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Music / Disturbed

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L-R: Moyer, Donegan, Draiman, Wengren.

"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 Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band formed in Chicago in August 1996.

The band's debut album The Sickness, released in 2000, shot them into stardom, produced a number of hit songs (namely "Down with the Sickness"), and earned them a devoted fanbase called the Disturbed1s. The band later 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 in 2003. In 2001, they created their own tour (a small event at the time), the Music as a Weapon (MAAW) tour, its name taken from a lyric in the song "Droppin' Plates". Acts included in the tour throughout its existence included Drowning Pool, Alter Bridge, As I Lay Dying, Chevelle, Flyleaf, Chimaira, Trivium, P.O.D., 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.

After MAAW II's last show in Chicago, they fired bassist Steve "Fuzz" Kmak for "personal differences" that they never fully explained. 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 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 Award 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 album, Asylum, which the band touted as their strongest body of work yet, was released on August 31, 2010, giving the band some of the best critical approval they'd ever seen.

After playing Mayhem and making a number of festival appearancesnote , the band took an extended hiatus in October 2011, 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 Evans Blue, culminating in Fight or Flight, which he invited Wengren to drum for.

On June 20, 2015, a video was posted on the band's official Facebook page, showing their mascot, "the Guy", in cryosleep. Over the next two days, two more videos were released showing him waking up, culminating in the band's announcement on June 23 that their hiatus was over and they would be releasing a new album, titled Immortalized. Almost 3 years later, the band revealed their next album, appropriately titled Evolution, with the single "Are You Ready?", with the album released on October 19, 2018.

Don't expect to nail down the actual genre of Disturbed 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 Alternative 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 five straight-to-#1 albumsnote  in a row on the Billboard 200 (Believe, Ten Thousand Fists, Indestructible, Asylum, Immortalized), the others being Dave Matthews Band (at six releases since Before These Crowded Streets) and Metallica (everything after The Black Album, making for five). However, the streak died with Evolution, keeping their record at five. Disturbed also happen to be the youngest band to do this. In other words, don't underestimate the Disturbed1s.

Related Acts:
  • Brawl (Fuzz, Donegan, and Wengren)
  • Vandal (Fuzz and Donegan)
  • Loudmouth (Donegan)
  • The Union Underground (Moyer)
  • Soak (Moyer)
  • Adrenaline Mob (Moyer)
  • Device (Draiman)
  • Fight or Flight (Donegan, Wengren)
  • Art of Anarchy (Moyer)
  • Operation: Mindcrime (Moyer)
  • Various Chicago heavy metal/hard rock groups

Current Members

  • Dan Donegan - guitars, programming, keyboards (since 1994) (played bass on and did backing vocals on Immortalized)
  • Mike Wengren - drums, percussion, programming (since 1994) (did backing vocals on Immortalized)note 
  • David Draiman - lead vocals (since 1996)
  • John Moyer - bass, backing vocals (since 2005)
Former Members
  • Erich Awalt - lead vocals (1994-1996)
  • Steve "Fuzz" Kmak - bass (1994-2003



  • Meaning Of Life (M.O.L.) (2002)
  • Music as a Weapon II (2003, 2004)note 
  • Indestructible in Germany (2008)
  • Decade Of Disturbed (D.O.D.) (2010)note 

Not to be confused with The Mentally Disturbed or Disturbed Doves.

Tropes relating only to The Sickness, Believe, Ten Thousand Fists, Indestructible, and Asylum can be found on the albums' respective pages.

