, a homeless man and a preacher forecasting the end of the world. As the first verse yields to the pre-chorus and chorus, the world around Draiman freezes and the somber frontman sings to the heavens, which seem to open up and swallow his words.
The verses that follow are even more dramatic, involving Draiman watching the other members of Disturbed as they're traumatized by a car crash, street fight, construction site explosion and collapsing scaffolding accident. Again Draiman emerges unscathed and cries to the skies while time stands still.
The video climaxes with Disturbed surviving a catastrophic earthquake and uniting to rock against the adversity facing them.
"It's like Job being put through trials and tribulations and still coming through unscathed and achieving his redemption," Draiman said last week from a New York studio. (Click for photos from the studio.)
"Prayer" will be shot by the Brothers Strause in Los Angeles later this month and should be out in time to whet people's appetites for the album, due in mid-September.
Draiman was inspired to write the song by two recent tragedies in his life the passing of his grandfather and the events of September 11. The song features percussive, serrated riffs that contrast with melody-saturated guitars and vocals that veer from animal snarls to euphoric hook lines. Lyrics including "Living my life's not hard enough/ Take everything away" succinctly sum up the song's message.
As much as "Prayer" is about a test of faith, Draiman's message is not one of complacency or obedience, and his tone is full of scathing animosity.
"In particular the song is about the clergy's reaction to 9/11," he said. "Instead of consoling their flock, people like Jerry Falwell and Oral Roberts chastised them and used the situation as a means of empowerment, saying it was our own fault because we're a decadent and promiscuous people. I just thought that whole notion is ridiculous."
Draiman removed the CD from the player, replaced it in its jewel case and continued, "It's not very godly for a God to inflict pain and suffering on his people to elicit a response. I would hope that God wouldn't be that petty. But if that's what is happening and you're inflicting pain and suffering to get me to return [to the flock], bring it on. There's nothing that you're going to do to me that's going to change my conviction or change my path."