rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Hey You
02. Bad Man
03. Divisive
04. Unstoppable
05. Love To Hate
06. Feeding The Fire
07. Don’t Tell Me (feat. Ann Wilson)
08. Take Back Your Life
09. Part Of Me
10. Won’t Back Down

As one of rock radio's most enduring bands, it's seemingly impossible for DISTURBED to crank an album out that doesn't feature at least a handful of chart-toppers. The Chicago-bred hard rock band's eighth full-length record, "Divisive", has already scored DISTURBED their 15th No. 1 single at rock radio with the anthemic "Hey You". Listening to the rest of "Divisive", one finds at least a handful of other potential hits, all following that carefully crafted DISTURBED formula of sharp, fast riffing, pulsating rhythms and choppy, fiery vocals.

If it's melodic hard rock that you desire with a touch of heavy, "Divisive" is likely up your alley. The album kicks off with "Hey You", a song the band calls a "wake-up call" about what's gone on in the world the past few years. Next up are "Bad Man" and the album's title track, both true fist-pumpers with that classic DISTURBED bite. Continuing on, "Unstoppable" harkens back to early DISTURBED songs such as "Down With The Sickness" and "Stupify", embracing a heavily rhythmic sound and Draiman's angsty, staccato-like vocals. Actually, many of the songs on "Divisive", such as "Love To Hate" to "Part Of Me", have a retro DISTURBED style that could make the listener wonder if they were written during the recording sessions for 2000's "The Sickness" or 2002's "Believe".

While DISTURBED have built a name and reputation in the rock community for their hard rock anthems, the guys have also broken into the mainstream with their ballads; notably, their cover of SIMON & GARFUNKEL's "The Sound Of Silence". That said, one would expect a bevy of ballads on "Divisive", but the album is more focused on ragers. Thankfully, the album's main ballad is a solid one in the romantic "Don't Tell Me", featuring rock royalty Ann Wilson of HEART contributing a soaring guest vocal.

The album closes with "Won't Back Down", an energetic, explosive hard rock assault that convinces the listener there is plenty of DISTURBED ahead. The song features DISTURBED's popular combination of rhythmic-centric verses and melodic choruses. Chants of "hey, hey," in the bridge add some flavor to the track, as does the addition of Draiman's famed "Wahhhh" vocal, aka "Down With The Sickness" style. Oh, how fans missed it, right?

The only downside of "Divisive" is that some songs sound similar. But, then again, that's DISTURBED. They have a distinctive, identifiable sound, even if it's a song unfamiliar to the listener. DISTURBED may not be changing much as the years progress, but as the saying goes: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." "Divisive" has enough of a modern presentation to attract newer DISTURBED fans along with those trademark sounds that should keep the band's core base with them for years to come.

Author: Anne Erickson
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