Heavy metal band Disturbed came together through the matching of a band with a singer. Longtime friends Dan Donegan (guitar), Mike Wengren (drums), and Fuzz (bass) played together in Chicago for some time before hooking up with singer David Draiman around 1997. Draiman had grown up in a religious family against which he rebelled, being expelled from five boarding schools in his adolescence. His anger found an outlet in the thrashing sound of Disturbed, and the band built up a following on Chicago's South Side before a demo tape led to their signing to Giant Records, which released their debut album, The Sickness, in March 2000. The band gained more fans and exposure playing the main stage of the 2001 Ozzfest, then broke away to do their own self-described "victory lap" around the U.S. that fall. Also during this period, they managed to record a vicious new version of wrestler Steve Austin's theme song that was so good it managed to receive radio play, and they were one of the bands announced to work on a high-profile Faith No More tribute album.
Disturbed stepped into the studio after stepping off of the road and began work on a new disc that would reflect their growth as a band. Feeling experimental, the bandmembers worked with producer Johnny K and mixer Andy Wallace in order to create an album that could compare to other classic metal records they admired. Amplifying their fondness for groups like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Pantera, and Soundgarden, Believe was released in the fall of 2002 and was recognized as a heavier, more varied, and ultimately superior record to their debut, ultimately reaching the top of the Billboard 200. After completing a tour to support the album, Fuzz left the band and was replaced by former Union Underground member John Moyer. The tour document Music as a Weapon II appeared in 2004, followed by the ambitious studio full-length Ten Thousand Fists in September 2005 and Indestructible in 2008. In 2010, Disturbed released their fifth studio album, Asylum.
In July 2011, the bandmembers announced that they would be going on an indefinite hiatus. The Lost Children, a collection of rarities and B-sides, arrived in November of that year. During their time apart, Moyer joined Adrenaline Mob and formed Art of Anarchy (with Scott Weiland as lead singer), Draiman started an industrial metal band called Device, and Donegan and Wengren formed Fight or Flight. After a dinner meeting between Draiman and Donegan in early 2014, the band began hatching plans to return. The duo wrote songs together in the same room for the first time since 2001 and recording sessions were soon booked. Working with producer Kevin Churko in Las Vegas, their next album harked back to a classic heavy metal sound. Immortalized was released in August 2015 and became their fifth consecutive studio album to top the Billboard 200. 2016's Live at Red Rocks concert LP captured the group's August 15 performance at the storied Colorado amphitheater. ~ William Ruhlmann & Bradley Torreano