Review Summary: I feel like a kid again
Chances are you've heard of Breaking Benjamin; formed in 1998 this Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania alternative metal troupe has experienced a staggering amount of success in the last six years. First propelled into the mainstream thanks to the hit single "So Cold" off 2004's We Are Not Alone
, Breaking Benjamin has seen a lasting success, no doubt thanks to the continued delivery of high quality of mainstream rock/metal exhibited on follow up albums Phobia
and Dear Agony
. However, before hitting the big time, few seem to remember Breaking Benjamin's quality debut Saturate
, that doesn't exactly match up to the bands later works, yet sets in place a solid structure for the band to build off of.
Without a doubt, Saturate
takes the place as heaviest effort in Breaking Benjamin's discography. While the band has certainly exhibited rare traces of nu metal with their later efforts, Saturate
is absolutely brimming with the genres influence, from the downtuned syncopation of raging album opener "Wish I May" to "Sugarcoat" where the band forsakes the usual sing along chorus for Benjamin Burnley's fiercely screamed bark. Although slightly overbearing at times ("Skin", "Water") even at this earlier stage, Burnley proved himself one of alternative metal's better vocalists, with his aggressive yet soaring voice perfectly fitting with songs such as the upbeat single "Polyamorous" and album closer "Shallow Bay". "Medicate" in particular reveals a more alluring, sweet side of Burnley's voice where his lightened tone creates one of album's best moments. Demonstrating a nice sense of balance, the band is keen on not only providing outrageously heavy tracks, but also throwing in some key power ballads where once again the swooning voice of Burnley thrives, assisted by orchestral arrangements ("No Games") and serene acoustic strumming ("Next To Nothing"). Although most tracks on Saturate
are completely enjoyable, as with any record, there is always that song or two that stands above the rest. Although the first half of song "Home" is deceivingly atypical for the record, the song really blossoms during its second half, where the song explodes to feature an extremely catchy chorus, raging with acoustic/electric guitars alike as well as Burnley's most emotive performance on the album. Despite the fact that Breaking Benjamin's identity isn't as pronounced as it comes to be on later albums, it does not change the fact that Saturate
still remains to be one of the better mainstream rock efforts released in the past decade.