Breaking Benjamin’s Ember has the band doing what a lot of mainstream and modern rock acts are doing these days; trying to get edgier and harder so they can please their core fans instead of even flirting with mainstream pop music. It’s the right move and for a band like Breaking Benjamin – who has always been intense – it’s not that far of a move one way or another. Ember ends up being a great record, but it’s not for the reasons you would think so. Ember is a better record because it’s basically no-holds-barred Breaking Benjamin. It’s how the band sounds and they do it without any apologies. It’s dark, it’s visceral, and sometimes it’s even depressing, but the quality of the music can’t be denied.
Songs like “Red Cold River” and “Psycho” see Breaking Benjamin mastermind Ben Burnley doing what he does best. Heavily singing melodically. He’s the only person on the planet that can do what he does and sings the way he sings. Despite former talk of band members and feuds and lawsuits and all the other stuff, Breaking Benjamin is Ben Burnley and it always will be. As you’d expect this album is about two things; big, heavy, thick chugging guitars and Burnley’s intensely thick vocal. The hooks aren’t there with some of these songs like they’ve been in the past but as an overall set they’re still outstanding and “Psycho” climbs to the top five list of my personal favorite Breaking Benjamin tracks.
Yeah, it’s true that Breaking Benjamin have a very distinct sound and they’re not going to change with each new record. They’re at the point in their career where they’ve established who they are and they’re good with it. As they should be. This record adds further to their reputation as a great band and will keep long term fans happy with the final product.