David Draiman's track by track guide to Disturbed's new album Evolution

(Image credit: Travis Shinn)

Disturbed are back with new album Evolution, and they’re a changed band. Following the success of The Sound Of Silence cover on 2015’s Immortalized, they’ve written a bunch of ballads, and David Draiman has even removed his chin piercings. There are still some arena-ready bangers, though. The lyrics cover everything from the effects of social media, to addiction, to death. “All of these songs are pretty blatant,” David tells us. “There’s not a lot of cryptic writing going on – it’s pretty black and white.” We got him to explain them anyway.

Are You Ready

“This is kind of self-explanatory. The powers that be thrive on division and weakness. And it’s just a call to arms. It’s encouraging people to not allow themselves to be prey. That when you’re strong – even just projecting strong feelings, conveying strength – it discourages the predator. You wanna scare a bear away, you stand your ground. It’s not encouraging a civil war, it’s a revolution in thought. A revolution in how you perceive yourself. People are glued to the next headline because they’re scared to death, and to have the world live in fear makes life easier for those who are looking to control you. It’s anything. It’s family, it’s government; it doesn’t have to be any one entity in particular. You yourself as the individual have been subjugated for too long and you do not need to feel that way.”

No More

“Again, the powers of this world are always trying to justify another reason for us killing each other. There’s always someone we have to fear, there’s always another battle we have to go and fight, and they continue to profit off it. So it’s just encouraging people to see through the narrative. And it’s a narrative that is not unique to any one country on this planet. There are fear-mongers everywhere, and there’s a massive machine out there, whose wheels continue to turn over the bodies of the innocent. What I was writing about was not respective to any specific administration or period of time, this is something that has been going on since the beginning of time.”

A Reason To Fight

“It’s about anybody that’s ever had anybody in their life that has been an addict – and I’ve been an addict – who you wish wasn’t, or you’re trying to help. People don’t realise the despair and hopelessness that is involved with someone who is in a fight that they really don’t feel they have a chance of winning. Addiction has claimed so many of my friends and colleagues. And oftentimes bringing an end to it, via suicide or any other means, intentional or otherwise, is a way out, and they don’t have enough of an inspiration to keep fighting. So realistically, I wrote this about the same scenario I wrote about on Inside The Fire. My ex that I wrote about in the song wasn’t the only person in my life I’ve had to deal with in that situation. I’m hoping that people can hear it and realise that someone understands, and hopefully it’s a means of encouragement for them to keep fighting.”

In Another Time

“This is speaking about our ridiculous addiction to social media and technology. ‘In another time when we weren’t so blind, when the world was more than what we see online, when we actually lived instead of watching life’. People almost define themselves by what they are on social media. They define their worth sometimes by social media, which is absolutely ridiculous. They define the quality of life experiences by how they’re depicted on it. We’re so stuck on our goddamn phones, we’re not paying enough attention to our children playing right in front of us. And I’m as much of a sinner in that respect as anyone. And it’s tough because it’s so accessible, and you almost feel helpless if you don’t have this steady stream of information. But it’s another addiction that we need to try and free ourselves from. Because I do fondly remember a period of time when this just simply didn’t exist, and I think things were a lot simpler back then.”

Stronger On Your Own

“It’s funny. Danny [Donegan, guitarist] wanted to write a song for strip clubs, haha, and stylistically we tried to make it sludgy and sexy and whatever, and Kevin [Churko, producer] came up with that beat that Danny wrote the riff to. So one of the things that I always found unfortunate, men, women – it’s not sexually specific – is when people define themselves by their partner, or by other people that they’re surrounded with. I’m a big believer in the notion you need to be comfortable in your own skin, and sometimes being dependent on others can be a detriment. Some people love the whole process of falling in and out of love. They become so accustomed to it that when you reach that level of stability and comfort it feels like something is wrong. Thankfully I grew out of it, and now I have the most amazing women in the world as my wife – I’m very, very lucky.”

Hold On To Memories

“There are a couple of tracks on this record that I can’t listen to without becoming emotional, to the point of holding back tears. Have you ever seen the movie Coco? The concept within the movie is based on the old Mexican tradition of the Day Of The Dead. So what do they do during the Day Of The Dead? They light candles to remember their loved ones, and the theology behind it is that as long as your loved ones are remembered, their souls remain intact in the afterlife. And if you don’t remember them, they disappear. We’ve lost so many people lately. Chester [Bennington] hit me hard, Chris [Cornell] was bad too, but Vinnie [Paul] was worst. In addition, I lost my grandmother this past year. And the more people you lose, the more you start thinking about your own mortality. It drags you down, but it’s important to recognise that as long as you keep their memory with you, a piece of them is still alive.”

Savior Of Nothing

“People love pretending that they know everything about everything, don’t they. We live in a world full of people that are so eager to marry themselves to a cause, one that they believe in so strongly, that they lose sight of it. You preach for tolerance so much that you become intolerant. You’re part of one side or the other, and there’s not grey area in between. And that’s absolute bullshit. I’m a big believer in the old Wiccan rede of, ‘Do what you will and harm ye none’. And I think that as long as whatever somebody else is doing in their respective lives doesn’t hurt me or the ones that I love, and doesn’t hurt an innocent, then I’m not one to judge. People are addicted to being offended and angry, and it’s a sickness. Something that the wonderful world of social media is helping to perpetuate, on a level that has never been seen before in the history of humankind. It’s nuts.”

Watch You Burn

“The typical story of what you learn as you come up in this business of being an entertainer. They make you all the promises in the world, and you end up learning the harsh realities of it later down the line. I was a lot more wary than most. But you know, you think people are going to be team players all the time, you think people are genuinely out for your good and to try and fulfil you, when they’re really out for themselves. People’s interest in you lasts for as you’re profitable for them sometimes. It’s a big problem with what the business has become. There isn’t enough investment in individuals in our world to get them to the next level sometimes. Not just in terms of money, in terms of energy, in terms of time, in terms of belief. They’re very quick to use you up and throw you away.”

Best Ones Lie

“Some of the best narratives are absolute bullshit. Some of the best people, whether you’re a politician – or, with all due respect, a journalist – or whether you’re anyone that likes to stir the pot, some of the people that accomplish the most, unfortunately, are the best liars on the face of the planet. They’ve gotten very, very good about it, and they spin their bullshit in such a way that is so convincing that you’re inclined to believe it. But this is speaking from the perspective of a person that doesn’t believe anybody anymore. 'God damn maybe I am a little terrified. Now I really don’t know what to believe, we watch the world die while they keep telling us there’s nothing to fear, so now it’s crippling me. But, the world keeps turning and all people do is complain, they love the drama.' Again, it’s part of that sickness that I talked about. People are just addicted.”

Already Gone

“It’s about being tired of celebrating death. Too much of it. Wishing you had more time, shocked that they left so soon, wondering if the mythology and the theology is correct and you will get to see them again. I theoretically believe in an afterlife. I do believe we have a soul, I believe the soul has energy. I’m a big believer in the concept of the first movement. Energy are particles set in motion. But who set the particles in motion. What entity. What force. Whatever you wanna call it, god or anything else. If the soul has energy and those are particles set in motion, after they’ve been divorced from the physical shell, they should continue to be in motion. The energy shouldn’t go away. Where does it go? Who the fuck knows. That’s a big thing that I always find so ridiculous – people feel you have to choose faith or choose science, and that’s not necessarily the case.”

Disturbed's new album Evolution is out October 19 and available to pre-order now.

Eleanor Goodman
Editor, Metal Hammer

Eleanor was promoted to the role of Editor at Metal Hammer magazine after over seven years with the company, having previously served as Deputy Editor and Features Editor. Prior to joining Metal Hammer, El spent three years as Production Editor at Kerrang! and four years as Production Editor and Deputy Editor at Bizarre. She has also written for the likes of Classic Rock, Prog, Rock Sound and Visit London amongst others, and was a regular presenter on the Metal Hammer Podcast.