Subscribe to Mixdown Magazine


disturbed online copy.jpg

The crowd at a Disturbed show is incredibly varied, but all brought together by the love of the band. And then …Disturbed went away. For the past four years the band had been on a hiatus. Not just any hiatus but the dreaded ‘indefinite hiatus’ that sometimes means ‘Yeah, we’re never getting back together.’ And then …Disturbed came back.


Suddenly one night on Twitter and Facebook they announced that something was happening, and the very next day they hit us with news of Immortilized, their new album due August 21, and the video for the first single, “The Vengeful One.” It’s no mean feat to write, record, mix and master an album in complete radio blackout in 2015. So …how?


“We didn’t want to speak too soon,” guitarist Dan Donegan says. “We’d already made the fans wait and we didn’t want to talk publically about ‘Now we’re writing,’ and then they have to wait some more. We didn’t want to do that to them. We wanted to not put a deadline on it, not put a time frame, really take our time, talk to a couple of producers and work outside of Chicago for the first time. So if we’d spoken about it the fans might get excited but then they’d have to wait for it for another year and a half. It didn’t seem like that would be the right thing to do. So we turned into ninjas for quite some time there, because we somehow pulled off what seemed to be impossible. The thing that could destroy this secret was social media, and instead of running from that we used it to our advantage in terms of making sure that even though we were in Vegas for almost four months recording, me and Mike spent as much time as we could flying back home on the weekends and we would make sure we would go on Facebook and post stuff from home: ‘I’m with my kids at a football game,’ or Mike had a baptism for his newborn son. So any time people would be suspicious and say ‘I think they might be recording,’ people would come to our defence and say ‘I don’t think they are because I just saw Dan on Friday night and I saw Mike last weekend.’ It worked to our advantage that we posted as much as we could when we were home but never posted stuff when we were in Vegas.”


The band met with a number of producers before deciding on Kevin Churko, who has manned the boards for the likes of Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Papa Roach and Ozzy Osbourne.


“We met with some of the best guys out there,” Donegan says. “We got along with all of them but we went to Vegas and met Kevin Churko. The guy is very creative and we had a chemistry immediately. It just felt natural being in a room with him. He was Mutt Lange’s right-hand-man and he’s done a wide range of artists. He’s a young enough guy to have that hunger factor of really going for it and making sure that he’s delivering as a producer.”


Donegan’s guitar rig for the album was centred on his signature Schecter guitars.


“That’s a great guitar. I’ve been playing those for quite a few years now. I’m using the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop El Diablo in the bridge and the JB in the neck. Schecter has a new line of pickups too, so I’ve been trying those in some of my guitars. Now that we’re getting into rehearsals, I’m going to try incorporating some of the Schecter pickups in to the set and see how they go. I’ve been using the El Diablo for quite a few years now, probably since around 2003. I’ve always had those in my guitars and they’ll always still be part of my setup at least in some of my guitars. And I was using the Kemper pro­filer in the studio, which was the ­ first time for me using that. They’re great heads and you can basically pro­file any past tones of anything you want. I want my tone from the Sickness album you can pro­file that tone and store it. But I dialled in a new tone with this one and it was just great. And a few effects I used on the album: wah pedal a few times [including Jim Dunlop’s Dimebag Darrell model], the DigiTech Whammy Pedal DT, and a combination of a few pedals here and there depending on what the song called for. I used an E-Bow on a couple of songs too. It was really fun to get into that. I’ve gone through so many Whammy pedals. I had the black Whammy II pedal and then I moved on to the red Whammy pedal before moving up to the Whammy DT. I’m gonna try incorporating the Kemper on the road now that I’ve had such a great, experience but lately I’ve been using a Bogner Ecstasy head and an Egnater Armageddon, and I have a separate fly rig with a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx that I can throw on a plane and go. It’s been great but now that I’ve experienced the Kemper in the studio I definitely want to incorporate that somehow.” 


Immortalized is out August 21 via Warner Music