Review Summary: Unable to keep up with its promising theme, Phobia is an otherwise strong studio-effort from Breaking Benjamin.Phobia: a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.
Standing up to your fears is one of the greatest accomplishments you could ever achieve in your life. Standing up to what you fear will make you feel strong and invincible. It allows you to look at life and be brave in living it the way you would wish to. It makes you remember that letting them remain would have left you regretting it for the rest of your life.
is the third studio-album from Breaking Benjamin and is what some claim to be their best. The album is solid. It features some of the band's very best tracks and is entertainingly catchy throughout it's duration. Diary of Jane
is arguably the band's best song and opens the album strongly after the Intro
. The song has a satisfying undertone of phobia, in not being able to satisfy someone, and makes for an engaging exchange between Ben and a woman who has forgotten to include him within the contents of something she left behind. The hooks come after you during the strong choruses of each song. You Fight Me
has the strongest chorus on the album, there is a great sense of confrontation and retreat from humanity within the song.
, set within an airport terminal with the cool sound of guitars behind the somewhat haunting female voice over the intercom, is a strong build-up to many people's (including Ben's) fear of flying, but it ultimately leads to no resolution. Generic songs like Until The End
and Here We Are
take away from an otherwise perfect array of strong tracks all throughout the album. The lyrics are weak in each song (except one line from Until The End
which is: "Alone I walk the winding way."
) and Ben's vocals unfortunately sound very whiny. Thankfully Unknown Soldier
follows Here We Are
and is the best song on the release. Recalling the Intro
of the album within it's own introduction, Unknown Soldier
starts out with a glorious helicopter buzzing overhead and leads straight into the guitar blasting away (simulating an action-oriented battlefield). The track also contains a powerful vocal performance from Ben, who represents the soldier on a battlefield who's on his way to heaven. The song is tragic and heartbreaking in it's depiction of warfare and is satisfying as a track on the album as it recalls the fear of flying from the opening.
and Evil Angel
are the "one-two punch" songs of the album. They are by far the strongest pair of songs available in an album that takes a lot of time to showcase radio-singles that are and could have been. That is the major problem with Phobia
as a whole, too much of it feels like obvious radio-play material and less connected to a theme that should have been maintained throughout (which is phobia). Phobia is a powerful subject that, in thinking about the word's definition, brings up a world of possibilities. You Fight Me
feels like a resolution to a person's phobia, but it's not as satisfying as one may expect. As a song, it's great. In closing the album, it feels like it should have been placed in the mid-section or before a song that features more emotional-depth.
The album as a whole lacks consistency, especially in comparing to We Are Not Alone
. Strong tracks jam-pack the CD and make it worth your while, but there's a part of you that may be left craving a little more content having to do with the phobia theme. Once again, there's so much that you can do with phobia. It's a word that speaks to people. Conquering it is a great achievement. Unfortunately, there's no sense of achievement, or even defeat, on this album altogether. There's only three less than a dozen tracks (not counting the Intro
and the Outro
) that are all engaging and make for some great repeats on your playlist.