Breaking Benjamin

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Breaking Benjamin_table_infobox_0

Breaking BenjaminBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_0_0
Background informationBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_1_0
Also known asBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_2_0 Plan 9Breaking Benjamin_cell_0_2_1
OriginBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_3_0 Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.Breaking Benjamin_cell_0_3_1
GenresBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_4_0 Breaking Benjamin_cell_0_4_1
Years activeBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_5_0 Breaking Benjamin_cell_0_5_1
LabelsBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_6_0 HollywoodBreaking Benjamin_cell_0_6_1
Associated actsBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_7_0 LiferBreaking Benjamin_cell_0_7_1
WebsiteBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_8_0 Breaking Benjamin_cell_0_8_1
MembersBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_10_0 Benjamin Burnley

Aaron Bruch Shaun Foist Jasen Rauch Keith WallenBreaking Benjamin_cell_0_10_1

Past membersBreaking Benjamin_header_cell_0_12_0 Jason Davoli

Jonathan "Bug" Price Jeremy Hummel Aaron Fink Mark Klepaski Chad SzeligaBreaking Benjamin_cell_0_12_1

Breaking Benjamin is an American rock band from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, formed in 1999 by lead singer and guitarist Benjamin Burnley and drummer Jeremy Hummel. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_0

The first lineup of the band also included guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark Klepaski. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_1

This lineup released two albums, Saturate (2002) and We Are Not Alone (2004), before Hummel was replaced by Chad Szeliga in 2005. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_2

The band released two more studio albums, Phobia (2006) and Dear Agony (2009), before entering an extended hiatus in early 2010 due to Burnley's recurring illnesses. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_3

The release of a compilation album amid the hiatus, Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin (2011), unauthorized by Burnley, brought about legal trouble within the band resulting in the dismissal of Fink and Klepaski. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_4

Szeliga later announced his departure in 2013 citing creative differences. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_5

Burnley remained the sole member of the band until late 2014, when the current lineup was announced, including bassist and backing vocalist Aaron Bruch, guitarist and backing vocalist Keith Wallen, guitarist Jasen Rauch, and drummer Shaun Foist. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_6

The band afterward released Dark Before Dawn (2015) and Ember (2018), which debuted at number one and three on the Billboard 200, respectively. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_7

Following these albums, the band released another compilation, Aurora (2020), featuring reworked acoustic versions of past songs along with one original new song. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_8

Despite significant lineup changes, the band's musical style and lyrical content have remained consistent, with Burnley serving as the primary composer and lead vocalist since the band's inception. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_9

The band has commonly been noted for its formulaic hard rock tendencies with angst-heavy lyrics, swelling choruses, and "crunching" guitars. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_10

In the United States alone, the band has sold more than 7 million units and yielded three RIAA-certified platinum records, two gold records, and several certified singles, including two multi-platinum, two platinum, and five gold. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_11

The band has also produced one number one record on the Billboard 200. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_12

History Breaking Benjamin_section_0

Formation and Saturate (1998–2003) Breaking Benjamin_section_1

Benjamin Burnley was originally in a band named Breaking Benjamin in 1998 that played "softer music" such as Weezer and The Beatles covers, and was "nothing like" subsequent lineups. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_13

The name originates from an incident in which Burnley broke a borrowed microphone, prompting its owner to retort, "Thanks to Benjamin for breaking my fucking mic." This band included guitarist Aaron Fink, bassist Nick Hoover, and drummer Chris Lightcap, but soon broke up when Burnley moved to California. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_14

After returning to Pennsylvania with drummer Jeremy Hummel, Burnley formed Plan 9, which also included bassist Jason Davoli. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_15

Plan 9, a reference to Plan 9 from Outer Space, was continually misnamed as "Planet 9", therefore the group reclaimed the name Breaking Benjamin from the previous band, as Burnley still had promotional stickers with that name. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_16

The three-piece first gained attention when Freddie Fabbri, a DJ for active rock radio station WBSX, put the group's track "Polyamorous" in rotation. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_17

After it became the number one requested track on the station, Fabbri financed the recording of the group's eponymous EP, which sold all 2,000 copies that were printed in 2001. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_18

Jonathan "Bug" Price was credited on bass, replacing Davoli. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_19

After growing dissatisfied with their previous band, former bandmate Aaron Fink and bassist Mark Klepaski joined Breaking Benjamin. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_20

In early 2002, over a dozen record companies visited a two-night showcase where Breaking Benjamin was playing, and the group subsequently signed with Hollywood Records. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_21

Shortly afterward, Breaking Benjamin began recording their first full-length major-label record, Saturate, which was released on August 7, 2002, and produced by Ulrich Wild. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_22

It peaked at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_23

136 on the Billboard 200, and was later certified gold on September 25, 2015. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_24

In early 2003, Breaking Benjamin participated in the Jägermeister Music Tour, then toured as a supporting act for Godsmack. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_25

Of the little media coverage received, Saturate garnered positive reception, with Jason Taylor from AllMusic stating that the album "has serious potential to become one of 2002's most successful debuts," feeling that "although it is repetitive and generic, it is undeniably addictive", ultimately scoring the album 2.5 out of 5. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_26

The disc received a favorable review from Schwegweb's Vin Cherubino, who noted, "The music has just as much quality as any popular artist in the same genre. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_27

Influences from bands such as Tool can be heard, making the music seem all so familiar and palatable." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_28

We Are Not Alone (2003–2005) Breaking Benjamin_section_2

Breaking Benjamin returned to the studio in October 2003 with producer David Bendeth for their second album We Are Not Alone. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_29

Burnley also worked with The Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan over the course of six days in December 2003 to write the songs "Rain", "Forget It", and "Follow". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_30

Despite initially being nervous, Burnley felt it was one of the highlights of his career. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_31

The album was released on June 29, 2004, and sold 48,000 copies in its first week, peaking at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_32

20 on the Billboard 200. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_33

It was later certified gold on October 21, 2004, then platinum on June 13, 2005. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_34

It was also certified gold in New Zealand on August 29, 2005. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_35

The record features singles such as "So Cold" and "Sooner or Later", both of which peaked at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_36

2 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_37

"So Cold" became a platinum single on September 25, 2015. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_38

MTV writer Jon Wiederhorn writes that the initial commercial success of the album can be attributed to a tour two weeks prior to the album's debut which "generated prerelease buzz". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_39

They later co-headlined a tour with Evanescence, Seether, and Three Days Grace. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_40

We Are Not Alone garnered mixed reviews. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_41

It was met with high acclaim from IGN's Colin Moriarty, who felt "extremely satisfied," saying "safely and confidently" that it "might be my personal favorite album of the year," giving it a score of 9.3 out of 10. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_42

Conversely, Exclaim! Breaking Benjamin_sentence_43

writer Amber Authier felt that, "On first listen its simply generic sound did nothing for me," though later admitted, "I listened to Breaking Benjamin several times over a week and several elements of the disc started to grow on me, even appeal to me." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_44

The writer concluded, "Breaking Benjamin created a standard of quality for themselves that they simply couldn't meet on the entire disc." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_45

On November 3, 2004, a non-album single named "Blow Me Away" was released, to commercial success, ultimately going gold on November 24, 2015. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_46

On November 23, 2004, Breaking Benjamin released the So Cold EP, which features live versions of the songs "Away" and "Breakdown", a live acoustic version of "So Cold", and studio acoustic recordings of "Blow Me Away" and "Lady Bug". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_47

In late 2005, drummer Hummel filed a federal lawsuit against Breaking Benjamin. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_48

According to the lawsuit, Hummel requested earlier that year to take a paternity leave to be with his wife during the birth of their first child, to which all members of the band agreed and hired Kevin Soffera as a temporary substitute on drums. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_49

However, Burnley later called Hummel and terminated him, citing chemistry issues. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_50

In the lawsuit, Hummel contended wrongful termination and lack of compensation for profits accrued by We Are Not Alone and other non-album tracks that appeared in Halo 2 and National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_51

The band's manager, Larry Mazer (who was also named in the lawsuit), asserted that the lawsuit was "totally frivolous" and his termination had "nothing to do with the paternity leave." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_52

