New release has potential

Matt Hawkins and Matt Hawkins

Hard rockers Breaking Benjamin are back with their second studio album “We Are Not Alone” and this time they are destined to become regulars on the modern rock charts.

Their first single “So Cold” has already been tearing up the airwaves and others are soon to follow.

This four-piece band from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania formed in 2000 when guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark James Klepaski quit the band Lifer to team up with vocalist Ben Burnley and drummer Jeremy Hummel. In 2002, they recorded their major label debut, “Saturate” with Hollywood Records, which showcased the bands talent for writing catchy, hard-edged tunes that rocked in every sense of the word. Yet something was missing from this album; a popular radio hit.

“We Are Not Alone”, the follow up to their 2002 debut, has this missing ingredient needed to catapult Breaking Benjamin into superstardom. It has real potential to be an even bigger hit with the mainstream crowd, and should spawn at least one future Top 20 hit.

While “Saturate” was filled with cleverly written hard rocking tunes, only the tracks “Polyamorous” and “Skin” received any sort of airplay, which was minimal in comparison to similar bands that came out onto the rock scene at the same time such as Trapt and Seether. It probably did not help that the only true ballad on the album was the hidden track “Forever.”

But in “We Are Not Alone”, lead singer Ben Burnley shows he also has a talent for singing softer ballads, like tunes such as “Rain” and “Forget It,” which were both co- written by Burnley and former Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan. The soft, melodic tune “Forget It” is sure to catch attention as a single in the near future and has mainstream potential as a Top 20 multi-format smash hit.

However, this softer side by no means takes away from the pure energy and crunchy guitars that can also be heard on this record. Songs like “Believe” and the powerful but catchy “Breakdown” show that they still have not lost their hard-hitting, metallic edge from the first record.

Other songs such as “Follow” and “Sooner or Later,” show the bands dynamic ability of creating extremely catchy choruses with sharp hooks that will get stuck in your head for days. Both are also strong candidates to be released as singles.

This record is just another example of a good rock band maturing into a great one with loads of potential to become big in 2004.

Overall Grade: A