The Sickness

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The Sickness
TheSickness.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 7, 2000 (2000-03-07)
RecordedNovember–December 1999
StudioGroovemaster Studios, Chicago, Illinois Soundtrack Studios, New York City
GenreNu metal[1]
Length47:18
Label
ProducerJohnny K
Disturbed chronology
The Sickness
(2000)
Believe
(2002)
Singles from The Sickness
  1. "Stupify"
    Released: April 12, 2000
  2. "Down with the Sickness"
    Released: October 31, 2000
  3. "Voices"
    Released: November 21, 2000
  4. "The Game"
    Released: February 20, 2001

The Sickness is the debut studio album by American heavy metal band Disturbed. It was released on March 7, 2000, by Giant and Reprise Records. The album peaked at number 29 on the US Billboard 200, and spent a total of 103 weeks on the chart. It was Disturbed's only album to not hit number one on the US Billboard 200 until their seventh album Evolution debuted at number 4 in 2018.[2] In 2018, The Sickness was certified five times platinum by the RIAA for shipments of over five million copies in the US, making it the band's most successful album.[3]

Background and recording[edit]

The Sickness was Disturbed's first studio release since the band's formation in 1994. Reflecting on the band's early days, lead vocalist David Draiman said in a 2015 interview, "People think it was like this meteoric rise. It really wasn't. We beat the hell out of ourselves for two or three years as a local band, our own self-promotional mega-machine, every band member in a different venue of the city every time a rock show would come through town, passing out our promotional material — cassettes, stickers, t-shirts, whatever we could. [This was] in addition to playing strategically where we thought it made sense and in addition to building our following on the south side of Chicago. So there was a long period of time before that and a lot of struggle in a city that wasn't conducive to hard rock and heavy metal. Chicago was an alternative town. It was Smashing Pumpkins, Local H. It was not metal. So we were blacklisted. We couldn't even play inner-city clubs. We weren't cool enough. We were too metal. That was something that wasn't considered cool enough. We had to force our way in."[4]

However, as the late 1990s brought a shift in focus in the rock industry toward a heavier sound, the band secured a record deal with Giant Records and Disturbed got their big break.[5] Prior to the album's recording, the band sought to refine its sound. Lead guitarist Dan Donegan took a different approach than usual and adopted a style that did not incorporate guitar solos: "In the beginning, before we were even signed, I'd solo all over the place and it didn't really work, so I pretty much cut out the solos altogether until the last album or two. That's the way it's worked with us. Over time we've pushed each other to become better musicians," Donegan said in a 2011 interview with Guitar World.[6]

According to Draiman, it was challenging for him to become comfortable with writing about the personal themes contained throughout the album's lyrics, saying, "It's very frightening. Because here you go, you've decided to be open and bare a part of your soul to these people, and lay it out on a platter for them to observe. So until you know that the listeners are getting any part of what you're saying, it's incredibly frightening."[7]

With Draiman on vocals and Donegan on guitar, the two were joined by Mike Wengren on drums and Steve "Fuzz" Kmak on bass. Seeking help with the album's production process, the band turned to producer Johnny K, who had gone to high school with Donegan's brother. By the time work on the album had started, a bond had already formed and Johnny K had begun working with the band as the producer for their album. In an interview with Guitar Edge, Johnny K spoke about the process, saying, "They fought hard to get me to do their record. They didn't want to go to L.A. and make a record that wouldn't be any better than their demos. I felt that with a budget and time, I could make a record everyone would really like [...] I pushed them as hard as I could, and we felt successful before it sold one copy. All of that hard work, and the fact that they are such a good band, made it easy for me to get other jobs. People liked it and would say, 'Who did the Disturbed album? Let's get him.'"[5]

Recording sessions took place in late 1999, and on March 7, 2000, The Sickness was released; however, the album was not an instant success. The lead single from the album, "Stupify", was released in April of 2000. "[It] was actually a hard sell at radio," Draiman said. "It's not like it shot up. They worked it. Giant Records at the time, they worked it. They pushed it to where it got enough awareness that it did start to chart decently."[5] The track addressed themes of racism and discrimination, loosely based on one of Draiman's own experiences. It would go on to reach No. 12 on the Mainstream Rock chart and No. 10 on Modern Rock and remains one of their most popular songs.[5] It was followed by the singles "Down with the Sickness" in October of the same year, "Voices" the following November, and "The Game" in February 2001.

Reissues[edit]

10th anniversary[edit]

On March 23, 2010, a reissue of the album was released that was remastered, slightly remixed and includes B-sides, new artwork, and exclusive online content.[8] This reissue celebrates the tenth anniversary of the release of the album and is available for the first time in Standard Black vinyl format.[9]

Disturbed's guitarist, Dan Donegan, commented on the reissue: "[...] it's the album that put us on the map and launched our career. So we went back into the studio and we remixed it, we're having it remastered, we're gonna put a couple of bonus tracks on there and touch up some of the packaging and the artwork. Just a little collector's item, a little tribute to that album for the fans".[10]

The two songs included in the reissue, "God of the Mind" and "A Welcome Burden", are also included in a B-side compilation called The Lost Children.

20th anniversary[edit]

In January 2020, Disturbed announced that they were going on tour for The Sickness 20th Anniversary Tour with Staind and Bad Wolves. The tour was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sickness was re-released to mark the album's 20th anniversary. It includes all of the original songs remastered and live versions of the songs. The Sickness 20th Anniversary Tour was rescheduled for July and September 2021.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[12]
Spin5/10[13]

The album received positive reviews upon release. Steve Huey from AllMusic commented "But even if it has a few less-than-compelling moments, The Sickness overall comes off as the work of a band who really doesn't have far to go to achieve total control of its sound and compositional skills, and that makes it a terrific debut album."[11]

Accolades[edit]

In 2013, Loudwire featured The Sickness in their "Top 25 Debut Hard Rock Albums" list, placing the album at number 24.[14] In 2020, it was named one of the 20 best metal albums of 2000 by Metal Hammer magazine.[15]

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

  • "Voices" appeared in one of the trailers for the horror film Jeepers Creepers.
  • "The Game" appeared in the English adaptation of Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge.
  • "Stupify" and "Fear" appeared in an English adaptation of Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug.
  • "Down with the Sickness" appeared in several films and video games, including The One, Queen of the Damned, the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, Green Street, the South Park episode "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson", Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero 5, Guitar Hero Live, WWE 2K18, The Death of Dick Long, and other media. The Guitar Hero 5 and Rock Band 2 versions have the "abuse" segment intact, however, all profane language was removed. Guitar Hero Live also features this song in the GH On Demand feature of the game, however as the music video version of the song is the version that is used, the "abuse" segment is not featured. Professional wrestler Christopher Chri$ Ca$h Bauman also used "Down with the Sickness" as his theme song from 2001 - 2005 in CZW until his death in an automobile accident on August 18, 2005. As of 2005, Combat Zone Wrestling annually run a memorial tribute event for Bauman titled "Down with the Sickness" after his theme song. The show originally started as a double header afternoon show, with another CZW event taking place later in the evening. Many former CZW trainees have made appearances on past events, including longtime friend GQ, who has wrestled on all of the events

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Disturbed, except for "Shout 2000", which was composed by Ian Stanley and Roland Orzabal.

Standard and 20th Anniversary Edition
No.TitleLength
1."Voices"3:11
2."The Game"3:47
3."Stupify"4:33
4."Down with the Sickness"4:38
5."Violence Fetish"3:23
6."Fear"3:46
7."Numb"3:44
8."Want"3:52
9."Conflict"4:35
10."Shout 2000" (Tears for Fears cover)4:18
11."Droppin' Plates"3:48
12."Meaning of Life"4:01
Total length:47:34
2002 re-issue
No.TitleLength
13."God of the Mind"3:05
14."Stupify (live)"4:53
15."The Game (live)"3:53
16."Voices (live)"3:36
17."Down with the Sickness (live)"6:16
Total length:1:09:17
10th anniversary edition
No.TitleLength
13."God of the Mind"3:04
14."A Welcome Burden"3:32
Total length:54:09
Instrumental disc
No.TitleLength
15."Voices (instrumental)"3:18
16."The Game (instrumental)"3:53
17."Stupify (instrumental)"4:13
18."Down with the Sickness (instrumental)"4:45
19."Violence Fetish (instrumental)"3:29
20."Fear (instrumental)"3:53
21."Numb (instrumental)"3:50
22."Want (instrumental)"3:57
23."Conflict (instrumental)"4:41
24."Shout 2000 (instrumental)" (Tears for Fears cover)4:25
25."Droppin' Plates (instrumental)"3:48
26."Meaning of Life (instrumental)"4:00
Total length:1:42:19

Personnel[edit]

Disturbed[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Disturbed – production
  • Johnny Kengineering, production
  • Tadpole – engineering
  • Frank De Lamora – programming
  • Enrique Santiago – programming
  • Andy Wallace – mixing
  • Steve Sisco – mixdown engineering
  • Howie Weinberg – mastering
  • P.R. Brown – art direction, design, cover and object photography
  • Jana Leon – band photography

10th anniversary edition (2010)[edit]

International edition live tracks[edit]

  • Tim Powell and Bif Dawes for Westwood One – engineering
  • Recorded in Chicago, IL on March 10, 2000 at The Metro

Charts[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Song Chart Peak
position
2000 "Stupify" Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[25] 12
Alternative Songs[26] 10
2001 "Down with the Sickness" Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[25] 5
Alternative Songs[26] 8
2006 Hot Ringtones[25] 2
2000 "Voices" Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[25] 16
Alternative Songs[26] 18
2001 UK Singles Chart[16] 52
2002 "The Game" Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[25] 34

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[27] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[28] 2× Platinum 200,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[30] 5× Platinum 5,000,000double-dagger

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lemeshow-Barooshian, Rae (January 8, 2019). "Top 50 Nu-Metal Albums of all-time". Loudwire. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  2. ^ "Disturbed Chart History - Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  3. ^ Metal Hammer Forum – Einzelnen Beitrag anzeigen – Der relevante Charts/Verkaufszahlen Fred Archived April 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Childers, Chad (October 28, 2015). "Disturbed Frontman David Draiman Reflects on 'The Sickness'". Loudwire. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d "21 Years Ago: Disturbed Spread 'The Sickness'". Loudwire. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  6. ^ "Interview: Dan Donegan Discusses Gear, Tunings, Recording and the Future of Disturbed". Guitar World. November 14, 2011. Archived from the original on July 24, 2017. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Magahern, Jimmy (July 16, 2003). "Disturbed & Disturbeder". Cleveland Scene. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  8. ^ "Disturbed Begins Recording Next Album". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. February 8, 2010. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
  9. ^ "Disturbed's 'The Sickness' To Be Reissued With Bonus Tracks, Expanded Artwork". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner records. January 12, 2010. Archived from the original on January 16, 2010. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
  10. ^ "Disturbed Getting Ready To Record Next Month". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. January 14, 2010. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Review The Sickness Disturbed". AllMusic. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
  12. ^ Ratliff, Ben (September 28, 2000). "Rolling Stone Review of The Sickness, Mudvayne's L.D. 50, Relative Ash's Our Time With You, and Soulfly's Primitive". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 10, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  13. ^ Seward, Scott (June 2000). "Reviews". Spin. SPIN Media LLC. 16 (6): 158. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  14. ^ "No. 24: Disturbed, 'The Sickness' – Best Debut Hard Rock Albums". Loudwire. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  15. ^ "The Top 20 best metal albums of 2000". Metal Hammer. Future plc. September 29, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK 1994–2008". Zobbel.
  17. ^ "Disturbed Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  18. ^ "Disturbed Chart History (Top Catalog Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  19. ^ "Disturbed Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  20. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Disturbed – The Sickness". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  21. ^ "Disturbed – The Sickness". greekcharts.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2012.
  22. ^ "Disturbed Chart History (Top Hard Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  23. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2000". Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  24. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2001". Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  25. ^ a b c d e "Disturbed > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
  26. ^ a b c "Disturbed Album & Song Chart History: Alternative Songs". Billboard.
  27. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2006 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  28. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Disturbed – The Sickness". Music Canada. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  29. ^ "British album certifications – Disturbed – The Sickness". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 20, 2020.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type The Sickness in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Disturbed – The Sickness". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 20, 2020.