Disturbed - "The Lost Children" (CD)
"The Lost Children" track listing:
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
16. Living After Midnight
Reviewed by EdgeoftheWorld on November 25, 2011
When a band breaks up — or in the latest parlance, "goes on indefinite hiatus" — you can pretty much count on at least one posthumous release. They generally fall into one of three categories: the live album, the greatest hits (plus one or two unreleased tracks or demo versions), or the odds-and-ends collection that packages together B-sides, rarities and tribute album tracks. The first release from the "indefinitely on hiatus" Disturbed is the latter, wrapping up a variety of tracks that, for one reason or another, never made it onto the band's first decade worth of discs.
Unlike a lot of similar collections, which have a haphazard feel to them, "The Lost Children" works surprisingly well as an album in its own right. Guitarist Dan Donegan has said that he didn't feel that these songs were in any way inferior to those that made their way onto discs like "Ten Thousand Fists" and "Indestructible," and a listen to this disc bears that out.
That feeling is definitely helped by the fact that the band chose to forego the traditional chronological sequencing and interspersed early tracks featuring bassist Steve Kmak ("A Welcome Burden," "God Of The Mind" and "Dehumanized") with those featuring his replacement, John Moyer.
The previously unreleased "Hell" kicks things off well, with Donegan pulling off a nifty little shift in the opening riff that sends the song into slightly unexpected territory. David Draiman's bigger-than-life vocals are also on full display here, with plenty of soaring and growling in the space of four-and-a-quarter minutes.
Though most of the disc's 16 tracks were recorded with Moyer on bass, there's definitely an older-school Disturbed feel going on. The first full-on guitar solo doesn't show up until the fifth track, "Monster," and they're fairly sparse until the latter third or so of the disc. Disturbed's always been more about the crushing riffs and rhythms anyway, with drummer Mike Wengren giving tracks like "Old Friend" — an ode to Showtime's "Dexter" — an extra burst of speed and power.
Donegan's love of electronic sounds is on full display in the anti-war tune "Mine" and also in the surprisingly faithful cover of Faith No More's "Midlife Crisis." The disc's other cover, Judas Priest's "Living After Midnight," would, at first glance seem to be a trainwreck waiting to happen given the difference between Draiman's lower-range vocals and Rob Halford's scream. Surprise, surprise, it actually works out well, though the new drum intro might offend some listeners' classic metal sensibilities.
Sure, there are a couple missteps. "A Welcome Burden" and "God Of The Mind" both feel almost like parodies of Disturbed songs, with Draiman's trademark vocal intros distracting a bit from Donegan's riffs. "Burden," in particular, grates on the vocal front, with Draiman adopting cadences almost reminiscent of Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Far better than the usual "odds-n-sods" sets of its nature, "The Lost Children" feels very much like a brand-new Disturbed record, full of the powerful riffs, rhythms and growling vocals the band's fans have enjoyed for over a decade. If this really is the end of the line for these Chicago titans, it's not a bad note to go out on at all.
Highs: "Hell," "Mine" and "Old Friend"
Lows: "A Welcome Burden" and "God Of The Mind."
Bottom line: The rare B-sides and rarities collection that feels more like a bona-fide album.
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