Disturbed don’t wear hooded robes, play in tricky time signatures, or treat metal like conceptual art. They’re unlikely to soundtrack a Matthew Barney movie, or get profiled in The New York Times. They just make confoundingly solid albums while the spotlight’s elsewhere. Their 2002 release Believe was a more thoughtful, more passionate, and better post–9-11 record than The Rising, but no mere nu-metal act was gonna wrench our national trauma from Il Bruce’s grasp. This time out, they’re coping with a diffuse metal scene: post-emo screechers here, doomy art-wankers there, the death-grind ghetto over there. A band that wants to see a sea of hands out there is practically impossible to contextualize in a cultural landscape like 2005’s. But Ten Thousand Fists combines the KMFDM crunch of 2000’s The Sickness with Believe‘s moody power-metal majesty in an unabashed move to rock America’s arenas. David Draiman doesn’t shriek or vomit—he sings. The guitarist and drummer are an airtight team, and the session bassist capably underpins the guitar solos that are a welcome new addition to the band’s sound. Program out the cover of “Land of Confusion” and you’ve got the best mainstream metal release since Judas Priest’s Angel of Retribution.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 8, 2005