October 06, 2017

Breaking Benjamin - We Are Not Alone (2004)

*Original/first release. 11 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Rock, Post-Grunge
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© 2004 Hollywood Records
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus
On We Are Not Alone, Breaking Benjamin's sophomore effort for Hollywood, the Philadelphia quartet still enjoys coursing the downcast dynamics and dour cerebrals of early Tool through post-grunge's more accessible melodics. Vocalist/guitarist Ben Burnley channels Maynard James Keenan throughout "So Cold" and "Simple Design," and fills their shadows with scary roars. But the choruses are as uplifting and hopeful as anything from 3 Doors Down, and the latter even features a quiet acoustic interlude. It's this baiting of the darker mental animal while realizing the power of a cool hard rock riff that drives We Are Not Alone. "Why am I so pathetic?" asks Burnley in "Sooner or Later." "Help me break my conscience in," goes "Break My Fall," "To free us from our innocence." Both cuts stick to the familiar formula of introducing huge chords before dwelling on the personal struggle in the verses, only to surge toward hopeful choruses. In this, Breaking Benjamin is quite capable. They understand that it can't be all gloom and doom all the time -- that the people need some light at the end of the tunnel. Alone's choruses offer that urgency throughout, but "Forget It" takes it to heart. With its whispering synthesizers, layered guitar effects (Billy Corgan guests), and filtered harmonies, the cut is a warm departure from the album's bruised push forward. We Are Not Alone has its moments of genre-aping filler, and Burnley's delivery does at times seem forced -- he just sounds so much like his peers. But We Are Not Alone is still a solid second effort, with plenty of appeal for fans of groups like Crossfade, Default, and Smile Empty Soul.

tags: breaking benjamin, we are not alone, 2004,

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