Bands use ‘music as a weapon’

It was a warzone.

Shots from the snare rang out in the night as bass and toms pulsed the Izod Center, shaking the ground on which the soldiers stood. Shrill screams of guitar poured from speakers, sending them into a frenzy. The infantrymen dressed in black circled the floor wildly, screaming and flailing in response to their field general’s arrival, the man around which all of this chaos revolved.

Disturbed vocalist David Draiman, dressed in gray, descended from the ceiling of the Izod Center on a massive re-creation of Disturbed’s metallic emblem, his dual labret piercing shining off the spotlight. After welcoming the crowd, Music as a Weapon IV’s headliner opened with an all-too-appropriate piece. “Voices,” the first track off of their debut album, 2000’s “The Sickness,” kicked off last Wednesdays’ performance as Draiman’s finely tuned vocal chords blasted fans with the power they paid to hear.

Fantastic fretwork by guitarist Dan Donegan and bassist John Moyer highlighted Disturbed staples early in the set. Following “Voices,” the foursome stuck to their roots, predominantly playing songs from “The Sickness” as well as their second studio album, “Believe.” “Liberate,” “Prayer,” “Stupify” and “Shout 2000” were fan favorites early but the show reached new heights once the lights dimmed.

A spotlight opened on Donegan plucking away at an acoustic guitar as he and Draiman began a subdued version of “Remember.” Lighters and cell phones alike lit up across the arena before Disturbed kicked the song into its usual octane level midway through.

Fans continued to mosh and move as the band progressed into more recent tunes. “Stricken” off their “Ten Thousand Fists” album and “The Night” of 2008’s “Indestructible” shined in the second half of their set but the stars aligned for fans once Disturbed left the stage.

After several minutes of encore chants, the hard-rock heroes returned to the stage to perform “Indestructible,” their newest album’s title track, but as the lights fell, a final performance would certainly leave the crowd satisfied.

As the drums for their original masterpiece, “Down with the Sickness,” began to surge through the center, Draiman ascended from the center of the crowd on an illuminated platform, rising several stories in the air as he sang his final piece of the night.

Ending the show as they always do, Draiman led the crowd in a chant. “My brothers, my sisters, my blood. We are! Disturbed!” he exclaimed.

Metalcore titans Killswitch Engage opened for Disturbed and did not disappoint as their mix of deep screams and clean lyrics left the crowd wanting more after a relatively short set. Vocalist Howard Jones orchestrated a “Wall of Death” as the group performed songs from their two most recent albums, “Daylight Dies” and “The End of Heartache.” They also played a new song off of their self-titled album to be released June 30.

Preceding KsE was Italy’s most successful gothic metal band, Lacuna Coil. The dual vocals of Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro wowed the crowd, preparing them for the bigger acts to come.

Chimaira, a metalcore group from Cleveland, opened Music as a Weapon IV with their brand of heavy vocals and throbbing guitar riffs. The crowd pent up with energy showed the band a good time during their relatively short performance.

A day of standing in cold rain showers as second-stage metal bands played on throughout the April afternoon was well worth the wait as the Izod Center’s main stage housed a performance not soon forgotten. Disturbed showed thousands of metal heads what their music can do: inspire, invigorate and most important, induce countless devil horns to immerge from the darkness.

Bobby Olivier can be reached at