Breaking Benjamin - Phobia
More of the same (i.e. Emo Hard Rock) from the Pennsylvania quartet.
September 11, 2006
BB's strength really lies in the music itself, which is at turns somewhat run-of-the-mill in the way that the pummeling guitars sear and shred amidst the competent rhythm escalade. But axeman Aaron Fink manages to keep things interesting, shredding when appropriate while Chad Szeliga and Mark James Klepaski keep the rhythmic surge rolling like a bulldozer. There are nice, albeit all-too-brief, flourishes of acousticality tucked away on songs like "Breath" and "Here We Are," which add a much needed depth to the proceedings.
On the other hand, "Topless," which could easily have been a pole dance swagger, is all grit (at least as gritty as BB can muster) and blitz, mostly thanks to Fink, Szeliga, and Klepaski's turgid convergence. The steamroller blow-out at the end of the track is one of the few moments of true unbridled glory on the album. Ditto for the strange neo electronic scourge of "You Fight Me," which presents the band in a stripped down sound that works well with their accumulated parts. The album's closing number is an acoustic version of "The Diary of Jane," which presents the track in a stripped down version that still sounds somewhat generic, but also resonates with much more passion and intimacy than the original version.
It's easy to see why Breakin Benjamin has such a strong following. They've mastered the intersection of hard rock and emo-oriented introspection, thus creating a combination that appeals to the greater multitudes. Not a bad thing, but also not a terribly memorable or earth shattering one, either.