Drawing equally on thudding new-metal riffology and the gothic industrial disco of their hometown of Chicago, Disturbed was part of the first wave of post-Korn new-metal bands. On Sickness, singer Dave Draiman -- he of the spiky hair, chin stud, and surprisingly solid voice for a new-metal vocalist -- bellows and rants about pain he's felt (whisper-to-scream rage on "Stupify") and radio hits he loved as a youth (Tears for Fears' "Shout" gets an appropriately thudding cover). The "Don't hit me, Mommy" crap at the end of the oddly danceable "Down With the Sickness" could be sick-joke funny if you let it, but much of Sickness feels like hollow formula.
That didn't stop it from selling 2 million copies, and making the followup, Believe, one of 2002's more hotly anticipated new-metal albums, on which they turn up the industrial brattle and gothic melodrama. Draiman makes a deal with God on the clattering "Prayer," but you can practically hear the walls bleed on "Rise" and "Intoxication." And they can't seem to avoid the inadvertently hilarious. The album closer "Darkness" finds Draiman getting his croon on, singing for the laughter and singing for the tears, because with any luck, maybe tomorrow the Good Lord will take him away. (JOE GROSS)
From 2004's The New Rolling Stone Album Guide