Sound — 10
I want to be the first to point out that this is the first Breaking Benjamin album that does not drop the F-bomb in it's content. Actually I don't think it swears really at all (thank god for you Wal-Mart CD goers). Another thing about this album is that they didn't open with their first single, which hasn't happened since Saturate. You can consider the opener for Phobia to be the "Intro" but really we all know it was Diary of Jane. Ok so moving on. When I first heard I Will Not Bow I was slightly skeptical about what the rest of the album was going to sound like but once I listened to it I was very impressed, besides the fact that I listened to their first single 2-3 times a day before the album came out. Breaking Benjamin used to play in such tunings as Drop C and Drop D# but I think they very well have made a home with Drop B and B-flat as their, lets say, safe tuning. The riffs on this album are nothing short of Breaking Benjamin's style. Phobia introduced heavier riffs and Dear Agony delivers "heavier" riffs. They even made a great connection with their title track using a slow riff to start and a crunchy rhythm in the background to still give it punch. Ever since Saturate I've never been disappointed with their hard hitting intros and pummeling power chords of death cause that's what makes them who they are.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics for this album are good but not their greatest. There are a lot of repeated lyrics on the album but then again this isn't a concept album it's just 11 different songs just wanting to tell their story and that's exactly how they turned out. Even though there's some repeats Ben Burley still knows how to throw emotion into his lyrics. Not only does he throw emotion into the mix very well but he also sings his heart out on this album. "Leave me here forever in the dark" on Give Me A Sign is probably my favorite line out of the whole album. It really touches deep as well as the lyrics for Dear Agony, touching and full of emotion. Due to the fact that the lyrics still held a good vibe for the songs and worked great with Ben's vocal melodies I can't deny giving his words and sentences a break.
Overall Impression — 10
In my opinion this album is equal or greater than Phobia. There were a few songs on their last album that I didn't really care for much even though they eventually grew on me. The reason Dear Agony is different though is the fact that What Lies Beneath was the only "decent" song on the album and the rest were good, great, or just plain awesome. Dear Agony track listing and synopsis 1. Fade Away - Uh, the opener. Starts with very effected vocals then kicks right in. This is even more of hard hitting intro than Wish I May from Saturate. The verse is good, the chorus is extremely catchy, the bridge is excellent, and overall brings good to the beginning of the album. 9/10 2. I Will Not Bow - The albums first single. Hits hard right from the beginning with Ben screaming "Fall" and breaking out into Drop B-flat goodness. The verse holds it's own, the chorus is nothing less than good, and the bridge with Aaron Fink's solo is just awesome. 9/10 3. Crawl - One of my favorites on this album. Love the intro, can't get enough of the verse, and the screaming in the chorus just makes this song whole. Reminds me a lot of Evil Angel from Phobia. 10/10 4. Give Me A Sign - Probably one of my favorite Breaking Benjamin songs of all time. The intro completely grabs my nerves while the verse puts them back into place. The chorus holds tons of emotion especially when the the words "leave me here forever in the dark" is sang. The ending is exactly what I would have expected, epic. 10/10 5. Hopeless - Supposedly their next single, which is not a bad choice, even if I would have picked Crawl instead. Snazzy intro, well written verse, and once again screaming in the chorus, which I just loved. Ben's scream is so deep why not use it more than he has on previous albums. 9/10 6. What Lies Beneath - Reminds me of You just didn't cut it for me. The verse is decent and the same as the chorus as well. It will eventually grow on me but first impressions are everything. 7/10 7. Anthem of the Angels - Almost like the last song except the chorus really hits home for me, which is the reason it gets a better score. Well, that and the fact that it's actually a pretty decent piece. The intro is good as well. 8/10 8. Lights Out - The intro riff reminds me of In Flames so that's a plus. The song in it's entirety sounds like they took Phobia and We Are Not Alone, mix the two styles, and came out with this song. Just like Anthem of the Angels it is a pretty decent song. The chorus is catchy and the solo during the bridge sounds well placed and hits all the right notes. 8/10 9. Dear Agony - The album's title track. Excellent intro, sweet harmonizing in the verse, and the chorus is just really good. Another favorite off the album. 10/10 10. Into the Nothing - The intro is alright but the melody for the verse makes up for it. The chorus is powering and well written. Definitely check this track out. 8/10 11. Without You - A good song but not the best pick for the ending song. The intro has that vibe and the verse works well but the chorus is kinda weak. The ending line gives the album some conclusion so at least that part exists and the strings at the end of the song also help bring the album to a close so it's not as bad as I think. 8/10 Final Impression: It's definitely a keeper. Has very catchy songs and holds up well to other Breaking Benjamin albums especially Phobia. It's a must buy so if you're a fan and don't have it yet you're missing out on a solid record.