By Anand Venkitachalam
New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) American metal band Disturbed’s seventh studio album, “Evolution”, is a disturbingly weak effort after a three-year wait since the more superior “Immortalized” of 2015.
While the album, released in October, does pack energy with the heavier tracks displaying some of the fervour of the old Disturbed, overall this is just a diluted, commercialised offering.
Emerging from the shadows of the nu-metal movement, Disturbed rose to prominence with their 2000 debut album “The Sickness”, a record of hardness, aggression and attitude where they rode the tides of the nu-metal wave. Today, they are one of the few bands from that time who have not only managed to stick around, but also stay relevant.
Partly the reason for this is that they were never truly a nu-metal band as their songs always packed a bigger sensibility to traditional heavy metal rather than the watered-down diluted edge lord music that was nu- metal, characterised by rapping, hip-hop grooves and angst rather than any real aggression. By the time of their third album, “Ten Thousand Fists”, they discarded any similarities they had to that style of music.
As of 2018, they are one of the most famous and successful post-2000 metal bands, and have got themselves a massive, dedicated fan base which they have rightfully earned. With some real monster tracks in their catalogue such as “The Sickness”, “Stricken”, “Indestructible” and “Prayer”, the band’s music always packed a hard metal edge while simultaneously packing a more delicate grooving melodic hard rock sensibility which makes them a great entry-level band for those who are not yet exposed to heavy music. All this, though, can be said for their earlier stuff.
Unfortunately, however, it would seem that Disturbed has hit a bit of a low point musically this year as “Evolution” seems to be a very different animal from either “Ten Thousand Fists”, “Indestructible” or “Asylum”. Their new album sees them going down the path of a much more radio-oriented hard rock sound. The album features the band increasingly incorporating electronic influences on the heavier tracks as well as employing a slicker more clean-cut production.
The heavy tracks, such as the single “Are You Read” or “The Best Ones Lie”, do pack some of the fervour and power of the old Disturbed, but nonetheless seem to have discarded the metal. But what makes this album so rock-radio oriented is the presence of what is Disturbed’s first attempt at writing ballads following their much acclaimed cover of the legendary 1960s folk duo Simon and Garfunkel’s gem “The Sound Of Silence” on “Immortalize”.
There is not really a whole lot to say about “Evolution”, because, musically, this is just a very watered down mainstream hard rock album with a few solid moments. One big complaint that one can have with Disturbed is that they have never really changed their sound and how all their songs following “Ten Thousand Fists” have such a similar sound. Now that they have changed their sound, it just did not go down all too well.
This is by far the weakest album in their discography, and while it is genuinely commendable that Disturbed tries to branch off into another sound, the result is rather disappointing. Diehard fans of the band don’t have a whole lot to look forward to. While there is nothing bad about this album, there is nothing particularly good about it, either.
(Anand Venkitachalam is a Delhi-based metal fan. He can be reached at [email protected])