"Everyone has a struggle in life, and the question is do you allow yourself to be overcome by it or do you master it with unified strength and power.
This is exactly what the music was meant to do, to transcend your normal world, to make you more than what you are, to make you set down your burden for a while.
Feel powerful, feel invincible, feel indestructible; believe' in something as opposed to believing in nothing; spread 'the sickness, infect the world."
—David Draiman, opening line to D.O.D.
Disturbed is a four-piece ChicagoAlternativeHeavy Metal/Hard Rock band formed in August 1996. Released in 2000, their debut album The Sickness both shot them into stardom and earned them a devoted fanbase called the Disturbed1s. The band made a name for themselves after playing second stage of the Ozzfest tour in 2000, headlining the U.S tour in 2001 alongside the likes of Slipknot, Linkin Park and Marilyn Manson, and then again as a headliner in 2003. In 2001, they created their own tour (a small event at the time), the Music as a Weapon tour taken from a lyric in the song Droppin' Plates (abbreviated as MAAW), including acts throughout its existence such as Drowning Pool, Alter Bridge, As I Lay Dying, Chevelle, Flyleaf, Chimaira, Trivium, POD, Nonpoint, Stone Sour, Lacuna Coil, In This Moment and Killswitch Engage. On September 17, 2002, they released their second album, Believe, which went straight to #1 (see below) and was lauded by critics as the album that broke them from the Nu Metal tag that plagued The Sickness. Years later in 2006, the single Down with the Sickness would be certified Gold, then Platinum in 2009.After MAAW II's last show in Chicago, they fired bassist Steve 'Fuzz' Kmak for "personal differences" that they've yet to fully explain. He was replaced with current bassist John Moyer, formerly of the Texas Industrial act The Union Underground, who played bass for the album Ten Thousand Fists, becoming a full member during the band's subsequent tour in support of the album. The Ten Thousand Fists album also marked the band's second straight-to-#1 with the song Stricken becoming their second Gold single in 2008. Released on June 3, 2008, Their fourth album Indestructible debuted at #1, was fully self-produced, and won them their first Grammy nomination for Inside The Fire (which became their third Gold single). During the Indestructible tour, Disturbed participated in the first ever Mayhem festival alongside Slipknot, Dragonforce and Mastodon, going on to become one of the largest metal festivals in the United States. This tour also marked the most elaborate production quality and sheer scale and that the Music as a Weapon tour had ever seen, leading them to rechristen it the "Music as a Weapon festival".The band's fifth effort, Asylum, which the band has touted their strongest body of work yet, was released on August 31, 2010, giving the band some of the best critical approval they've ever seen. Recently the band (or their manager) has become obsessed with festival appearances, playing the Uproar tour with Avenged Sevenfold, going straight to Taste of Chaos with Papa Roach and Buckcherry afterwards, has embarked on their MAAW Fest V with Korn, then it's off to their second Mayhem fest appearance with Godsmack and Megadeth, which still doesn't account for one-day events.note Rock on the Range, Rock am Ring, Download fest, etc After playing Mayhem and four dates in South America, the band will be taking an extended hiatus, with no continuation of band activities projected anywhere in the near future. On November 8, shortly after announcing the hiatus, the band released The Lost Children, a compilation of their all the non-album material written over the course of their career.In 2012-13, during the course of their hiatus, Moyer joined Super Group Adrenaline Mob, Draiman started an Industrial Metal project known as Device with song-writing handled by himself and Geno Lenardo of Filter, and Donegan started writing with Dan Chandler of Evens Blue, culminating in Fight or Flight, which he invited Wengren to drum for.Don't expect to nail down their actual genre very easily, as debates continue to this day — they're generally seen as "something heavy metal and probably some hard rock" (you can blame the ambiguity on their Alt Metal tendencies). Try not to mention them and "nu metal" in the same sentence at any point to anyone — it isn't worth it. For all intents and purposes, they're a rock group.To the group's credit, they're one of the few bands in history to release four straight-to-#1 albumsnote This entails releasing an album which sells enough copies in its first week to debut at the #1 spot. in a row on the Billboard 200 (Believe, Ten Thousand Fists, Indestructible, Asylum), the others being Dave Matthews Band (at five releases since Before These Crowded Streets) and Metallica (everything after The Black Album, making for five). These groups have yet to release an album that breaks this streak, giving them a chance to push the envelope further. Disturbed also happen to be the youngest band to do this. In other words, don't underestimate the Disturbed1s.
Music as a Weapon II - 2003, 2004note Marked as "Sickness (Live USA 2003)". Not licensed by Warner and features no performances by Chevelle, Taproot or Unloco (aside from the Stupify vocal triet), unlike the live album above (both are the same performance).
