After a six year hiatus, Breaking Benjamin has returned with what is on all counts, their best album yet. Dark Before Dawn was released on June 23rd through their label Hollywood Records and has instantaneously begun dominating the charts. Expected to hit an upward of 140,000 units within its’ first week, Dark Before Dawn is presumably on course to become the #1 album on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Charts. Surpassing their 2006 album Phobia which made it to #2, this will be the first album to achieve #1 for Breaking Benjamin. Prior to its release, iTunes allowed fans to stream the album in its entirety which added to the anticipation of the release giving everyone a glimpse into what was in store. It is transparent that Benjamin Burnley, founding member and primary songwriter’s decision to maintain Breaking Benjamin’s familiar, heartfelt sound has proven to be a wise. While protruding the personal and professional obstacles he experienced since their last original album, Dear Agony in 2009. Clearly, the new members and Burnley have a musical connection that is outstanding due to the fact they are longtime friends. Aaron Bruch (bass, backing vocals), Keith Wallen (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Jasen Rauch (lead guitar) and Shaun Foist (drums, electronic percussion and programming) bring refining factors to Burnley’s lyrics and vocals. Dark Before Dawn is a mesmerizing journey and Breaking Benjamin has once again created a masterpiece as the album conveys a story about overcoming the dark forces or whatever circumstances one may face in life and triumphs into the light.
Dark Before Dawn is like a window into the soul of Burnley who has always been “all in” when it comes to his lyrics, melodies and flawless vocals. Their first single Failure has remained on the Billboard charts for 13 weeks now and on June 26th, Breaking Benjamin premiered their live video of the song. Their second single Angels Fall, a more dark, gothic track proves there are no shortage of hit songs on the album. Luring you in with Dark, a mostly instrumental track slowly introducing Burnley’s melodious vocals transcend into a trance-like feeling of euphoria. Breaking The Silence which is the fourth track on the album resonates as it features Burnley’s famous screamo vocals and heavier intro than the previous tracks. Hollow, with its slower groove and Bury Me Alive will surely bring upon some serious headbanging. Never Again starts off with a similarity to Linkin Park’s sound but takes you right back to Breaking Benjamin’s signature sound. Great combo! The album slows down with Ashes Of Eden which truly showcases Burnley’s heart and brings a sentimental state to the album. This track has a vibe such as Counting Crows’ song Color Blind but it doesn’t replicate. Defeated heats things back up and Dawn ends the album in the most perfect way.
This new lineup brings to life a new era within Breaking Benjamin and Dark Before Dawn is an album that creates a vision, a feeling, a story. In listening to the entire album, it is easy to imagine it being the soundtrack to a dark and triumphant film or its own video game where the player experiences dark circumstances, fights his or her way to victory and reaps the satisfying bliss of the light. This album depicts everything Breaking Benjamin while manifesting all of the pain, joy, defeats and triumphs Burnley faced during what seemed like an eternity between their last album and this one. Breaking Benjamin has hit a new level and as always, Burnley’s vocals contain a strong emotion that connects you to his story and to the feelings that he had when he wrote the songs, holding nothing back. Dark Before Dawn just proves once again that Breaking Benjamin is a timeless band that is here to stay.