It’s been a little over three years since Disturbed last released a new album. After taking a break from touring in support of their previous album, Immortalized, the band got to work on Evolution. The first Disturbed album in over eight years bassist John Moyer got to record bass tracks for (Guitarist Dan Donegan delivered the bass tracks for Immortalized’s studio recordings). Evolution is a foundation of hard rock with sprinkles of many rock subgenres and even some electronic and orchestral touches to it here and there.
Mike Wengren (Drums)
Dan Donegan (Guitars)
David Draiman (Vocals)
John Moyer (Bass)
Evolution is in some ways comparable with previous albums. A mixture of heavy songs, but also some acoustic centered or otherwise ‘softer’, emotionally loaded songs. In that regard, Evolution feels to have more of these ‘softer’ songs than previous albums. This isn’t necessarily a problem, as it’s a known fact Disturbed can make both heavy songs and ballads sound equally amazing. But personally, I do slightly miss that old school feeling of playing a Disturbed album and knowing beforehand that you’re in for the “heavy” or otherwise energetic ride for at least 80% of the album.
Evolution starts off with Are You Ready, the first single of the album as voted on by the Disturbed fanbase. Are You Ready starts off with a very electronic, Tron-like feel to it. After the short confusion that will make you double check if you really started a Disturbed song, Drums and guitars kick in as David confirms through his iconic voice that we are indeed listening to Disturbed. From this point on the song continues as a hard rock song with the electronic parts only making a short reappearance before the guitar solo kicks in.
No More is rather accentuated on the rhythm of the drums and the toms. It feels familiar, yet it’s not. Sort of in the sense that it doesn’t sound familiar like the “tom accentuated” drums on the Indestructible album. It’s a very odd feeling… Like seeing someone on the streets whom you think you recognize but you just can’t recall who it is or why you think they feel familiar to you. Besides that, No More sounds like an active, ‘call to action’ rock song, no moment to rest, it keeps up the pace with a steady beat.
A Reason To Fight is the first ballad to be heard on the album. Aside from the regular instruments, an acoustic guitar and piano are used to complete the ballad feel. In spirit, it feels similar to Five Finger Death Punch’s When the Seasons Change.
In Another Time starts of like it’s about to introduce a Spotify ad, but after the, in my opinion unneeded 22 second intro, the song actually starts. My concerns of having to hear another ballad back-to-back are dismissed as the song turns out to be a hard rock song. The song itself talks about the current generation(s) addiction to being online, wasting their lives away like zombies, losing their mind. As much as I envision Disturbed as that heavy, metal band with songs about war, conflicts, anger, feeling powerful, indestructible… Now Disturbed is reminiscing about the past like one of those elderly people waving their cane about in the air yelling everything was better back in their days… Though I definitely understand the message, the main ‘evolution’ I notice is that Disturbed is getting old. Jokes aside, the song is quite good though.
Stronger On Your Own starts off with a potential build up to something heavy, after the short instrumental introduction, David laughs in an Inside The Fire kind of way and the song starts. Sadly, the rest of the song remains in the same pace and style of the intro. What I thought was a build-up, was merely a sample of the rest of the song. Later on, the song has its moments, but it leaves me wanting something more.
Being a Disturbed fan myself, it feels like being a teacher and seeing your straight-A student score a B on a test. It’s still good, and you want to be proud, but you still feel conflicted about it.
Saviour Of Nothing attempts to perform a bold move by jumping into the chorus straight after the intro. It feels confusing as if I’ve somehow slept through the first quarter of the song, yet, I haven’t? Perhaps if the lyrical construction of the chorus had been different, it would have been a little less confusing. In its defense, this song does have a pretty good instrumental piece halfway through that feels reminiscent of The Night.
Compared to its name, Watch You Burn is a very ‘soft’ song. This is the song that includes that earlier mentioned slightly orchestral feel to it later on in the song. It feels like one of those songs you’d expect Disturbed to play on a mainstream media show to impress the more ‘casual’ listeners that aren’t really into heavy music.
The Best Ones Lie is a mainly heavy song and includes a pretty decent guitar solo. Though it also has a slight ‘soft’ moment, it does slightly redeem the album overall.
Looking back at the album as a whole, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. It feels like, after the whole Sound of Silence hype, Disturbed tried to ‘evolve’ into a softer sound for mainstream audiences. I’m used to being able to listen to Disturbed’s songs and feel the energy, the beat, the lyrics, the guitars and every other aspect of the songs resonate within me. Whereas I used to feel like 80% of the songs would be heavy and would do well at metal festivals and where everyone in the crowd would bond as they repeatedly throw their horns into the sky in unison, it pains me to say I feel like Evolution would connect more to audiences at pop-rock festivals than metal festivals. Four out of the ten songs are either ballads or acoustic/soft-rock –ish songs. The album is called Evolution, but The Guy has devolved into The Boy. It’s an okay album, but I truly hope Disturbed will return to a heavier, more energetic sound for their next album.
Release date: October 19th, 2018
Label: Reprise Records, Warner Bros. Records
1. Are You Ready
2. No More
3. A Reason To Fight
4. In Another Time
5. Stronger On Your Own
6. Hold On To Memories
7. Saviour Of Nothing
8. Watch You Burn
9. The Best Ones Lie
10. Already Gone
11. The Sound Of Silence – Live feat. Myles Kennedy
12. This Venom
13. Are You Ready – Sam de Jong Remix
14. Uninvited Guest