Ember, the sixth studio album by the band Breaking Benjamin is the first release since their album Dark Before Dawn back in 2015. Produced by lead singer and guitarist Benjamin Burnley, this is the first album in which the entire band was involved in the writing process. It features twelve songs, two of them being an ambient intro and outro. “Red Cold River,” “Feed the Wolf,” and “Blood” were released as singles earlier this year (2018). “Red Cold River” has steadily lead the charts since its release, guaranteeing the band that this will be another No. 1 album. Breaking Benjamin picks up right where they left off with Ember, which is set to be released on Friday, April 13th, 2018.
The album begins with “Lyra”, a piano intro which gradually grew intensity into the dramatic instrumentals of “Feed the Wolf”, which Breaking Benjamin certainly does not hold back on. The melodic vocals paired with the heavy instrumentals make for a pleasant head-bobbing combination. The song takes us on waves of the occasional heavy, as well as soft, making for a perfect balance.The extremely catchy chorus accompanied by Benjamin Burnley’s variation of “feed the wolf” vocal lows and “world alive” highs vibe well together, acquainting us with memories of the song “I Will Not Bow”, which features comparable vocal melodies.
Listeners should not be fooled with the softer beginning of the lead single “Red Cold River”. Accompanied by a music video, the single’s pre-chorus features heavy elements that are splendid and amply repetitive. Breaking Benjamin fight with their own demons in the soft verse, making room for an emotional chorus focusing on the singer’s bleak outlook on life but strong will to live and “finding a reason to live.” “Red Cold River” definitley best showcases the bands talent as a whole as everyone in the band is given a spotlight within this song including Shaun Foist’s drum pounding talents, as well as Aaron Bruch’s roars with Keith Wallen’s higher pitched notes blending flawlessly with Benjamin Burnley’s screams.
Fans have previously desired a heavier direction from Breaking Benjamin, which they certainly received. Especially with songs like “Psycho” and “Save Yourself”. “Psycho” changes things up with a different opening rhythmic pattern of guitar riffs. The song picks up the speed instrumentally, making room for yet again, some powerful vocals. The bridge makes way for a compelling and heavy breakdown. Additionally, The yin and yang can really be heard in “Save Yourself”. The lead singer displays his use of vocal variation, heavily complementing the tunes. Boundaries are pushed with an elaborate blend of melodious elements, rhythmic guitars and lyrical content in “Tourniquet”; akin to the opening songs providing for a smooth “flow” to the album. Being the slowest on the record, “The Dark of You” slows things down with its vocals, accompanied by thunder samples. The steady drums and majestic pianos work conjointly with Benjamin Burnley’s vocals. The glitchy, creepy choir beginning of “Down” is perfect for the middle song on the album. Breaking Benjamin does not stray away from their roots with songs like “Blood”. The song’s components are characterized by the coherent blend of both heavy and soft. The heavy parts are marvelously heavy and the light ones are superbly light. The layering of vocals is seamless, emphasizing the “it’s in my blood” lyrics. Finishing off the album strong with its emphasized “dad rock” guitar riffs, the energy in Benjamin Burnley’s voice is heard yet again in “Close Your Eyes”. Listeners are left wanting more with “Vega”, the drum-prominent and cliff-hanging outro.
Overall, the album is one of Breaking Benjamin’s heaviest to date. However, this still does not depart Breaking Benjamin from the well-established sound fans have come to love; with just the right amount of both heavy and light. The album is emotionally poignant in its lyrical content, demonstrating some dark and realistic themes. With many elements recognizable to those in Dark Before Dawn, the album just seems like a continuation or sequel of previous albums; which is not a bad thing at all. Ember provides for a flowing listening experience. So much flow, that the album can be played over and over again, without even noticing that it has looped a few times. Breaking Benjamin is so good at what they do, they are able to stretch their origin sound but still provide for something that sounds fresh and new. The screams are powerful, the vocals are energetic, the breakdowns are heavy, and the choruses are catchy making for an altogether cohesive and great album.
Pre-Order Ember Here! Make sure to check out Breaking Benjamin on their upcoming co-headline tour with Five Finger Death Punch this summer, tickets are going quick, so make sure to grab them soon! More information at www.BreakingBenjamin.com
Music Mayhem Rating: 5/5
Check out the Music Video for “Red Cold River” below:
2. Feed the Wolf
3. Red Cold River
6. The Dark of You
8. Torn in two
10. Save Yourself
11. Close Your Eyes