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Tropes with the Sickness:

    Live Performance 
  • Audience Participation Song: The band likes to modify songs to encourage this trope, such as "Deify" and "Down with the Sickness".
  • Berserk Button: Draiman hates it when audience members refuse to stand up in concert (they don't necessarily have to mosh). In general, he'll call people out for visibly not paying attention, like playing video games during the show. You've been warned.
  • Big Rock Ending: Not uncommon. "Down With the Sickness" will almost inevitably end with one, since it's the closer.
  • Catchphrase: Draiman ends every concert with "Say our name with us now, my brothers, my sisters, my blood", followed by "We Are! Disturbed!" (Audience Participation included).
  • Great Balls of Fire!: Naturally, "Inside the Fire" uses flame pyrotechnics on stages that allow it. There might even be straps of fire raining down from the ceiling over the stage, covering the whole stage with fire.
  • Harsh Vocals: David Draiman sings with a heavy grit that's instantly recognizable. On the other hand, he's also demonstrated great aptitude in clean singing.
  • 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.
  • Large Ham: Draiman; see for yourself.
  • 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.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: One of Draiman's major features during performance.
  • 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!
  • Rousing Speech: Draiman has said that he takes the role of a "rock and roll preacher" when onstage. As such, the band tries to create a vibe of strength. Draiman will frequently include the line "You will leave this building feeling stronger than when you came in!"
  • Shout-Out: To The Silence of the Lambs, multiple times (with occasional lines from The Exorcist popping up): early into their career before performing Stupify, they would play a clip of Buffalo Bill's famous line:
    "It was raining spit, you couldn't avoid it; it was falling on your clothes, on your face; I'd open my mouth up to scream..."
  • 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:
    • Appears in "Stupify," "Numb," "Want," "Sons of Plunder," "Forgiven," "Pain Redefined," "Perfect Insanity," and "Haunted".
    • They like to use this in certain songs that didn't originally contain one.
  • You Are Not Alone:
    • Generally, before "A Reason to Fight," Draiman will ask the audience "How many of you have struggled with the demons of addiction and depression, or know someone who has?" When the audience raises their hands, the intended effect is to cause this in an audience member by showing that they aren't alone in their struggle.
      • Tellingly, all four members of the band also raise their hands at this moment.
    • Since the "Evolution" tour, the phone numbers for the addiction hotline and the suicide prevention hotline will be brought up.

