Benjamin Needs Fixing
Breaking Benjamin starts off their new record Phobia on a serious high note. The song â€šÃ„ÃºIntroâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is a refreshing, instrumental concoction of noise that is intriguing to listen to. However, the rest of the record morphs into one long, unoriginal, post grunge experiment. The songs on Phobia all sound very similar. A few, such as â€šÃ„ÃºUntil the Endâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºTopless,â€šÃ„Ã¹ start off with fast, energetic intros but they inevitably break down into the same ambient, boring drum-and-vocal-heavy verses as the rest of the songs. Ben Burnley knows how to sing and play guitar quite well and the rest of the band does not lack in ability, but the lack of originality and diversity in their songs is painfully apparent.
It is next to impossible to write a lyrically imaginative and stimulating record when every song is based on an ambiguous â€šÃ„Ãºyouâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and supported with two or three constantly repeated, meaningless phrases. The lyrics on â€šÃ„ÃºDance with the Devilâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºToplessâ€šÃ„Ã¹ are good examples of this. Breaking Benjamin has also been heard covering Nirvana, Tool, Depesche Mode, Deftones and NIN in concert. If you were to mix those five great bands that have no business being mixed you would be left with Breaking Benjamin.
Although they clearly have talent, Breaking Benjaminâ€šÃ„Ã´s songwriting ability is another matter. â€šÃ„ÃºOutroâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is an excellent song similar to â€šÃ„ÃºIntro,â€šÃ„Ã¹ both displaying the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s potential. The last song on the album is an acoustic version of â€šÃ„ÃºThe Diary of Janeâ€šÃ„Ã¹ which may be the best track on the entire record. Ben Burnleyâ€šÃ„Ã´s vocals fit better with piano and violin than with nu-metal. If Breaking Benjamin put out an acoustic record it would probably be outstanding, but Phobia is destined for alternative metal mediocrity.