Published Oct 17, 2018Disturbed became one of the biggest metal acts of all time with only two tools in their arsenal: knowing what people want and how to deliver it to them. Sure, they can feel slightly repetitive, but so do AC/DC, and no one ever tells Angus Young to change his schoolboy britches. Disturbed have updated their image slightly this time, with David Draiman ditching those chin rings after saying they made him feel like "a 45-year old Hot Topic kid." The new album is called Evolution, after all. No point looking back.
After the runaway success of the Simon and Garfunkel cover on 2015's Immortalized, it's hard to guess what Disturbed might have up their sleeves next. Evolution doesn't include any covers, but it does contain some of the boldest musical choices Disturbed have made in their multi-decade career.
Boldest isn't a synonym for best, however — not by a long shot. Disturbed's ability to preordain their fans; wishes might be wearing thin, because it's hard to imagine what kind of fan was asking for songs like "A Reason to Fight." Not to mention "Hold On to Memories," which sounds like Taylor Swift. Acoustic pop-country? Really?
There are still great tracks to be had. "The Best Ones Lie" might be the most definitive example of Disturbed's signature sound ever put to record. "No More," "Are You Ready" and "In Another Time" all surge with unbridled energy and killer production, sure to set stadiums alight across the globe. Had Evolution been full of this, it could have been Disturbed's best album in years. Instead, we get "Watch You Burn," featuring the most embarrassing passage of the band's musical career. It's like hearing your new stepdad cry — sad, but mostly uncomfortable.
Kudos to the Chicago megastars for trying something new — Evolution certainly doesn't sound like anything they've done before. At best, Evolution could add a few more bangers to their roster and slip by unnoticed. At worst, it could knock the band down to Creed levels of self-parody. (Reprise)