ember: noun em·ber \ ˈem-bər \
a glowing fragment (as of coal) from a fire; especially : one smoldering in ashes: the smoldering remains of a fire.
embers plural : slowly dying or fading emotions, memories, ideas, or responses still capable of being revived the embers of his past
Breaking Benjamin released their sixth studio album titled Ember with Hollywood Records on April 13th in concert with the music video for their sixth single Torn In Two. By the time the highly anticipated record came out, it seemed as if they were going to put it all out there considering half of the songs had already become available for fans to livestream. Perhaps this has contributed to the success that Ember has already experienced. Each song stands strongly on their own but infuses to create the familiar raw, honest lyrics and catchy melodies that Benjamin Burnley writes. There is always an incredible level of vulnerability in how Breaking Benjamin tells a story.
Despite the current line-up playing on the 2015 top charting album Dark Before Dawn, Ember is the first album that has been written as a band rather than solely by Burnley. With the promise to be a heavier record, Benjamin Burnley (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jason Rauch (lead guitar), Keith Wallen (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Aaron Rauch (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Shaun Foist (drums) restore any faith lost in rock n’ roll and exemplifies the substantial creative chemistry between them. The album debuted at #1 on the U.S. iTunes sales chart and on the Billboard Top Alternative, Top Rock Albums, Top Hard Rock Albums and Digital Albums Charts.
Ember begins with Lyra, an instrumental piano overture and like Dark Before Dawn, it bookends with a dramatic instrumental finale. Could Ember be the dawn? Or is it supposed to be a continuation of the dark? Either way, the similarities are uncanny while managing to refrain from being a carbon copy.
Feed The Wolf, the second track and the second single to be released on the album takes the sound from 0 to 10 in a matter of seconds. Obviously, the makings of their hardest song are present from the start and then lighten up a bit for Breaking Benjamin’s recognizable anthem-like sound. The heavy lyrics make up for the lighter parts of the song musically, and it is a welcomed balance. The alignment continues with first single Red Cold River with Burnley’s enticing melodies fluctuating with his profound growls and it doesn’t let up with Tourniquet and Psycho with its’ Pantera-esque intro. It is within Psycho that we find ember and the only reference to the album title.
The standout track is The Dark Of You and features Derek Hough of Dancing With The Stars on backing vocals. The elements comprised in this song create a haunting, trance inducing sound and it is easy to find yourself listening to it on repeat. While it may not be an ideal song for the radio, it is arguably the best song on the album and is reminiscent of Ashes Of Eden.
The music video for track #8 titled Torn In Two was released in concert with the album. The thrashing guitars compliment the album’s most memorable chorus. Blood, Save Yourself and Close Your Eyes carry out more of the hard hitting sound Breaking Benjamin promised fans. As the outro Vega concludes the album, Ember was well worth the wait.
It is easy to see why Hollywood Records and Breaking Benjamin decided to release most of their album as singles. That is the one constant habit of the band. Each song is a story and it doesn’t need an entire album to glue it together. The strength and versatility that Breaking Benjamin projects on this album is sensational and fans can breathe sighs of relief because the new members added to the already stellar and familiar sound of the band and they only made changes for the better. It is something that Burnley can agree with and now that the dust has settled with a more permanent line-up, it is merely a teaser for what Breaking Benjamin is capable of now.
Feed The Wolf
Red Cold River
The Dark Of You
Torn In Two
Close Your Eyes