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Music / The Sickness

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"I'm gonna talk about some freaky shit now..."

The Sickness is the debut album of American heavy metal band Disturbed and was first released on March 7, 2000 by Giant and Reprise Records. Unlike much of their later discography, The Sickness is mainly known for its raw, savage, and almost primal ruthlessness in both lyrical and sound content with many of the tracks focused on being as brutal and disturbing as possible.

The Sickness spawned several hits when it came out including "Stupify," "Down With The Sickness," "Voices", and " The Game" note  that brought Disturbed into the mainstream and helped them make a name for themselves. Despite being over 20 years old, the album is still very popular and enjoyed by fans to this day.

Succeded by Believe.


  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)

Get up, Come on, Get Down with the Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: "Down with the Sickness"' child abuse segment is a metaphor for "mother society" beating down the freaks.
  • Angrish: Draiman's wordless vocalizations combined with the delivery and the topics of many songs come off as this.
    • "The Game":
      If you even try to look the other way,
      I think that I could kill this time.
      Rah! Rah!
    • "Stupify": "Look in my face, stare in my soul, I begin to stupify! RAH!!"
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: "The Game":
    You always wanted people to remember you
    To leave your little mark on society
    Don’t you know your wish is coming true today
    Another victim dies tonight
  • Bilingual Bonus: Draiman sometimes slips Hebrew phrases into some of his works. "Tefached" in the bridge of "Stupify" translates to "Be afraid."
  • Blatant Lies:
    • "The Game":
      Darlin', you can trust me COMPLETELY!
    • When asked about the meaning behind Meaning of Life, Draiman said "To encourage existential thought". Yeah, right.
  • Blood Knight: "Violence Fetish" is definitely this, it's right there in the title!
    Bring the violence
    It's significant
    To the life
    If you've ever known anyone
    Bring the violence
    It's significant
    To the life
    Can you feel it?
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: "Down with the Sickness," metaphorically. Like an Abusive Parent, "mother society" beats down the freaks.
  • Concept Album: Draiman has said he thinks the Rock Opera and the concept album is either dead or isn't possible in the age of the single (digital downloading takes convenience in the place of thematics). That being said, most of the albums can be interpreted as having an overarching theme. The concept behind The Sickness was of course "Sickness": the sickness of your thoughts and psychology (Voices, Meaning of Life), your loved ones (Stupify, The Game, Numb), your environment (A Welcome Burden, Conflict, Violence Fetish) and the sickness of the beasts that inhabit society along with the sick society that created them (Down with the Sickness). The album says "No matter how you try to bring me down (Fear, God of the Mind) I am what I am (Droppin' Plates, Want) and you'll never change that (Down with the Sickness again)".
  • Cover Version: The album has "Shout 2000," a cover of "Shout" by Tears for Fears.
  • Crapsack World: In "Down with the Sickness," like an Abusive Parent, "mother society" beats down those who are different until they submit... or snap.
  • Creepy Monotone: The bridge of "Voices," the verses of "Down with the Sickness," and the parts of "The Game" which David is not yelling are sung with little inflection.
  • Drone of Dread: Drone is used during the verses of "Down with the Sickness" and as the Last Note Nightmare in "Stupify."
  • Fetus Terrible: The creature being born on the album cover. The band calls it "a monster".
  • Hearing Voices: "Voices" is mainly from the perspective of the personality giving the insane and violent suggestions.
    Do you listen to me?
    I'm gonna make you do some freaky shit now
    Insane, you're gonna die
    When you listen to me
    Let the living die, let the living die
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: "Meaning of Life" starts with a rhythmic double bass drum closely in line with a heartbeat that slowly loudens into a think, distorted power chord.
  • Intercourse with You:
    • The subject of "Want" is unwilling to give in to their desires:
      Your mind won’t let you say that you want me
      Your mind won’t ever, never let you have what you want
      I feel your hunger to taste me
      Still your mind won’t ever let you say
    • "Meaning of Life", though probably one of the most twisted examples listed.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: "Meaning of Life" is probably the best example but there are a few others as well, such as "Violence Fetish" that invoke this trope.
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Stupify" rages itself out after the final "RAAAH!!" and when you think the song ended, comes the Drone of Dread.
  • Loners Are Freaks: A recurring theme of their lyrics is expressing your individuality and refusing to adapt to societal standards. "Down with the Sickness" is a sad example: "mother society" beats down the freaks until they snap.
  • Motor Mouth: The vocal bridge of "Fear" and the shout segment "Meaning of Life" are sung very fast.
  • Murder Ballad: "The Game". "Another victim dies tonight."
  • Non-Appearing Title: The words "Numb" and "Conflict" don't appear anywhere in the songs of the same names. Instead, "Conflict" repeats the word "enemy" dozens of times, so some casual listeners mistake that for the actual name of the song.
  • One-Word Title: "Voices," "Stupify," "Fear," "Numb," "Want," and "Conflict."
  • Reluctant Psycho: "Voices":
    I can hear the voice but I don’t want to listen
    Strap me down and tell me I’ll be alright
  • Sanity Slippage Song:
    • "Down with the Sickness" tells of child abuse as a metaphor for society punishing the "freaks," but the main point is that the narrator has just snapped.
    • "Voices" is about Hearing Voices.
    • "Stupify":
      Why do you like playing around with
      My narrow scope of reality?
      I can feel it all start slipping
      I think I'm breaking down
      Why do you like playing around with
      My narrow scope of reality?
      I can feel it all start slipping away
  • Singer Name Drop: "Droppin' Plates".
    Disturbed in the house, we're droppin' plates
  • Suddenly Shouting: Partway through the bridge to Voices, where the eponymous voices get louder and louder in the person's head.
    "I can hear the voice, but I don't want to listen
    Strap me down and tell me I'll be alright
    I can feel the subliminal need to be
    One with the voice and make everything all...
  • Switching P.O.V.: Most of "Voices" is narrated by the internal voice driving a person to commit violent acts, and during the bridge, the sane part emerges trying to fight it.
  • Take That, Critics!: "Droppin' Plates". "Plates" is an old studio term for hit records.
  • Terms of Endangerment:
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "Droppin' Plates": "I'm droppin' plates on your ass, bitch."
  • Three Chords and the Truth: The Sickness is likely one of the most simple but awesome records you'll ever hear.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Down with the Sickness' final chorus moves two strings up in pitch.
  • Updated Re-release: This album got an updated rerelease to celebrate its 10th anniversary.