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Experimentation remains the best catalyst for progression. Rather than sticking to any pre-existing blueprints or conventions, modern hard rock icon David Draiman of Disturbed and studio collaborator Geno Lenardo [ex-Filter] constructed Device from strands of hard rock, industrial, and electronica. As a result, Device’s self-titled debut album for Warner Bros. Records is a focused, fierce, and fiery new machine. With the switch turned on, the next chapter commences now.
While the Grammy Award-nominated multiplatinum powerhouse Disturbed was on hiatus, Lenardo reached out to Draiman to collaborate on a song for the Underworld: Awakening soundtrack in late 2011. As soon as the singer heard the music, he was both intrigued and inspired. The duo then cut “Hunted” in Chicago. Even though the track didn’t ultimately make the final soundtrack album due to circumstances beyond their control, Draiman urged that they hold on to it and continue writing music. Soon, they had an entire album’s worth of material.
“It started to develop very naturally and organically,” recalls the frontman. “Geno is a brilliant songwriter in his own right and a tremendously talented sound designer as far as the electronic palette is concerned. Together, we made this monster. It’s not metal. It’s got a dark electronic vibe. At the same time, these are big, anthemic, and intensely melodic songs. It’s futuristic rock.”
Paving the way for that future, the first single “Villify” stands emblematic of Device’s sonic alchemy. A guttural guitar grinds alongside synths and keys as the vocalist’s unmistakable delivery resounds commandingly.
“It has all of the elements that identify this body of work and band,” he affirms. “It’s an excellent introduction to what Device is. From a lyrical standpoint, it talks about how some people love to make me out to be a horrible guy. They (the haters) brand me as an evil egomaniac with a chip on his shoulder, but that’s not who I am. I’m a pretty easy-going, mild mannered guy, and I’m also a very strong-willed and outspoken individual. I’m very passionate about what I believe, and I don’t apologize for standing behind those beliefs.”
Quite a few friends stand beside him on the record too. On “Out of Line,” Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler conjures a staggering bass groove, while System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian trades vibrant and visceral vocal melodies with the singer. “Tom Morello’s guitar wizardry,” as Draiman puts it, casts a spell over “Opinion,” and Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows dives into the shadowy “Haze” as his inimitable wail resounds. Iconic Deep Purple voice Glenn Hughes also makes a cameo on the record’s haunting and hypnotic finale “Through It All”-a love letter to Draiman’s wife. Meanwhile, Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale teams up with Device for an epic cover of the Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford classic, “Close My Eyes Forever,” which allows both of their voices to reach heavenly heights.
“I took a page from the hip hop guys out there who always have everybody and his mother on their records,” he laughs. “It’s something we’d never done in Disturbed, and I wanted to call on my list of colleagues and friends who are so ridiculously talented and accomplished. I was honored and humbled beyond words that everybody was into it. This hasn’t been done in our genre of music, and it’s time. It’s time for a resurgence of this darker, heavier sound.”
Device undoubtedly stands at the forefront of that resurgence. Upon finishing the record, Lenardo opted to remain a studio collaborator in the project so he could remain free to pursue his other passions/projects, which include film scoring, and spend time at home with his son rather than tour. So in order to bring the album to life and solidify a band in the truest sense of the word, Draiman enlisted Evanescence drummer Will Hunt and Dope and Rock of Ages guitarist Virus. Both Hunt and Virus jumped at the chance to be a part of this powerhouse trio.
“As soon as I heard the music, I thought it was super cutting edge,” Hunt explains. “I knew this was something I wanted to be involved in. It’s going to give people goose bumps whether they hear it on their stereo or live.” Virus echoes that sentiment. “This is an album from start to finish, and it’s meant to be experienced like that. These songs are all strong, and they’ll stay stuck in your head.”
In many ways, the group’s moniker sums up its ultimate goal. “Device does several things,” reveals Draiman. “It implies intelligent design, the utilization of technology, and explosive nature.” Those three statements will most certainly ring true for listeners as well. “This album is about touching different ends of the spectrum,” he smiles. “Some moments are introspective and energizing, while others are mellow and pensive. I want everyone to be taken on an emotional roller coaster. Enjoy the ride.”