When my husband walked in from work one day and his first words were, “Did you see that Breaking Benjamin has a new album?” my reaction was one of excitement. I hadn’t heard anything new from the band in years, and not just because they hadn’t put anything out recently.
The first time I heard Breaking Benjamin was way back when the video for So Cold came out off their album, We’re Not Alone. I loved the song and the video and bought the album. It quickly became one of my favorites. But that’s where it stopped. Looking back, I’m not sure what happened. Maybe life got in the way, or maybe it was lack of exposure. Back then there was no Youtube or Spotify. The internet wasn’t an everyday, every household kind of thing. We were still watching videos on MTV and Fuse to see our favorite bands and hear new music.
So life went along, and Breaking Benjamin, without my knowledge, released two more albums – Phobia and Dear Agony. I had no idea of their existence, or of their first album, Saturate. A Best Of came out next and still, it was nowhere near my radar. All of this made it even more of a shock when I went to listen to the new album, Dark Before Dawn.
It was kind of like finding out that a long time friend has three kids you never knew about. It was like, “What? When did this happen? Where have I been?” Of course, to be totally honest, I know what happened. Between the release of We’re Not Alone and Phobia, somewhere in there, I found the world of Christian rock bands. A lot of Christian bands are going mainstream lately, but a few years ago, it was two different worlds. It was like being in a different social group. My attention and interest was sucked into this other world, and Breaking Benjamin wasn’t in that world.
I have since come to a place where I am fully appreciating both worlds. Some of my favorite Christian bands like Thousand Foot Krutch and Icon For Hire are out there sharing stages with people like Breaking Benjamin, which is super exciting.
But, back to the review. I put the new album on while I was cooking dinner that night and it grabbed me immediately. It was nice to hear Benjamin Burnley’s unique voice. It was like reuniting with an old, yet familiar, friend. Failure is the second song on the album. It’s rather incredible how pretty Benjamin can sing the word failure, which is inherently a negative term. But the song itself isn’t a negative. It’s a great representation of the album – mixing the dark and the dawn.
As you continue through the album with songs like Breaking the Silence, Never Again, and The Great Divide you hear this same message – this glimpse of things being in a bad place (dark) but hope is there too (dawn) and the spirit to keep going and forge ahead has not been lost.
Then you get to a beautiful song called Ashes of Eden. It’s slower, and showcases Benjamin’s vocals brilliantly. The music carries you along through this heartfelt plea of need and honesty.
The album ends with a song called Defeated (not counting the outro instrumental). Again, it’s one that sounds like a negative, but it posses those same shards of hope and victory. The lyrics aren’t I’m defeated. The lyrics are no longer defeated.
I give this album 5 out of 5 for being awesome, and for being more hopeful than what you’d think it would be on the surface. I’ve spent the last few days drowning myself in all things Breaking Benjamin – listening to their other albums for the first time and watching videos from the songs. It’s been great, and Dark Before Dawn can stand with those other albums as if Breaking Benjamin never skipped a beat.