Mazer said the band received no payment for the Halo 2 appearance, adding that the song was included for promotional reasons and Burnley was happy to have it in the video game. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_53

The band received minimal payment for the National Treasure 2 appearance, and Mazer stated that otherwise, "[Hummel] is 100 per cent current." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_54

Ben "B.C." Vaught served as a sit-in drummer for the band, and they later toured with 3 Doors Down and Staind in November 2005. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_55

The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount in April 2006. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_56

Phobia (2005–2007) Breaking Benjamin_section_3

After the departure of Jeremy Hummel, Breaking Benjamin auditioned fifteen drummers, of whom Chad Szeliga stood out for his ability as a stage performer and the fact that he had "serious problem-solving skills", according to Burnley. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_57

The group's next album, Phobia, was again produced by Bendeth and was the first to be recorded with Szeliga. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_58

The concept of the album is dedicated to Burnley's various phobias. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_59

The cover of the album depicts a winged man suspended over a runway, which represents the singer's fear of flying. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_60

Burnley also suffers from death anxiety, a fear of the dark, driving anxiety, and hypochondriasis. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_61

Burnley cites his fear of flying as for why he did not perform overseas, saying, "I'll go as far as a boat will take me", though at the time the band's record label had not facilitated travel by boat. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_62

Phobia's "Intro" and "Outro" tracks feature sound effects of an airport intercom, airplane turbulance, car doors, and crowd panic. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_63

Phobia was released on August 8, 2006 to commercial success. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_64

The album sold more than 131,000 copies in its first week of sales and peaked at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_65

2 on the Billboard 200. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_66

It went gold on November 8, 2006, then platinum on May 21, 2009. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_67

Its lead single, "The Diary of Jane", peaked at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_68

2 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart and was the fastest single added to radio playlists in the history of Hollywood Records, later receiving a double platinum certification on November 24, 2015. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_69

"Breath", the record's second single, spent seven weeks at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_70

1 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, and went platinum on November 24, 2015. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_71

The third single, "Until the End", peaked at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_72

6 on the same chart, and became a gold single on February 11, 2014. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_73

In February 2007 in support of Phobia, AXS TV (then known as HDNet) aired a one-hour Breaking Benjamin concert from Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_74

The broadcast recording was included on the re-released Phobia DVD in April, billed as "The Homecoming". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_75

A music video was created for "Breath" which was made from footage of the song's performance at the show. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_76

Breaking Benjamin followed with Spring and Fall tours alongside Three Days Grace, accompanied by Puddle of Mudd during the Spring tour, and Seether, Skillet, and Red during the Fall tour. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_77

Phobia received mixed critical reception. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_78

It received praise for general composition and musicianship but received criticism for a lack of originality. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_79

AllMusic's Corey Apar found the album "nothing if not consistent," and while generally regarding the disc with positive sentiments, noted a lack of distinction from the "rest of the post-grunge/alt-metal pack" aside from "a certain charm". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_80

IGN's Spence D. gave the disc a negative review, citing tedium and lack of vocal distinction, feeling that the group's "intersection of hard rock and emo-oriented introspection" is "not a bad thing, but also not a terribly memorable or earth-shattering one, either." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_81

However, the writer praised the musicianship of Fink, Klepaski, and Szeliga, ultimately giving the album a score of 5.7 out of 10. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_82

Entertainment Weekly graded the album C+ and noted its angst-ridden themes, saying, "as pathological angst goes, it's expertly done, with expansive choruses and epic riffs – not that that matters, when, like, we're all going to die cold and alone anyway." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_83

Dear Agony (2009–2010) Breaking Benjamin_section_4

Breaking Benjamin began working on a fourth album, titled Dear Agony, in 2009. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_84

It was the first album Burnley wrote while completely sober. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_85

In 2007, Burnley experienced fatigue and phosphenes following three consecutive days of no sleep and heavy drinking, after which he decided to remain sober. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_86

Burnley acknowledged an improved clarity and coherence within Dear Agony due to his sobriety. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_87

The album cover features Burnley's brain scan, representing the recurrent themes on Dear Agony related to the singer's chronic illnesses caused by alcohol consumption. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_88