  • Abusive Parents: "Tyrant" is a bitter rant directed at a blame-shifting parent. The song mentions screams and violence and "breaking a family in two" in the past, and in the present, the narrator tries to repair their relationship, to no avail, and wonders if he can ever heal after the abuse.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Subverted with "Who". The narrator was in a happy relationship to begin with, but his partner suddenly fell out of love with him, and he's understandably consumed by grief. Ironically, this track immediately follows their famous love song on its respective album.
  • Angrish: Draiman's wordless vocalizations combined with the delivery and the topics of many songs come off as this.
    • "Prayer": "Take everything awaaay! RAH!"
    • "Asylum": "Release me! RAH!!"
  • Arc Words: "Are You Ready" for the Evolution album. Several songs have a variation of the phrase, either the direct phrase, the polar opposite "You're Not Ready" or the self referential "I'm Not Ready".
  • 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.
  • Badass Boast: Almost every album has one or two.
    • "I'm Alive".
      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!!!
    • "Indestructible" is basically one long boast (a sense of confidence was the intention during the writing process).
      Every broken enemy will know
      That their opponent had to be invincible
      Take a last look around while you're alive
      I'm an indestructible
      Master of war
    • "Warrior": "I am a vessel of invincibility," "Surrender now or be counted \ With the endless masses that I will defeat," "I am a weapon powerful beyond belief," "I never need to question how to defeat you..."
    • Immortalized has the title track and "The Vengeful One".
      I'm the hand of God
      I'm the dark messiah
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: "Never Wrong":
    You want a fight? Be careful what you're wishing for
    So say it again! Push it again!
  • Be Yourself: According to Word of God here, the message behind "Divide" is this: "Instead of going with this trendy notion of trying to always unite and be one, say the hell with it. Be yourself, be an individual. Stand out from the crowd. Make your own mark, make your impact."
  • Byronic Hero: "Divide" and "Stronger On Your Own" give off this vibe, with the narrator being intelligent, passionate, conflicted, determined, cynical, self-destructive, and charismatic.
  • Changing Chorus: "Are You Ready" has the chorus "Are you ready? / They aren't ready for you to be strong (Are you ready?) / They aren't ready for you to prove them wrong (Are you ready?) / They aren't ready for you to be turned into someone who cannot be preyed upon". At the very end of the song, this chorus is immediately repeated, albeit changed to "Are you ready? / They aren't ready for us to be strong (Are you ready?) / They aren't ready for us to prove them wrong (Are you ready?) / Let me know you're ready to be turned into people who cannot be preyed upon" followed by the outro.
  • Children Are Innocent: Showing that Rousseau Was Right, "Who Taught You How To Hate" contrasts the judgmental, aggressive adults with the innocent, unbiased kids who play together paying no mind to their differences.
  • 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)".
    • 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.
  • Crapsack World: Common theme in their music. Examples include:
    • "Down with the Sickness": like an Abusive Parent, "mother society" beats down those who are different until they submit... or snap.
    • In "Prayer," God Is Evil and enjoys making you suffer for no good reason.
      Another dream that will never come true
      Just to compliment your sorrow
      Another life that I've taken from you
      A gift to add on to your pain and suffering
    • "The goddamned world / Of the dead and the lonely" in "Breathe."
    • "A Welcome Burden".
      Gather your psychotic masses and bring them to me
      To a world devoid of sanity
      Another time and another place
      And let the violent ones crave calamity
      Rip away her disguise and you will realize that ya find
      The truth is sickening!
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: "This Moment".
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Indestructible, lyrically. Draiman's string of bad luck inspired much of the work.
    • 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.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • The theme of the chorus to "The Night":
      There can be no better way of knowing
      In a world beyond controlling
      Are you going to deny the savior
      In front of your eyes
      Stare into the night
      Power beyond containing
      Are you going to remain a slave for
      The rest of your life
      Give into the night
    • "The Light" from Immortalized tells the listener that "sometimes darkness can show you the light."
  • Deal with the Devil: "Dehumanized".
    If I offer you my soul, will you carry me away?
  • 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).
    • "Criminal" is about crossing it and turning into a Death Seeker.
      Despair has fallen over me
      No way to hide the agony
      Embracing my calamity
      To save myself once and for all
    • 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.
    • The Light is all about not crossing it, instead saying that if you feel that despair, it may show you a new solution; i.e. the light.
  • Determinator:
    • "Prayer", according to Word of God here, "speaks to the indominable nature of the human spirit, that no matter what life, fate, or God throws at you, you have the strength and wherewithal to get through it."
    • "Indestructible", "I'm Alive".
    • "The Curse". The amount of trauma the Cosmic Plaything has already endured gives him strength to keep going.
      I've held on too long just to let it go now
      Will my inner strength get me through it somehow
      Defying the curse that has taken hold
      Never surrender
      I'll never be overcome!
  • Downer Ending:
    • Just about every song on The Sickness has some hostile outcome, though ambiguous as to whether this is a bad thing.
    • "Inside the Fire" ends with the demon tempting the subject into suicide to be reunited with their lover Devon in Hell.
    • "My Child" ends with the baby the father is expecting comting to terms with the fact their child died in childbirth, and there's nothing they can do about it..
    • Stricken, Overburdened and The Infection are more about the outcome of a Downer Ending.
  • Elemental Motifs:
    • Fire turns up a lot in their lyrics, for anger, burning passion, hell, war, and destruction. On stage, the motif is often underscored with Great Balls of Fire!
      • "Rise":
        Let the flame of my heart
        Burn away
        Your complacence tonight
      • "Inside the Fire." The fire in question is Hell.
      • "You're angered, so am I \ A thousand fires burn" in "Haunted."
      • "Torn":
        And we know there's still a fire inside
        And we know, and we know
        We're gonna let it burn
    • Darkness and shadows. It either contributes to the gloomy atmosphere of their songs or marks Dark Is Not Evil individualists.
  • Fame Through Infamy: "Legion of Monsters" accuses the media of propagating this mindset. By reporting about a caught Serial Killer and putting his name in every headline (never once naming or reporting about his victims outside of a body count), future killers are inspired to emulate his brutality to get their own fifteen minutes of fame.
  • 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 by writing more combat-oriented anthems of death, starting most obviously with Indestructible and This Moment.
  • Grief Song:
    • "Darkness" is a depressive ballad dedicated to David's late grandfather.
    • "Inside the Fire" is about the singer's girlfriend who committed suicide, though the song is sung by a demon who is tempting the listener into doing the same to reunite with her.
    • "Save Our Last Goodbye" is about one of Draiman's friends who had pancreatic cancer and died just after surgery.
      My world is shattered, in disarray
      I'm beaten down, drained emotionally
      They say in time the pain goes away
      But in my soul it will forever stay
    • "Already Gone" is about losing too many loved ones, wishing you had more time, and wondering if you will get to see them in the afterlife.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • "Overburdened".
      I was fighting for a reason
      Holy blessed homicide
      Seems I have committed treason
      All I've sacrificed
    • "Saviour Of Nothing" was a bullying and/or abuse victim in their childhood and now, they constantly find reasons to start a fight.
      Now you've become
      Everything you claim to fight
  • Hot-Blooded: It would be much easier to list the songs that lack heroics, raging insanity, shouting, unstoppable determination, vicious attacks on whatever pissed them off, and overall burning passion.
  • "I Am" Song: Indestructible, Perfect Insanity, Divide, and vaguely I'm Alive.
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: Draiman doesn't approve of this tendency at all.
