Breaking Benjamin – Aurora Review

Album review sans a bassist. Wikimedia Commons

Remixes and remasters

It’s no secret to those who know me that I’m a massive fan of the hard rock group, Breaking Benjamin. I’m actually hoping to get a tattoo of their logo on my arm one day soon. Instead, the tale Breaking Benjamin recently released their brand-new album of old and new reimagined classics. The band, who changed their line-up semi-recently due to legal issues, put together a wonderfully atmospheric and almost haunting musical alignment (look at all those words that show I go to a university).

The album, titled Aurora, not only features reimagined classics, but also collaborations from other artists.  One of my favourite tracks, “Dance with the Devil” from Phobia, Adam Gontier (formerly of Three Days Grace and currently of saint Ansonia) lends his well-known vocals to help propel an already fantastic song further skyward. Another is “Failure,” originally introduced in Breaking Benjamin’s last album Dark Before Dawn, which features Michael Barnes of rock group Red. Lastly, the song “Dear Agony” from the album of the same name gives us a duet with Lacey Strum of Flyleaf. Now that’s what I call a callback.

Moving away from collaborators and getting into the actual remixes, I swear that Breaking Benjamin actually fixes a few of their more debatable (in terms of quality) songs. For example, “Red Cold River” from their newest album Ember, felt a little harder sound-wise, but the smoothed-out guitar and vocals make for a much more fluid experience. Another track, “Failure” (as mentioned above), felt way more heavy than necessary and the Aurora version, once again, simplifies it.

I think the thing that really stands out most about this album is the fact that Breaking Benjamin is not afraid of reworking their old music. They’re not one of those bands that looks at a song they’ve created and sees it as a one and done. They reimagine, redo, reuse, recycle, and turn it into something new. Although it’s different, it still retains that classic sound that everyone (or every fan) knows from them. They don’t slowly work their way into a new genre and try to branch out to a newer fanbase for the sake of having a younger, newer fanbase. They know what they know, and they rock it almost every time.

All in all, everything about this album, whether it been the remixes, the collaborations, or the actually meaning behind the bands thought process, it all screams Breaking Benjamin. Sure, some might view it as angsty rock, but its angsty rock that I absolutely live for. From “So Cold” to “Dear Agony”, I love it all and cannot wait for what this band has in store. Fingers crossed for a full-length acoustic album – not like we’ve been waiting or anything.

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