Alternative rock outfit Breaking Benjamin has gone through many line-up changes since formation in 1998, with lead singer/songwriter Benjamin Burnley being the only founding member left, but that’s not enough to stop the music from happening. After some legal issues, illness and the release of a compilation album, Burnley reformed the group as a quintet last year and continued his role as primary songwriter, the result being the group’s first studio album in six years, Dark Before Dawn, which should live up to the hype.
The ambient intro track Dark warms you up for what’s to come. Lead single Failure fantastically sees Breaking Benjamin on its way for a stellar comeback: you can definitely hear a Bush influence throughout its heavy rock veins. Angels Fall is both lyrically and sonically explosive with BB’s trademark earthy sound, whereas Breaking The Silence falls into a metal-meets-alternative rock category that grips you from beginning to end. Hollow goes beyond its name and presents itself as a more full on rock anthem. Continuing on with the large depth of drums, guitars and roaring vocals, Close To Heaven fits in quite well.
Bury Me Alive has a more darker and sinister sound to its predecessors, giving the album a little more versatility, whereas Never Again is close to the breath of fresh air that we needed; the rock just keeps on coming, making the album a mostly intense listen. Every track that sounds like it may head towards a lighter, more easing sound adds some more neat guitar work to counteract that thought. The Great Divide is certainly one of those tracks; but the track that truly went in a more downbeat direction was Ashes Of Eden, a beautiful ballad. Defeated brings back the heavy atmosphere before transitioning into the short outro track Dawn.
Dark Before Dawn fits in well with Breaking Benjamin’s previous work, which is sure to please the fans who couldn’t bare the thought of their favourite band changing along with the line-up; this may be partly due to the fact that Burnley had already written most of the content before reforming last year. The new album is dominated by alternative and heavy rock tracks, which all sounded great, but perhaps we needed more than one track of relief before we got to track number ten; those who don’t enjoy heavier rock music may find it hard when an album’s sound is continuous and less versatile. Overall, Dark Before Dawn is a solid release and a well received comeback from Breaking Benjamin.