Disturbed – Evolution
Released: October 19th, 2018
David Draiman // Lead Vocals
Dan Donegan // Guitar, Keyboard & Backup Vocals
John Moyer // Bass & Backup Vocals
Mike Wengren // Drums, Percussion
Disturbed, the hard rock quartet out of Chicago, Illinois are back with album number 7 following on from 2015’s Immortalized, an album that as of January, 2018 had cracked a million in sales in the U.S alone. The band’s rendition of the Simon & Garfunkel track, ‘The Sound of Silence’ clearly assisted in those stellar numbers. The cover shot the band onto radio stations all around the globe and with it finally catapulted Disturbed into the lives of many fans whom may have never heard of them previously. With that in mind, new album Evolution, is as its title sounds, an evolution, of sorts. The band are attempting to amalgamate their past, the more aggressive riff based hard rock elements and blend that with soft acoustic ballads. Will it deter their supporter base of the last 20 years?
Opener, ‘Are You Ready’, the first single that has been doing the rounds for a few weeks is meat and potatoes classic Disturbed. It’s quintessential Disturbed, meaning a heavy Dan Donegan riff, some heavy rhythm from bassist John Moyer and drummer, Mike Wengren and of course vocalist, David Draiman’s iconic distorted vocals. It’ll be a good song live but to be honest after a few listens it quickly becomes monotonous, especially that chorus. Yes, David, we are ready.
Into ‘No More’ which automatically draws comparison to those Marilyn Manson catalogue drum beats, a kind of jungle pulse that morphs into another heavier track, that falls shy of anything that might scare away their new legions of fans. Third track, ‘A Reason to Fight’ is the first of four ballads or acoustic tracks on Evolution. Yes, four. I would start my barrage of hatred to this concept right now except for the fact that ‘A Reason to Fight’ is hauntingly beautiful. Draiman is at his finest, swooning around a lyrically profound song, that if it gets airplay in Australia (* Editor – it’s Australia, who are you kidding!!?) may actually rival their Simon & Garfunkel cover. I kid you not. From that highlight there are a few heavier, keyboard infused tracks. ‘In Another Time’ requires some loud speakers to do it justice and ‘Stronger on Your Own’ comes with a nice heavy riff that barks along in a slow burn. The use of electronica or keyboards on this album is most definitely the most ever attempted on a Disturbed album. It’s a slight change up from previous records and surrounds the Donegan heavy guitars to almost make it more pleasurable for the ‘new’ Disturbed fans. Maybe I’m being too harsh?
‘Hold Onto Memories’ cracks into another acoustic number, the intricate intro lending itself into some more gentle Draiman moments. Another tear-jerker, but once again it’s actually good. Could I be softening in my old age? Back to normality next with, ‘Saviour of Nothing’. Another keyboard backed riff with Draiman preaching over another slow but heavy track. ‘Watch You Burn’ hits number 3 of the acoustic tracks on Evolution with the band now attempting to shamelessly blend the softness into a bit of heavier Disturbed albeit with acoustic guitars. It takes a few listens to digest and to be honest, a week later, I’m still digesting whether or not I like it. ‘The Best Ones Lie’ is a pure head banger despite more keyboard overtones and should translate well to the live show whenever the band decide to tour Evolution. The album concludes with ‘Already Gone’, another ballad and dare I say it, another sublime ballad. ‘The Sound of Silence’ followers will be ecstatic with the slower tracks on this album. Again another acoustic led track with Draiman’s deep range being utilised to full effect. Beautifully arranged, and lyrically superb.
The deluxe version of Evolution contains four more tracks including a remix of ‘Are You Ready’, a take or leave it kind of track, two unreleased tracks, ‘This Venom’ and another ballad, ‘Uninvited Guest’, both decent enough to have you thinking whether the deluxe version is worth the extra coin. That question is answered though with the live version of ‘The Sound of Silence’ where Alter Bridge/Slash front man, Myles Kennedy joins Draiman for this performance. It’s truly special.
So what to make of Evolution? I wish the band had split the album into two parts instead of attempting to fuse the acoustic sets and the heavier riff/keyboard rock tracks into the one album. It’s disjointed in parts as a result, however the ballads are actually really good, I can’t deny that. Most of the heavier tracks are decent also, something I couldn’t say about previous album, Immortalized. Not quite the ‘black’ album the band were chasing to emulate but it will no doubt sell a million plus and add a few tracks to their expanding set list.
The question is, are you ready?
Disturbed – Evolution track listing
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, featuring Myles Kennedy)
12. This Venom
13. Are You Ready (Sam de Jong remix)
14. Uninvited Guest