Burnley collaborated with then-Red guitarist Jasen Rauch on various tracks for Dear Agony: The two equally wrote together the songs "Without You" and "Hopeless", and Rauch wrote the outro for "I Will Not Bow", also helping write "Lights Out". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_89

Burnley said of the collaboration, "I love writing with him because he does stuff exactly like I would've done," adding, "writing-wise, we're like the same person." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_90

Dear Agony was released on September 9, 2009, and peaked at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_91

4 on the Billboard 200. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_92

The disc initially outsold its predecessor in its first week, moving more than 134,000 copies. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_93

It ultimately achieved gold certification on February 16, 2010. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_94

The album's lead single "I Will Not Bow" reached No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_95

1 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, and went platinum on November 24, 2015. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_96

The other two singles, "Lights Out" and "Give Me a Sign", peaked at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_97

9 and No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_98

6 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, respectively (the latter of which also receiving a gold certification on November 24, 2015). Breaking Benjamin_sentence_99

Breaking Benjamin toured in support of the album in January and February 2010 with Three Days Grace and Flyleaf, then with Red, Chevelle, and Thousand Foot Krutch in March 2010. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_100

In April, Breaking Benjamin began touring with Nickelback, Shinedown, and Sick Puppies on their Dark Horse Tour. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_101

Prior to the last show of the Dark Horse Tour, Burnley stated he was ill and therefore no longer able to tour in support of the album, placing the band on hiatus. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_102

After internet rumors began to circulate that the band had broken up, Burnley released a statement "officially letting everyone know that Breaking Benjamin has not broken up." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_103

Dear Agony received mixed critical reception. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_104

AllMusic's James Monger gave the album a positive review, stating it "feels a lot like their first three", noting a consistency that "feels like a well-oiled machine." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_105

The disc received a negative review from Consequence of Sound's Alex Young, who complained of over-production and the disc's sell-out nature at the hands of three-time Breaking Benjamin producer David Bendeth: "Dear Agony is the unfortunate side effect of a trend in 'producer' David Bendeth's world, training wild chimpanzees to be more tasteful whilst handling silverware", ultimately giving the record a half-star "for teaching Breaking Benjamin's peers who not to hire for production credit." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_106

About Entertainment gave the record a mixed review, feeling that "Though it lacks the breakthrough singles of Phobia, Dear Agony does have its moments," adding, "frustratingly, Dear Agony never reaches greatness, settling for an admirable competency that's still the envy of many of their contemporaries." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_107

Hiatus and Shallow Bay (2010–2013) Breaking Benjamin_section_5

In March 2010, Hollywood Records requested that the band produce two new master recordings and a greatest hits album, and sought permission to release a new version of the hit song "Blow Me Away" featuring Sydnee Duran of Valora. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_108

In May 2011, Fink and Klepaski granted the record company's requests after they were offered a $100,000 payment. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_109

Burnley, alleging that Fink and Klepaski acted unilaterally on both the song remix and the compilation album, not informing him or the band's management, fired the two via email, demanding at least $250,000 in punitive fees and compensatory damages, as well as the exclusive right to the name Breaking Benjamin. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_110

Fink and Klepaski's attorneys stated the two "dispute and strictly deny" Burnley's allegations, instead asserting that a January 2009 agreement (allowing Burnley to dismiss them for "just cause") was no longer valid because of the singer's status of indefinite hiatus. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_111

The case was ordered by a judge to arbitration. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_112

Burnley's attorney, Brian Caplan, told the Associated Press, "The relationship between Mr. Burnley and the two other members of the band has ended ... Mr. Burnley intends on moving forward using the name Breaking Benjamin and the band will continue. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_113

It just won't continue in its prior configuration. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_114

He's not retiring." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_115

In August 2011, Hollywood Records scheduled the release of the Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin compilation album, featuring every single from the band's catalog, including the remix of "Blow Me Away". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_116

A two-disc deluxe edition was released alongside it, with the second disc containing altered versions of b-sides and rarities. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_117

Burnley publicly opposed the album's release, saying content had been altered without his consent and did not meet his standards. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_118

