DisturbedTen Thousand Fists
by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter

11/2005


         



Track listing
1.
10,000 Fists
2.
Just Stop
3.
Guarded
4.
Deify
5.
Stricken
6.
I'm Alive
7.
Son of a Plunder
8.
Overburdened
9.
Decadance
10.
Forgiven
11.
  Land of Confusion
12.
  Sacred Life
13.
  Pain Redefined
14.
  Avarice

Label: Reprise/Wea
Release Date:
September 20, 2005

Overall rating: 8

 

   

Upon hearing the band's name, legions of metalheads around the globe begin to clamor for open space in which to thrash about. It's the same type of response that Iron Maiden and Metallica got from the metal community in the mid-80's; that "this-is-the-real-deal-and-they-kick-ass" reaction. But Disturbed is fairly new on the scene, and arguably, unproven to some. With their debut, "The Sickness," they showed that they could be a huge force on the metal scene. With their follow-up disc, "Believe," they became that huge force, capitalizing on their talents with great commercial success. But that's only two records. How would the band fare with their third attempt? Can they remain strong and consistently produce classic metal songs like the metal giants before them?

With "Ten Thousand Fists" they have added yet another jewel in the metal crown that they are now the sole owners of. This is a record that finds the band returning to all the things they do best. The true grit, classic heavy metal grind that made their approach so appealing, is back with a vengeance here. The sound that guitarist Dan Donegan achieves with his instrument is becoming legendary. That solid wall of chords that forms layers of punishing ground for vocalist David Draiman to prowl around on is just downright delicious. And what might even be more exciting than Draiman's vocal talent, is the idea that the band writes near perfect song melodies that seem customized to fit his style. And of course, let's face it, Draiman is what gives this band its forceful, distinctive sound. Sounding like a man-size housecat trying to spit up a steel wool hairball has been his trademark from the very beginning, and this release reinforces his abilities even more. His technique and adaptability is at the root of virtually every great Disturbed track. He is a singer that has a natural instinct for the song. Screaming and screeching at the ideal times, while crooning and bellowing beautifully when the song calls for it also. This is a near perfect performance from vocalist David Draiman.

We have a great band to play great metal songs, but what exactly do they have to say? I must tell you, I usually don't give the lyrics too much thought. As long as it's not anything ridiculous, and the words fit into the melody well, I keep my feelings of what the artist wants to say at bay. This stuff is so strong lyrically though, I must draw some attention to the prose used here. Perhaps the most politically controversial song of the Bush-era is on this disc. "Deify" starts with a short Bush snippet, and develops into an angry and rebellious march that addresses the frightening idea of the American public making our President a god. The lyrics are as follows: "It seems so clear now what I must do / you're no immortal I won't let them / deify you / they view you as the new messiah / deify you / renew belief in some demented man." All of this sung and played with the utmost intensity and passion, of course. The other overtly obvious political statement comes by way of a song called "Avarice," where Draiman sings: "Politics and evil / all one and the same / Satan hides behind a different name."

But it's not only the current political situations that the band sings of here. With the brilliant and penetrating "Sons Of Plunder," the band slams the music world's latest fads. "You say you've found yourself a new sound / the shit's loaded and ready to go / a bit too much just like the old sound / already heard it for the hundredth time." They go onto say, "One hundred more all have the same sound / running around with all the sheep that you know / 'it's so sublime they're breaking new ground' / 'they're sure to have another hit this time' / come on, can't you just leave it alone / it doesn't have any soul / just find a thing of your own / and stop pretending to know." And, of course, there is the rousing lyrical uprising of the title track, "You will remember the night you were struck by the sight of / Ten thousand fists in the air / power unrestrained / dead on the mark / is what we will deliver tonight." Man, if that ain't an opening song I don't know what is. It's all about the power and the passion, and this band knows it all too well.

Who does a straight forward metal band like this choose to cover in the midst of all their musical fury? Well, on their debut it was 80's pop act Tears For Fears, so the idea of covering a Genesis track shouldn't surprise any existing fans. They chose to cover "Land Of Confusion," which seems to fit the evident political attitude of the band. They don't change the track a whole lot, but they still find success in making it their own. Again, power and passion make it all happen for these guys. They put some guitar muscle behind the song, while Draiman's vocals are perfectly tempered so as to not sound absurd. A challenging but beautifully done cover song is the end product.

While most of these songs make you want to scream and shout, and ultimately join those "ten thousand fists" that are already in the air, there are a few songs that sit at the just-slightly-above-average level. "Pain Redefined," "Avarice," and the power ballad "Overburdened" are better songs than most bands best stuff, but they sound somewhat flat here. Where almost every other track gives us a "catch phrase" or a memorable hook of some kind, these songs offer little in that way. Hardly anything to complain about though, I assure you.

Disturbed was at a crossroads here. Could they put out three classic metal albums in a row? Well, they have; and they have proven that intensity, soul, power, and passion are the most essential elements of the genre.

 
       


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