Indestructible in Germany - 2008, Nov
Decade Of Disturbed (D.O.D.) - 2010note Packaged physically with every copy of the Asylum special edition with a digital download inside every standard copy.
Minenote This is the first time the song has ever been heard before, as every other track saw a release of some kind elsewhere, Old Friendnote This is the first time the song has been officially released; it first came into the fandom's hands through a leak, 3note This was originally not going to be put on the album since it was made specifically to benefit the West Memphis Three, but their unexpected release before the compilation came out made them change their mind
Incoming Ham: The intro they created for the Asylum tour works like this: The band takes the stage playing Remnants, with a video of a comatose Draiman being carted off in an ambulance playing on the mega-screen behind them. His heart monitor becoming a Flatline, a doctor jabs him in the chest with an adrenaline shot (which marks the beginning of Asylum). He immediately awakens laughing like a madman, fights off the doctors, bursts from the ambulance doors in time with the "Release me!" lyric, goes running down the street and walks through a set of asylum doors to appear on-stage to start singing. If you couldn't tell by his presence in the scene that he was going to run away with it, you might have Genre Blindness.
Medley: MAAW IV saw Disturbed create one using Hell, Shout 2000, Criminal and Deify. For the Uproar tour they created one based on The Sickness using Fear, Meaning of Life, Numb and Voices.
No Indoor Voice: Draiman again, but it's to be expected at a show like their's.
Refuge in Audacity: At some point during the Indestructible tour one of the members of Killswitch Engage dared Draiman to change some of the lyrics to Land of Confusion. He went with it, and it's become a concert staple ever since:
There's too many men and not enough pussy, making too many problems
Spiteful Spit: Because it's customary that the opening act must go through hell: during their first tour of Europe opening for Marilyn Manson on the Paris date, the audience - already cheering "Manson! Manson!" - started spitting at the band in unison for the first 5 songs.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: In the truest spirit of the term "co-headliner", MAAW V (for the first time in the tour's history) has Korn finishing several dates near-equal to the dates in which Disturbed closes. Yes, Korn has far more longevity and success, but it must be awkward to visitors who came to see Disturbed's personal festival only to have them say "And now for Korn".
Subdued Section: They like to use this in certain songs that didn't originally contain one.
Abusive Parents: Down with the Sickness' child abuse segment is a metaphor for "mother society" beating down the freaks.
And I Must Scream: The ending of Asylum has the narrator, who finds himself entering the "asylum" of his lost loved one ("now it's dragging me into your grave") finishing by saying "I will get to join you in time" with a voice screaming "Without you!", meaning that he'll now be staying in the asylum without the one thing he came for.
Author Vocabulary Calendar: The words 'terrible', 'hell', 'dark' (or 'darkness'), 'sacrifice', 'pain', 'alive', 'death' (or 'dead'), 'hate', and 'hatred' are just a handful of the words the band says at least once an album.
Also "I'm Alive".note The things I treasure most in life Cannot be taken away There will never be a reason why I would surrender to your advice To change myself, I'd rather die Though they may not understand I won't make the greatest sacrifice You can't predict where the outcome lies You'll never take me alive! I'm alive! I'm Alive!! I'm ALIVE!!!
"Warrior", to levels of extremity that manage to out-boast all of these.
Cluster F-Bomb: Down With the Sickness; Liberate is a minor version (even though the word "motherfucker" appears 16 times, counting stanza repetitions, most of the lyrics are pretty swear-free).
Concept Album: In truth, 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 psycology (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)".
The concept behind Believe was of course "Belief": Belief in your passions (Rise), belief in your vices (Intoxication), belief in your justice (Liberate, the title track) and belief in your evil (Breath, Devour). It asks the listener to find something to care about and shout "I'll stand through whatever you throw my way (Prayer) no matter how much it may hurt (Remember, Mistress). I've chosen my path, I'm at peace with it (Bound, Awaken) and I'll always walk forward through it (Darkness).
Ironically, the title-track is just nearly anti-belief.
If the name wasn't already an indication, Asylum seems to have out-dimmed Indestructible; with topics ranging from the Nazi Holocaust, corrupt attorneys, miscarriage, global warming, bad relationships and overall deep depression to fantastic/mystical songs about werewolves and succubus demons, it's no sunshine-and-rainbows record.
Despair Event Horizon: Breathe (for the victim, not the narrator), Darkness, The Infection and Asylum (which is about being driven to insanity by the memory of a lost loved one).
Supposedly David's lyrics for the Asylum album were so dark, even for a guy who's not known for his light and fluffy sentiments to begin with, that Dan was honestly worried David was approaching this point in Real Life.
Of course, the cover of Land of Confusion is just as despairing as the original version.
