DISTURBED performed their new single, “Unstoppable”, live for the first time on Saturday night (September 24) at the Riff Fest at Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan
“Unstoppable” appears on DISTURBED‘s upcoming eighth studio album, “Divisive“, which arrives on November 18 via Reprise.
DISTURBED singer David Draiman says about “Divisive“: “Partisan tribal warfare has become a part of our regular existence nowadays. It’s one big battle of the cliques. The whole idea of the record is to be a wakeup call for everyone. Our society has become addicted to outrage. Music is the best cure for what ails us though. If only everyone reached out and used it. There’s no better environment to forget about all of this shit than live music. We can be together and realize we have more in common than not. Recognize what’s happening and let’s make a change for the better.”
Guitarist Dan Donegan added: “Whatever it takes, we’ve got to pull it together. We’ve always tried to take negative topics and spin them in a positive light. From touring around the world, we’ve seen the power of music as the universal language to bring everyone together from all walks of life. We can still play songs to unite people, and it’s a pretty powerful feeling.”
“Unstoppable” storms out of the gate on a jackhammer guitar riff, pummeling drums, and the band’s signature staccato vocal phrasing in lockstep with a pulsating rhythm. This barrage crashes into a skyscraping stadium-ready refrain, “There’s no escape. I am unstoppable.” The accompanying lyric video seamlessly translates this frenetic anthem into fiery on-screen action befitting of the track’s uncontainable momentum.
Draiman elaborated: “‘Unstoppable’ is definitely one of the heavier tracks on the record. The groove builds into a bombastic animal. It’s truly the fight song.”
“We always have a big rock anthem on every album,” Donegan commented. “We love to write empowering songs for motivation. We’re avid sports fans, and that’s definitely part of it. It’s an in-your-face track, for sure.”
“Divisive” pulls no punches as a precise, pummeling, and powerful hard rock opus. Over the last year, the quartet cut these ten tracks with producer Drew Fulk (MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, HIGHLY SUSPECT) in Nashville, Tennessee. After Donegan shared initial ideas with the rest of the group, they locked in like never before with the groove as the backbone. Drummer Mike Wengren bolted down some of the strongest and boldest rhythms of their career punctuated by John Moyer‘s punchy bass. Together, the musicians collectively conjured the focus and fire of their seminal early output augmented by airtight songcraft and a heightened level of musical chemistry that could only be forged by years of writing and touring together.
As a result, “Divisive” finds DISTURBED at their most dynamic, defiant, and dangerous. Breaking ground, it also notably marks the first time the band included a guest feature on an album, boasting the epic emotionally charged duet “Don’t Tell Me” with HEART‘s Ann Wilson. Meanwhile, the likes of “Bad Man” and “Divisive” rank amongst the band’s heaviest material. At the same time, they infuse the likes of “Won’t Back Down” with uplifting melodies.
DISTURBED initially set the stage for the record with “Hey You“, which came out in July. The song spread like wildfire across airwaves, emerging as their 15th No. 1 single at rock radio. At the same time, it has already gathered 10 million-plus streams and counting, only increasing anticipation for “Divisive“.
The DISTURBED members subconsciously rallied around a shared vision for what would become “Divisive“. After a period of dormancy in the midst of the global pandemic, the group finally congregated in early 2022. Dealing with the same frustrations for nearly two years, the guys followed a collective muse without question.
“We wanted to get heavy again,” exclaimed Dan. “We’ll always be melodic, but there’s more attitude now. We’re showcasing David’s animalistic side again. It touches on our early days with modern elements.”
David added: “After 25 years, we’ve begun to anticipate each other’s direction. We were all hankering to get back to chunky goodness,” he laughed.
In order to do so, the band tapped Fulk as producer. With members based around the country, they chose Nashville to record, cutting ten tracks in spring 2022.
“Once we finally did get in a room together, it felt so good,” Dan recalled. “It was nice to get the ball rolling and have that outlet in the studio again. Throughout our lives, music has been our therapy — as it is for most people.”
Fittingly, the group kicked off this phase with the opener “Hey You“. Powered by menacing electronics, a bone-crushing riff, and undeniable chorus, it marked their 15th No. 1 hit at radio, completing their quickest rise to the top and setting the tone for what was to come.
“It’s the quintessential rallying cry,” noted David. “It’s like, ‘Hey you, do you realize what you’re doing? Do you see you’re your own worst enemy? How are we making mountains out of mole hills everywhere we go and looking for enemies where there are none?’ It was the perfect way to start.”
Then, there’s “Bad Man“. Ominous string orchestration echoes around a jagged riff as the verses snake into an incisively infectious chant. Pressing down on the whammy pedal, Dan rips a screeching cinematic guitar lead rife with razor-sharp shredding.
“From a lyrical perspective, says David. “There’s no shortage of evil maniacs on the planet who take advantage of their positions of power and have unchecked narcissism and egomania that fuels their decisions though. There was damn sure plenty of inspiration in current world events.”
On “Don’t Tell Me“, DISTURBED joins forces with none other than Wilson for an epic duet. In two decades, it breaks ground as the first-ever guest collaboration on a DISTURBED record. Clean guitar soundtracks the story of a long-term relationship in the middle of its last gasp. David and Ann engage in a call-and-response before locking into a skyscraping harmony as the solo reaches for the heavens.
“It was very personal to me,” admitted Dan. “I was going through my divorce, and I wanted to touch on the fact I was in a very long marriage to a wonderful woman. She’s a great mother to my kids. We were together for 18 years. Even though the marriage was in a tough spot, it was hard to leg go, because we’d invested so much into each other. I felt like listeners could relate to it.”
“In my humble opinion, I think Ann is probably the greatest female rock voice of all time,” David stated. “She’s untouchable. We had connected on Twitter, and I sent her the song. She agreed to jump on it, and it was humbling to work with her. She was totally pro. Her vocals are mind-blowing. It was a gift. Out of ten tracks, we needed to take at least one left turn,” he smiled.
The album reaches its cathartic conclusion with a final knockout blow on “Won’t Back Down“. As the guitars toss and turn, the chorus assures, “I won’t back down from this fight.”
They’ve never backed down though. Instead, DISTURBED has dominated hard rock on its own terms. Thus far, they have notched five consecutive No. 1 debuts on the Billboard 200, occupying rarified air alongside METALLICA — the only other hard rock group to accomplish this feat. Since their influential five-times-platinum debut “The Sickness” in 2000, they have built a bulletproof catalog highlighted by a procession of smashes, including the platinum “Stupify”, “Inside The Fire” and “Land Of Confusion“, two-times-platinum “Stricken“, six-times-platinum “Down With The Sickness” and seven-times-platinum “The Sound Of Silence“, to name a few. The latter notably received a Grammy Award nomination in the category of “Best Rock Performance” as the band earned “Best Rock Artist” at the 2017 iHeartRadioMusic Awards.
In the end, DISTURBED still wields the power to unite.
“We have a lot left in us,” concluded Dan. “I know for certain I’m not done. We’re always going to need an outlet for our personal sanity. I feel inspired every time we do a record. We bring the best out of one another. I’m just excited for what the future holds.”
David left off: “When audiences hear the album, I hope the reaction is, ‘After the last three years, this is exactly what I wanted to get out the frustration, anger, and addiction to outrage’. There are better ways. I hope you use it as an outlet and a means of exorcising the demons once again.”