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Story and photos by Phil BonyataChicago natives Disturbed have been riding their rather large wave of success from 2000's The Sickness with no apparent fear of ever falling off. They have a successful formula and they're damn well sticking to it. Lead singer David Draiman has seemed to have lost a step or two as of late. He doesn't stomp the stage, like a menacing goose stepper, as he once did so effectively. But his voice still carries all his anger while lifting the heavy lyrics from potential parody to evocative caricature. With his signature "yelp" very much intact.
Opening the set with "Perfect Insanity" from last year's Indestructible the band played strong, but got lost in the lack of tempo changes. "Voices" from The Sickness came out of the gate with muscles fully flexed. Guitarist Dan Donegan shook his head violently while shredding the chords apart - note by note. "Haunted" also from Indestructible, a viscerally heavy dirge, built it's climax in the middle while the beginning and end bookended it beautifully. Other songs of note were "Land of Confusion," the ever-explosive "Stupify" and "Just Stop."
Drummer Mike Wengren and bassist John Moyer laid down a foundation that's blistering and even bigger on bombast. The capacity crowd at The Eagles Ballroom seemed to have forgotten it's 2009 and body surfed into a constant flow of 1990's cliche. Closing with their signature song "Down With the Sickness" Draiman and company never seem to lose the imaginative catchiness and raw aggression inherent in the song.
Disturbed have carved out a special niche in the nu-metal genre with it's bone-crunching guitars, pissed-off lyrics and anthemic music. They have the talent and creativity to break out of their protective shell, but do they have the confidence of possibly alienating old fans while gaining new ones?
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