Okay, time for a question. Have you ever been fortunate enough to have done a drunken man’s (a.k.a. stupid man’s) tequila shot? No? Damn, you are missing out on a necessary once in a lifetime experience – also it would greatly serve to explain the whopping impact of Breaking Benjamin’s latest disc, “We Are Not Alone”. As per the name, the shot is not too complicated. Basically the victim, er… I mean the drinker, would simply get the tequila shot, lime, and salt prepared. Then, when ready to embark upon this no return mission, he would snort the salt off his hand, shoot the tequila, and finish it all off by squeezing the lime right into his eye. I know what you’re thinking, pretty fuckin’ stupid, eh!? Nah, it’s all good; as they say, no pain no gain. Seriously though, Breaking Benjamin is an incredibly sick band whose sound is so diverse it’s at times confusing. Their newest release is an astonishing musical feat and hits hard just like the aforementioned shot. Proceed with caution and curiosity.
Although this band has only been in existence since 2000 it by no means insinuates that they are inexperienced new musicians. The group does have two discs (“Saturate”, 2002 and “We are Not Alone”, 2004) under its belt and the musicians have been up in the music scene for quite some time. Their latest release is one monster of an album, the kind that stuns rock fans with a swift smack in the face. The CD begins with an equally intense track called, “So Cold”. After a deceivingly soft introductory build-up, the song blasts into a sick riff which sets the pace for the song and essentially the remainder of the album. “So Cold” is an amazing track to open up the album for it presents a clear glimpse of many of the bands’ musical capabilities and varying ‘sounds’. “Simple Design”, the second song, further illustrates the group’s organized chaotic style. In one song alone, Breaking Benjamin, manages to sound like varied rock groups including “Our Lady Peace” and “Nickelback”, yet at times still produces a heavier sound. The third song, “Follow” is another incredible tune boasting an extremely hard and catchy verse and a conversely soft and melodic chorus reminiscent of “Collective Soul”.
In the fourth spot is “Firefly”, a song rich with beautifully harmonious lyrics and the occasional crunching metal-esque guitar riff. Next in line is, “Break My Fall”, another great tune albeit a slightly softer one in comparison to the previous four. No matter what the heavy factor is, however, Breaking Benjamin always manages to deliver some kind of a wickedly attractive tune to jam to. “Forget It” follows suit and is another softer tune. The song is quite emotional, and allows for the group to present its range of playing abilities – it’s not all wailing guitars and hammering drumbeats. It is well situated in the middle of the disc and in between so many harder tunes. Without skipping a beat, the band blasts back into their previous rhythm with a great song called “Sooner or Later”. Many of this group’s songs are touching and offer a “feel-good-vibe”, this song being no exception.
The eighth spot belongs to a song which starts off with a soft piano intro subsequently jumping into a crazy-hard beat. “Breakdown”, is a beautifully constructed track which transitions from ‘classic’ Breaking Benjamin emotional rock to insane metal-like sections – a great tune! Next is “Away”, another hard song which offers 3:12 of sweet music. “Believe”, a song sounding much like a harder version of old “I Mother Earth” tunes, is totally sick. This is probably one of the heaviest (and best) songs on the album and should by no means be taken lightly. This track proves that the band can set aside harmonious vocals in exchange for ravaged screaming creating an excellent dynamic. The last track is called “Rain” and is by far the softest song on the album. It is a highly moving song and, much like rain, offers to cleanse the auditory palette before one shuts down the stereo.
Breaking Benjamin is one of the best new rock acts to emerge within the past five years. They possess an amazingly rich and diverse sound loaded with catchy beats and impressive vocals. Both of the albums that they have produced to date are superior musical achievements and should be heard by all rock fans. Do yourself a favour and get to know this group’s work. [ END ]
01. So Cold
02. Simple Design
05. Break My Fall
06. Forget It
07. Sooner Or Later
Run Time: 39:32