Released: June 23, 2015
Genre: Alternative metal, post-grunge, hard rock
Label: Hollywood Records
Producer: Benjamin Burnley
Since their debut album, Saturate (2002), Breaking Benjamin had been making millions of fans all over the globe crazy with their unique sound until the band broke up over a copyright dispute in 2011. After that, the band was in hiatus for four years. Within this time period, Burnley battled his health issues, wrote some songs, created a completely new lineup for the band consisting some of his friends, recorded a new album “Dark Before Dawn” and announced it on March 18, 2015. Breaking Benjamin fans were absolutely delighted at the news.
The album starts off with the instrumental “Dark”. This track sets the perfect mood and gets you going for the album. The first actual song in the album is “Failure.” The song bears similarity to “The Diary of Jane” in its structure and the song probably is an expression of Ben's failure to recover from his health issues and to be actively involved in music in the last few years. This is arguably the best song in the album. “Angels Fall” is a comparatively happier track. The chorus of this song is extremely catchy and it is the strongest part of the track.
The third track “Breaking The Silence” starts directly with a metal riff. This track is a headbanger special. “Hollow” is a slower track that perfectly showcases Ben's melodic vocals. I felt the strong Metallica influence in the track “Close To Heaven” especially in the pre-chorus. “Bury Me Alive” is the only song in the album that feels like a filler. However, the instrumental works and the screams are stellar as usual.
After the slightly disappointing “Bury Me Alive”, the album picks up again with “Never Again”. It is an uplifting track that also sounds a tad bit similar to “The Diary of Jane” but is good enough to have its own identity. “The Great Divide” is a great track as well. “The Great Divide” is followed by “Ashes of Eden,” an acoustic ballad. Ben's serene vocals, the soothing tunes of the organ and the philosophical nature of the lyrics make this a great song to listen to while travelling. The penultimate track “Defeated” is a powerful song about self-struggle. The final track “Dawn” is an outro to the album that starts with Ben's newborn child's heartbeat and gradually morphs into an instrumental.
Most critics' complaint against Breaking Benjamin has always been their lack of variation. Granted, change can be good sometimes but why change something that is already perfect? Dark Before Dawn brings back the traditional sound of Breaking Benjamin that we always loved and it still sounds as good as it did before, if not better.