Back in 2000, in the year of ye olde nü-metal, a fledgling Disturbed carried on one of metal's oldest traditions: self-seriousness, bordering on self-parody. Rather than trying to be street like everybody else, singer Dave Draiman and flanks proffered master's degrees and philosophical pomp. On the new Ten Thousand Fists, the Chicago quartet comes closer to a traditional metal album than have any of its existing peers. The amazing CB-radio squelch effect that Draiman goads from his throat is now background noise to his low-pitched operatics, more old-fashioned metal war cry than hardcore shout. And except for a Faith No More-ish cover of Genesis' "Land of Confusion," the techno sheen of previous albums is relegated strictly to atmospheric song intros, in favor of thrifty riffery and Teutonic melody, as Draiman waxes theatrical on war and religion. In true metal form, the title track is either enthralled by fascism, or warning against it. Either way you read it, a line like "You will remember the night you were struck by the sight of ten thousand fists in the air" seems a lot less silly, and more frightening, than it would have five years ago.


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