Dear Agony Review

artist: Breaking Benjamin date: 08/18/2010 category: compact discs
Breaking Benjamin: Dear Agony
Released: Sep 29, 2009
Genre: Post-Grunge / Alternative Metal
Label: Hollywood
Number Of Tracks: 11
They really cover the whole spectrum of sound with this album, having relatively slow songs and then very upbeat songs as well.
 Sound: 9.3
 Lyrics: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 9.3
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reviews (8) 59 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.3
Dear Agony Reviewed by: tdragon316, on september 30, 2009
7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Sound: Bassist Mark James said it best when he said this album isn't a recreation of the band rather an evolution of what already there. The fourth album, titled 'Dear Agony', takes the all so familiar sound of Breaking Benjamin and gives it new depth and emotion. For many 'Phobia', the bands 3rd offering, was a lyrical maturity while taking a darker look at the sound the band is known for. 'Dear Agony' takes that lyrical maturity, darker sound, and new outlook on how they present their sound and reaches back to 'We Are Not Alone' for their heavier tracks and 'Saturate' for that energy and excitement that made us fall in love with the sound and styling of the sons of Wilkes-Barre. Ben Burnley leads with vocals to be recogned with as always finding a new emotional depth to his delivery of each note while Aaron Fink continues to provide his unmistakable riffs in tandem with Ben on rhythm making a marriage that reaches inside to grab your attention and keep it as long as the sounds flowing through your speakers. Mark James delivers a Bass performance that demands respect and adds a layer of texture and emotional boom to each song continuing his trend of making the Bass line demand respect while blending with the mix of energy and emotion emitting from every corner of the album. As always Chad Szeliga accents every beat and progression with drum riffs that stand out as not only smooth but reflective of the mood presented by the rest of the band at that moment. All elements combine to create a sound the gives you more than just the lyrics and vocals telling a story but each note played by the remaining instruments reflects the emotional tone and react with Ben as though each instrument itself is a voice providing its take on the subject of each song. Some of the songs do have a rehashed sound feeling like previous albums but at the same time feel different enough to justify revisiting those riffs. // 10

Lyrics: Lyrically Breaking Benjamin has evolved light years with their fans. 'Saturate' provided a fun lyrical offereing while 'We Are Not Alone' continued this atmosphere offering deeper tracks such as 'So Cold' and 'Sooner or Later' while 'Phobia' gave us a more serious and darker side to the lyrical genius of Ben Burnley. 'Dear Agony' takes the energy of 'Saturate' and the progression of 'We Are Not Alone' mixes it with the mature subject content of 'Phobia' and gives us an album the lyrically will reach any listener with at least one song. The album captures the essence of adoration and passion for something or someone and reflects the inner emotions adjoining that love. Lyrically this album advances the experiment of 'Phobia' and hits it with perfection. Ben's delivery of the lyrics paired with the rest of the band makes every song fit perfect lyrically with the sound providing an experience beyond the words into a level of an audio experience that connects to the listener on all levels. Some listeners will feel the lyrics are simply rewording of past songs with new vocals but the delivery should be enough to allow forgiveness from the more critical fans. For those looking for the youthful carefree lyrics of 'Saturate' prepare to have your hopes let down, this album is more of a balance between 'We Are Not Alone' and 'Phobia'. // 9

Overall Impression: While the evolution of the band will prevent them from ever releasing another 'Saturate' for the hardcore fans there from day one, those who jumped on board with 'We Are Not Alone' and especially those who became fans via 'Phobia' will be very pleased with the latest offering from Breaking Benjamin. While Saturate will always be the "fun" album for the band 'Dear Agony' is definitively head and shoulders over 'Phobia' and feels like a perfection and 'We Are Not Alone'. With 'Phobia' I found myself skipping around from song to song yet with 'Dear Agony' I can rip the proverbial knob of the set and let it play on loop and never feel like I'm settling for a song that could be better. I do miss the standout power track of the album, 'Saturate' had 'Shallow Bay', 'We Are Not Alone' had 'Break Down' and 'Phobia' had 'Topless'. None of the songs on this album really emmit that specific energy that those 3 songs possesed which is sad, losing that one track isn't an all bad thing though since the album as a whole flows a lot more seamlessly than any of the previous albums. Track placement and transition for 'Dear Agony' are smoother than any of the bands previous offerings. This album opens loud and in your face then gives you a soft exit making it an emotional roller coaster for the fans that can truly get into the lyrics and music and for 11 tracks lose themselves without interruption. This album was meant to be listened to beginning to end in order to get its full effect. Aside from missing the power hitter of albums past and sticking with a more serious tone than what brought them to the dance 'Dear Agony' is arguably the best Breaking Benjamin album to date. After 3 days straight of listening to it I can honestly say its an album that gets better with every listen. If you have ever enjoyed a release from Breaking Benjamin you owe it to yourself to pick this album up. If I lost all of the Breaking Benjamin Albums I would pick up this and Saturate first due to their different representations of the band. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Dear Agony Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 01, 2009
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 10

