Top critical review
on 11 February 2017
"Duh duh duh-duh-duh... Duh duh duh-duh... Oh wah-ah-ah-ah!!!"
Released in 2000, Disturbed's debut album came at just the right time as nu metal was creeping into the mainstream and making itself one of the biggest genres in the world (albeit, only briefly). With countless bands coming out of the woodwork and jumping on the bandwagon, only a few of them were able to transcend the sub-genre from which they came and become credible bands.
Disturbed are one of those bands.
You probably wouldn't have thought it back in the day, mind you. Musically this album fits right in with the nu metal fad. Heavy, groove-laden tracks, angst-ridden lyrics, de-tuned guitars with no solos in sight... So what set Disturbed apart from the rest?
With their hit single, 'Down With the Sickness' and it's legendary opening of "oh-wah-ah-ah-ah" that would go on to spawn countless internet memes, puns and pop-culture references, it was vocalist David Draiman's unique style that instantly gave the band their own identity. And it's stood the test of time, because Disturbed would go on to "oh-wah-ah-ah" their way to being one of metals most beloved bands.
Unfortunately, none of that was really all too evident in their debut release, as 'The Sickness', despite a few standout tracks, really suffers from the same mediocrity that a lot of groups suffered from back then. Sure, there's a few hits in here, 'Voices' is an absolute classic, and 'The Game', 'Fear', 'Meaning of Life' and the aforementioned 'Down With the Sickness' are all valid reasons for owning this record and really highlight the significance of Draiman's vocals. But then sadly, a lot of the other tracks just seem to be there to fill time, with special mention going to 'Conflict'... a song in which the word "enemy" (pronounced "en-na-may") is sung a staggering 52 times! Please, no more!
Overall 'The Sickness' is not a terrible record, it's just not really all that memorable either. Well produced and accompanied by a couple of hit singles, it did what it was meant to do and helped put Disturbed on the map.