Burnley later elaborated, saying that the rarities were taken off of his laptop without his consent, and were intended for in-studio reference and not public release, but that he was otherwise content with previously-released tracks on Shallow Bay. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_119

The album was released on August 16, 2011 and peaked at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_120

22 on the Billboard 200, also topping the Hard Rock Albums chart in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_121

The disc received positive critical reception. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_122

The Daily Trojan's Krishna Jetti praised it for balance and a progressive retrospective history. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_123

AllMusic's Gregory Heaney felt similarly, saying, "Shallow Bay is a great jumping-on point for new fans, capturing the band at their height delivering some of their best moments in one convenient package. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_124

For older fans, this collection may just serve as a reminder of a crucial turning point in Breaking Benjamin's career." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_125

In April 2013, Burnley announced that the dispute involving Fink and Klepaski was resolved and that he would retain the right to continue the band under the name Breaking Benjamin. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_126

Three days later, Szeliga announced his departure, citing creative differences. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_127

Return and Dark Before Dawn (2014–2016) Breaking Benjamin_section_6

In August 2014, Breaking Benjamin announced via Facebook that the band reformed as a quintet with, except for Burnley, all new members, including: Dear Agony co-writer Jasen Rauch (guitar, originally from Red); Keith Wallen (guitar and backing vocals, originally from Adelitas Way); Aaron Bruch (bass and backing vocals); and Shaun Foist (drums, originally from Picture Me Broken). Breaking Benjamin_sentence_128

Burnley said of the lineup: "Everybody that's in the band now is deliberately handpicked," noting that "Keith [Wallen] and Aaron [Bruch] are really, really amazing singers. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_129

That's kind of what the band always needed." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_130

On March 18, 2015, a new single entitled "Failure" as well as a new album, Dark Before Dawn, were announced for release on March 23 and June 23, respectively. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_131

The new lineup debuted with acoustic shows in late 2014, then went on a four-venue winter tour in the north-eastern United States. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_132

The band afterward announced 2015 spring, summer, and fall tour dates, supported by bands such as Young Guns and Starset. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_133

In July 2015, the band announced their first overseas performance, in which they headlined a four-day cruise venue in February 2016 along with Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Flyleaf, et al. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_134

The band also performed on a joint U.S. tour with Shinedown in October and November along with Sevendust, and proceeded to play further outside of the United States in June 2016 at venues such as the Download Festival in the United Kingdom, Rock am Ring in Germany, and Nova Rock in Austria. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_135

Burnley explained that writing for Dark Before Dawn was intermittent and fragmentary, taking place throughout the hiatus, though it was toward the end of the hiatus in 2013 when it became cohesive. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_136

After growing frustrated with the lack of answers regarding his health condition, Burnley decided to abandon searching for a diagnosis and focus on the album. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_137

Recorded and produced at a personal studio of Burnley's, Dark Before Dawn is the first album with the front man credited as the producer. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_138

The singer stated that "I would say that I did the same amount of producing on this album as I've done on other albums, just never had my name [on it]", adding, "You know, I'm not doing anything different here than I have done in the past. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_139

Why shouldn't I be known to be doing it?" Breaking Benjamin_sentence_140

Within an hour of pre-order availability, Dark Before Dawn reached No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_141

1 on the rock albums chart on iTunes and No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_142

3 on the overall album chart. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_143

It sold 135,000 pure album units and 141,000 equivalent album units in its first week, debuting at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_144

1 on the Billboard 200, making the album the group's heretofore most successful sales effort. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_145

It achieved gold certification on August 18, 2016. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_146

The disc's lead single "Failure" spent nine weeks at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_147

1 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart as well. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_148

Billboard's Jason Lipshutz felt the album's success was "eyebrow-raising", noting that, in addition to the band's lineup change, "135,000 in pure album sales is a hefty number in 2015 – it's a bigger number than the respective bows of recent Madonna, ASAP Rocky, and Kelly Clarkson albums". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_149

Joe DeTomaso, program director of active rock station WAQX-FM, added that, "They've always been a top-level band for the format, but not quite on the level of Disturbed or Shinedown or bands like that. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_150

