Story by Maro Isong / Contributing Writer
Pennsylvanian rock band Breaking Benjamin has followed 2015’s Billboard 200 topping project “Darkest Before Dawn” with their sixth studio album “Ember.” This is the second album that will feature the band’s new lineup following their recent reform. This album—like their last—was produced by frontman, bandleader and primary songwriter Benjamin Burnley.
In terms of songwriting and song structuring, the band doesn’t take a lot of risks beyond their usual realms on this project. Sonically the vocal harmonies that are typical of the band’s work remain present. The band also continues to blend heavy intros and bridges with verses that build up to melodic choruses with songs on this project. This can be observed on the songs “Tourniquet” and “Feed the Wolf.”
Lyrically, Burnley continues to tackles themes of relationship and heartbreak as well as darker themes of solitude and depression with possible allusions to addiction that may only be metaphorical.
This project as a whole should constitute an easy listen for fans of the band and fans of mid-2000’s alternative rock in general. The songs on this album, however, can come across as repetitive in the sense that a lot of the tracks on this project can be interchanged with some of their previous work.
Breaking Benjamin isn’t necessarily breaking new grounds on their latest project, “Ember,” but they’re more or less continuing from where they left off on “Darkest Before Dawn.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. While their pattern of combining melodic choruses with heavy verses can be considered formulaic, this is the sound that the band has thrived on over the years. As the saying goes, if it’s not broke why try to fix it? This a band that is fully aware of its strengths and has seemly mastered the art of playing to them.
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