Despite the band being in turmoil after arguments involving rights to remaster certain songs, and front man Benjamin Burnley firing two long standing band members, Walt Disney owned record label Hollywood Records has pushed Breaking Benjamin’s greatest hits album out of the works.
Hailing from Pennsylvania, USA, the rockers have released four records since their formation in 1998, with all of them finding a place in the Billboard charts. And while the band is on an indefinite hiatus due to Burnley’s ongoing illness and the band currently only having a front man and a drummer, the record company and Ben thought it would be a good idea to release a greatest hits album.
When a band releases a greatest hits album, in the eyes (or ears) of the public the band is after a short burst of money or they have run out of stream. Although in this case it seems like what’s left of Breaking Benjamin are just trying to keep their fan base happy until everything is resolved.
The album consists of two disks, one being what is considered their best thirteen songs, and then the other consisting of rarities, songs that have never been released, new acoustic mixes, live songs and also remastered versions of three songs.
“Diary of Jane” features on the first disk – coming from the album “Phobia”, which shouldn’t be too much of a shock to fans seeing as it is the band’s most well known song to date. The song has not been edited and rightfully so, considering the amount of attention it bought towards the band after the album was released was phenomenal. With it’s solemn piano introduction, and the drumbeat and catchy riffs that follow, combining with the vocals and chorus afterwards, the song begins to show why Breaking Benjamin have the following they do. They are true artists, painting imagery of magnificent and majestic calibre inside your head.
On the second disk, “Ordinary Man,” – a previously unreleased song, – introduces itself with a short phrase, which shows typical Breaking Benjamin rock style, accompanied by Chad Szeliga closely following with a tom beat to beef things up a little, or add a little more meat to the track. The melody of the chorus is outstanding, showing some of the vocal range Ben Burnley has. Japan struck lucky when this track was only previously released in their country in a special edition album.
The unreleased tracks are a bonus for fans outside of Asia, as Europe and America have received no good news about these American rockers since Ben had to cancel tours due to an ongoing battle with illness, the removal of band members and now the lawsuit between Ben and his ex-band mates for money and rights to the name “Breaking Benjamin”.
“Blow Me Away” is the fault in the bands relationship, but that is the problem. The song was an epic hit beforehand, and now, after being remastered and having a guest appearance from Sydney Duran (of the band Valora), the song is a masterpiece of beautiful craftsmanship. To fans the song which previously appeared on the Halo soundtrack may not be to their liking, but after numerous listens the vocal mix of both Ben and Sydney’s harmony intertwining becomes something that is seriously exceptional.
The argument surrounding this song is a shame, as the song really does blow you away, and although the band may not be complete and this is the last original Breaking Benjamin album, the whole rocky soul and heart put into this album is something that should be copied by others in years to come.
Written by Regan Foy.