After a four year hiatus, Breaking Benjamin returned in 2015 with their last album Dark Before Dawn, which felt like a step in the wrong direction. After a long break, all we left were shallow, weak copies of everything that came before. Nothing really original or meaningful really came out of that album, and it really felt like a blow for the band. However, their new album has put them back on path. Breaking Benjamin get back in touch with their classic sound in Ember, effectively adding new subtleties and delivering something meaningful.
Kicking things off mysteriously with the short introduction 'Lyra,' Breaking Benjamin go in full force with first track 'Feed The Wolf.' This song really brings in everything the band is known for and more: the giant, aggressive riff feels full of energy, while the melodies are fantastic. The choruses are immense, and the small electronic element adds a world of atmosphere to the background. The same is true for lead single 'Red Cold River' that follows, a safer effort that definitely bridged the gap between a new era for the band and the old sound. 'Psycho' has a great delivery, putting on the more alternative face with big choruses and tense verses. The melodies are brooding during the verses, but are almost elevating during the chorus, full of emotion and atmosphere.
While Ember is certainly a step in the right direction, Breaking Benjamin does get a bit too comfortable again. A major problem with the band is there has been very little variation in their sound over the years. For almost every song on the record, you can say the riff is huge and the vocals are strong, but for some songs that's about it, such as 'Torn In Two.' The mixing and production on this record make it such that it's a nice listen after the disappointment of their last record, but in time you get the sense that you could really just be listening to a Breaking Benjamin album from the late 2000s. The only song that really steps out to change something is 'The Darker Of You,' where effected vocals take precedence over guitars and the dramatic, synth and piano driven atmosphere really make the song what it is. Other than that, pretty much every other song is what you'd expect from them with a fuller and more certain sound than their last album.
Breaking Benjamin get back in touch with their classic sound in Ember, successfully coming out of the rut they experienced with their last record and returning to a big, confident sound. While the music isn't entirely fresh and still needs a bit of evolution to really push Breaking Benjamin onto a new road, the music feels revitalized, which is always the first step.
Favorite Tracks: Feed The Wolf, Psycho
Least Favorite Track: Vega
Rating: 75 / 100
Stream or buy Ember on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: