Review: ‘Disturbed’

In an era when down-tuned, scruffy, brutal "nu" metal dominates, Disturbed emerges as a <I>true</I> metal band for the new millennium, with drama, precise production, melodic, memorable songs and provocative between-song rants never interfering with the ardent rock attack.

In an era when down-tuned, scruffy, brutal “nu” metal dominates, Disturbed emerges as a true metal band for the new millennium, with drama, precise production, melodic, memorable songs and provocative between-song rants never interfering with the ardent rock attack. Vocalist David Draiman is a messianic metal leader commanding the stage with an intelligent, almost political fervor, baiting the audience: “This is not your TV set at home. This is a heavy metal concert. Let me see your devil horns in the sky!” Not without irony but with total conviction, Draiman and company, who masterminded the “Music as a Weapon Tour” franchise, go techno on “The Game,” anthem-oriented with “Prayer,” mid-tempo and hypnotic with “Awaken” — and incite audience madness with act’s breakthrough single “Down With the Sickness.”

Draiman claims band’s concert is “the largest group therapy session you’ve ever attended,” and — bolstered by Dan Donegan’s distinct guitar riffs — Disturbed’s zealous metal and sociopolitical interludes are justifiably worshipped by fans.

While openers Taproot, Chevelle and Unloco, handpicked by Disturbed for the second edition of Music as a Weapon, provided a cohesive bill, none matched the conviction or presence of Disturbed.

Taproot, which on record sounds like a mix between 311 and Alice in Chains, is moody, and even Zeppelin-esque on the memorable “Breathe.” Discrete vocals and layered songs like the radio-ready “Poem” prove Taproot is a young, serious — if ultra-energetic — band with promise.

Chevelle, a rough-and-tumble power trio, is a bit more garagey, but possessed of commercial potential. Boasting sufficient horsepower for a small band, singer-guitarist Pete Loeffler’s manic energy and Chevelle’s brawny attack on the dynamic and tuneful “Send the Pain Below” proved first-rate.

Disturbed

The Wiltern; 2,000 capacity; $38.50 top

Production

Presented by JVC/KROQ. Reviewed April 14, 2003.

Cast

Band: David Draiman, Dan Donegan, Fuzz, Mike Wengren.
Also appearing: Taproot, Chevelle, Unloco.
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