While David Draiman might have gone on a more exploratory expedition with his post-Disturbed side project, Device, guitarist Dan Donegan and drummer Mike Wengren show that hard rock still runs in their blood on A Life by Design?, the first album from their new project, Fight or Flight. With a blend of plaintiveness and power, the album finds the pair, along with singer Dan Chandler from Evans Blue, picking up the torch their other band set down when they went on hiatus in 2011. While Fight or Flight certainly shares some of the same DNA as its founders' other work, A Life by Design? feels less visceral and more reflective, creating a refreshing shift in tone that allows the work to stand on its own merit. Unfortunately, however, the album sometimes feels as though it could use a bit more punch here and there, as riffs that feel as though they should be creating huge moments fall a little flat. This feels more like a production misstep than a glaring songwriting oversight, so while they certainly keep the album from being as good as it could be, it doesn't ruin the experience by any stretch. Though Fight or Flight's debut certainly feels a bit undercooked on the production side, A Life by Design? is a solidly written hard rock album full of promise that will not only help Disturbed fans get through these dark, Disturbed-less times, but should also draw in hard rock fans looking for a little something new.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney