breaking benjamin returns
By Saad kabir, '16
After being on a hiatus for six years, Breaking Benjamin makes a legendary comeback with their newest album Dark Before Dawn. This album is nothing short of pure musical genius, and it’s clear that the band has not lost their touch.
Although the band has been around since 1998, there have been some major changes in the band as of late. One of these changes include the removal of all the band members except the lead singer and guitarist Benjamin Burnley. This split happened some time after the release of their 2009 album Dear Agony. Hollywood Records requested that the band produce two new master recordings followed by a greatest hits album. Hollywood Records also sought permission to release a remix of “Blow Me Away” the band’s hit song featuring the lead singer of Valora Sydnee Duran. In May 2011, two members of the band Fink and Klepaski gave the company what they wanted after being offered a $100,000 payment. Benjamin claimed that he was not informed of their decision nor was he apart of it so he fired both of them via email and the fourth member of the group soon left after claiming “creative differences.
Dark Before Dawn is the band’s first album after the hiatus. Needless to say, Breaking Benjamin has not lost their touch. This album did not only exceed my expectations but shattered them. The album has a little bit of everything for everyone. While you can tell that there are undertones of the past albums hidden in this one, this album still has its own unique feel to it. Not only does the sound resonate with the inner rockstar in me but the lyrics also hide a very deep message. Each track offers its own little slice of paradise to the listener. The first song on the album “Dark” acts as an instrumental prelude that segue into the album.
This is followed by the second track, “Failure,” which is an example of what Breaking Benjamin does best—lyrical misdirection. The song begins with “Life will come our way/It has only just begun,” which displays a positive image in the listener's mind. This positivity is quickly dismantled when he sings the next few lines: “The world will die alone /The frail will fall below.” Despite the rapid changes in mood that occurs within the first stanza “Failure” has a distinct message. It speaks to the feeling of mustering up whatever strength or passion you may have once one more time before charging into an internal or external battle and it is this overtone that not only lets me know but the fans that after six years, Breaking Benjamin has still has the magic touch.
The central theme of being divided which were created by the overtones and nuances of “Failure,” continues in the next song“Angels Fall,” the song opens with the line“I try to face the fight within.” It’s not the lyrics itself or the music itself enticing the listener but a euphoric mix of both. The layers of vocals merged with the layers of instrumentals have the listener’s singing along without them even realizing it.
Following “Angels Fall,” “Breaking the Silence” shifts to a more self analyzing point of view while managing to reflect Ben’s interpretation of the world. “I’ll keep my sights on a waking dream / I gave my life to the vile beneath / I am but one of a dying breed / Hate kills this world but it won’t kill me,”the songs progress together in unison as if they’re telling an intricate story. It’s as if “Breaking the Silence” talks about life after you drop to the bottom which goes in parallel to “Angels Fall” the song that came before it.
The fifth and sixth tracks on the album“Hollow” and “Close to Heaven,” delve into the relationship between “me” and “you” which happens right before the transformation that takes place in “Bury Me Alive.” This transition continues through “Never Again,” and then moves on to, “The Great Divide.” One of the most moving tracks (next to Ashes of Eden), both musically and lyrically, “The Great Divide” speaks of the kind of connection we as human beings all yearn for—the kind that transcends pointless bickering and materialistic needs, but the kind of connection in which we can see our soul within others and others can see their soul within us.
“Ashes of Eden” and “Defeated” are also lyrical masterpieces, these tracks explore and frolic in the overtones and undertones of the language. “Ashes of Eden” is all around an excellent song but truly shows its true colors in its lyrics. Though the tone of the song remains constant there are subtle changes that are noticeable and ease the listener. The darkness, fear, death, falls, and uncertainty of the previous tracks begin to fade into the atmosphere with this song with its lyrics accurately portraying the change: “When the darkness falls upon me / When the air is growing thin / Will the light begin to pull me / To its everlasting will / I can hear the voices haunting / There is nothing left to fear.” This not only adds a somber mix to the rock influenced album but it also gives the listener a state of transcendence that can only be experienced with songs such as these. Although the eleventh track is called “Defeated,” this song is far from talking about defeat itself. Instead it talks about how one has to always get up and not remain defeated and the strength of its lyrics tie in to the last song which is an instrumental called “Dawn,” which creates one of the most powerful endings to an album that I’ve ever heard.
ALEXTER THOMPSON WILL MOOT COURT IN THE NETHERLANDS