Here we go, another throwback album, one that if you were a child of the 90s you probably listened to ad nasaum, and another one to raise the ire of those opponents of 'false metal.' Whatever, I don't care, I jammed out to this album and group for a number of years, and I still enjoy hearing their releases occasionally today.
While not my favorite Disturbed album, The Sickness is by far the heaviest and most known release from the group. It was the act's debut album, and became immensely popular; collecting much radio-air time, selling most of the available tickets on their tours, and scurrying around the halls of my high school (I was a freshman at the time). It is also the album most within the nu-metal bracket, which is why it receives the current level of animosity that it does. I don't see why really, while it does have nu-metal tendencies, this is most definitely heavy metal, if only with some semi-industrial pieces mixed in.
This album is big in my memory mostly because I saw Disturbed live two years in a row in highschool, making the group one of the first acts that I saw live without my parents. They weren't my first, but their tour came through Fort Myers every year, and it always happened to collide right before finals, so me and my friends would fill up some cars and go see the tour. It didn't matter so much that Disturbed was in the tour, more that there was a tour to be seen. Also at this time, and as I said above, The Sickness was spreading like wildfire throughout the halls of my school, and pretty much everyone had this one in their CD players and car stereos (era before iPods remember).
I was always lucky, when it came to music trends, because I was always ahead of them (at least in the rock/metal world). I can't take any claim for this, instead have to pass it all on to my father. His day job hosted a lot of time behind the wheel of his truck so he heard all of the new rock bands on the radio, as well as entered every competition for free tickets to any and every show that came through - needless to say we saw a lot of concerts - so he was always picking out the 'next big thing' before anyone else in school had ever heard of it. He'd get the CD of whatever the act was, I'd borrow it or burn a copy (got my first CD burner some time around now) and take it to school to show off the collections of obscenities that some of these albums offered (ever heard the un-edited version of "Down With The Sickness"? Holy Christ). Disturbed was one of these acts, and so I had them in my house at pretty much the earliest point in their career.
The true stand-out tracks of The Sickness are the singles that were released, with most of the other songs needing time to grow on you. The singles were "Stupify," "Down With The Sickness," "Voices," and "The Game," which do make up the cream of the crop. "Voices," "Droppin' Plates," and the Tears For Fears cover "Shout" - cleverly renamed "Shout 2000)" - are also of sonic significance, and could have easily been released as singles themselves (well maybe not "Droppin' Plates," it may be a little heavy for radio airplay). The rest of the songs on the album take a little longer to fully enjoy. These tracks are mostly slower and much more depressing sounding, losing most of the energy that bookends the album.
Disturbed's following album, Believe, begins the group's break with the nu-metal sound, sliding into alternative metal and hard rock - mostly as a gambit to stay alive. While this was a good idea (nu-metal was on it's way out, quick), I 'Believe' (pun) is their weakest album (I haven't heard their newest release, Asylum, yet though), although they do pick it up for the next one, Ten Thousand Fists.
Disturbed's debut release, and really most of their early career, has been a big part of my life in one way or another. I don't listen to them too much now, but for a good five years there, they were one of the most populous acts in my collection (my first college girlfriend loved them too, so we had some good times at concerts as well). No matter what you lot think about them, or what their legacy is, or even what new tunes they put out, The Sickness by Disturbed will always be an album that gets played occasionally, no matter how old I get.