Review Summary: Not one of Breaking Benjamin's proudest moments.
Breaking Benjamin has had their ups and downs. To some, they’re essentially the very generic-sounding post-grunge with occasional metal tendencies. To others, while they don’t stick out from the pack, the songwriting is still solid enough for the band’s talent to be apparent. So Cold EP is not the latter.
So Cold (Acoustic Version) is nothing more than your average EP material. It’s a nice version of So Cold, which surprisingly works well on an acoustic guitar. Ben Burnley’s actually not a bad singer here, so enjoy it while it lasts. The guitar solo done is fairly nice, and all the instrumentals work out. The reason I’m not praising it heavily is simply the fact that it’s an altered copy of an original song
Blow Me Away is well-known by gamers as one of the songs featured on the Halo 2 soundtrack. The lyrics are fairly simple to understand, since they describe the game atmosphere almost impeccably. However, despite the simple lyrics, the words coming out are fairly unintelligible, as with most of Ben’s vocals. It’s one of the heavier songs on this EP, and still one of the better, with a nice catchy beginning guitar riff, before entering into a standard verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus song structure. The chorus is one of the more uplifting parts of the song, but its ferocity can only do so much for a song.
Ladybug is the closest thing that Breaking Benjamin has ever done to a punk song. It’s fast-paced, energetic, even contains a punk-style of guitar playing. Despite that, it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever heard Breaking Benjamin do. Ben sounds like he just paid a visit to the dentist, got more than enough novacaine, then went home and decided to record how he sounded, with a voice so overbearingly…overbearing, that it literally makes you feel like your musical IQ is dropping 10 points per every 10 seconds of his singing. The song is essentially (Insert random pop punk band), and (insert random older punk band), and (Insert random early bad grunge band) having a crazy threesome, giving birth to a hideous baby, which then proceeds to fall into a vat of chemicals, mutate gruesomely, come out, and terrorize a local town in Indiana with its terrible singing (someone get SciFi channel on the phone, I have an idea for their newest SciFi Channel Original Movie)
I usually consider Breaking Benjamin a fair live band. They’ve given some spectacular shows, and some….not so good performances. Away [Live] is the latter. Ben is the main reason for this. Though this performance does have redeeming qualities, such as a good balance between guitar and bass not found in the studio version, Ben’s vocals pretty much trash this song. Ben sounds like a chicken, to be honest, with a cawing voice throughout the song, and it’s obvious that he has never had any real vocal training, and though that fact was already widely known, his performance only reinforces that statement.
Breakdown [Live] is next. Though the balance between bass and guitar, in my opinion, completely trumps the studio mixing, once again, Ben ruins it. If he’s not sounding like he really needs to use the crapper, then he sounds like he’s really scared. Just look at the screams throughout the song, they sound more like he’s being terrorized by some killer chicken (once again, someone contact SciFi channel, another idea for a movie). No piano intro, just some cymbal crashes.
Overall, it’s an average EP. The instrumentals are all great, but it’s mainly Ben Burnley’s voice which brings the rest of this EP down. Of course, Ben did improve a lot more on Phobia, which, in my opinion, is the best album they’ve released so far. While the EP’s not particularly good, it’s not particularly bad either, and it still adds well to an alternative metal collection.