They always seem to put out hit records without getting the kind of recognition that they deserved." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_151

Forbes' Hugh McIntyre writes that runner-up Tori Kelly's 75,000 copies "puts Breaking Benjamin's figures into perspective" and that despite "a pretty extensive lineup change, it looks like fans were awaiting their return with open arms." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_152

The album was met with mostly positive critical reception, many critics praising the album for staying true to the group's sound, though others criticized it for sounding too similar to previous material. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_153

Dan Marsicano from About Entertainment stated, "Burnley could have made his creation just another dose of the glitzy, overproduced crap that is heard on every rock radio station in the world. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_154

Instead, Breaking Benjamin hardly deviate from the hooky jams that were present on Dear Agony." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_155

Conversely, AllMusic's James Monger felt that "it's hard to conceal the fact that most of these songs are nearly interchangeable with the band's older material." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_156

Revolver's Jeremy Borjon felt that "the music's true force only becomes apparent through deeper and repeated listenings, as the songs, on the surface, have a tendency to blend into one another." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_157

Ember (2017–2018) Breaking Benjamin_section_7

The group's sixth studio album was first revealed to be completed in August 2017. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_158

The band toured with Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine on their North American tour, following with a U.S. mini-tour with 10 Years, and then a tour with Five Finger Death Punch beginning in the second quarter of 2018. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_159

In December 2017, Ember and its lead single "Red Cold River" were announced for release in the second quarter of 2018 and January 5, 2018, respectively. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_160

On January 26, "Feed the Wolf" was released as a pre-order bonus, along with a release date for the album of April 13, 2018. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_161

Three subsequent songs—"Blood", "Psycho", and "Save Yourself"—were released ahead of the album as promotional releases. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_162

It sold 88,000 units in its first week of sales, debuting at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_163

3 on the Billboard 200. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_164

"Red Cold River" peaked at No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_165

2 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, and No. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_166

5 on the Hot Rock Songs chart. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_167

Writing for the album began in 2016, with recording primarily happening in 2017. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_168

While Burnley remained the primary composer for the album, he stated that around half of it was written by the rest of the band. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_169

Burnley returned to producing for the album, along with the rest of the band, a first for the group. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_170

Rauch commented that the album pushes the boundaries with heavier material than the band's done in the past. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_171

He said "playing-wise, it's the most difficult album", and that they took advantage of the three-guitar player dynamic, but that the album nonetheless does not depart from Breaking Benjamin's established sound. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_172

Burnley explained that there was demand for heavier material from fans, and that the group was happy to reflect that. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_173

He later explained that he believed fans gravitated to the heavier side of the band, but that "we also make sure to explore our melodic and softer side too", saying that the album seeks to give both sides to the furthest degree. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_174

Burnley stated that he chose Ember as the album title as something that could be the end of something or the start of it, but emphasized an intentional ambiguity to leave it open to interpretation. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_175

Official music videos were released for singles "Red Cold River", "Torn in Two", and "Tourniquet" on January 18, April 12, and December 13, respectively, with Burnley explaining that they are part of a three-part continuity. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_176

The music video for "Torn in Two" is a continuation of a narrative started by "Red Cold River", and features references to all of Breaking Benjamin's past music videos. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_177

"Tourniquet" concludes the trilogy as a sequel to both previous videos. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_178

Dancer and actor Derek Hough (who had previously covered "Ashes of Eden" in a choreographed music video) has an appearance on the album, saying that the opportunity was "a dream come true". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_179

Burnley later explained that he reached out to Hough after seeing his cover of "Ashes of Eden", and that the song he is featured on is "The Dark of You". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_180

Ember received mostly positive critical reception, and was noted both for its familiarity and its heavier stylistic shift. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_181

AllMusic's Neil Yeung gave a generally favorable review but emphasized its familiarity, saying, "As far as variety goes, this is a fairly standard collection of tunes from a band that is mainly concerned with giving fans what they want and expect." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_182

Conversely, Loudwire's Chad Childers called Ember "a heavy record—not just in terms of sound where you could argue that they've never sounded heavier, but also in terms of lyrical content", saying the group is "proving that they're better (and yes, heavier) than ever with plenty still left to say." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_183

