Sound — 8
Disturbed has really taken nothing but steps up since The Sickness. Ten Thousand Fists retains the melodic awareness of Believe, the band's second album, while bringing back some of the brute force that attracted fans to the first album. The sound has more of a hard-rock edge to it than their other stuff. Thankfully, guitarist Dan Donegan made the choice to add some pretty cool guitar solos on a few songs (Stricken, Overburdened, Forgiven, Land Of Confusion, Avarice). While he's no Petrucci, at least we can finally hear that Donegan is a cut above msot other nu metal guitarists in that he can create melodic and aggressive solos, new bassist John Moyer also, in my opinion, tops Fuzz in terms of ability to create intricate lines that stand out in the mix. Mike Wengren has never been my favorite drummer, but his playing has noticeably since The Sickness. Lastly, David Draiman showcases his impressive pipes on many songs by using his ability to sound intense and angry and also sound melodic and thoughtful. He can hit some very high notes and not sound like he's girly (like Geddy Lee, although I like Rush) or straining overly (like Scott Stapp). The best and worst: 01. Ten Thousand Fists - this is a good album opener, beginning with what sounds like a sitar and electronics. The drums and bass slowly come in, and then the album explodes into full gear with Draiman's Rob-Halford esque scream, "Survival!" This song is more or less a call to fight, and in that sense, it's a bit cliche, but Draiman stil makes it interesting by using interesting rhymes and word choices. Nothing special instrumentally here, but Draiman sings well on this track. A weakness is that it sounds almost too much like "Voices" from The Sickness 8/10. 02. Just Stop - this isn't one of the better songs on the album. I really couldn't tell what the lyrics are about, and the instruments don't shine either 6/10. 03. Guarded - the first radio single off of this album, Guarded is dark and heavy. It's nothing special as a whole, but for some reason is has an air about it that's a bit darker than most of the songs on the album. The band gets somewhat adventurous with a half-time verse and interesting lyrics/vocal patterns. Dan Donegan should've put a solo on this track, I think, but his rhythm playing still shines here. The litel breakdown after the second verse that starts "You were bold and strong and ready..." is pretty badass 8/10. 04. Stricken - easily the best song on the album. A straight-up hard rock tune with great lyrics. It's catchy and the band doesn't get cought up in trying to sound menacing or dark. Donegan throws in a pretty wicked solo, using a lot of different techniques (bends, hammer-ons and pull-offs, slides) and finally exploding into fast legato lines at the end. Solid tune 9/10. 05. I'm Alive - a somewhat progressive song, mostly in 6/4 but with some odd time changes in the main riff (channeling "Remember" from Believe). This song gives an aura of some kind of triumph or happiness, with the realization that "The thing I treasure most in life cannot be taken away." I liked the drums in this one, and the weird solo-ish bridge is interesting to listen to 8/10. 06. Overburdened - a great ballad. Mike Wengren delivers a melodic bass intro, reminiscent of the beginning of Metallica's "My Friend Of Misery." The guitar and drums burst in, and then Draiman starts the verse with some very heartfelt singing. It's about a soldier standing in line at the gates of Hell, which is kind of an odd topic for a power ballad, but it's a cool song. A slower (but still cool) solo with more melody rounds out this track 8.5/10. 07. Decadence - nothing to samile about. The lyrics are bland, a bit annoying, and repetitive, and Draiman's singing isn't very good either. No solo, no instrumental, no cool lines, no nothing. A disappointment after the last track 4/10. 08. Land Of Confusion - a Genesis cover? Sounds like an odd choice, but this song is actually one of the coolest ones on the disc. It's upbeat and catchy, and the instruments all play interesting parts. Draiman's singing is great, and Phil Collins' lyrics are also pretty cool (it was a step up from "Sussudio"... LOL). Another great solo, albeit too short, is on this track. A much better cover than "Shout 2000" 8.5/10.
Lyrics — 8
Draiman's lyrics are great and aware. He doesn't focus on "F--k you! Pain! Aaagh!" like on The Sickness, and the lyrics aren't as obscure as some on believe (like Devour and Remember). The trademark "Ah - Ah- Ah - Ah!" animal noises could be used more sparingly, but they don't get too annoying. Draiman has a great rock voice.
Overall Impression — 9
It's by far Disturbed's best album. Standout songs are "Guarded," "Stricken", "I'm Alive," "Overburdened" and "Land of Confusion." I like the hard-rock edge they showed here. I don't hate anything about the album, but there are too many weak tracks. If it were stolen, then I wouldn't care, because I uploaded it onto my computer. It's a good, solid rock album, and definitely one of 2005's best. I hope that in the future, Disturbed continues to step up their game.