The sky-bound dirt clods rudely ripped from the Blossom lawn at OzzFest last summer were an even greater sign of the success of Chicago metallers Disturbed than the band's double-platinum album is. It's one thing to move units; it's another to move people. And that's precisely what Disturbed did on that day, inflaming the crowd to such an extent that it tore the turf to shreds, then rained the sod down on the unfortunate souls in the pavilion. More than any other band on the bill, Disturbed touched a nerve -- scratch that; its members did jumping jacks on a nerve, in steel-toed workboots -- and it wasn't hard to hear why.
While so many neo-metallers are preoccupied with asserting their manhood while paradoxically bitching about their very existence -- doesn't being a man imply some control over one's life? -- Disturbed players neither pound their chests nor snivel about how they didn't get to go outside enough when they were kids. Instead, they pointedly test their audience's temerity. On the current leg of their never-ending road stint in support of their self-titled debut -- a jaunt that's spanned more than 18 months -- they precede their set with video footage that lives up to their moniker. Including such scenes as Saddam Hussein gassing his own people and images of the Holocaust set against other atrocities, the tape is intended to question knee-jerk nationalism. It's a far cry from the reactionary "God Bless America!" fist-pumping that so many other metal bands have resorted to, in the wake of the recent tragedies, and further proof that Disturbed is almost as dangerous to the metal status quo as it is to fairways.