Picture of Disturbed

Ten Thousand Fists

Disturbed - Ten Thousand Fists ©2005 Reprise
1. Ten Thousand Fists
2. Just Stop
3. Guarded
4. Deify
5. Stricken
6. I'm Alive
7. Sons of Plunder
8. Overburdened
9. Decadence
10. Forgiven
11. Land of Confusion
12. Sacred Lie
13. Pain Redefined
14. Avarice

Disturbed's third album, Ten Thousand Fists, is one of those unfortunate albums that starts off strong but fades quickly, leaving the listener to wonder, "Did I hit repeat by mistake?" by the fourth track and by the fourteenth track to question whether the world wasn't a better place when LP and cassette tape lengths limited artists to ten songs per album.

The problem is that Disturbed's general approach to songwriting is simple: 4/4 rhythm, compact and highly syncopated riffing to match the bass drum line, barked yet carefully enunciated verses, and tuneful, vibrato-laden choruses with hooky key changes. Judging by the number of times the band employs these same basic tricks, they could spit out another slab of anthemic nu-metal ear candy--if you haven't heard the band's songs, think Pantera-lite, laid down with an ear toward gaining radio play--like "Ten Thousand Fists" in their sleep and may well have recorded half the album while dozing. Ironically, the lyric to one of their own songs, "Sons of Plunder", which criticizes soundalike bands, encapsulates the problem with their own album: "a bit too much just like the old sound / already heard it for the hundredth time." Disturbed have definitely found their own sound…but they're ripping themselves off with every song they write.

That being said, Ten Thousand Fists contains two outstanding tracks that deserve special attention. First off, the album's first song (its title track) is a plain ol' good time that blasts past in anthemic rabble-rousing style, kind of a "We Will Rock You" for the 2000s. I'm willing to bet the band uses it as a concert-opener, and if they don't, I'm gonna track them down and slap them upside the head. Twice. The second track of note is Disturbed's cover of Genesis' 1986 hit "Land of Confusion". I'm not going to claim that Disturbed do the song better than the original…but jeez…it's tempting. The rage inherent in the lyrics (at last, 23 years later, I now understand the biting humor of Ronald Reagan in a Superman costume, and why it was so fitting) comes out much more clearly in Disturbed's version than the relatively subdued Genesis original.

Ten Thousand Fists is both invigorating and played with enthusiasm, but as with any competently played but essentially derivative music, it wears out its welcome. In short, it ain't bad, but you're probably better off waiting for a best-of collection.

Review by Jonathan Arnett

Review date: 06/2009

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