Review Summary: Front-loaded with the album’s addictive singles, The Sickness falls off all too quickly into dull, meandering riffs.
The explosion of rap tinged-hard rock in the twilight years of the twentieth century has been well noted: radio’s new sweetheart earned its own moniker, ‘nu metal’, and attracted band after band of tattooed twenty and thirty somethings, many adopting a caricatured macho presence hoping to pull in the almighty dollar. Anybody familiar with the music knows that Chicago hard rockers Disturbed were one of the most successful of the era (and one of the few that have survived nu-metal’s demise with continued success). The Sickness, Disturbed’s debut, came out in the zenith of the rap-rock movement, and they certainly wasted no time in introducing themselves to a mass audience. The album’s singles all received massive airplay, prompting their debut to quadruple-platinum status. Disturbed achieved this by sticking relatively close to the formula solidified by Limp Bizkit, albeit trading in the aforementioned band’s rapping for vocalist David Draiman’s harsh scatting. Disturbed is distinguishable thanks to Draiman’s vocal stylings, but the band doesn’t venture from many of nu metal’s recognizable elements: guitars play low, repetitious distorted riffs, the drums thump along as a backdrop, and (of course) the bass is nary audible. The same-ness of it all is more forgivable on the album’s singles, which are incredibly catchy and enjoyable ‘pump-up’ headbangers for an athletic locker-room, but most of the remainder is choked out by the genre’s simplistic tendencies, with plodding riffs moving the songs along at an all-too-tedious rate.
Recommended tracks: The Game, Stupify, Down with the Sickness