Ben Burnley returns with a new version of Breaking Benjamin and the first Breaking Benjamin album in roughly six years. The new album, “Dark Before Dawn” has the band stretching what they do enough to make it sound fresh while keeping as close as possible to the core sound of what fans have come to know and love.
Longtime fans will put on the album and feel right at home. Burnley wrote all of the music before and he continues to do that now. He does a lot of the same things now that he’s become known for – the melodic choruses and the super heavy guitar breakdowns in intros and bridges. Both should be trademarked by Burnley because nobody writes them quite like him. That said, there’s enough different with this album that make it the Breaking Benjamin album you wish they put out six years ago. While the choruses are still melodic, (especially late in the album – hence the name “Dark Before Dawn”), they’re also more aggressive. The first half of the record hits you in the face like a shovel, it’s awesome. These songs also feature strong backing vocals too, something that the band never has really had. Whether that’s a harsh metal vocal or some cool harmonizing on the ballad, “Ashes of Eden”, the background vocals on the album are outstanding and bring an entire new element to Breaking Ben.
“Dark Before Dawn” is the album that Breaking Benjamin should have put out in 2009. The album is inspired in a lot of ways and Burnley’s songwriting gets some new toys with different members of the band. If you’ve ever been a fan of Breaking Ben and you’re hesitant to jump into the album head first with the new lineup, that should be subsided. The album is outstanding.