Sound — 8
That's the sophomore release of Breaking Benjamin ? even though it was out only in June 2004, the album already is nearly platinum. It begins with a well-known single and a slow-burning "So Cold" gets We Are Not Alone off to a good start. Talking about the music the band plays, I can say that it sounds like a war between alternative rock and metal. The choppy, downtuned guitars on the album comes from the members' previous experience - guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark James Klepaski used to play in Lifer, an alternative metal band. Even though the band was quite successful and had a contract with Universal, Fink and Klepaski didn't hesitate to leave it to form a new alternative rock band with singer Ben Burnley and drummer Jeremy Hummel. According to Breaking Benjamin's press releases, the risky decision was made a lot due to faith of ex-Lifers in Burnley's songwriting talents, moreover Fint and Burnley knew each other long before Breaking Benjamin -? all the band members grew up in Wilkes-Barre, a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. The band started playing around their native town in late 2000 and soon a local DJ Freddie Fabbri got so interested in them that financed the recording of their self-titled debut EP, which was selling very good in the around area. In 2001 Breaking Benjamin managed to catch the attention of Hollywood Records and released the first album in August 2002. On their second album We are not alone it's obvious, that the band matured a lot. Guys are still experimenting with the music style 'cause, as they say, they like trying new things and see where it takes them. Melodic guitar tunes sound unusual with the distorted textures and hefty beats. The songs are anchored by the strong rhythm section - propelling rhythms of drums and bass.
Lyrics — 6
I enjoyed music much more, than the lyrics, though there are some good ideas. Even though Rain sounds strange on the album, the song is beautiful and mostly due to its lyrics. Listening to it, you just can't miss it ? "Take a photograph, It'll be the last, Not a dollar or a crowd could ever keep me here," even though the chorus sounds like a children's song "Rain, rain go away, come again another day." Most of the records have good lyrics in the versus and the chorus is usually pretty primitive. My favorite line on the album is "Shut up smart little b--ch" esp. the way Burnley says it. Burnley has a unique vocal. My guess is that it's quite strong in lower tones, but not strong enough to shout higher ones, so he invented to use that special way of singing. I would call it a "woman in hysterics" sound -? it makes me shiver sometime 'cause it reminds me of my mum yelling at me at the top of her longs for not cleaning my room. I used it as my secret weapon to drive my ex-boyfriend crazy screaming at him with that sound. Never though a man could sing like that. Though you get used to it while listening to the record.
Overall Impression — 8
If you like hard rock, that's the record you should get. The CD has a lot of catchy tunes and the guys did a very good job on it. Most of the songs are written by Burnley, except of three tracks that he co-wrote with former Smashing Pumpkins singer-songwriter Billy Corgan. On of them "Follow" is the highlight of the record. It's very well-done and has a very catchy tune. Others two really differ from all the songs on the album. Seems like there was some problem with writing rock-ballads, and "Forget It" and "Rain" are the instant-rock-ballad songs. Still being ballads, they totally outstand on the album. Forget It sounds like a tribute to 80's new wave and I would think that it's been put on the CD by accident. Being a fan of Smashing Pumpkins, Burnley tried so hard to impress Corgan, that supplemented the song with a half-step move-up every verse and chorus. He says that it's subtle, but I think it's pretty obvious and embarrassing for a semi-metal band. At the end of the CD there's probably the trick that shows the band's idea of trying absolute different things ? an angry growl trashy track "Believe" crashes to an acoustic ballad "Rain" that even has a sound of a shower in the track. Probably not the best idea to show the variety of music the band can play. Not that I don't like the songs, I truly think, that "Rain" is a beautiful song, but the album should put you in a certain mood and keep it up all through the CD. Here, listening to these two songs, I can't stop wondering whose crazy joke was that to put them on this record? Most other songs are like an emotional experience, but, again, if you want that impression to last, stop your player after #10 song and listen to "Rain" later.