Sound: It's a common assumption that everybody knows the Disturbed sound, but that's not really a fair assessment of the band. From the raw early days of "The Sickness", to the mature sound of albums like "Indestructible" and "Asylum", Disturbed didn't just develop a sound overnight: it was cultivated over a period of ten years. "Ten Thousand Fists", "Indestructible", and "Asylum", the band's last three albums, do show a consistency that has seen the band accused of churning out similar-sounding songs, but, overall, the band's catalogue, shows great variety. Hence, the band's decision to announce a hiatus after ten years is a good one, with the release of a b-sides album "The Lost Children" a far more dignified way to celebrate a decade of the band than the release of ten repackaged songs as a greatest hits compilation.
The album isn't chronological, but that just emphasises the band's deceptive diversity: it's pretty easy to tell which album each song dates from.
"Hell" and "A Welcome Burden" are an excellent two tracks to begin any album, and it's a shame that they didn't make the final cut of their respective sessions. It's a powerful way to begin the album, making sure to emphasise Disturbed's ferocity. "Hell" is particularly enjoyable, as Donegan showcases his ear for combining heavy metal and electronic music.
Other highlights of the album include "Mine", which features a strong use of a piano's keys to introduce the song, while covers of songs like "Midlife Crisis" (Faith No More) and "Living After Midnight" (Judas Priest) tend to the diehard fan's desire to hear the band having fun, while also allowing a sneak peek at the music that inspires Disturbed. // 7
Lyrics: Draiman is a terrific vocalist, and although I have taken exception to some of his lyrics on past efforts, the b-sides featured here are, in general, strong lyrically. The vocals feature the brute force and machismo that we all know Draimanto be capable of producing, but make no mistake: there is sensitivity to the lyrics. Draiman isn't one to sing about fairies and goblins, dragons and wizards: a Disturbed album is an insight into his mental realm. It's personal and, for that, Draiman deserves praise. It's hardly subtle at times, but the lyrics aren't of A-grade stupidity or the most typical type of adolescence. Take "Hell", a great song in terms of music, but lyrically lacklustre: "Soul of the night, when the sunmisled paint a horror upon you; marking the moment, displaying in my ghost of a life". That's not quite as bad as the chorus of the same song, which is this: "Now I can't stay behind; save me from wreaking my vengeance upon you; to killing more than I can tell, burning now I bring you Hell". Let's just say that lyrics such as these would struggle to make into a publication compiled by a secondary school's creative writing society. // 7
Overall Impression: Disturbed's decision to go on hiatus is a good one. Accused of leaving footnotes to themselves on their last album, Draiman, Donegan, Moyer, Wengren, and Kmak have made the right decision; they were perhaps running dry on ideas, and should they decide to release more material in the future it will perhaps offer more than an album written by the band without a hiatus. Knowing when to call time on a good thing is a great quality, and Disturbed should be applauded for releasing b-sides as opposed to a standard greatest hits album. It's been a Disturbed decade. // 7
- Sam Agini (c) 2011