    • "Legion Of Monsters" is one big rant about how sensationalizing mass shooters/terrorists makes more lunatics wanting their 15 minutes of fame.
    • "The Vengeful One" touches on this topic as well, in the lyrics and in the music video.
      The rabid media plays their role
      Stoking the flames of war to no surprise
      Only too eager to sell their souls
      For the apocalypse must be televised
  • The Juggernaut: The refrain of "Indestructible" sums it up well.
    Every broken enemy will know
    That their opponent had to be invincible
    Take a last look around while you're alive
    I'm an indestructible
    Master of war
  • 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. In "Divide," on the other hand, the narrator wants to be free to be as twisted as he wants to be, revels in other's shock and horror, and says they'll never break him. Stronger on Your Own states that it's better to be alone and content than in a bad relationship just for the sake of being in one.
  • Lighter and Softer: Immortalized is noticably more optimistic than Asylum. While the album still has its share of dark songs, they are balanced by several Pep Talk Songs, Self Empowerment Anthems, a jovial Ode to Intoxication, and a happy love song of all things.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: "Sickened".
    I can't believe that my sanity
    Lies in abandoning you
    Sickened from wanting you
  • Love Martyr: The subject of "Façade", though she had just about enough: "If he raises his hand again / She'll find her freedom in killing him."
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Breathe" is a tranquil tune about stalking a helpless prey and whispering to them while they die.
  • Madness Mantra: "I wanna get psycho" in "Meaning of Life".
  • Malicious Slander: "Innocence", "3".
  • Meaningful Name: 'The Lost Children', a collection of Disturbed's works that the public never saw.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: "3", Based on a True Story.
    What have I done to justify the sentence they gave?
  • Money Song: "No More" tears into those who profit from pointless wars and destruction.
    A distant enemy is threatening our freedom again
    How much would you like to spend?
    Millions are falling in line
    And it's just a matter of time
    Endless destruction will ensure their pockets are lined
    For all time
  • Murder Ballad:
    • "Breathe" is about stalking a helpless prey and whispering to them while they die.
    • "Forgiven". "You're just another dead man living to me. How can you let a dead man live?"
  • Never My Fault:
    • The entire point of "Never Wrong" is calling out people who are unable to accept being wrong.
    • In "Tyrant", both the narrator and his parent used to have this mindset ("Why did both of us have to believe that we were right?"); the narrator has grown out of it and asks the parent to own up as well, with little success.
      And it's like pulling teeth 'cause you'll never confess
  • 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.
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Fire It Up" is about smoking weed. You can tell because it starts with Draiman taking a bong-hit, and the official lyrics video has a ton of marijuana leaves in the background.
  • Ode to Sobriety: "A Reason to Fight" is a slow ballad about overcoming addiction. The music video emphasizes this, with the protagonist losing his kids, wife and home to booze, before symbolically breaking out of a glass bottle and walking towards his house.
  • Parental Blamelessness: "Tyrant" is a bitter rant directed at a blame-shifting Abusive Parent. The narrator admits that he used to be a blame-shifter, too, "Why did both of us have to believe that we were right?" and asks the parent to own up as well, to no avail: "And it's like pulling teeth cause you'll never confess."
  • Pep-Talk Song:
    • "Are You Ready," "Immortalized," "Indestructible," "Warrior..." There's a lot. The band started deliberately invoking it after realizing that a good number of people listen to their music during workouts, leaning into songs designed to make someone feel awesome while listening to them.
    • "The Light" is about coming back from the brink of Despair Event Horizon.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: "Indestructible" and "Warrior".
  • Poor Communication Kills: One of the problems in "Tyrant".
    There's so many things that I wanted to say
    But the love turned to hate we kept pushing away
    And the words that came out turned it into a mess
