Breaking Benjamin have been on hiatus for a few years with some legal battles and other member issues. Long story short, they are back with an all new lineup; with only original member Ben Burnley, at the helm, this time on all fronts. The new album “Dark Before Dawn” released June 23rd , is a defining moment for the band. The heavy, melodic, huge chorus-driven sound that made the previous 4 albums so successful is perfected on this 12 song (10 full songs) self-produced release. It's worked so far, why change the formula now?
Honestly, you wouldn’t know there was a new band if someone didn’t tell you. Burnley knows what he's doing and what sound he wants. From the chugging guitars to the high guitar leads. If you are a fan of any of their previous albums you will be immediately drawn to this one. The lyrical content is a little darker this time around and maybe a little more personal. The lead single “Failure” has the riffs and a flow of previous songs, but a new approach. This is a perfect lead-off single for how the rest of the album sounds. “Breaking The Silence” brings in the growl screams we know Ben for, a little reminiscent of “Blow It Away”.
“Hollow” carries on with the similar moving guitar riffs and high lead guitars into a huge catchy chorus with Burnley wailing out “Love left me hollow, I’m with you in the end”. “Close to Heaven” has some elements that actually remind me of Metallica. The clean organic guitar breakdown before the chorus reminds me of James Hetfield. He even says “I’ll stay Unforgiven.” I’m curious if anyone else will think that. The chorus kicks into a heavy chug of guitars and a beautiful vocal melody. “Never Again” is one of the highlights on the album for me. Its classic BB from beginning to end. Not much else to say on this one.
“The Great Divide” sounds like it could be straight off “Dear Agony.” With its angry guitar tone and chugging guitars leading into one of my favorite choruses, “So I wait for you, as I keep your faith alive, and I pray for you, as we cross the great divide.” This leads us to the ballad of the album “Ashes of Eden.” A little different direction for the band, but just a beautiful song overall. The ambient elements around the acoustic delayed guitar really make Burnley’s vocals shine. He really belts on this one.
Overall this album is everything you would expect and more from the band. Breaking Benjamin is one of those bands that shouldn’t really change their sound, they don’t need to. They can do the heavy melodic sound and the slow ambient songs. They could have gone into a more radio direction and less heavy and become one of those bands that will just fade out over time, but they didn’t. BB sticks to their signature sound and give their fans what they want and have been waiting years for.