Breaking Benjamin is an American rock band from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, founded in 1999 by lead singer and guitarist Benjamin Burnley and drummer Jeremy Hummel. The first lineup of the band also included guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark Klepaski. This lineup released two albums, Saturate (2002) and We Are Not Alone (2004), before Hummel was replaced by Chad Szeliga in 2005. The band released two more studio albums, Phobia (2006) and Dear Agony (2009), before entering an extended hiatus in early 2010 due to Burnley’s recurring illnesses.
The release of a compilation album amid the hiatus, Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin (2011), unauthorized by Burnley, brought about legal trouble within the band resulting in the dismissal of Fink and Klepaski. Szeliga later announced his departure in 2013 citing creative differences. Burnley remained the sole member of the band until late 2014, when the current lineup was announced, including bassist and backing vocalist Aaron Bruch, guitarist and backing vocalist Keith Wallen, guitarist Jasen Rauch, and drummer Shaun Foist. The band afterward released Dark Before Dawn (2015) and Ember (2018).
Despite significant lineup changes, the band’s musical style and lyrical content have remained consistent, with Burnley serving as the primary composer and lead vocalist since the band’s inception. The band has commonly been noted for its formulaic hard rocktendencies with angst-heavy lyrics, swelling choruses, and “crunching” guitars. In the United States alone, the band has sold more than 7 million units and yielded three RIAA-certified platinum records, two gold records, and several certified singles, including two multi-platinum, two platinum, and five gold. The band has also produced one number one record on the Billboard 200.
Ember is the sixth studio album by American rock band Breaking Benjamin, produced by lead singer and guitarist Benjamin Burnley. It was released on April 13, 2018. The first single, “Red Cold River“, was released on January 5, 2018. Four additional songs were released prior to the album’s release, including “Feed the Wolf”, “Blood”, “Psycho”, and “Save Yourself”. A music video for “Torn in Two” was released on the same day as the album.
Lyra—-Opening the release with a gentle piano interlude, you feel the power building as the song progresses….erupting into…
Feed The Wolf—–There is a remarkable comfort that comes from a very consistent band….such is Breaking Benjamin. This song is familiar and comfortable…but adds a slight aggression and brutal vocal that is a surprise. Ben has a remarkable voice and he sounds fantastic here. I love this.
Red Cold River—-With a subdued intro, the band still has that remarkable familiarity about it. When the rough vocals smack you in the face…you are sent staggering with the controlled aggression. The blend of voices here are fantastic….Ben seems to have found a magical line-up here. There is a lot of ebb and flow in the song…keeping everything interesting and magical.
Tourniquet—-Rather bizarre at the onset, the song develops into a trademark sounding Benjamin track. I love his voice here…there is a crunch to the way he sings sometimes that I just fall over myself for…this is a great example. This is classic Breaking Benjamin…..stands up well next to anything they have ever done.
Psycho—-Diving back head first into a more aggressive guitar sound, the bass line on this track is literally huge. The drums keep perfect pace…..add in the vocal and you are literally transported into a cold Nether-land. This is fantastic…accessible but aggressive…..perfectly delivered.
The Dark Of You—-Dark and ominous at the onset, the song provokes images in your mind’s eye magically. The vocal is smooth, sedate and full of a subtle pain. There is a beauty to this track I just adore. A beautiful dark journey in just a few minutes.
Down—-Returning to a full on onslaught of energetic guitar crunches and a powerful emotive vocal, this is the reason I love this band so much. The compositions are so consistent…..predictable…but delivered with a finesse that keeps me coming back for more. This is excellent.
Torn In Two—-Perhaps the most aggressive song on the release, from the first note, the song is relentless. Even Ben delivers a vocal that sounds a bit demented and evil….heavily dark. the song leaks a 90’s Alt-Rock feel to it….but it has quickly become one of my favorite tracks on this new release. Excellent!
Blood—-Chugging along like a steam engine, the band continues to deliver trademark guitar crunches that wrap around Ben’s vocals like a well oiled machine. This is excellent….consistent but not boring. A great mix of subtle and aggressive.
Save Yourself—-There seems to be such a new energy to the band since the members have changed. I am amazed that Ben can just keep pumping ot these epic tracks…I’m so happy he found the supporting characters to deliver his vision. This is melodic…tight and huge. I love this.
Close Your Eyes—-A really nice soaring lead guitar introduces this track….this sounds like it could have fir perfectly on the first or second release…..I think this has been around awhile…it has that sound of earlier recordings. But that is not a negative….this is brilliant!
Vega—-Ending the release, the band delivers a short but epic outro that leaves you hungry for more…..there is only hope that the wait till next time out last as long. A great release!
***** out of 5