Same ol' same ol'
Disturbed blasted onto the nu-metal scene with their awesome debut 'The Sickness' in 2000, following it up two years later with the lacklustre 'Believe' in 2002. This suggested Disturbed didn't have the longevity required to survive in the fickle world of rock, so 'Ten Thousand Fists' can be considered a make or break album for the quartet.
Due to their association with the nu-metal scene, Disturbed's third album has been scoffed at in certain metal media circles. This is down to the scene dying a death a few years ago, and any bands still chocking out three minute shallow blast-a-thons are ridiculed unless they managed to change with the current musical climates. Listening to 'Ten Thousand Fists' you understand why they have gotten such a reaction because it's Disturbed churning out the same old stuff they covered on their debut.
The title track opens this long player and it's pure Disturbed. The production is faultless, the guitars and bass growl, the drums pound and David Draiman's vocals sound as fierce as ever albeit slightly layered. His trademark oohs, ahhs, urghs and gurgles are all over this disc and for me add that distinctness to their sound. 'Just Stop' carries on the metal feast and is another fist thumper but is a little too familiar, sounding similar to their previous efforts. It's time for some double bass drum antics with the excellent 'Guarded' and by 'Deify' you start to wonder what all the bad press was for. 'Stricken' is another good song but nothing too special however it shows Disturbed trying to spread their wings by incorporating a guitar solo. (Wooo went the crowd)
Adding the odd lead break isn't enough to update Disturbed's style of song writing, they tend to stick to the same nu-metal formula that soon gets tiresome. The middle of this disc illustrates this perfectly as all the songs start to mesh because quite frankly, they all sound very much alike. 'I'm Alive', 'Sons of Plunder', 'Decadence' and 'Forgiven' aren't particularly bad songs, just very formulaic, very samey and almost at the similar speeds. The problem with writing thirteen original songs in this way is you need thirteen great ideas to go with them. Disturbed fall short of this by at least half. The first four tracks are great then it's a mixed bag that will bore you into submission at times. It would have been nice to have a couple of fast tracks, a song that stomps or even a ten minute epic just to show there's more to Disturbed than the one trick pony syndrome.
After the appalling Genesis cover 'Land of Confusion', 'Sacred Lie' picks up the standard off the floor. 'Pain Redefined' comes across as Risk era 'Megadeth' and has a great chorus let down by a dreadful down the scale verse vocal melody. Last track 'Avarice' leaves the listener with a nice reminder of how good Disturbed can be when they're on top of their game. The riffing is slightly different to their usual style which is why it stands out from all the rest. Pick out the best tracks from this album and their last CD 'Believe' and you'll probably get the perfect Disturbed album. As it stands at the moment they have released two average albums on the trot. Perhaps it was the record company telling them to write exactly the same album they've done before, or maybe after selling millions of albums they said to themselves 'If it ain't broke why fix it'? This is all well and good but every band has to evolve, some faster than others, but Disturbed seem to have stayed stagnant for one album too many. Don't get me wrong, this album rocks in places and reminds you why their debut was so good but I worry for their future. I feel next time they need to dig deep into their creative souls to offer something different and challenging for the listener. Disturbed, probably playing on an American rock radio right this minute.