Hi all, and welcome to Sonic Shock E-zine!
This is my first review on this blog, it is a truly exciting occasion (well, it is for me at least!). So let’s jump right into it…
For those that don’t already know, Disturbed are a hard rock/metal band from Chicago, formed in 1994 and have since released 7 studio albums, garnering worldwide acclaim for their powerful and liberating music.
As the name of the new album suggests, Disturbed have ventured into a new arena of sound, incorporating some pop ballads and more prominent electronic-based sounds, as well as making use of their more familiar traditional hard rock/metal template.
Lets look into the album in more detail…
The themes that are touched upon in this album include government, more specifically about the social/political environment in the USA during the present day, battles with addiction and finding the strength to overcome it, and also dealing with loss, referring to a friend of the band Chester Bennington, vocalist of Linkin Park, who tragically died of suicide in 2017.
The music itself
There are 10 tracks on the standard edition of the album, with 6 traditional metal songs that you would expect of a band like Disturbed, and 4 acoustic ballads.
I’d like to start with the positives.
The opening track “Are You Ready”, the first single from this new album, is undoubtedly the highlight of the album. It is what you would consider a classic Disturbed track, with powerful vocals, anthemic guitar riffs and powerful beats.
It’s a really fun catchy track, the riffs are pretty simple, but they are profound and effective in the context of the song. Lyrically it also has its moments, with the line “Don’t let their vision leave you blind” really catching my ear.
There’s one other song I think is worth mentioning here, which is “The Best Ones Lie”, again another one of the singles they released for this album. It is pretty similar to “Are You Ready”, in that it is quite anthemic and has some catchy vocal lines, with David Draiman bringing his unequivocal sass to the proceedings which I quite enjoyed on this specific track. There are also some cool electronic effects used which I believe are used on the guitars, rather than them using synthesizers (not sure so don’t quote me on that!) which gives the song a more industrial feel.
Unfortunately, that is about it for the positives of this album. There are a lot of things that disappointed me.
The acoustic ballads on this album are a far cry from what Disturbed have done before, except for the hugely popular cover of “Sound of Silence” released on the previous album “Immortalized”, this suggests that Disturbed are trying to expand their fan base by adding in more easy-listening elements to their sound. Although I am a big advocate of bands branching out and trying something new in the pursuit of growing as a band, this particular endeavour falls pretty flat.
The acoustic songs aren’t really interesting, with a very basic approach and a distinct lack of energy in both their playing vocally, which is something you wouldn’t say about any of their material on the first six albums. The ballads are also incredibly cheesy, with the track “Watch You Burn” being the most guilty of this, considering how aggressive the song title sounds, the song itself, sounds like something out of a Disney movie. Which is great if it’s on a Disney soundtrack, but not on a metal album!
The best acoustic song out of the four for me is “A Reason To Fight” it has a genuine heartfelt message, but again the song itself for the most part is pretty forgettable. But on the cheese meter, it is nowhere near as bad as the other three!
The other metal tracks on this album just sound like worse versions of the two mentioned before, with the songs having no real ebb and flow and they don’t really get out of first gear. If a song is a journey from A to B, these tracks sound like they got stuck in the mud. It is a shame because there are some decent riffs on the album, but they are not expanded upon which leaves me feeling a little disconsolate.
To conclude, Evolution is a bit of a disappointing listen. You can hear potentially how great it could have been as there are some nice riffs that could be used in better songs. Whilst the move into adding in ballad-like acoustic tracks is commendable, Disturbed don’t really get it quite right on this piece, with the songs being too bland and cheesy to be taken seriously.
Luke’s rating: 5/10
That’s all from me, thanks very much for reading all the way through. If I had some cookies, I’d give you one (maybe).
Please let me know what you think of my review and how I could improve it, this is a new venture for me so any constructive feedback is welcome. Also let me know what you think of the album as well, and whether you agree or completely disagree! Remember, nobody is wrong in this game!
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I aim to be doing at least one review a week, so I look forward to seeing you again next week!