Sound — 8
The sound is typical Breaking Benjamin. Tons of low end from the bass and ridiculously crunchy guitars produced by the C# tuned, semi-hollowbody baritone of Ben Burnley. A lot more soloing on this album as well...from the opening line of the first song right through to the end, there is just overall a more musical feel about this album, while still retaining the high sound quality and all out rock we have come to expect from Burnley and crew. They really cover the whole spectrum of sound with this album, having relatively slow songs and then very upbeat songs as well. The guitar tone is fantastic of course, as is the bass, and overall this album is sonic purity. David Bendeth deserves massive props for all the work he has done for this band and others in the past, but in terms of sound quality, I would say that this is near the top!
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are very typical for Ben Burnley and in this album shine through more with the better use of his voice. Dear Agony presents very similar themes as other BB albums, this time though, seems to be more personal for Burnley. Ben brings forth more screaming on this album, and though it is rough in places, it redeems itself over and over. Ben seems to be focused more on vocals this album though.
Overall Impression — 9
I would definitely put this album up there with Phobia, however, they may not have a single on this album that can reach the status that "Diary of Jane" did... The single "I Will Not Bow" is a really solid single, however considering it is being used as a soundtrack song for a relatively un-hyped film...I don't know that this will do as well. I love the sound quality of this album, and I am really loving the guitar tone, and Ben's use of his voice. The album seems a bit more mellow, however they don't forget to rock out...but overall...definitely more slow/mellow songs than albums past (Saturate comes to mind) Overall, I definitely would put this album with their others in respect to musicianship, sound quality and overall sound, however I do not feel like it is up to par with, say, Saturate. Definitely a solid album however, and worth a listen to!