    And it's like pulling teeth 'cause you'll never confess
  • 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. That didn't stop him from writing "Legion Of Monsters" or "No More."
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Never Wrong" calls out people who refuse to admit their own faults.
  • Reluctant Psycho: In some of their Sanity Slippage Songs.
    • "Voices":
      I can hear the voice but I don’t want to listen
      Strap me down and tell me I’ll be alright
    • "Perfect Insanity" begins like this, then turns into a Mad Hatter song.
    • In "Criminal", the narrator seems to fight his insanity, lose the battle and turn into a Death Seeker.
    • "Hell":
      Save me from wreaking my vengeance upon you
  • Revenge Ballad:
    • Hell.
      Save me from wreaking my vengeance upon you
      All my emotion and all my integrity
      All that you've taken from me
    • "The Vengeful One" and its music video chronicle the arrival of a divine being come to exterminate evil from humanity.
      I'm the hand of God
      I'm the dark messiah
      I'm the vengeful one
  • Rock-Star Song: "Monster" is a subversion. It's more along the lines of a rant about how being a rockstar kind of sucks.
  • Rousseau Was Right: "Who Taught You How To Hate" purports that all prejudice is learned and not inherent.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: They're called Disturbed.
    • "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
    • "Perfect Insanity", duh.
    • "Sickened", of Love Makes You Crazy variety.
    • In "Never Wrong", the narrator snaps after dealing with a blame-shifter for too long.
      Feel the anger coming
      Feel my patience running
      And it’s easy to see
      You’ve made me LOSE MY DAMN MIND!!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: "Never Wrong".
    "I'm not willing to deal with someone who insists that they can never be wrong. So just keep on talking to the wall because I'm walking away!"
  • Self-Empowerment Anthem: Immortalized has a few of these, including "What Are You Waiting For" and "The Light". Evolution continues the theme with "Are You Ready?"
  • Shoo the Dog: "Guarded", though presented critically.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: The chorus in "Legion of Monsters" goes "You made sure the world will remember the name / But didn't the thought even enter your mind" (which goes on to rhyme with "life").
  • Talk to the Hand: Draiman instructs whoever he's ranting at in "Never Wrong" to talk to the wall (because he's walking away).
  • Take That!:
  • The End of the World as We Know It: "The Vengeful One".
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "This Moment": "You hear me, bitch, stop."
  • To Hell and Back: A likely unintentional example of this. If you play "Inside the Fire", "Asylum", "I'm Alive", "Hell", and "This Moment"'', in that order, it essentially tells the story of a man who accepts the devil's offer to go to Hell to be with his recently Driven to Suicide loved one, only to realise the devil tricked him, and he's now trapped alone in there without her. At which point he decides: "Fuck it! TRY and break me!" and precedes to bust out of Hell and kick The Devil's ass!
  • True Companions: References to camaraderie are a common theme. "Rise" and "I'm Alive" shoot to thought.
  • Übermensch: Draiman wrote his final paper on Nietzsche's God Is Dead concept, so this is common in all Disturbed songs. "Divide" is the most obvious example.
  • The Unfettered: "Divide", and "What Are You Waiting For" is about living life without regret.
  • Verbed Title: Extremely common. In fact, you can sum up the entire discography of as Verbed Title, Adjective Noun, The X of Y, or The Something.
  • We Have Ways of Making You Talk: Implied in "3":
    For many hours we were questioned and someone lied
    One of us couldn't take it
  • Welcome to My World: "A Welcome Burden" invites the audience into the Crapsack World that created the pissed-off man singing before you.
  • Witch Hunt: "3" is about a real one for the West Memphis Three, a group of three heavy-metal-loving teens who were charged with killing three young boys. The evidence used to convict them was flimsy at best, with the lyrics to "3" outright saying that it was because they liked metal that they were convicted.note 
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The basic message behind "What Are You Waiting For."
  • You Are Not Alone: The basic message behind "The Light."
  • You Will Not Evade Me: "Run".
    You really don't know how long I've waited for your destruction, I'm telling you you just can't get away.