Flanderization: Lyrically the majority of the songs used to cover themes of anger, disenchantment, annoyance at society, hatred and violent malice until Draiman started noticing that people were using these songs as work-out tunes and adrenaline-pumpers (the military in particular taking to this). He's started capitalizing on the band's natural talent for making these recently by writing more combat-oriented anthems of death, starting most obviously with Indestructible and This Moment.
Mondegreen: In "Inside the Fire," does he say, "Devon, no longer living" or "Devon, one of eleven"?
In "Warrior", it sounds like he's saying "So suicide now" instead of "So decide now". He also at one point sounds like he's saying "I am a weapon of immense ability" instead of "Invincibility". Really, both of them work.
The Notable Numeral: The Asylum B-Side 3 was written about the West Memphis Three, told from their perspective. Draiman had expressed a desire to donate it somehow on their behalf rather than release it conventionally, which the band did eventually over their website, asking for dollar donations to get the song. The proceeds go towards the defense fund of Damien Echols.
Please Don't Leave Me: Stricken, in a sense; it's about a person who came into the narrator's life, bringing nothing but problems. The narrator stuck by them despite it, but they ultimately left without explanation. The narrator seemed to be in love with the person, but is conflicted on whether he wants them back, or can let them go.
Protest Song: Many, mostly from Ten Thousand Fists. Draiman's later said that he no longer sees the meaning of these since they rarely cause an effect.
"It's not very godly for a God to inflict pain and suffering on his people to elicit a response. I would hope that God wouldn't be that petty. But if that's what is happening and you're inflicting pain and suffering to get me to return to the flock, bring it on. There's nothing that you're going to do to me that's going to change my conviction or change my path".
Survivor Guilt: If Remnants is to be interpreted as the last moments of the loved one's life as they died, the narrator's line about "No remnants were ever found of it" probably means that he's the only one who knows about her death.note She's specified as female near the end.
Take That: Never Again has a piece of its chorus directed at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iconic Logo: No where near the level of The Rolling Stones' Tongue & Lip, but the Believe medallion combining the Star of David, the Christian Crucifix, the Pagan Pentagram and Islamic Crescent Moon has become the group's standard image.
Pre-Order Bonus: Those who pre-ordered Indestructible from the band's website got a poster, a VIP for major Disturbed events throughout the year, the song "Run" and the Making-of documentary.
Real Person Fic: Oddly enough, they do exist. Some of them have the band palling around with The Guy.
Record Producer: For the first three albums they worked with the Chicago producer Johnny "K" Karkazis, then went the DIY path from Indestructible onward. The loss of his influence can be felt.
Interestingly, K after parting with Disturbed produced a string of successful albums,note Plain White T's Big Bad World, Staind's The Illusion of Progress, 3 Doors Down's Self-Titled Album and Black Tide's debut Light From Above earning him a Grammy nomination for Producer of the year 2008, same class as Disturbed's nomination for Inside the Fire. Neither won.
Bad To The Bone: Any time the familiar drum opening or staccato howl from Down with the Sickness is heard in a film, something violent is probably going to happen.
Bilingual Bonus: Draiman will sometimes slip Hebrew phrases into some of his works, such as "Tefached" in the bridge of Stupify, and "Elochai / Bury me tonight" in Pain Redefined. These translate to "Be afraid" and "My God" respectively.
Live, they've been known to cover Walk by Pantera whenever the Abbot brothers were nearby. Since the death of Dimebag Darrell, they haven't done it since. Interestingly, the group preformed a cover of Cold Gin by KISS in Darrell's honour when the band organized a benifit show for the Abbot family. They performed Fade to Black by Metallica during MAAW II, and during their underground days they would doTool, Korn and Sevendust covers.
Some covers aren't necessarily Disturbed covers, but more localized to Draiman, such as a when he went to a Steel Panther (at the time, called Metal Skool) concert, and they (in typical Steel Panther fashion) invited him up on-stage to sing Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin. Another event had the cover group Camp Freddy backing him while he sang Man in the Box by Alice in Chains (with Jerry Cantrell).
Dark Age of Supernames: Most songs that aren't Adjective Nouns (Violence Fetish, Ten Thousand Fists, Perfect Insanity, Sacred Lie), The X of Y (Meaning of Life, Sons of Plunder, Land of Confusion), or The Something (The Game, The Night, The Curse, The Infection, The Animal) are likely single word titled. This fits in with Draiman's cryptic lyrical style, so he's generally being very blunt when a song name is a phrase (I'm Alive, Just Stop, Leave It Alone, Never Again, Another Way to Die, Inside the Fire, Pain Redefined, etc.)
Epic Instrumental Opener: Asylum and Remnants, which begins with several serene electronic sounds, moving into a subdued acoustic section which leads into a minute of 80's-inspired guitar euphoria and then after a quiet sustain (and heavy bass galloping) becoming the radio-ready Asylum, a 7-minute, 2-part song (the band's longest to date).
