By Britt Andrews
With 2015 marking the 5th year of Disturbed’s hiatus, many were left wondering if there would ever be a reunion. Then all of a sudden, their brutal new single The Vengeful One dropped, and we were told that a new album named Immortalized was due within a month. Guitarist Dan Donegan told Heavy that it was kept secret during production to relieve pressure of expectation, and kept secret post production to surprise the fans as a reward for their ongoing support.
“We wanted to make sure that we were committed to jumping back into this and doing it for the right reasons. We wanted to take our time… and we felt that we owed the fans a bit of a gift and a surprise for them being so loyal to us and being patient. To wait 5 years between albums and 4 years between tours is a lot, and we are very fortunate and appreciative of their loyalty to us.”
Apart from the obvious difficulties of keeping the media off their scent, Dan talks about the issues with whom to keep in the loop in his family.
“I didn’t tell my father in law. I think he thought my marriage was in trouble because I wasn’t around for some big family events and they were wondering where I was at. So there was some explaining to do, but they mostly understood after the secret came out!”
While the album could have been produced online, with each member staying in their home state and collaborating from a distance, Dan asserts that they needed to be together as a band to write this album. “The real chemistry in gelling as a band happens when we are in a room together. We worked on these ideas in person together like a band should.”
With social media being a threat to the secrecy of their album, Dan made sure he returned home on weekends and for short vacations, to post photos of him and his kids, to keep people from being suspicious. “It definitely worked in our favour. We did a little bit of magic and sleight of hand, and pulled off some ninja moves to fight our way through and keep them off the scent of what we were really up to!”
Disturbed’s new album features one of their most unconventional songs to date: a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence. “I wanted to push ourselves into a different area, show some growth, show a different side to Disturbed…have a song where David’s vocals go in a lower register and find a great melody and progression for him to really be vulnerable vocally.”
In the four years since Disturbed last toured together, they have all had major changes in their life, including singer David getting married and having his first child. But does this change the dynamic in the band for better or worse, and was there any writer’s block coming off such a long hiatus? “Now we have more to talk about than just the music. So it brought the brotherhood closer together. Once the ideas were coming out we didn’t miss a beat. We were back on the horse and it just felt right again. There was such openness. Without anyone’s egos being bruised we were able to make suggestions to each other and we would be take those suggestions and try them.”
Immortalized debuted at #1, meaning that Disturbed have now had 5 consecutive albums debut at #1. There are only two other bands to achieve this, Metallica and Dave Matthews Band. For Dan, this fact “blows his mind” and just shows the power and influence of the rock community in a time where pop culture is dominated by hip-hop. “This is the fans buying the album because they believe in what we are doing and they connect with what we are doing. For me this is a statement being made by the rock community, a nice reminder to the world that there is a big rock community of fans that are loyal and committed to the bands that they love. We are just very lucky that we have the greatest fans out there who give us this life.”
When asked about an Australian tour in the mix, we got some good news. “I don’t care if I have to jump in a row boat and row all the way there to get play in 2016. I can guarantee at some point in 2016 we will be back there.”
Immortalized is out now via Warner Music.