  • Audience Participation Song: Land of Confusion, Stupify, Ten Thousand Fists.
  • 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.
  • Careful with That Axe: In every second song. Examples include:
    • "Voices". "And do what you are compelled to do... SAVE ME GOD!"
    • "Down with the Sickness." "You've woken up the demon... IN ME!!" and the child abuse segment.
    • "Stupify" rhymes the shouts. "When I feel like I'm shit out of LUCK!!"
    • For most of "The Game," David switches between Creepy Monotone and shouting, back and forth, at the drop of a hat. "Now that I have allowed you TO BEAT ME," "Will she now run for her life now that she LIED TO ME!!" and so on.
    • "Conflict" during the last 30 seconds:
      You tried to tell me you love life / Then find another way to kiiii—OOOOOOWWWWL!!!
    • "The Vengeful One." "So sleep soundly in your beds tonight / For judgement falls upon you at first LIGHT!!"
    • "Never Wrong." "You've made me LOSE MY DAMN MIND!!"
  • Cover Version:
  • 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.)
  • Dramatic Thunder: "Haunted" starts with a roll of thunder which is followed by an ominous bell toll.
  • Evil Laugh: David Draiman has a good one, and he's not afraid to use it.
    • In "Inside the Fire," he plays Satan himself and laughs as he tries to talk his victim into killing themselves.
    • He is Laughing Mad in "Perfect Insanity," and Insane Equals Violent.
    • "Stronger on Your Own" is a downplayed example, an Übermensch song that opens with a smug laugh.
  • 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).
    • The Eye Of The Storm opens the Immortalized album and its title track. It's quite a bit faster and more electronic than Remnants. One Youtube comment even imagined the video to Eye of the Storm being the four band members heading towards a stone monolith of the Guy, before their mere presence activates it and the band rises once again...
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: "Haunted" starts with Dramatic Thunder followed by an ominous bell toll.
  • Hidden Track: The band had hoped that their U2 cover would be this, but since iTunes generally splits up hidden tracksnote , this was spoiled weeks in advance.
  • 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. It's just something that’s fun to do. It's like a tension release, really. We spend months at a time focusing on creating new material. Once we're 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 that’s what those covers are. We get to see what we can do with somebody else's song. It's 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 it's 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.
    • Their cover of The Sound of Silence is pretty much their only conscious effort to avert this. Instead, Draiman uses his cantor training to deliver a chilling, beat-for-beat version of the original.
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Enough" appears to fade out with the tune it'd been following: fast drum beat and bass/guitar riff ending in a power chord. Until at the last second after fully quieting down, the band threw the power chord in at full volume.
  • Laughing Mad:
    • "Inside the Fire" combines it with the Evil Laugh; the character in which the song is being described to is most definitely going insane, but the main narrative is being told by his dead girlfriend whispering over his shoulder (who may or may not be The Devil). In other words, it sounds both crazed and demonic.
    • "Perfect Insanity" and "Asylum" feature deranged laughter, being Sanity Slippage Songs.
  • Loudness War: Asylum has noticeably squashed playback when entered in a sound editor.
  • Melismatic Vocals: Becomes far more and more prominent as Draiman's career progresses.
  • Metal Scream:
    • "Enough" has probably the closest thing to a death growl Draiman will ever get, the other being his scream in Crucified.
    • Their "Living After Midnight" cover has one near the end.
    • "Never Wrong" contains the first shouty scream heard from Draiman in years, almost as if the band decided to revisit their screamy-er days.
    • The "Sound of Silence" cover subverts this, twice — the song starts as a straight Lonely Piano Piece cover, but it intensifies on a very slow burn'', til Draiman's trademark growl has reappeared by the lyrics "And the people bowed and prayed". The last line, like the original, is soft and subdued again.
  • Mood Whiplash: This is how the band describes the soft, mournful opening and the subsequent blast of guitars in "Another Way to Die": "Give them a gentle caress on the cheek before smacking them in the face."
  • Non-Appearing Title: The classic demo-tape/underground recording of "Perfect Insanity" does feature its title throughout, but the Indestructible re-recording drops this.
  • 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.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Frequently, with "Another Way to Die" as a particularly excellent example. Draiman does this a lot with his wordless vocalizations as well: the "RAH!" in the beginning of "Asylum" is six tracks at once. Played live, Moyer has to do his best Draiman impersonation.
  • Self-Plagiarism: The so-ah! noises in Glass Shatters are a rather blatant redux of the noises in Voices. Possibly justified in that Disturbed didn't actually compose the song, simply performing it in their own style without much flexibility.
  • Scatting: The Game's scat section most notably, along with Down With The Sickness and This Moment's more contained screams (yet Draiman swears he was saying "Better Yet!").
  • Soprano and Gravel: David Draiman does both clean and harsh vocals.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Appears in a few songs, like in "Haunted."
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Darkness and The Light, but Overburdened could debatably be considered either a Power Ballad or just a straightforward hard rock stadium song. Sound of Silence is a sombre and powerful cover of the famous Simon and Garfunkel hit with classical instruments, and Don't Tell Me even features Ann Wilson from Heart, who delivers a powerful duet with David at 72!

    Music Videos 
  • Abandoned Hospital: Stricken.
  • Animated Music Video: Land of Confusion, thanks to Todd McFarlane.
    • "Bad Man" uses the AI art generator Midjourney to create a music video consisting entirely of static images played frame by frame. It took 30 days and over 30000 images to create.
  • Bedlam House: Asylum, of course, which includes gratuitous restraint, regular beatings and occasional torture. Parts of it are implied to be a part of the patient's delusion, but based on the more sane perspectives from the doctor's POV, the Asylum isn't that pretty to begin with.
  • Big "NO!": Inside The Fire's opening ends with David screaming "NO!" as he comes home to see that his girlfriend has hung herself.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: The Guy gets his own in 'The Vengeful One'.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A literal example in the video for The Vengeful One.
  • Colossus Climb: The civilians are rallied to do this to the Big Bad in Land of Confusion to bring him down.
  • Compelling Voice: "Inside the Fire" is about a demon trying to tempt the listener into suicide after his girlfriend did the same thing to herself.
  • 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.
  • Cuckoo Nest/Or Was It a Dream?: To depict his insanity, Asylum has the patient throughout the video trying to escape from the asylum, only to be killed every time. After a brief shot of a literal Reset Button, he wakes up in his padded room occasionally finding some reference to his Hallucinations within. This ends with him throwing himself into a furnace thinking he'll end up back in his cell... except this time it was real.
  • Dark Messiah: The Guy is implied to be this for the video to The Vengeful One, however, he is actually not a Dark Messiah, being closer to a Good Is Not Nice/Dark Is Not Evil Anti Heroic character.
  • Disposable Intern: The media-controlled zombies can be seen feasting on an intern's entrails at one point in The Vengeful One (who happens to be named Hope).
  • Dress Rehearsal Video: Stupify, Stricken, Indestructible, Inside the Fire, and The Night.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Land of Confusion contains one...the doll is stepped on by one of the soldiers.
  • Evil Chef: Asylum, when the patient meets him, he grins then tries to catch, cook and serve the poor bastard using a chainsaw. While attempting to escape, the patient knocks into a fridge which opens to reveal chilled human bodyparts. One Gory Discretion Shot later, we're treated to shot of human stew garnished with an eyeball. It was thought to be All Just a Dream, but afterwards the doctors Force Feed him the human soup that was supposed to be him.
  • Exploding Fish Tank: Stupify.
  • Faceless, Gas Mask Mooks: In Land of Confusion.
  • Fat Bastard: The Big Bad of Land of Confusion.
  • Gaia's Lament: Another Way To Die has multiple points dedicated to humans living as they do, then switches to a future that could be.
  • A Glass of Chianti: The Animal, using a bloody example.
  • Happy Ending: "A Reason to Fight" ends with the protagonist breaking out of a glass bottle, walking back towards his house, which has its lights on, a symbolic representation of him breaking his addiction.
  • Helicopter Blender: Happens to the Big Bad of The Vengeful One.
  • Imagine Spot: Voices, to portray the violent thoughts in the subject's head.
  • The Invisible Band: "Another Way To Die". To get the Green Aesop across it depicts a wasteland destroyed by humanity's treatment of the earth interplayed with images of the current earth and things such as oil spills and smoke stacks.
  • Kubrick Stare: In the "Inside The Fire" video, Draiman does a lot of glaring into the camera from beneath his eyebrows.
  • Mega-Corp: Who The Guy ultimately brings down in The Vengeful One.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Draiman throughout the videos. It's hard to find an instance of his on-camera presence in which he isn't doing this.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: "Inside The Fire" has David take his girlfriend's corpse into his bathtub to wash her off, even though she's dead.
  • Music Video Overshadowing:
    • Asylum doesn't have that much to do with the song's meaning (which doesn't talk about a literal asylum). This could also be taken as simply a case of All There in the Linear notes.
    • In recent videos it seems as if the director chases 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).
  • No Escape but Down: Asylum, when the patient is being pursued chooses this.
  • Performance Video: "Down with the Sickness."
  • Police State: Another Way To Die has Oil Company Mercenaries controlling the remaining water supplies while suppressing any kind of agriculture outside of their control.
  • Power Glows: The Guy in Land of Confusion.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Draiman is prone to this in the videos.
    • In Asylum the doctors and staff are often doing this from the patient's perspective.
  • Putting on the Reich: The evil Mega-Corp soldiers in "Land of Confusion."
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Guy in "The Vengeful One" never has his face seen, only showing red eyes through a black hood.
  • 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.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: "The Vengeful One" features The Guy taking out hordes of news media robots and demons with shotgun blasts. At the end of the video, he even blows up two satellites in space with a single shotgun blast each.
  • 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.
  • Talky Bookends: "Inside the Fire" begins with a content warning that the video contains suicidal topics, though some versions remove it. In any case, the video opens with a woman hanging herself, only for her boyfriend to come home after she's dead, letting out a Big "NO!" when he finds her body.
  • Twice-Told Tale: Prayer's video is based on the Book of Job.
  • Unflinching Walk: In Prayer, Draiman strolls through a city among falling debris, explosions and car crashes, Milking the Giant Cow.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: "The Night" ends with the black energy picking up the security guard in this fashion.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Some of the media networks The Guy shuts down in The Vengeful One include TNN, Kox News and BSNBC.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): David Draiman



Disturbed is a four-piece Chicago Alternative Heavy 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, P.O.D., 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.

The song example is "Immortalized."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / AlternativeMetal

Media sources: