Review Summary: Disturbed: only to be taken in small doses.
In this writer's opinion, American rock band Disturbed are a bit of an enigma: in their fifteen years together, these four musicians from Chicago have released a total of five studio albums (all of which have been reasonably solid) and managed to have a rather stellar touring career in the process.
At this point, I would ordinarily have displayed the holy thumbs-up of approval and go on to say, "Good job boys - you did well for yourselves"...but not this time. For there's this nagging feeling in my gut that I could probably sit down one lazy Sunday afternoon on my hypothetical porch and fit all of their truly great songs onto a single CD - such is the mindless dirge of impotence that characterizes many a Disturbed record. This systemic dysfunction has a nasty habit of usually popping up somewhere within the album's latter half or its final third, causing the record to quickly collapse like a flan in a cupboard.
Paradoxically however, this perception of the band's likely indifference towards creating a truly coherent record is probably why their ridiculously short 2008 EP Live & Indestructible
comes across as such a fantastic, bang-up job. Although a relative lightweight at first glance (the release merely features live performances of "Inside The Fire", "Stricken", and "The Game"), its rather compact size belies a dynamism and coherence altogether absent from the band's fuller releases. Take, for instance, opener "Inside The Fire" (incidentally the best piece of songwriting that the band have ever put to tape). Every section that made the original recording such an enjoyable fist-pumper is vividly recreated, with guitarist Donegan's raw machine-gun riff sounding absolutely eclectic once straddled next to a pulsing synthesizer onstage. Blue-liner "Stricken" is also more thrilling and more cohesive than initially remembered on Ten Thousand Fists
, whilst EP-closer "The Game" has aged surprisingly well in the decade since its release - even despite vocalist Draiman's insistence on sounding like an electrocuted moose during the song's bridge.
Although ultimately a very
short ride (just over eleven minutes), Live & Indestructible
somehow manages to communicate a certain tacit understanding to listeners - the notion that all good things truly only come in small packages. All things considered equal, this really shouldn't come as that much of a surprise - this is Disturbed, after all.