Hidden Track: The band had hoped that their U2 cover would be this, but since iTunes generally splits up hidden tracksnote because then they'd have to sells several songs for the price of one, this was spoiled weeks in advance.
Howl of Sorrow: Draiman's animal noises could be interpreted as this depending on the context. Oddly missing from The Animal.
In The Style Of: All of their covers that aren't by metal or hard rock bands. "Putting our stamp on it" they call it. In Wengren's words:
Interviewer: Do you all weigh in when you cover a song?"
Mike: Absolutely. Its just something thats fun to do. Its like a tension release, really. We spend months at a time focusing on creating new material. Once were comfortable with the bulk of the material and we know that we almost have a record ready, then we will lay back a bit and have some fun, and thats what those covers are. We get to see what we can do with somebody elses song. Its usually a band that we have a lot of respect for and have been heavily influenced by, like Faith No More or Judas Priest, or its a band that we feel has had a great hit from the past and we can try and do a 180 on the song and put our own spin on and not get crucified for it.
Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A 6½. Yes a 6½. It fluctuates here and there, but is always firmly rooted at a half-way point (see the hard rock/heavy metal ambiguity note above).
Mondegreen: The people at Rock Band who charted Indestructible mistook the lyric "Their opponent had to be invincible" for "Their opponents tend to be invincible". They did it again with their chart of "The Animal" in having the lyric be "Ticking bomb in the glimmer of this tainted moonlight" instead of "Taking form in the glimmer".
Mood Whiplash: This is how the band describes the soft, mournful opening and subsequent blast of guitars in Another Way to Die: "Give them a gentle caress on the cheek before smacking them in the face", in their words.
Motor Mouth: Not as fast as some of the other examples, but just try to understand the lyrics to Liberate's opening verse, Fear's vocal bridge, or Meaning of Life's shout segment without reading them beforehand.
Precision F-Strike: The Sickness had prominent cussing nearly the entire track through, then Believe left it out with the exception of one song (Liberate). TTF has only a single swearing song (Sons of Plunder) which is itself a Precision F Strike. Indestructible and Asylum are more balanced, and the swearing that's there isn't as pronounced.
Surprisingly Gentle Song: Two, maybe just one.note Darkness is this, yes, but should Overburdened be considered a Power Ballad or just a straight-forward hard rock stadium song? And even then, does it fit this trope?
Content Warnings: The uncensored version of Inside the Fire opens with Draiman cautioning the audience about the sensitive subject matter, and that the lyrics and imagery in the video might be hard for people with suicidal thoughts to take, ending with him giving the number for the national suicide prevention hotline (since he appears to have done this in his own home, it was probably his personal wish). After the video is over the number comes up again with a notice that the hotline isn't affiliated with the video's producers nor do they endorse its contents.
Cool Car: Since it takes place in a parking garage, The Night has Draiman singing in front of a sweet Lincoln Continental, circa 60's-70's.
In recent videos it seems as if the director Just Doesn't Care, chasing Rule of Scary over the song meanings. One egregious example would be The Animal, which is heavily built around the Indonesian lore of the Pontianak, a kind a Vampire similar to a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl. The song was written primarily from a western perspective in defiance of the Vampire fad (since Draiman has already contributed to that with Forsaken and Devour).
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Many fans theorize that one of the background characters in Land of Confusion is modeled after Zakk Wylde.
Moreover, the five evil world leaders looks suspiciously like their real-world counterparts at the time (Vladimir Putin, Jacques Chirac, Junichiro Koizumi, Tony Blair). Oddly, only the American leader doesn't look particularly like George W. Bush, despite the band not being shy about using his voice clips in Deify (this may just be a cop-out by Todd McFarlane).
Savage Wolves: The wolves in The Animal. They looked intimidating in the first half of the video (especially interwoven with the line "We begin the hunt tonight") until they attempted to kill the band. By the end of the video the entire pack has been domesticated.
The Stinger: The final scene in Asylum has the charred corpse that was once the patient laying in a morgue... only for his eyes to open and stare at the camera (the schizophrenic camera editing remains).
Strapped to an Operating Table: Asylum has both the standard variety and the "wheeled down a hallway" type. The doctors while trying to calm down the patient with cold water to the face, eventually drown him. The beginning also has the "strapped into a chair" variety, but the patient escapes before any of the surgical equipment sprinkled throughout the scene is used.
Surreal Music Video: Asylum edges close to this. Scene depicted from the patient's POV are edited and undercranked to erratically flash with violent imagery. Meanwhile, scenes without the patient are completely clean shots. This could also be considered a way to differentiate between the patient's insanity and reality.