After a messy four years apart, American alt rock band Breaking Benjamin are “back together” for album number five… if “back together” means frontman and creator Benjamin Burnley has won the rights to make more music under the name Breaking Benjamin and has found some new musicians to back him. Besides that, the label is the same and the sound is the same, so ‘Dark Before Dawn’ is set to continue where the band left off back in 2010, to rejoin the American rock elites as chart contenders.
Despite all of the turmoil that the band have gone through with lawsuits and fall-outs, Burnley ran the show from day one, and that’s evident more than ever in the minimal difference in the reformed and rearranged line-up.
Any concerns that have lingered with fans since ‘Dear Agony’ can be washed away now that Breaking Benjamin have returned with audibly little difference and still producing hard-hitting, radio-friendly rock tunes like ‘Failure’. The track may have relatively generic and soft lyrics, but the guitar lick has the distinct Breaking Benjamin features that have brought them such success over the noughties.
Follow-up singles ‘Angels Fall’ and ‘Defeated’ both act on the same pretences, with a heavy undertone but ballad-esque segments and friendly sing-a-long lyrics for the everyman to drive and head bop to.
The nature of the genre sees a lot of repetitive album tracks and monotonous traits, just as you would with Godsmack, Seether et al on the grunge-influenced post nu-metal circuit, but Breaking Benjamin do excel when they escape the routine. ‘Bury Me Alive’ sounds like Korn and Spineshank at times, while ‘Breaking The Silence’ creeps into Disturbed territory.
Burnley does have one of the better vocal ranges for the alt radio rock scene, but the introduction of superior back-up singing has made Breaking Benjamin sound more exciting than they have been on their later releases. Fans of their style will be ecstatic at ‘Dark Before Dawn’, and any new fans to the genre since 2010 may find a new gem and back catalogue to play with. However, if you don’t follow bands like Shinedown and Alter Bridge then tracks like ‘Hollow’ won’t be enough to sway you.
Written by Michael Heath (@MikeBeef)