Ten Thousand Fists

Studio Album by released in 2005

Ten Thousand Fists review

Disturbed’s ambitious studio full-length Ten Thousand Fists

Heavy metal band Disturbed came together through the matching of a band with a singer. Long-time friends Dan Donegan (guitar), Mike Wengren (drums), and Fuzz (bass) played together in Chicago for some time before hooking up with singer David Draiman around 1997. Draiman had grown up in a religious family from which he rebelled, being expelled from five boarding schools in his adolescence. His anger found an outlet in the thrashing sound of Disturbed, and the band built up a following on Chicago's South Side before a demo tape led to their signing to Giant Records, which released their debut album, The Sickness, in March 2000. Amplifying their fondness for groups like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Pantera, and Soundgarden, Believe was released in the fall of 2002 and was recognized as a heavier, more varied, and ultimately superior record to their debut. The ambitious studio full-length Ten Thousand Fists appeared in 2005. After a triple-platinum debut and platinum follow-up, Disturbed fuses the brutality and darkness of The Sickness with the added melodic nature and complexity of Believe for album number three. Aggressive, relentless and intense-yet at the same time transcendent, Ten Thousand Fists is a rock sledgehammer.

Journey through politics, rejection and outright anger

The album’s opener, 10,000 Fists, will have those proverbial fists in the air as drummer Mike Wengren and guitarist Dan Donegan commence the festivities with The Sickness-style riff. Once singer David Draiman kicks in with his distinctly authoritative pipes, you know it’s on. From here it is a journey through politics, rejection and, at times, outright anger. The band shines brightest in the record's early moments, where Deify, Guarded, Just Stop, and Stricken demonstrate that this unit's capable of discovering a song's subtleties and crafting radio-ready choruses meant to uplift the souls of disenfranchised subdivision dwellers. The lead single, Guarded begins with a strong, propulsive, jackhammer riff, but the beat then turns to bobbing riffs with staccato vocals, and the song climaxes with a melodic chorus. Some clean singing and a guitar solo are also slipped into the mix. Wengren is, when you really dissect the band’s sound, the beating heart, and adds immeasurably to the feel of every song. New bassist John Moyer steps in with command and shines on several songs, namely the cryptic opening to Overburdened. Other album highlights include the very angry and aggressive Decadence, Forgiven, and the crunchy, almost explosive riffs on Sacred Life.

Disturbed has become increasingly more musically complex

All of the elements of the signature Disturbed sound are still here: Draiman's unique vocals, Dan Donegan's guitar tone and stuttering riffs, and Mike Wengren's tom-heavy drumming. For those concerned about the change in the lineup, there isn't a severe difference between the bass writing/playing of former bassist Fuzz and new bassist John Moyer (formerly of the Union Underground). But Ten Thousand Fists certainly shows some growth and "evolution" for the band. There are more guitar solos, showing off the talent of Dan Donegan, while David Draiman's vocals have matured a great deal, lapsing from discordant and growling into mellow and melodic rather seamlessly. Furthermore, it seems as though Disturbed has become increasingly more musically complex over the years. Ten Thousand Fists ultimately reminds us that Disturbed refuse to relent in their journey toward greatness. This is their most polished effort to date, lyrically and musically.