Breaking Benjamin
Ember


2.0
poor

Review

by Mason USER (58 Reviews)
December 20th, 2018 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: How does autopilot feel, Ben?

Let’s make this clear right away: Breaking Benjamin has never been the most inventive, thought-provoking, or original band. Post-grunge is a genre that is notoriously difficult to innovate in, as there aren’t many ways that you can make standard four-chord progressions and somewhat basic drum patterns sound unique, so that makes complete sense. However, what they had always been, at least prior to 2015’s Dark Before Dawn despite occasional moments of clarity, was fun. They had always been notable for their infectious choruses delivered by none other than singer Benjamin Burnley, and the lyrics were often easy to relate to, tackling subjects like relationship issues or depression and anxiety in a way that, while not groundbreaking, felt genuinely authentic. This album sees the band moving in autopilot, which is unfortunate considering how well-done their 2000s material was in comparison to this.

There is a reason for this, and it starts with the band’s first hiatus in 2010; former members Aaron Fink, Mark James, and Chad Szeliga had all left, leaving Burnley to replace each with a new member. What made albums like Phobia and We Are Not Alone what they are was in fact the contributions from other members than the lead singer, most notably that of former guitarist Aaron Fink. Burnley had wrote just about every note of this album’s predecessor, which is part of why it was so average; his songwriting capability is hindered when he’s in solo, and shines more when others help him out. Unfortunately, Ember isn’t the recovery album that many fans had hoped for, and in many ways ends up being worse. To make things worse, the band had promoted it as their “heaviest album yet,” releasing one of their most ferocious singles to date with “Red Cold River” to hype up the fanbase. In their quest to make the album as heavy as they wanted, something had to be sacrificed; in Ember’s case, it was the infectious choruses that drove past work. Even Dark Before Dawn managed to retain some semblance of the spark that made Dear Agony such a great album, albeit watered down.

Lyrically, Burnley still touches on the depressive side of the emotional spectrum, but he relies on vague cliché to keep the songs going. “Save Yourself” has arguably the worst hook in Breaking Benjamin’s catalogue, channeling a seemingly unwavering desire to commit suicide with one of the least engaging melodies he could possibly think of; of course, this track was penned entirely by its deliverer, further proving how dismal his writing can be when not aided by other writers. The other tracks on this are painfully average, even by the standards of radio rock. Musically, this sounds like any other album from Burnley and co. so if you’ve never been a fan, this will not change your mind at all. While it may be easy to laugh at the idea of someone expecting good from Breaking Benjamin of all bands, I must admit I have a very storied history with this band and their music, so seeing them continue to slip like this is truly unfortunate. Ember is easily one of 2018’s greatest disappointments. It seems as if this metaphorical ember is slowly burning out. Breaking Benjamin is now on autopilot, as is evident by the lackluster hooks and instrumentation that hasn’t changed a lick since 2009.



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user ratings (281)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
AgentDeathbat
December 19th 2018


10020 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I've given this album more than enough chances to grow on me, and it actually wore off with more listens, so here.

SoilPethSymmetry
December 19th 2018


18 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I initially hated this album... thought it was the most bland, superficial, and uninspired album they had made yet. Gotta say though, this album has really grown on me. I’m still really not a fan of how overproduced the vocals are and I think it is a but lacking lyrically in some places, but the rest of the production (especially that fat bass tone) is great and a lot of the songs have become favorites. Hearing Red Cold River and Torn in Two live really helped, and Tourniquet, Blood, and Psycho have been in pretty heavy rotation for me lately. I’d say honestly if they were to fix the vocals and get rid of all the filler on here (particularly Close Your Eyes and Save Yourself) this would be one of their most solid albums to date.

tyman128
December 19th 2018


1539 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wow, another review

AgentDeathbat
December 19th 2018


10020 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@Soil: Maybe it will grow on me at some point... definitely not now though, 7-8 listens and still no click, not to mention I originally saw this as a 2.5-soft 3 and it went down to a 2... not likely now.

@tyman: what can I say? I got a sudden rush of inspiration and wrote like 3 reviews in a day lol

tyman128
December 19th 2018


1539 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not what I was referring to, but great for you!

I’m referring to the fact that this album is still getting reviews... and I’m one of the contributors to the list of reviews for this haha

AgentDeathbat
December 20th 2018


10020 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

oh yeah, definitely lmao. i just had some shit i wanted to air out.

SteakByrnes
December 20th 2018


15471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album really deserves 9 reviews

Digging: Rich Brian - The Sailor

AgentDeathbat
December 20th 2018


10020 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

the only 2 review before this one blew so its only fair

SweeneyTodd
December 20th 2018


2274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The guitarists who got fired claim they made contributions to the songwriting process, but Ben is adamant they were hired to play their part. I don't think you should make the claim that Aaron Fink was a major reason for their older material being better when there is only a 50% chance of that being true, I ain't sayin you're lying but I think you should state it more as opinion rather than fact, neither of us know them personally and I doubt the truth will ever come out. Ben got sober after Phobia, their quality has been declining since. Pre-Phobia Benjamin is very different lyrically and sonically than post-Phobia Benjamin. I think his sobriety might be one of the major reasons their quality and style changed for the worse

Digging: Blanck Mass - Animated Violence Mild

Repsaj
December 20th 2018


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sometimes i just don't get you mate.

Digging: Tool - nima

SweeneyTodd
December 20th 2018


2274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

funny side note, most fans who were disappointed in this weren't disappointed because it was more of the same, they were disappointed because it wasn't ENOUGH the same

SteakByrnes
December 20th 2018


15471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ok

SweeneyTodd
December 20th 2018


2274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

eat my asshole steak

SymbolicInTime
December 20th 2018


4730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

“funny side note, most fans who were disappointed in this weren't disappointed because it was more of the same, they were disappointed because it wasn't ENOUGH the same”



I mean this is better than DBD for sure, just because I feel this has more energy and decent hooks, but I’m not really sure where this argument could possibly stem from

Storm In A Teacup
December 20th 2018


26743 Comments


he's just copying the way staff shits on the masses hoping that he gets a promotion

SteakByrnes
December 20th 2018


15471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ily sweeney

AgentDeathbat
December 20th 2018


10020 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

idc if i get a promotion lol

would be nice but i don't see it happening

AgentDeathbat
December 20th 2018


10020 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

and I'm sure i could pull up the liner notes for my copy of we are not alone to back up my opinion

SweeneyTodd
December 20th 2018


2274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"and I'm sure i could pull up the liner notes for my copy of we are not alone to back up my opinion"



Liner notes should never be taken as gospel, I have the very same ones, sadly just because someone has a writing credit in the liner notes doesn't necessarily mean they contributed. Crown the Empire notoriously don't write their own music but every member has a writing credit in the liner notes. Chad contributed on Phobia, he left after the other two were fired for Bens desired direction. The other two apparently were offered to play in the band, Ben has said on multiple occasions they didn't join a band they were hired to play their bits live

SweeneyTodd
December 20th 2018


2274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

ily2 steak



still want you to eat my ass tho



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