Breaking Benjamin
We Are Not Alone


3.0
good

Review

by Simon CONTRIBUTOR (232 Reviews)
January 6th, 2016 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Best single -- worst album.

A lot like Linkin Park and Nickelback, through no fault of their own, Breaking Benjamin are a starting point band. The sort of band that sets a novice of the genre on their way to discover and journey through the rock and metal archives of the last 50 years. All the bands of this sort have key elements in their sound that make them ideal candidates for being one of the first bands people tend to start off with: digestible riff's; simple song structures; a bucket of angst; and one hell of a voice coming from the frontman.

Breaking Benjamin's debut, Saturate, did little to garner much attention at the time, but it was a solid blend of grunge, metal and alt-rock influences. Ben Burley is a huge fan of bands like Tool, and Saturate showed a side of Breaking Benjamin you won't see these days, but at the time the band were trying to find their footing, and due to release something that would put their mark on the world. We Are Not Alone was the make or break album for the band, that managed to bring large, rewarding results. As luck and determination would have it, the band broke out with a sophomore album that collected a healthy amount of coverage -- largely down to the smash single "So Cold", that would go on to be one of the bands biggest hits -- a strong following beginning to form, and eventually lead them to where they are now.

The irony in all this, though "So Cold" is one of the best songs they've ever written, the album is by far the weakest offering. We Are Not Alone has a lot of strong qualities, but suffers far more from terrible ideas and, mainly, lyrics. Saturate's thematic lyrics brought a cryptic side to the band, as well as putting a glaze over them to prevent the aging process in later years; We Are Not Alone goes more straight edge, and over time the lyrics have not done this album any favours. "Simple Design", "Rain" and "Firefly" are the biggest culprits, with lyrics so ridiculous it makes me cringe just thinking about them now. But even the less silly, and more simplistic, approach to songs like "Follow" and "Breakdown" hold little depth -- although, you can give Ben credit for keeping a lot of what he's talking about cryptic, but it's all done in the wrong way.

Musically, the albums production opts for alt-rock and little else. The acoustic offerings of "Forget It" and "Rain" bring a slight variety to the albums mainstay of rock tunes, with a sprinkling of metal influence from time to time. This album is also the beginning of Breaking Benjamin awkwardly forcing harsh screams and heavy metal sections into songs that don't need it: "Breakdown" starts off with a piano section, before kicking in to Ben's laughable "BREAKDOWN!" scream, made more embarrassing by Mark playing his riff with a slap bass technique; the song then decides to get cold feet and quickly runs back to its usual Breaking Benjamin sound, leaving it feeling horribly disjointed.

In comparison to what Saturate has to offer, We Are Not Alone is a far less cohesive and bland experience, but that isn't to say the album is a total bust. The album manages to hold your interest to the end -- even today. And even though there are some glaring flaws with "Simple Design", "Rain" and "Firefly" these songs never stop from being energetic or fun. More to their credit, they are infectious and catchy as hell. The three very well made tracks "So Cold", "Away" and "Believe" are the songs that collect the best ideas and focus on a consistently exciting sound, that will become a blueprint for future albums. The problem is that there isn't enough of it throughout.

It's hard for me to swallow this album overall. "So Cold" is such a fantastic song, filled with dread and atmosphere, that it comes as a surprise when the rest of the LP sounds like bland radio-rock tunes. But if you look past its lack of cohesion and, for the most part, bad lyrics, there is a fun album to be had here. Though I would recommend listening to the bands other albums if this is your first time trying Breaking Benjamin out.

Worth Checking out.

Packaging: Standard Jewel Case.

Special Edition: Standard (US).



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2016


15080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

As always, constructive criticism welcome.

Digging: HEALTH - VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR

TheSonomaDude
January 6th 2016


6748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The vocalist is pretty cool tbh. All BB albums are verging on the 3.2/3.3 line

DinosaurJones
January 6th 2016


10031 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Breaking Benjamin are a very average band. They're not terrible, but nothing about them is special to me.



Good review though.

Funeralopolis
January 6th 2016


14223 Comments


this is their second best or best album tho

Digging: Deamon - Descend Dethrone

botrain
January 6th 2016


15 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Though Saturate is their best album, IMO, I would honestly rate WANA as their second-best. I'm not as big of a fan of Phobia or Dear Agony (DBD doesn't count in my book, it's a different band now), although many BB fans praise Phobia. I find many of the tracks on Phobia to be bland and lacking variety.



Billy Corgan collaborated with BB on several songs on WANA and I think that certainly offered some fresh perspective. I personally dig So Cold, Away, Believe, Sooner or Later, and Break My Fall.

EvoHavok
January 6th 2016


7677 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hmm, this used to be my 2nd favourite behind Phobia, but it's been a while since a full discography jam. Great read!

Digging: Swallow the Sun - When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light

theNateman
January 6th 2016


3583 Comments


Dude how can you not mention sooner or later it's like the best song here

SgtAenema
January 6th 2016


484 Comments


never cared for breaking benjamin that much

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 6th 2016


11661 Comments


Excellent review man, very well written. Never really jammed these guys tbh. What's up with the last 2 lines though? Seems kinda unnecessary.

Digging: Windswept - The Onlooker

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2016


24770 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Love this album

Digging: wellspring - iris's room

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 7th 2016


15080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cheers scuro. The last two lines are part of my new idea of reviewing any extras or nice packaging. Haven't done one yet, but I'm doing them even if they're standard for continuity sake. Haha

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2016


11661 Comments


Oh okay, well that makes sense.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 7th 2016


15080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll probably review an album with said features next. I'm just big on physical releases, so it's a good way of letting others know what you can get for your buck if other people love them too.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2016


11661 Comments


I think it's a good idea man and I'm a big fan of CDs too, it just threw me a bit becuase I hadn't seen you do it before and this one was a standard release so it seemed a bit pointless to me, but now it makes sense.

ChopSuey
January 7th 2016


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This review is.....goooood

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
January 7th 2016


14139 Comments


Sooner or Later is one of the few BB songs i like

Digging: Paddy McAloon - I Trawl The Megahertz

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 7th 2016


15080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cheers guy's. Yeah, Sooner or Later is okay.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
January 7th 2016


14139 Comments


Oh and i just picked up on this

"set's"

Should just be "sets"

SweeneyTodd
January 8th 2016


1976 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

brilliant review, like, this should be the featured review. Excellently written, and I agree on most points, although I get a little more enjoyment out of it. Agreed So Cold is boss, rest of the album fails to live up to it

Digging: Tycho - Epoch (Deluxe Edition)

DinosaurJones
January 8th 2016


10031 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I think Phobia is their best album, but their best album is still pretty mediocre. I have to admit that I occasionally get the hankering to listen to some BB every few months though.



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