Lyrics: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 9.7
Dear Agony Reviewed by: iamghost, on november 05, 2009
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: I have to say, Dear Agony is their greatest album yet. It is extremely different from Saturate, which, honestly, I have to say I didn't really like that much. Instead, Dear Agony is a complete mix of We Are Not Alone and Phobia, with its dark sound and lyrical maturity. All of the songs are very dynamic, EXTREMELY well-written, and very thought-processed. Ben Burnley seems to have put a lot of time and effort into making these tracks one-of-a-kind. True, some songs sound like other songs from their previous albums, however, they are different in a way musically and lyrically that makes that forgivable. Everything is just so well balanced in this album. The singing, the guitars, the bass, the drums. Everything is just put together so well, almost everything in the album is flawless. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics in every song tell a story. Or at least it seems like it. As said before, Ben Burnley put a LOT of time and thought in his lyrics for Dear Agony, and it pays off. Ben Burnley in my opinion is a lyrical genius. He knows how to tell a good story in a song and make it seamless with the music. That's what Breaking Benjamin is famous for. Even though Phobia was a HUGE step in lyrical maturity for the band, Dear Agony is still a step further. Most of the lyrics are dark in a way, but the singing is very dynamic and there is a lot of variety. // 10

Overall Impression: 01. Fade Away: the opening track. When I first listened to it, for some reason, my adrenaline rushed the first time he says, "I'm cold and broken." For some reason, that made me believe that this was going to be their best album yet. The intro just takes you in on a journey and prepares you for the rest of the album. The guitars are heavily down-tuned to drop B-flat. The chorus has a lot of energy and emotion, and it's a great way to start of the album. 10/10 02. I Will Not Bow: their first single that blew my mind when it came out in early September. This is the next Diary of Jane. "I will not BOW." The chorus hits you hard. When Ben sings "bow" the guitars, the bass, and the drums kick in altogether at the same time, making it hard-hitting. The solo is amazing. I can't get enough of it. The next Breaking Benjamin landmark. 10/10 03. Crawl: I don't see all the hype over this song. I'm not saying it's a bad song whatsoever, I mean I love it, but everyone says it's their favorite song. The verse is catchy, and the bridge where he says "I'm becoming a monster..." is my favorite part of it. I always bob my head to that part, it's almost scary. A very good track. 8.5/10 04. Give Me A Sign: I love this track a lot. It's still heavy in a sense, but it has a lighter side to it. It's a love song. The intro is very nice, the verses are very good, and I LOVE the build-up to the chorus, which blows my mind. The ending is very good. Epic as hell. 9/10 05. Hopeless: I gotta say this is one of my favorites off the album. An extremely dynamic and heavy intro leads you up for a pounding verse and a hard-hitting chorus. Ben's screams are deep and promising, and they're almost frightening. This track is said to be their next single... not a bad choice. 9/10 06. What Lies Beneath: this is my favorite track of the album. The clean-toned intro, the gentle verse, and the AMAZINGLY epic chorus. I love it. This is one of Breaking Benjamin's best songs in my opinion. The lyrics are phenomenally well written. This track shines out through most of the rest of the tracks. 11/10 07. Anthem of the Angels: the beginning is extremely misleading. The orchestra playing makes you think this is going to be a gentler song. And it is to a degree, but it's a power ballad. The chorus is even more epic than What Lies Beneath. The lyrics, as always, touch you emotionally and I can't get enough of that. This is a true Breaking Benjamin classic. 10/10 08. Lights Out: ehhh.... I gotta say this is my least favorite track on the album. I'm not saying it's bad in any way, it's just my least favorite. The solo is pretty nice, but something about it just makes me feel like this track was just thrown in there. True, the song has a lot of energy and reminds me a LITTLE of Saturate, but it just doesn't shine like the rest of the tracks. 8/10 09. Dear Agony: an amazing piece of art. Breaking Benjamin's best work. Ever. This song... touches you deeply and the chorus just made me want to cry. It's an amazingly beautiful song that is extremely dynamic musically and lyrically. Just listen to it, you won't be able to get enough of it. 10/10 10. Into the Nothing: one of my favorites. The intro is a little generic, but the lyrics are have amazing variety. It reminds me of I Am Ghost's lyrics a little bit, and they're my favorite band. An epic chorus makes a great song!! 9/10 11. Without You: I love this song. An awesome closer. The chorus stands out from the rest of everything in the song. The transition from major to minor chords, and the lyrics are just amazing. The final phrase "The end..." makes your mouth water and beg for more. A true closer. 10/10 // 10

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overall: 8.3
Dear Agony Reviewed by: Brendan.Clace, on september 30, 2009
1 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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! // 8

Lyrics: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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! // 9

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overall: 7.7
Dear Agony Reviewed by: dr-g0nz0, on october 01, 2009
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: I totally agree with Brendan.Clace. This is a great album. Breaking Benjamin have been one of my fave bands for a good 6 years now. As the years have gone on there sound has changed alot since there first album 'Saturate' and they've got more melodic and heavier. This new album has taken off where Phobia finished off, and there sound is very much that of Phobia. A little too much you might say. The Whole album as a whole, does pretty much the same thing. Uses the same formula of light and heavy rock. As in instruments are heavy 9 times out of 10 and Bens voice goes in and out of heavy and melodic. // 8

Lyrics: If you listen to all the albums what do you notice? When Saturate came out, it was raw grundge sounding and lyrics were random, never quite knew what he was on about. Listen to this album and it seems cupid has shot the man with a love arrow, and then gets his heart broken as all the songs seem to be about a girl. To me its a little disappointing due to being so ovious. But nevertheless, this album still has some supurb lyrics. Lights out in paticular was a lyrical treat. 01. Fade Away: Fade Away is a great opening track, with some supurb guitar and drumming. Quite heavy and has a catchy chorus. 02. I Will Not Bow: the single for the album, and its really one of the weakest songs on the album, it doesnt keep in the same tone as the rest of the album, Its grown on me alot since its release though. 03. Crawl: this is my fave track on the album. It has a slow start with Ben using his voice in a gental way then as the song goes on to the chorus he uses the full force of his voice in a great way. The Bass and guitar are really good in this song as well. 04. Give Me A Sign: this song sounds alot like a Chris Daughtry song. I wasn't really that keen on it but its grown on me alot. Very light on sound and very melodic. 05. Hopeless: another heavy song on the vocal front, with the instruments fitting really well and in keep with his vocals. 06. What Lies Beneath: a great song again, a mixture of heavy instruments, and bens voice going in and out of heavy and melodic vocals. 07. Anthem Of The Angels: this one is very different to most BB songs i think. The intro Ben has a very distorted almost creepy sounding voice. The Bass goes really well with Bens voice. And leads to a really energetic chorus. 08. Lights Out: this is one of my Faves as well, a little weird on timing for the guitar and bass, which gives the song a really bouncy feel. It also has a really good chorus. 09. Dear Agony: by far the weakest song on the album (and id proberbly say out of all the songs he's ever writen) It doesn't really go anywhere, lyrics get repetative and the instruments dont do alot either. 10. Into The Nothing: this is one of there more familier sounding songs, kicks off with a Polyamourous sounding riff. And then moves back into there new kind of sound. A mixture of heavy and light rock again. 11. Without You: another song that does pretty much as the rest of the album. Talks about a girl (i Presume lol) use's a mixture of light and heavy rock and wraps up with a little bit of orchestra at the end. // 7

Overall Impression: Overall for me this album is consistant and delivers a great sounding and well produced album. But for me it just missed the mark alittle. Maybe its because they seem to be etching closer and closer to mainstream. If your a fan of the band your going to love it anyway and you'll proberbly totally disagree with me. If your a new comer, buy Saturate instead. Its well worth a listen and will go proudly next to there already amazing back catalouge of albums. // 8

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overall: 9.3
Dear Agony Reviewed by: Soreanol, on november 05, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound has evolved a lot since Saturate. Phobia introduced more heavier songs and riffs and I will say that Dear Agony follows Phobia quite a bit. There are many elements from We Are Not Alone too. The tunes may be just a little less melodic than those found in Phobia, but it does fit very nicely. Ben does an amazing job, and I especially loved the drummer Chad. The songs are mainly just alternative rock. There are softer songs too in the mix, which I think is actually a great thing. Powerful riffs and singing is a perfect combination and BB does a great job of achieving this. I really like the new styles and the songs feel fresh but at the same time familiar, and that's a very rare (and great) thing in the music industry. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are quite good, but not their best. Ben still knows how to sing it out even though there are some repeated words. Ben's voice can be soft but brutal, and it works very well with the music. He sings in a lot of different ways in this album. Ben's awesome singing doesn't come to a surprise since he's always done very well. // 9

Overall Impression: I would like to say that I enjoyed this one more than We Are Not Alon and Saturate, but I think Phobia tops it by a slight edge. The album is not bad in any way, though, it's actually quite excellent. The tracks: 1. Fade Away: 8/10 Sounds a little sort of middle-eastern in the beginning. The main riff is decent, and the verse is good. The chorus is actually really good, and I really like the solo. 2. I Will Not Bow: 10/10 One of the heavier songs. It starts out really powerful. Everything is brilliant in this one. Ben has a very powerful voice and it really makes the song really enjoyable. 3. Crawl: 10/10 Wow. Fantastic verses and chorus slams right in to your face. Some repeated lyrics, but that's a very minor complaint. 4. Give Me A Sign: 9/10 A more melodic and softer tune in this one, but it gets stronger towards the chorus. The only thing that I didn't love was melody at the line "The scars will remain". But that doesn't really matter. 5. Hopeless: 9/10 A very heavy song. Lots of low riffs and the chorus fits nicely between the verses. I thought the scream was maybe a little too growly, but that's really the only con of the song. 6. What Lies Beneath: 10/10 Starts out soft, and becomes stronger. The verse is fantastic and the whole tune is simply epic. 7. Anthem of the Angels: 10/10 My favorite off the band. I could listen to this all day. Powerful lyrics, and the strings were a nice touch. It's not very classic BB, but my oh my is it awesome. 8. Lights Out: 7/10 This is a good song, but not very memorable. The bridge wasn't anything special and the chorus didn't really do it for me. The verse is better, though. 9. Dear Agony: 9/10 Also a softer song. Nice lyrics, and the tune works extremely well. The verse is awesome, the bridge decent and the chorus good. 10. Into the Nothing: 8/10 The riff is good if sounding done before. I like the verse very much and Ben's voice is very passionate. The chorus was decent. 11. Without You: 8/10 Slightly more melodic this one. Everything works pretty well together, but the bridge clearly stands out as the best part. Verdict: A really awesome album. It shouldn't come to a surprise looking at the previous albums, and the band has worked very hard on this. I'm very glad, since it payed off. Extremely good stuff. Anyone who likes rock/alternative rock or just likes Breaking Benjamin should definitely get this. // 9

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overall: 9
Dear Agony Reviewed by: Shadow_Hedgie, on december 09, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Breaking Benjamin has been around since the Saturate days, and with this album now, they haven't lost their own sound or edge. Dear Agony is one of those albums where it usually hits home on a personal and emotional level. They have really have outdone themselves both in sound and the style itself. I am very impressed with their set of songs that can remind you of Phobia, We Are Not Alone, and Saturate. From "Fade Away" to "Without You", some songs are a winner, and some are hit and miss, but I love them. This CD deserves an honorable mention. Ben Burnley deserves anything from the fans with his beautiful vocals, and his cunning growls. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics I just couldn't really fathom, but they're all powerful from one track to the next. With eleven tracks at their disposal, Breaking Benjamin never really disapoint with their lyrics and the meanings behind them. Ben Burnley still has that voice that everyone likes (well, not everyone). Most of the lyrics reminds me of We Are Not Alone and some of Phobia, and one from Saturate, they all variate emotionaly and powerfully. Ben has really improved a lot since Saturate, even though on this CD he avoided the "Parental Advisory" route this time. Other than that, the songs will grow on you and hit you for years to come and many CDs later. // 9

Overall Impression: Dear Agony, I was so impressed on how it stood out for me, I love everything about it and I feel no hate for it. It compares to most artists, but since I'm not opinionated, it stands out as the best Breaking Benjamin CD today. I wouldn't lose this for the world, this CD has really helped me with personal problems. It is that good if it helps you too. I highly recommend this to any other fan. // 9

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overall: 9.7
Dear Agony Reviewed by: Rcasa630, on august 18, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Every band has their own sound. It's their own material that you can tell from any others. Breaking Benjamin keeps their sound from "Phobia" and "We Are Not Alone" but add a bit more depth. In my opinion the band has learned a lot since "Saturate". Not to say anything they've written is better or worse (as that is opinion) but every band progresses. // 10

Lyrics: If you're a fan of lyrics that fit the actual music then you'd love this album. Songs such as "Dear Agony", "Give Me a Sign", and "I Will Not Bow" are some of the better examples of this. Guitarist, Aaron Fink compliments Ben Burnley's voice perfectly. They set the perfect tone. Ben's lyrical and vocal talent separate him from the rest. Enough said. // 9

Overall Impression: This album definitely compares to other albums and artists. I'd have to say it's one of the best I've ever heard. The most impressive songs I'd say are "Give Me a Sign", "I Will Not Bow", and "What Lies Beneath". No idea what I hate about the album but if I lost it or stolen I'd buy it again.. Or just listen to it from my iTunes? It's an impeccable album that has to be experienced. Words cannot express the actual material. Buy It! // 10

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