Dan Donegan Breaks Down Disturbed’s New Album ‘Divisive’ Piece By Piece

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Disturbedthe new LP, Divide (released Friday, November 18), is a great occasion for the heavy-metal institution. It is their eighth feature film overall and their first since 2018. Evolutionmarking the second-longest gap between albums in Disturbed’s entire 20-plus-year career.

To celebrate his release, founding guitarist Dan Donegan gave us a track-by-track breakdown of the 10 songs on Divide. From opening on lyrical topics and inspirations to revealing inside information about how the tracks came together in the studio, read Donegan’s stories about each song below.

Video of Disturbed – Hey You [Official Music Video]

1. “Hi you”

In the fall of 2021 we did a handful of shows and had the day off in Fort Myers, Florida. We came to work with our friend Dave Fortman, who produced a lot of big albums with Evanescence, Slipknot and Godsmack. I said, “Let’s find a cool groove…and let me improvise.” Almost instantly the riff came out… I started looping it, we got locked into the drums and David [Draiman] started scattering to a melody. “Hey you” was a natural reaction, the first two words that came out of his mouth, and it sounded like a big hook.

Video of Disturbed – Bad Man [Official Music Video]

2. “Bad Man”

Another improvised moment. when we [went] in Nashville to record, I was so inspired to be back in the room with new producer Drew Fulk. I said, “Throw me an aggressive, direct rhythm, just behind the wheel.” I wrote the riff and we ran with it. It’s so syncopated and David [started] scapping the melody and these two words came out: “Bad man”, which were kind of inspired by the world events that were happening and in his mind.

Video of Disturbed – Divide [Official Lyric Video]

3. “Civic”

“Dividing” [focuses] primarily about those in power who pit us against each other and the division that creates. We’ve descended into this social media hate and attack hole – it’s become kind of an addiction for people. [This] it is us who wake up and try to find common ground. Rock shows and music do it for us; it is therapeutic. It makes you forget those differences and realize that we have a lot more in common than what we allow each other.

Video of Unstoppable

4. “Unstoppable”

The riff is right in your face and the tempo makes you want to put your foot on the gas pedal and fly down the highway. For every album, we want a great fight anthem. And that’s what “Unstoppable” is for this album. It gives you this powerful feeling, like a bit invincible and unstoppable. We always like to try to have these uplifting and encouraging songs.

Video of Disturbed – Love to Hate [Official Audio]

5. “Love to Hate”

“Love to Hate” continues the theme of division. We just like to hate and attack each other. So many of us are guilty of this. But… we also try to spin things in a positive way. It’s supposed to be the United States and obviously we haven’t felt so united the last few years. But instead of complaining, [let’s] try to step back and recognize that we are better than that.

Video of Disturbed – Feeding the Fire [Official Audio]

6. “Feeding the Fire”

With streaming, a lot of people go to Spotify and don’t listen to an album like we did when we were kids: putting it from the first song to the last. But for those fans who are still listening [in] sequenced order, “Feeding the Fire” feels like a good bridge between “Unstoppable” and “Love to Hate.” It’s still a heavy riff but with a bit more vibe, which [leads] in “Don’t Tell Me”, the powerful ballad that follows.

Video for Disturbed – Don’t Tell Me (featuring Ann Wilson) [Official Audio]

7. “Don’t Tell Me” Feat. Anne Wilson

Few years ago [Heart singer] Ann Wilson tweeted that she was inspired by Disturbed’s “The Sound of Silence.” …I’m like, Oh my God, she knows who we are! David and Ann had spoken via social media…and he reached out. She replied that she would love to sing this duet. I remember sitting in the control room watching it with David working on the harmonies, like “Wow”. I felt like a little child. It was such a cool moment to have a legend like her be a part of it.

Video of Disturbed – Take Back Your Life [Official Audio]

8. “Take Back Your Life”

Being from Chicago, we were big fans of Ministry and that 90s industrial scene. Early in our career, I was experimenting [with] a sequencer, trying stuff… that ended up in songs like “Stupify” and “The Game” by The Sickness. That was a big reason why this time I sought out Drew Fulk, because I really loved what he did electronically and brought that modern vibe to our signature guitar riffs, syncopated drums, and animal David . It was cool to have him lend ideas to certain electronic elements, like the beginning of “Take Back Your Life”.

Video of Disturbed – Part of Me [Official Audio]

9. “Part of Me”

I got this opening riff when we were in Fort Myers with Dave Fortman, and I sat on it for a while. This main riff is simple and catchy, but still has a sort of industrial vibe to it. I remember writing that bridge part: I knew I wanted that longer build-up in the final chorus. It was all improvised at the time.

Video for Disturbed – Won’t Back Down [Official Audio]

10. “Won’t Back Down”

We wrote this in a small bedroom in Dave Fortman’s condo. We were all crammed in there. Mike [Wengren], our drummer, played on a small electronic drum kit. I grabbed a guitar [off] the wall and David was playing melodies. It was like the old school days when buddies got together and improvised. This is another fight song that is melodic at times and has those live [sing-along ready] moments with these songs. This track seemed like a good way to end the album


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