Disturbed – The Lost Children

Article first published as Music Review: Disturbed – The Lost Children on Blogcritics.

So I’m listening to my Pandora station (Sixx A.M.) and “Stupify” comes on.  At first I didn’t recognize it, but only because I was at work and surrounded by colleagues in the midst of conversation so the volume is a little low.  But at last I discern the quasi-hymnal chant of Dave Draiman and the precision of Dan Donegan‘s guitar and in an instant I knew who it was and the volume went up.

And then I recall first hearing this song ten or eleven years ago and thinking, yes, someone has arrived to save metal.  Since then, Disturbed have always been reliable musicians; I can’t think of any of their songs that have been a real let down in any way.  Sure, some are better than others, but they always strike the right chords, they always find the right beat.  Disturbed has now been around long enough to accumulate sixteen (and probably more) B-sides.  These songs have been gathered together on The Lost Children (which is kind of cool title – these songs weren’t discarded because they lack quality; they were created and they just went their own way and have finally been congregated together again by the band).

The sixty minute tour through the history of Disturbed’s brand of metal begins with “Hell”, which is portends a descent into the bowels of the band, but the song felt like a slow burn, if you will.  It never really took off, and that was a little disheartening.   But, things picked up from there.  The fifth track, “Monster,” was a delight – the drums and guitar get into such a beautiful rhythm towards the end of the song.  Moments like that really show off why Disturbed is such a good metal band, the precision in their defiance.  “Run” which is number six had a little more verve to it, some good guitar work by Dan Donegan.  “Two Worlds” is a little slow, but around the two and a half minute mark Mike Wengren has the spotlight as he puts his drum kit through some paces.  He’s got a heavy, tribal sound.

“God of the Mind” sounds like it belongs very early in the Disturbed canon and it was easily my favorite.   It’s tight from the intro, has a Draiman growl/speech thingy going on and then continues with his early syncopated chanting vocals that has perfect cadence with the guitar.  It was a good song to build up to.  “Mine” is number eleven and starts with pretty eerie electronics then throws in some bass and drum action.  “Dehumanized” has another killer guitar riff.  It’s not overpowering, just a heavy, heavy groove.  Add Draiman’s meditative vocals and this is a powerful song.  “Midlife Crisis” had a very different vocal sound and an acerbic message for any going through the titular situation.

Disturbed does a great job on covers.  Asylum featured a good version of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” from U2.  Ten Thousand Fists featured “Land of Confusion” which was a brilliant interpretation and update of that Genesis classic.  The Disturbed take on Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight” is collected with the other lost children on this CD.  It’s not quite as fabulous as the other two covers, but it’s still better than the original.  It’s cool to hear real metal guitar applied to this early, early 80s classic.

These songs uphold the standard of Disturbed’s music.  They are consistent, well written, well recorded.  These songs would have been slow spots on any earlier releases, I think, but they’re fun as one-off songs.  This could be great filler material between Asylum and whatever their next new album will be or it could be a satisfying wrap-up to a solid and renowned career depending on how their alleged hiatus turns out.

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