Luke Nuttall of The Soundboard gave the album a mixed review, saying, "Even the most dedicated diehard has to admit that this is far from groundbreaking or any sort of departure from their past material, and such an unashamed recycling of work seldom leads to positive results", but adding that, "Ember manages to elevate above radio-rock’s most uninspired efforts, but this is purely for those who’ve been there all the way through; for everyone else, it’s there to embrace or avoid as per want." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_184

Aurora (2018—present) Breaking Benjamin_section_8

In an interview in December 2018, Burnley stated there will be an album of acoustic renditions of past songs in 2019. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_185

In July 2019, Burnley confirmed during a radio interview that the new acoustic album will feature collaborations from Red, Underoath, Saint Asonia, and Lacey Sturm. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_186

The band's 2019 North American headline tour with Chevelle and Three Days Grace went from July 21 to September 25. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_187

On October 28, 2019, the band officially announced the album Aurora via their official social media pages, with a release date of January 24, 2020. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_188

They also announced their 2020 co-headlining North American tour with Korn. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_189

On December 6, 2019, the band released "Far Away" featuring Scooter Ward of Cold, the first single from Aurora. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_190

On January 10, 2020, the band released an acoustic version of "Red Cold River" featuring Spencer Chamberlain of Underoath. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_191

In March 2020, they announced their summer 2020 tour, with Bush, Theory of a Deadman, Saint Asonia, and Cory Marks. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_192

On May 19, 2020, the band announced the cancellation of the tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_193

On July 10, 2020, the band released a cover of the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris", with singer Diamante. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_194

Characteristics Breaking Benjamin_section_9

Musical style Breaking Benjamin_section_10

Breaking Benjamin's musical style is primarily classified as hard rock and alternative rock, more specifically post-grunge and alternative metal, and has commonly been noted for its consistency. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_195

Corey Apar felt that "Breaking Benjamin are nothing if not consistent", and Alex Young felt that "Breaking Benjamin is one of the few modern rock bands on the radio that, if you have heard any song in its catalog prior, could be immediately recognized." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_196

Despite a complete lineup change prior to the release of Dark Before Dawn, Dan Marsicano stated, "Breaking Benjamin hardly deviate from the hooky jams that were present on Dear Agony. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_197

They have had an established sound since their breakout We Are Not Alone – hard-edged riffs with emotional upheaval – and that isn't tampered with on Dark Before Dawn." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_198

Their style is described by Apar as "mixing heavy hard rock dynamics with a moody demeanor that never slips into full-on dejection." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_199

Spence D. characterizes the band as "[persisting] in delivering crunching guitars topped off with somewhat generic, angst-ridden [lyrics] that waffle between being plaintive and aggressive" with vocals that "[deliver] just the right amount of emotion, fluctuating between contemplative subjectivity and growling anger." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_200

Young felt that Breaking Benjamin is "indicative of early '00s modern rock, while also now and then being more Filter-esque or technically proficient, primarily on guitar during 2002's Saturate, and from then on with bass and drums." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_201

Breaking Benjamin's style was described by The Wall Street Journal in 2020 as "a subgenre of rock 'n' roll, often called 'active rock'... the genre includes bands like Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch and Three Days Grace, hard rockers who growl and yell, but can be as tender and emotive as Coldplay." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_202

Composition Breaking Benjamin_section_11

Burnley is the primary songwriter in the band. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_203

Music industry attorney and author Martin Frascogna writes that "it's unmistakably clear that Burnley started the group, is the creative force behind the group and essentially dictates the group's decisions." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_204

Bands such as Nirvana, Live, Bush, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and The Beatles have been cited as influences. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_205

Burnley remarked in 2009 that while the other band members did contribute, it was "always left up to me to put all the pieces together and make it so that it's even anything at all." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_206

However, Burnley expressed how he considered Rauch to be his "writing partner" during Dear Agony, and that he looked forward to writing with him in the future. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_207

After joining the band in 2014 as part of the new lineup, Rauch provided writing contributions on Dark Before Dawn, writing the intro and outro tracks as well as riffs on two other tracks. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_208

Burnley revealed in 2015 that the whole band would write songs for Breaking Benjamin in the future, and that "It just so happens that when they came on board for this album, I was already 95 percent done", adding, "I'm really looking forward to writing the next one all together." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_209

2018's Ember represents the band's first effort with full composition credit given to members other than Burnley. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_210

Breaking Benjamin's lyrical content evolved as a product of Burnley's sobriety, the front man noting that the lyricism in Dear Agony is more thought out. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_211

Rito Asilo of the Inquirer writes that Burnley "owes the improved clarity and coherence in Breaking Benjamin's music to sobriety." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_212

Burnley has said that before sobriety, anything that made sense thematically was a coincidence, and that he would take shots if he were dissatisfied with a lyric. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_213

Breaking Benjamin's lyrics have been noted for their vague, angst-heavy themes, Burnley saying that "I try to keep my writing vague so people can draw their own conclusions." Breaking Benjamin_sentence_214

Live performance Breaking Benjamin_section_12

Breaking Benjamin's live sound has corresponded with lineup arrangements. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_215

The band originally lacked backing vocalists and tertiary instrumentation, requiring them to rely on pre-recorded tracks during live performances. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_216

However, the band was noted for a change in such respects with the second iteration of the band assembled in 2014. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_217

Bruch and Wallen were selected in part for their ability as singers, providing all backing vocals on both new studio recordings and during live shows. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_218

Burnley noted that it was important to add two new singers in order to replicate vocal techniques such as three-part harmonies, octave range, and layered vocals. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_219

Rauch, acting as a third guitarist, provides the band with "more freedom while simultaneously thickening up their live sound", as some songs feature three guitar parts, layered guitars, or are meant to feature Burnley only performing vocals, such as "I Will Not Bow" and "Lights Out". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_220

Foist utilizes Roland V-Kit electronic drums during live performances and triggers certain sounds as heard in studio recordings, such as the piano notes in "Breakdown". Breaking Benjamin_sentence_221

Additionally, Rauch is equipped with a Roland GR-55 guitar synthesizer allowing him to play orchestral strings and choir sound effects, further eliminating any reliance on pre-recorded tracks. Breaking Benjamin_sentence_222

Members Breaking Benjamin_section_13

Current members Breaking Benjamin_sentence_223

Breaking Benjamin_unordered_list_0

  • Benjamin Burnley – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1999–present)Breaking Benjamin_item_0_0
  • Jasen Rauch – lead guitar, strings, programming (2014–present)Breaking Benjamin_item_0_1
  • Keith Wallen – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)Breaking Benjamin_item_0_2
  • Aaron Bruch – bass, backing vocals (2014–present)Breaking Benjamin_item_0_3
  • Shaun Foist – drums, percussion, programming (2014–present)Breaking Benjamin_item_0_4

Former members Breaking Benjamin_sentence_224

Breaking Benjamin_unordered_list_1

  • Chad Szeliga – drums, percussion (2005–2013)Breaking Benjamin_item_1_5
  • Aaron Fink – lead guitar (2002–2011)Breaking Benjamin_item_1_6
  • Mark Klepaski – bass guitar (2002–2011)Breaking Benjamin_item_1_7
  • Jeremy Hummel – drums, percussion (1999–2004)Breaking Benjamin_item_1_8
  • Jonathan "Bug" Price – bass guitar (2001)Breaking Benjamin_item_1_9
  • Jason Davoli – bass guitar (1999)Breaking Benjamin_item_1_10

Touring musicians Breaking Benjamin_sentence_225

Breaking Benjamin_unordered_list_2

  • Kevin Soffera – drums, percussion (2004)Breaking Benjamin_item_2_11
  • Ben "BC" Vaught – drums, percussion (2004–2005)Breaking Benjamin_item_2_12

Timeline Breaking Benjamin_sentence_226

Discography Breaking Benjamin_section_14

Main article: Breaking Benjamin discography Breaking Benjamin_sentence_227

Studio albums Breaking Benjamin_section_15

Breaking Benjamin_unordered_list_3

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Benjamin.