Review Summary: If you are trying to get into Breaking Benjamin, you will be better off getting their new CD,
Breaking Benjamin was formed in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania after guitarist and bassist Aaron Fink and Mark Klepaski left nu-metal act Lifer in 2001. They have shaped their skills to be more of an alternative metal/rock sound, and are much better than when they were in Lifer. They joined singer/guitarist Ben Burnley and Jeremy Hummel to form Breaking Benjamin in 2002, when the band released Saturate
, their first CD. It was later re-released with We Are Not Alone
on a major level, and has gotten the band a lot of mainstream success.
We Are Not Alone has songs of different varying types. Aaron shows how technical he can be with his guitar playing and isn’t afraid to solo, although he doesn’t do it often. Jeremy does some good drumming pattens, although I think their new drummer, Chad, does a much better job on their third release and my favorite of theirs, Phobia
Breaking Benjamin for this CD:
Ben Burnley: Vocals/Guitar
Aaron Fink: Guitar
Mark Klepaski: Bass
Jeremy Hummel: Drums
To show that their first CD wasn’t just a one hit wonder, as many people still prefer that over this and Phobia, they had to start this album off strong, and those guys did just that as putting the song So Cold
as the vary first track. The opening riff is ripped off of the Deftones’ “Change (In The House of Flies”, but it works well with Breaking Benjamin, although I think that they made the intro too quick and the whole song not long enough. Aaron does a nice solo right before the bridge, and the guitar work gets pretty technical, not difficult, but still takes work to do. A great way to open the album up.
continues the album. This is one kick-ass rock song on the CD. It isn’t as dark or melodic as So Cold, but is damn catchy, and could be labeled as your so called “headbang” song on the album, if you will. Ben does some excellent vocal work, and the guitar is pretty decent as well. The bridge is very soft, and adds some contrast from the rest of the song, even including an acoustic guitar. It proves that these guys can do both hard rock, and turn around and do the soft stuff as well.
The next song is probably out of place on the album, or shouldn’t be on the album. I don’t know what they were doing when they recorded this. Follow
is far from perfect, and when you want a strong group of songs to open the album, this definitely misses the cut by a long shot. There is nothing decent about this song. The vocals seem like they are sung on a last gasp of breath, which is different from the way Ben usually seems. The guitar work is boring, there is no soft bridge or solo or anything. Definitely a track you can skip.
They rebound with another nicely done track, entitled Firefly
. The intro is straightforward, and leads right into the song. Sounding much like Simple Design, it is easy to get the two songs mixed up, but the thing that tells them apart are the lyrics. The guitar is pretty decent, as Aaron does a solo in the chorus around the 2:40 mark. The track has a nice outro, and it shows off Jeremy’s drumming skills. A short song, but decent. Much better than Follow.
Break My Fall
is after that, and let me ask, “Why do these guys put so many crappy songs in between the good ones.” This song is too mainstream for my liking, as every one of the good songs I have and will mention are more of a hard rock sound. The one bright spot in this song around the 2:30 mark is that it gets soft, and does some of that for a minute. Not one of the better ones, but still worth a listen. It will get old quick though.
One of the two ballads on the album, Forget It
is well done, and the change of keys in the song that keeps it rising to the climax. The guitar work is done nicely, and the bass is audible. Ben’s Voice is kind of produced, but it still shows that he can get up in the high vocal range, but for this song, the vocals sound good produced like that. Only in this song, though. All the others, it is better when he is actually singing.
Sooner or Later
is the second single on the album, and is a very well done song. The intro is catchy, the verses are sung well and are somewhat misleading, and the guitar helps with that. The bridge is soft, like most on this CD, and features Ben singing softly and an acoustic guitar. It is short but sweet. I didn’t like the way this song ended, it just doesn’t flow right.
This next song is also the “head banger” song so to speak. The intro on the piano is done nicely, and brings a different feel to the song, until the guitar comes in. It is called Breakdown
, and the lyrics are pretty simple to figure out. He is headed for a breakdown. The bass kicks major ass in this song, as my friend and I tried it out in his system (1800 W amp, two 12’s MTX). The bridge is all guitar, and I don’t think it is a solo, just a lot of technical guitar work. Very nicely done. One of my favorites on the CD.
is a song that many think is a rip off of So Cold. Let me be the one to tell them that they are wrong. It is one of the two songs not tuned to the typical drop C tuning on this CD, with Breakdown being the other. They are both done well. Ben does some good screaming and singing in both, and the guitar is done well. A good listen for everybody.
Another favorite song of mine is next, considering it is how Ben sings. This song is called Believe
. You could call it a ‘thrash’ song for an alternative band. Not really, but you know what I mean. This song reminds me of “Sugarcoat” from Saturate, and the guitar is done well. The solo near the end adds to the song from being boring and repetitive. A must listen for anyone.
is a song that you love or hate, many will say that Ben is a crappy song writer because of this song. The chorus is the cover, and the verses are his own words, and yet nobody wants to do that, because when they hear
Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day,
All the world is waiting for the sun
they just want to turn it off. The song is much different than that. It is the other ballad of the album, and is done nicely with the two acoustic guitars. At least listen to it fully, and then judge it. Not a bad way to end the album.
What I liked about the album was the way Ben mixed up the way he either sung or screamed. There was a good mix of both. Also, Aaron is not be the best guitar player in the world, the solos and technical work on the album keep it from getting way too repetitive, and are done nicely.
What I didn’t like about the album were how a lot of the songs sounded somewhat alike. They do have their differences, but it can get repetitive after a while. The bass wasn’t prominent too much, and the bass can add a lot to the music. It is just something you can work on for the future though, right.
Although I used to love this album, I realized it got pretty repetitive, but is still a good listen. I prefer Phobia, their newest CD, for anybody who wants to get into Breaking Benjamin. I give this a 3/5