Six years is a long period of time and a lot can happen in that period. You could get married, or have kids, or even graduate with your master’s degree. For Breaking Benjamin, it was a period of frustration and troubles that left the band’s future in a state of severe jeopardy. Between Ben’s consistent illness that put the band on an indefinite hiatus and the legal battle that left the band without a bassist or a guitarist, followed by the departure of the original drummer, fans were left to wonder if the band was dead in the waters. However, in August 2014 everyone was floored with the announcement of a brand new lineup (aside from Ben, the only original member of the band left) and a preview of new music. In March, that new music was finally revealed with the release of the now #1 Mainstream Rock Radio hit “Failure” which was instantly well received by both fans and critics. Now, after six years of waiting, Breaking Benjamin is back with some of their best work to date.
Dark Before Dawn is a comeback album in every sense of the word. There’s nothing really game changing here. The band isn’t breaking new ground in the genre or their own sound. They’re playing to their strengths and their well-known yet polished sound that they’ve been building upon since Saturate. It would’ve been nice to see the band take a swerve with this album and try something completely groundbreaking that they’ve never done before, but considering the lineup is still probably getting used to working together I can see why they took the safer route mentioned before. However, there is one standout track that took me by surprise. “Ashes of Eden” is an acoustic track that is heavy on the emotion. It almost feels like Ben delved deep into a personal trauma to write this song, which is arguably one of the album’s best. If there was any track that truly showcased what this album’s heavier side is about it would be a tie between “Bury Me Alive” and “Defeated“, both of which give ample showcase to Burnley’s melodic cleans and powerful growls. Even with the positives, this is still largely the same sound from past albums. And that’s noticeable. It’s not a bad thing, but it certainly isn’t a good thing either. It certainly wouldn’t hurt the band to try innovation on their next record.
All in all, the album is not going to win over any naysayers of their past work. It’s more of the same classic Breaking Benjamin sound that’s had plenty of time to be polished and perfected. However, to any casual or hardcore fans of the band, they will find much more to love. An emotional and power filled return to form, Dark Before Dawn is an album long awaited that does not disappoint even with a sound that hasn’t changed much over the years. The band still has the capacity to deliver as one of the best hard rock bands around today, and this is how they’re reminding everyone.
Breaking Benjamin is finally back. You can check out a YouTube stream of the album below: