Disturbed | The Lost Children
by Mark Allen
Staff Writer –
Give Disturbed credit for catering to their fans. Although announcing they are on hiatus at least through 2012, the band has released this collection of b-sides and rarities to tide over their loyal followers who were lamenting the (temporary?) loss of one of modern hard rock’s most popular acts.
The strength and appeal of Disturbed resides in their skillful ability to blend heavy metal aggression with crunchy commercial hard rock. They have a knack for straddling the proverbial fence between the two similar-yet-different genres, one foot firmly planted in both camps, and while straddling a fence usually results in torn jeans and crotch splinters, for Disturbed it has resulted in over 13 million albums sold, a succession of #1 records, and a multitude of hit singles.
This winning formula is intact on The Lost Children. While this may be a scattershot collection of b-sides culled from all phases of the band’s career, it surprisingly does not suffer from a lack of cohesion. It sounds very much like a regular Disturbed album, eschewing eclectic experimentation in favor of listener expectation. The trademarks are all there—thickly layered guitars, Draiman’s distinct vocal hooks, the clipped, punchy rhythms—locked together in powerful synchronicity that surpasses the band’s last studio effort, Asylum, in nearly every department.
That is not to say The Lost Children dodges all criticism. The albatross around the band’s neck has always been the fact that so much of their music sounds the same, with patterns and structures frequently repeated, the songs struggling to separate from the pack and gain their own identity. The accusation that if you have heard one Disturbed song you have heard them all is not without merit and this accusation can be leveled against this album as well. That said, if the songs all tend to run together in a bit of a modern metal blur, at least the blur is of high quality.
A blow-by-blow breakdown of a sixteen track album would be more tedious than plucking your pubes using only your pinkies, but highlights include the album’s first single “Hell,” a pile-driving rocker that immediately sets the tone for what is on tap, followed by the skull-slamming ferocity of “A Welcome Burden” which showcases the band’s penchant for a bad ass riff and catchy chorus. “Run” charges out of the gate like a whipped thoroughbred and races along on the strength of thunderous drums and fiery guitar work. The throttle is eased back to more mid-tempo territory on “Leave It Alone” but retains the monstrous guitars—then again, have you ever heard Disturbed use wimpy guitars?—and the kind of sweet spot chorus that sticks in your hippocampus.
Whether or not Disturbed are done for good or just done for now depends on who you talk to and which rumor you want to believe, but if this album does wind up being their swan song, they are going out like roaring lions, not whimpering lambs. These tracks need to be heard by anyone who appreciates big, beefy, heavy-edged modern hard rock. If you’re a member of that demographic, nothing could be more disturbing than missing out on this collection of gems.
Genre: Modern Hard Rock / Metal
David Draiman (lead vocals)
Don Donegan (lead and rhythm guitars)
Mike Wengren (drums)
John Moyer (bass guitar, backing vocals)
2. A Welcome Burden
3. This Moment
4. Old Friend
7. Leave It Alone
8. Two Worlds
9. God of the Mind
15. Midlife Crisis (Faith No More cover)
16. Living After Midnight (Judas Priest cover)
Label: Reprise Records
Hardrock Haven rating: 8.3/10