REVIEW: "Evolution" By DISTURBED
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal/Reprise Records/Released Oct 19, 2018
“To me, this is our Black Album”. In an interview with Metal Hammer, Disturbed front man David Draiman likened their new album Evolution to the pivotal Metallica release. Not because he believed it would have the same impact Metallica’s album did. But in that it would be their release that would reel in non-rock and metal fans into the fold. And be the best gateway to get newcomers into their discography.
It’s hard to argue that point as Evolution is definitely Disturbed’s most accessible album. It’s moniker is also fitting as it’s definitely a change from the band’s core sound. Disturbed spent a lot of time listening to classic rock while writing this release. Specifically artists such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Led Zeppelin. And hoped to make a dynamic record similar to what those artists achieved.
The execution of that goal falls short for Disturbed however. Evolution is a very slow paced and ballad-heavy record. Indicative of scrapped plans for an acoustic EP with those tracks being brought into the fold for Evolution. The album starts off energetic enough with lead single “Are You Ready” sounding like classic Disturbed. But that’s because the song was built around an old composition from the Ten Thousand Fists era. And “No More” is a catchy, upbeat track that’s sure to be another hit in the band’s discography. But the brakes get pumped right after these first two songs.
Second single “A Reason To Fight” is about battling addiction. And is a prominently acoustic track inspired by the success of the band’s “Sound Of Silence” cover. Unlike the cover however, the band doesn’t have a well crafted song written for them to work with. And instead have produced a fairly generic ballad. The other ballads on the album follow this same path unfortunately. So much so by the time you hear acoustic guitars for the fourth time on album closer “Already Gone” that you can’t help but roll your eyes and groan.
Even the “heavier” tracks on the album don’t register as well as Disturbed’s usual work. And it took me a bit to realize these were meant to be the harder tracks. Songs like “In Another Time” and “Saviour Of Nothing” have distortion and the trademark, chuggy guitar of Dan Donegan. But at a much slower speed coupled with a lack of energy from Draiman’s vocal performance. These harder tracks are more like power ballads than bona fide hard rock songs.
Having “Sound Of Silence” be Disturbed’s biggest hit since their infamous debut “Down With The Sickness” definitely impacted the direction of this record. The band tried way too hard to recreate that fire in a bid for fresh fans. The result is a slow, slog of a record weighed down by uninspired ballads and few harder tracks to satiate their longtime fans. While shooting for their Black Album, Disturbed has instead birthed their St. Anger.