By the time Disturbed releases its third album in September, three years will have elapsed since 2002's "Believe,” which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200.

By the time Disturbed releases its third album in September, three years will have elapsed since 2002's "Believe,” which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200. And while the band hasn't radically altered its sound for "Ten Thousand Fists," tentatively due Sept. 20 via Warner Bros., vocalist David Draiman says the album is its strongest work to date.

"It seems to fuse the brutality and darkness of [the 2000 debut] 'The Sickness' with the added melodic nature and complexity of 'Believe,'" he tells Billboard.com. "It's more aggressive than the last record, and at times, more aggressive than the first one."

“Believe” has sold 1.6 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while “The Sickness” has moved 3.4 million to date.

There are some new twists on the album like guitar solos, which appear for the first time in the band's career. "I'm very proud of [guitarist Dan Donegan], and we'd been pushing him to come out with his chops and show the world what he can do on the guitar," Draiman says. "He's emerged as one of the truly great guitar players in the rock genre." Draiman adds that he pushes the limits of his vocal range, "trying to pull off some more Rob Halford-esque stuff."

Current events shape much of the lyrical content of the new album. From the George W. Bush sample that opens "Deify" to the chorus of "Sacred Lie" ("Don't you know the war is far from over now, what a stumbling block we've fallen over now, as our brothers die defending no one, the war is far from over"), "Ten Thousand Fists" is, according to Draiman, "the most blatantly politically charged record of the three."

"There's also a song called 'Forgiven' about the victim of a soldier who's already forgiven the soldier for killing him because he knows his killer is next in line to die," Draiman continues. "'Overburdened' is about a soldier standing in line waiting to pass through the gates of hell, and he's in line with all these other soldiers that died in the course of battle, and they're all wondering why they got there." Even a cover of Genesis' "Land of Confusion" echoes the political undertone of the 1987 original.

Another topic the band addresses is the current climate of music. "'Sons of Plunder' is about the whole trend of these bands that all sound exactly like one another that all the labels seem to keep snapping up," Draiman says. "No one is identifiable anymore. Not by their look, not by their sound, not by anything. It's just another band wearing suits, another band wearing ties. I yearn for the days of frontmen that sang like men, not little boys that were backhanded too much."

As far as where the band stands among its contemporaries, Draiman distances Disturbed from the metal scene from whence it came. "I don't even know that we necessarily belong within 'metal' anymore," he says. "Any metal that we identify ourselves with is old-school. Today's metal is very different. It's the second stage of Ozzfest, and it's a place we no longer fit.

"Lamb of God, Atreyu, Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage are very talented, and there's a lot of talent and rhythmic quality to what a lot of these vocalists are doing, and a lot of creativity and lyricism going on," he continues. "But to me, songs in general need to have powerful, compelling, engaging melodies, and not just a rhythmic, aggressive, animal-like vocal, which believe me, I drop into from time to time. You don't see bands like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden, or even Pantera, nowadays.

Before "Ten Thousand Fists" hits stores, fans will have heard three of its tracks. While not an official single, "Guarded" was released to U.S. rock and metal stations this week, and will also be included on a sampler distributed at this summer's Ozzfest. The song features several tempos, starting out aggressive, giving way to a half-time chorus and a melodic bridge. The band's fully promoted first single, "Stricken," will hit radio at the end of July. The title track, which starts out sounding vaguely Middle-Eastern, will be featured in the Electronic Arts football video game "Madden 2006."

Disturbed will spend much of the rest of this year and next on the road. The group will begin a six-week tour the first week of August and in November, will headline the Jaegermeister tour, which will be limited to House of Blues venues, with multiple nights at each stop. Following that, Disturbed will top the bill on the third Music As a Weapon tour.

Here is the track list for "Ten Thousand Fists":

"Ten Thousand Fists"
"Just Stop"
"Guarded"
"Deify"
"Stricken"
"I'm Alive"
"Sons of Plunder"
"Overburdened"
"Decadence"
"Forgiven"
"Land of Confusion"
"Sacred Lie"
"Pain Redefined"
"Avarice"