Rock Regeneration – Review of ‘Divide/Restore’ – 06/01/2015

“Following on from the success of debut LP “Disasters: Ways to Leave A Scene” Broken Links unleash a powerhouse of a follow up in the shape of “Divide Restore”. Opener “Submission” begins with fuzzy electric guitars before a dark vocal. Strong drums sit in the background while that almost haunting vocal we’ve come to expect from Broken Links carries the song forward. The gravelly vocal part in the middle takes “Submission” to a new level before those guitars kick in once more. An ebullient opener if ever I’ve heard one!

“The Bounty Hunter” opens with a Therapy?-esque guitar part before the almost “military” drumbeat. The vocal has echoes of David Gahan at his most passionate. The searing fuzzy/electro guitars make this reviewer envisage a band writing music for a film score. The middle 8 has a scratchy chord sequence that sets us up for that strong, passionate vocal once more; before the “rat, tat, tat” drumming kicks in until the finish.

“Dead Embers” continues the intensity with some Electro/Programming in the intro. That drumbeat however is hard to ignore once more. I love the sample in the background behind Marc’s vocal. The way said vocal builds, climbs and reaches a climax in power is the main ingredient here. However, that doesn’t detract from the searing chords. That vocal though, it cuts right through-passionate, loud, angry even! Dead Embers? Alive and burning brightly more like! “Life of The Biologically Dead” – once again Phil’s classic drumbeat opens the song before the Gahan-inspired vocal onslaught. The song simply explodes in the middle. The muffling of the vocal only encourages the power in the chords. The ‘stretched’ chords in the bridge offer us, the listener another element. The song ending however just leaves you wanting more. I just can’t decide whether it’s Goth/Electro or Post/Punk and nor will you the listener. One thing I can say is it’s a fantastic song that just keeps on giving.

“I’ll Run Away” has a slow, haunting intro with echoey guitar chords. That soon changes as they return to more familiar territory. The slow/softer, fast/heavy element to the song makes it different enough from the previous four. Probably the weakest track on here, if there are any weak tracks-however, I love the ending. “Blood on The Motorway” is self explanatory really. A story of carnage on the road, overlayed in a dark/electro guitar sequence. It’s haunting, dark, spiky even. The way Marc takes his vocal from the soft to intense power is something to behold. There’s an underlying sound (to this reviewer) of Marilyn Manson in the music. I’m even hearing “Grant Nicholas” in the chorus. The vocals go from soft to anthemic in an instant. The music takes a darker, more sinister turn as those chords are stretched once more. The brooding finale is if anything, a tad long and repetitive. However, the way Marc shrieks “It Will Not Change” is as caustic as it is angry.

For the first 12 seconds of “Asphalt” we’re left wondering if this is just a mid-LP intermission-before it explodes into life. That harsh, electro background sitting behind more Gahan-inspired vocals; before Marc opens his lungs and reaches out with his delivery. The strong drums are matched by fuzzy guitars. Where “Asphalt” is in relation to the lyrics is anyones guess, but it’s different enough to be not sounding like its predecessors. It relies heavily on a strong drumbeat and is a song about “heartbeats”! The dual vocals in the middle are interesting before we get a “building” middle 8, which crescendoes with those searing chords. Phil’s frenetic drumming takes us right to the very end before finishing with those fuzzy guitars. The way it morphs into “Transient/Fourth Planet” with its haunting, darkened room, echoey guitars is simply great.

“Transient/Fourth Planet” – as with debut LP Disasters… they give us an instrumental. Some might say this is brave, but such is the strength of the song they easily get away with it! Chiming guitars, delicately placed over cymbol-led drumming and a brooding bass. One can imagine this being used live for when the band need to “take a breather”. Those searing guitars take over towards the end as the drums become yet more powerful. It then fades away to how it began with the sound of gentle picking, to almost near silence. “The Sickness in Your Eyes” is a return to form and brings us back as the faster beats and chords, alongside the strong vocals are re-established. This song has “breakthrough single” written all over it – dare I suggest there’s elements of Bloc Party here?! Beats, samples and differing vocal parts throughout make this the perfect 3 minute epic. It’s as radio friendly as it is made for the live arena. The sharp ending is also clever.

“What You Want” stays in the dark and brooding camp. It has a catchy drumbeat almost throughout. The vocals however remind me of Mansun’s “Paul Draper”. At nearly 7 minutes I’m once again gonna suggest it’s overlong, but who am I to judge?! It’s still a great addition to this collection. The album ends with “Unnatural”. Opening with another Therapy?-esque guitar part, the vocals also have elements of one A.J. Cairns. It’s slow, melodic and once again slightly haunting. As the song expands somewhat the almost ever-present Gahan influence shines through. It chugs along at a slow pace with its big power drums and chiming guitars. The ending fades to nothing and one imagines it’s the perfect ‘set closer’ live.

With album number 3 already in the pipeline and a promised bigger sound, Broken Links stock can only be rising. If this collection is anything to go by then the future is very bright indeed. A truly fine body of work.”

Read Original Review on Rock Regeneration

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