Disturbed’s Visual Journey

Posted on June 4, 2024

Every song tells a story, but in the case of Disturbed, this “story” is more than just a narrative. Instead, it is more like a journey, one that takes fans through a fierce, primal storm of emotions that, as one critic put it “draws us into a realm where light and darkness collide.”

Contributing to this transformative voyage on the winter leg of Disturbed’s “Take Back Your Life” tour, and animating it with a raw, powerful visual dimension that matched the intensity of the music was a stunning show design by Alex Mungal.

Featuring multiple layers of lighting fixtures that projected colors and pixel effects in every direction — and often enveloped the band in brilliant hues – in addition to serving up volcanic eruptions of pyro effects and fog, the production design fused seamlessly with the gripping music to create an overwhelmingly moving all-embracive experience.

Mungal was able to work this magic using a vast array of tools supplied by Premier Global Production of Nashville. “We had so many fun instruments to play with,” he said. “It was great working with the pyro team on arrangements and programming to find moments where lighting would pass off focus to pyro, or everything would come together with automation.”

Playing a key role in Mungal’s visual orchestra were 49 CHAUVET Professional Color STRIKE M motorized strobe-washes. He flew 30 of these fixtures on the automated truss in pairs, and positioned the remaining 19 around the stage to use as back lights.

“The Color STRIKE Ms on the truss helped us create a wider strobe,” he said. “They also made a big contribution to us having pixels everywhere. The rest of the units were great at adding some silhouette looks, as well as creating a punchier look with the CO2 Cryo jets. We used the to get almost a colored fog effect that was really be cohesive with the rest of the rig at the time.

“I’m very thankful that Q Prime’s management gave me this opportunity to create,” continued Mungal. “I’m also grateful for my touring team who greatly supported and elevated my chaotic ideas.”

Drawing on the performance features of his fixtures and his rig’s high trim height, Mungal created what he called “new environments for each song’s story.

“The high trims on static truss helped us shape the canvas and then use that negative space as the playground for automation,” he said. “So, for example for the new single ‘Don’t Tell Me,’ we started with a very low trim to give a very closed in feel, and then grew to a huge chorus as our guest vocalists joined in. This resulted in some very powerful movements and looks — some based on optical illusions to trick your eyes, some inspired from films I watched on the flight to rehearsals, we even emulated Donkey Kong for Stricken. We said Zorro had a role in it, but really it was DK.”

There were many other memorable moments in the show, such as during “The Game,” which Mungal liked for its “sheer chaos.” As he put it: “We made full use of everything we had in the rig. It it’s also the only song in the show that uses every single SFX type we had.’

Then there was Mungal’s personal favorite, the look for “The Vengeful One,” in which a mix of CTO and colour effects combined “to come as close to a brown/beige colour scheme as possible.”

Taken in totality, the 20-song show was a “feast for the senses,” not just of sound, but also of sight.