Heavy metal music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and there are few bands that embrace the early 2000’s rock sound, but after 16 years, the “Ember” still burns for Breaking Benjamin in their latest album.
“Ember” is Breaking Benjamin’s sixth studio album, but it marks a band still in transition after front man Ben Burnley fired all the members in 2011, according to Billboard.
Burnley wanted to push the group into a new direction but they are still trying to find their own sound.
Breaking Benjamin now has three guitarists clashing against each other, but it never feels that way.
“Ember” follows the same blueprint that made them popular in the early 2000s using recycled riffs and melodies to make the record feel aged.
Structurally, “Ember” is comprised of ten songs, alongside two brief ambient instrumentals that serve as the intro and outro for the album.
The album is very consistent in its heavy sound and never strays too far off the path.
I think the brightest spots of this album are when the entire band writes together. The first album featuring its new members called “Dark before the Dawn” was written in 2015, entirely from Burnley’s point-of-view.
Towards the middle of the song “Tourniquet,” there is a bass breakdown right before it jumps back into the group’s guitar dynamic. I was able to sink my teeth into that one because once you get to the hook, it definitely has a lot of power.
The drums pack a strong punch on this record while managing not to take over the song. Jeremy Hummel lays down a thick drum roll in “Blood,” allowing more focus on the guitars.
My favorite track is “The Dark of You.” The creeping piano riff and the slow, earnest pace the song moves along at, makes it feel like a true moment. The song blends nicely with the rest of the album while still managing to show the softer side of the band.
It’s one of the few times the band is quiet, allowing the vocal dynamic between Benjamin Burnley and Derek Hough to be on display.
Towards the end of the setlist, Burnley vocally knocks it out of the park with “Close your Eyes” where the strong strums of the guitars and slams on the drums definitely catch your attention. It is definitely one of the best songs on the album.
“Vega” is the outro song on the album and it is about a minute long. I like how it uses a little bit of light synthesizer work that slowly fades to back. It is a great way to end the album.
The new members in Breaking Benjamin add new energy and meaning behind the music.
At the end of the day, it is more Burnley trying to give the band a second life in “Ember.”