Three years removed from their return album, Dark Before Dawn, Breaking Benjamin are back with Ember- their sixth record overall and second with the current lineup and it’s a scorcher of a record.
While DBD was written primarily by frontman Benjamin Burnley before the band officially reformed and featured a softer approach than fans might have expected, Ember goes the completely opposite direction and hits hard from the very onset.
After a haunting intro in “Lyra,” the band rips into “Feed the Wolf” and it’s clear they’re swinging for the fences and aren’t holding anything back with this album. It’s a hard-hitting rock anthem that has a theatrical feel to it from the start; The majority of Ember follows suit.
Lead single “Red Cold River” comes in next and is one of the heaviest songs on the entire album- if not heaviest they’ve written in their six album career. It’s no surprise the single has sold as well as it has and this is the kind of song Breaking Benjamin fans have come to expect and love from the band.
After “Tourniquet’ keeps the party going, “Psycho” slows things down and goes back to the stylistic approach of Dark Before Dawn, with a softer rock sound but is still as powerful as the rest of the record.
“The Dark of You” is the track that may surprise people. Featuring Derek Hough of Dancing With the Stars fame, Hough has said that recording with Breaking Benjamin was a dream come true and it shows on the song. It’s got a more electronic and synth approach but is as haunting as it is beautiful and fans will be pleasantly surprised.
“Down” and “Torn In Two” keep things slow just long enough to tide you over for “Blood,” which escalates things again and is a momentum starter for the last few songs in “Save Yourself,” which is a throwback to the Dear Agony and Phobia days and “Close Your Eyes,” which is a bass-driven track that musically reminds you of KoRn and other bands of that style but with a Breaking Benjamin seal and twist on it.
In the end, Breaking Benjamin are coming off one of the softer records of their career and shown that they can still throw down- and heavier than they ever have. With Ember, the band flawlessly balances soft and beautiful with hard and aggressive.
This is one of the darkest records thematically the band has written yet but also features some of the most gorgeous music we’ve heard from Breaking Benjamin.