The cover of The Sickness.
|Studio album by Disturbed|
|Released||March 7, 2000|
|Recorded||November 1999 – December 1999|
|Genre||Nu metal, alternative metal|
|Producer||Johnny K, Disturbed|
|Singles from The Sickness|
The Sickness is the debut studio album by American heavy metal band Disturbed. The album was released on March 7, 2000. The album peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 chart and it has spent a total of 103 weeks on that chart, as of June 2010. It is, to date, Disturbed's only album to not hit number one on the Billboard 200. The Sickness has been certified 4x platinum by the RIAA, with around 4,248,000 copies sold in the United States alone as of 2011, making it the band's most successful album.
“People think it was like this meteoric rise. It really wasn’t,” frontman David Draiman told us. He recalls, “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.”
But persistence eventually paid off as a late ’90s shift in sound found labels moving on from grunge and looking for something heavier on the rock side. Eventually a label called Giant came calling and Disturbed got their big break. With a record deal in place, the group refined their sound ahead of recording. Guitarist Dan Donegan told Guitar World that while guitar solos have found their way into more recent recordings, he stepped away from it early in the band’s career. “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,” said the guitarist.
Meanwhile, Draiman was becoming comfortable with the themes he was writing about even if it did unnerve him a bit. “It’s very frightening,” said Draiman to the Phoenix New Times. “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.”
Joining Draiman and Donegan in the group was a powerful rhythm section — Mike Wengren on drums and a bassist named Steve Kmak who went under the moniker Fuzz on bass. After their signing, the band turned to another Windy City denizen to help them realize their vision. Producer Johnny K had gone to high school with Donegan’s brother and a relationship formed over the years. By the time The Sickness came around, there was already a bond and the band went to bat for the relatively unknown Johnny K. to produce their album. He told Guitar Edge, “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 told them, ‘If I demo you, I want you to go to bat for me [with the label],’ and they did with no contracts or production deals. It was a great thing and I can’t say enough good things about them. It’s your break, everyone wants one, and they made it happen for me. We all worked really hard to make the record as good as it could be. 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.'”
As 1999 progressed, the band chipped away at their debut disc and on March 7, 2000, the album finally arrived. But as Draiman stated earlier, it wasn’t an instant success. The band started off by releasing the single “Stupify” in April of 2000. “[It] was actually a hard sell at radio,” Draiman told us. “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.” The track addressed themes of racism and discrimination, loosely based on one of Draiman’s own experiences. It would climb to No. 12 on the Mainstream Rock chart and No. 10 at Modern Rock and remains one of their most well-known hits.
On March 23, 2010, a reissue of the album was released, which includes B-sides, new artwork, and exclusive online content. This reissue celebrates the tenth anniversary of the release of the album and is available for the first time in vinyl format. 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".
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.
- "Voices" has appeared in one of the trailers for the horror film Jeepers Creepers.
- "The Game" has appeared in the English adaptation of Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge.
- "Stupify" and "Fear" has appeared in an English adaptation of Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug.
- "Down with the Sickness" has appeared in several films and video games including Queen of the Damned, The One, Green Street, the Dawn of the Dead remake, Rock Band 2, South Park, Guitar Hero Live, and other media. The 2009 Guitar Hero game (Guitar Hero 5) and Rock Band version have the "abuse" segment intact, however all curse words were 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.
All tracks written by Disturbed, except for "Shout 2000" composed by Ian Stanley and Roland Orzabal.
|4.||"Down with the Sickness"||4:38|
|10.||"Shout 2000" (Tears for Fears cover)||4:18|
|12.||"Meaning of Life"||4:01|
|10th Anniversary Edition|
|13.||"God Of The Mind"||3:04|
|14.||"A Welcome Burden"||3:32|
|2002 International Re-Issue Edit (Exclusive @ North America)|
|13.||"God Of The Mind"||3:05|
|15.||"The Game (Live)"||3:53|
|17.||"Down With The Sickness (Live)"||6:16|
|16.||"The Game (Instrumental)"||3:53|
|18.||"Down With The Sickness (Instrumental)"||4:45|
|19.||"Violence Fetish (Instrumental)"||3:29|
|24.||"Shout 2000 (Instrumental)" (Tears for Fears Cover)||4:25|
|25.||"Droppin' Plates (Instrumental)"||3:48|
|26.||"Meaning Of Life (Instrumental)"||4:00|
2010 10th Anniversary Edition
International edition live tracks
|2000||US Top Heatseekers||3|
|US Billboard 200||29|
|2001||UK Albums Chart||102|
|2002||US Catalog Albums Chart||1|
|2008||Australian Albums Chart||30|
|US Hard Rock Albums Chart||25|
|2010||Greece Albums Chart||5|
|2000||"Stupify"||Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||12|
|2001||"Down with the Sickness"||Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||5|
|2000||"Voices"||Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||16|
|2001||UK Singles Chart||52|
|2002||"The Game"||Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||34|
|United States||4× Platinum||4,248,000 (as of 2011)|
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