Breaking Benjamin - Dark Before Dawn (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Breaking Benjamin

Dark Before Dawn (2015)

Hollywood Records

If you're reading this, you're either bored or latching too much onto the past, like me. Or maybe you're here to give everything a fair chance? Either way, by the end of this review, you'll find that I'm actually not trolling and I'm reflecting on a band that I really dug in my younger days. Dark Before Dawn reunites Breaking Benjamin but what it really does is seemingly collect all the middling material, all the filler and all the formulaic attempts at creativity from albums past, and throw them together here.

A lot of the riffs and overall song structures feel like different iterations of songs we heard before from Breaking Benjamin. At several points throughout the record, you feel like "Diary of Jane" and "I Will Not Bow" are overlapping the songs on tap. A bunch of themes and a ton of lyrics are regurgitated or rehashed from older songs as well. "Breaking The Silence" and "Bury Me Alive" are prime examples of this. In fact, when the tracks unfold wholly, they really end up being those songs that you didn't like that much at all on older albums, crowding Dark Before Dawn. Only this time, you don't get any songs to get you back on track. Hate to be harsh on a band I genuinely like but most of the tracks come off as unimaginative, cliched disasters that feel like the band's on repeat.

They appear to be going through the motions, which sucks given that you'd expect some sort of impetus on getting the band back together or a bit of reinvention/experimentation given we're in a new era. They seem to be stuck in the old but not in a good way as it's all the stuff they did wrong, coming to the light. "The Great Divide" ends up as one of the few songs that get a passing grade but sadly, this also seems to be homage to tracks that begged for airplay on CW11 circa 2004. Feels like it was trying to make it into "Smallville" or "Black Sash." Yep, that's back when it was actually WB11. So again, I'm not even kidding when I tell you how much I really dig these guys but when it comes to Dark Before Dawn, there are some bands that make records that seem stuck in time but which still work this day and age. This isn't one of them.

This album lacks soul and while well-written, feels uninspiring, demotivated and without drive. It gets points for that Harvey Dent quote though and for "Ashes of Eden" which definitely feels made to send to your significant other as if you're reliving the salad days again.