by Paul Gargano
August 2000

Disturbed on the cover of Maximum Ink in August 2000

Disturbed on the cover of Maximum Ink in August 2000

It takes all musical shapes and styles to fill out an OZZfest lineup, and this summer’s run is no exception—The hip-hop stylings of Tommy Lee’s post Mötley Crüe/Methods of Mayhem bounce into the industrial-metal synchopations of Static-X, which clamor into the hard rocking depths of Godsmack . And then there’s the full-on metal bombast of Pantera.

If you have the stamina, that offers a hell of a day at the mainstage, but this is America in the year 2000. In an age of instant gratification, why settle for four bands when there’s a band on the sidestage that offers everything each of those bands has to offer, and more. That’s big talk about a band that’s not even halfway to a gold record (selling 500,000 copies) with their Giant Records debut The Sickness, especially when comparing them to four bands that have sold more than 10.0 million albums between them. But Disturbed are that good. Quite honestly, they’re even better…

Hailing from the Windy City, the quartet aren’t the only ones to claim they’re Disturbed. They say their fans are Disturbed , as well. Hell, to hear them tell it, the whole world is Disturbed, and frontman David Draiman, guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist Fuzz and drummer/programmer Mike Wengren are there to provide the mind-numbing soundtrack. Numbing, because not since Tool has a band rose from the American music scene with such an adept ability to cross genres and blend styles so seamlessly.

Draiman slices “The Game” with vocals so sharp they could cut glass, on the album’s title track, “Down With The Sickness,” he punches through with vocals that blur the lines between Korn frontman Jonathan Davis’ purging intensity and Fred Durst’s ability to connect with an audience like no other, only to rip it up a track later on “Violence Fetish” for results that smack with the flair of Faith No More frontman Mike Patton. Consider him the first of a new breed of vocalists, armed with a voice that can run the aural gamut from the Maynard Keenan school of the mysteriously opaque on “Numb,” to the sinister phantom lord barks of “Conflict.” Draiman delivers with the power, threads his vocals with an acute precision, and tightly weaves the two with a dramatic flair that lives up to his Disturbed billing.

But for all of Draiman ‘s strengths, his biggest is his band, a jarring juxtaposition of hard rock’s most melodic sensibilities and heavy metal’s bruising capabilities, entrenching the listener in a vacuum of energy waiting to be tapped. China isn’t the only thing breaking the silence on “Dropping Plates,” with Wengren’s sticks steadily popping atop the music and paving the way for an unrelenting bass drum. The drummer programs a path for Donegan’s steady string assault and the steady crunch of Fuzz on bass on closer “Meaning of Life,” but it may very well be “Want” that captures the band at their collective best— Donegan bends his strings, bass and drums steadily provide a backbeat that starts infectiously, and builds into an addiction, and Draiman’s vocals cascading over the results as if he’s leading the charge of this millennium’s answer to Black Sabbath.

By the time the band turn Tears For Fears revolutionary “Shout” into an anthem for a new generation, there’s nothing left to do but join the ranks and file of the Disturbed masses. Weigh the options, and you’re left with only one—Admit that you, too, are Disturbed, or wait for the Disturbed to consume you…

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CD: The Sickness Record Label: Giant Records / Wea
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