Sound — 10
Breaking Benjamin, the Pennsylvania quartet, are back again with their new release. The new album entitled "Phobia" is an amazing effort and proof of how much the band has matured as a whole since their last release (We Are Not Alone). Breaking Benjamin has yet again slightly altered their sound on this one. The guitars are much more downtuned, and an angrier sound has emerged from the vocals and guitars. This is also the first album that the band has used it's new drummer, Chad Szeliga. This album's title came about when it was made clear the Ben Burnley (vocals, rhythm guitar) had a fear of planes (among other things). The title brought about and intro and outro track on the CD, which really added a certain demension to the overall sound of the album. The band has again impressed me with how it has devolped over the past several years. Burnley has really progeressed with his vocals. He has gone from wailing on their first release (Saturate) to crooning and really emphasizing his talent. His vocals add a whole new sound to the band, which will hopefully push the band to new highs in today's rock music industry. I believe this record to be one (if not the) best album of this year. It is mature and cohesive, and the songs do not wear themselves out. I was really begging to wonder about what the band was up to during the time after We Are Not Alone. There was quite a length of time between the realeases. However, the wait payed off with this album. Every song on it, from top to bottom was a colaboration of each member of the bands talent.
Lyrics — 10
01. Intro - simply an intro to the album. Has an airplane recording played toward the end. This is because Ben Burnley (vocals) is afraid of plane travel. Neat idea. 02. Diary Of Jane - this is the band's new and first single off this album. It is an absolutly amazing effort. This is Chad Szeliega's (drummer) first album with the band, and he did a flawless peice of work with the drum part. Great verse, and soaring chorus. Great song altogether. it's one of the best songs this band has ever produced. It's mature and fills the headspace, just as a sigle should. It maintains a hard rock flair with mainstream edge, which makes it loved by a wide audience. Great work. 03. Breath - another good song. Has a bit more of a radio-type sound to it. I enjoyed it, but it was'nt remembered (in my opinion) when I got done listening to the album. Still, it was impressive. Had a very good intro with Aaron (lead guitar) doing a bit of soloing. 04. You - this song was a bit of a departure from the normal Breaking Benjamin. It was played in standard tuning, and had a slower feel and tempo to it. It is incredibly intersesting. Chad did a great job with backup vocals here. While it wasn't my favorite, it was original, and definetly noteworthy. 05. Evil Angel - this one blew me away. Absolutly incredible through and through. The band did a great job here incorperating a good heavy riff accompanied by an emotional chorus. Great harmonics in the intro. The only thing I didn't like about this one was that the interlude riff was kind of repetitive. Still it was a great song to hear, especially for the first time. One of my favorites on the album. 06. Until The End - I believe this was the heaviest song on the album. It had an unusual tempo, and a hard and heavy intro. Very original. This song also really emphasized how low the guitars are detuned to. There is also a peice of the song that resembles a little bit of Black Sabbath... I personally like this song, and most hard rockers would aswell. 07. Dance With The Devil - potentially the band's next single. It has one of the best choruses I have ever heard. I sang this song for about 3 days straight after I heard it. Amazing work, particularly in Ben's vocals. I'm positive this song was a challange for him, and he overcame it and gave us a great song. 08. Topless - classic. This song was originally recorded as a live mp3 on the Breaking Benjamin's fansite. It was clear that everyone who heard it liked it, so they took it into the studio and fixed it up a bit. The result was another great song. It is also is another one of the heavier songs on the CD. 09. Here We Are - as a whole, this was a weak song on the album. Perhaps it is because of the placement of the song on the album. It isnt a bad song, it is just a slower one and it never really did much for me. However, Aaron has an absolutly amazing solo in this one, with a sound much like the guitars of the seventies. 10. Unknown Soldier - this one was my personal favorite on the album. The vocals describe the thoughts of a soldier who is dying. It also rather describes the enviorment around the soldier. It painted quite a visual picture for me as far as vocals go. Musically it was very powerful. Mark Klepaski (bassist) did an amazing job here during the intro. His bassline really helped pull the song together in my opinion. Aaron also had a feild day with the solo here. Great job by the entire band. it's my favorite song by these guys. 11. Had Enough - without a doubt this is the angriest song on the album. Rumor has it the vocals were aimed at the ex-drummer for the band, but this has never been proven. It was probably the second heaviest song on the album, again emphazing the B flat tuned guitars. Good song, great for pumping yourself up to. 12. You Fight Me - ok, this one was kind of a headtrip. However, it is the most original song on the album. Very very strange. Had almost a hip hop feel to it. A piano and an odd bassline were incorperated. Also Ben screamed along to his slow vocals. It was altogether weird song. But it was cool! I really dug this song when I first heard it. 13. Outro - much like the intro. Aaron was making his guitar scream towards the end. Great way to end the album. It ended with a recording of millions of people screaming. Very interesting. 14. Diary Of Jane (acoustic) - this song was actually done on a piano. Chad and Ben were really showing off their vocal talent here. To me it is amazing how far Ben's vocals have come. This song is startling evidence of his voice's growth. Not really my style, but it was suprisingly good. Great little peice.
Overall Impression — 10
I have a feeling about this album that I haven't had with any other album before. I believe that this album will be a favorite by many here in the next few years. I believe this for several reasons. First off, the band's sound has something that everyone can enjoy. It has hard driving, low-tuned riffs that headbangers will enjoy. But it also maintains a certain mainstream vibe that I believe will bring radio fame for them. Secondly, the vocals in each of their songs have something that anyone and everyone can relate to, which is a rarity in the music industry today. Finally, I think that these songs are special in that they don't wear themselves out, which means that every single that they put out off of this CD will be here for a while, rather than just having a song and filler on an album. Breaking Benjamin may not be for everyone. They are really the bridge between mainstream and alternative metal, so they are definetly unique. Their sound can be compared to that of Staind and Seether and Trapt. Songs on this album that were really impressive were Evil Angel, Unknown Soldier, and Diary of Jane. Each of these possesed certain qualities that I found unique in their own way. However, I hope that every song on the album gets some recognition. I love this CD in that it is original, powerful, and interesting. In general everything about this CD was really cool. The only thing I didn't like was that there was little tempo variation througout most of the album, however this didn't come to me until I had listened to the CD about 3 times. If it were lost or stolen, I would hardly be angry, because I wish to spread this album to the world (However cheesy that sounds). I would, though, replace the album in the next half hour. I believe this album will achieve greatness, and it is one of my favorite albums of all time. Very proud of Breaking Benjamin with this effort, and I hope they really saturate the indusrty with this one.