What happens when you shut down the electric power of a strong and powerful metal band?
Its outcome is simply called "Aurora", a special compilation album by "Breaking Benjamin" released on January 24, 2020 !!
And let's start with a slightly long but worthwhile quote:
"This album is a celebration of our incredible fans; for those who have been there since hearing ‘So Cold’ for the first time in 2004, and the new ones who have joined us on this amazing journey along the way. We’ve always shared a unique emotional connection to our music with our fans, and this album attributes to those dark times and euphoric ones. From wherever you joined along the road to Aurora, this one is for you. Thank you."
So what's really going on here?
What happens is that "Breaking Benjamin's" album called "Aurora" takes 9 songs, most of which are prominent singles from previous albums, and simply turns them into acoustic performances.
Sounds pretty ordinary and simple but actually not !!
The cheerful friends did not take these good and famous songs and gave them a different interpretation or a melancholy and endearing acoustic performance. no no no!!
They took the songs and just performed them with acoustic instruments, you probably tell yourself that it also sounds simple, even simpler than before and there is no "patent trick" here !!
So it's not !!
It is very difficult to take powerful music with walls of distortions and immense heaviness and just play them with acoustic guitars. It's pretty obvious it's going to sound anemic, shallow, and soulless. Here the band did something beautiful and special and in order to support the acoustic guitars that lack the power of the distortions, they combined it with various strings and wind instruments.
And that sounds absolutely amazing !!
In the parts you expect the power of the guitars or in the breaking and opening sections that need to reach the heaviness, the strings go in and make it powerful but in another dimension !!
Exactly !! This album is "Breaking Benjamin" in another dimension!
And there's another beautiful thing on the album, The Drums! Usually, in acoustic ensembles, the drums take one step back, with the drummers using light / thin brushes and the drums themselves change in depth and tone to give a flatter sound and less deep and strong in order to match the acoustic and low sound of the guitars. But not here !!
Drummer Shaun Foist works with the same set and tone of drums, with the same sticks, so it gives everything that needs to be given according to the original performance and it sounds just huggggge!!
Aside from the nine tracks that are a performance of previous songs, there is one new song called "Far Away" featuring "Cold's" singer Scooter Ward. Five of the ten songs feature other artists.
The album opens with the song "So Cold" which is the second single released from the band's second album "We Are Not Alone" which was released in 2004 is without a doubt an amazing opening to the album.
It is followed by one of the band's strongest and heaviest songs, "Failure". It's the first single from the band's fifth album "Dark Before Dawn" which came out in 2015 and it's the band's first album with the current and new lineup that came out after 5 years of hiatus and a lot of fights. The song features singer Michael Barnes of the American Christian rock band "RED" and the combination of both is simply amazing.
The third song on the album is "Far Away" and as we mentioned it is a new song written for the album featuring Ward.
The fourth song is "Angels Fall" which was released as a second single after "Failure" from the album "Dark Before Dawn".
It is followed by the song "Red Cold River" which was the first single released from the band's latest album "Ember" which was released in 2018 and is one of the hardest songs to perform with acoustic guitars, because of the power of the guitars in the original song. This song features "Underoath" singer Spencer Chamberlain.
From the same album comes the next song, "Tourniquet" which is the third and last single from the album and is also one of the most beautiful songs on the album.
In the seventh song "Dance With The Devil" you feel the power and influence of the strings especially in the opening, a song that starts with the sound of Burnley and the acoustic guitar and immediately goes into the strings, just a great performance. The song is from the third album "Phobia" which was released in 2006, the song features the singer who was previously on "Three Days Grace" and today is in a kind of American Canadian supergroup called "Saint Asonia". Here we must say that it is very intriguing and lacking in the performance that the album is missing the song "The Diary of Jane".
The next song is "Never Again" from the album "Dark Before Dawn" and immediately after that comes "Torn in Two" with a fatal opening of acoustic bass and drums, the song from the band's latest album "Ember".
The song that closes the album is "Dear Agony", an amazing song from the band's fourth album bearing the same name and the first album Burnley wrote when he was completely sober after a hard and extended period of intoxication. The song features singer Lacey Sturm who formed the band "Flyleaf" and today she is conquering the charts with a solo career.
The band's fans will have an amazing gift that will take them between the band's albums and give them a different and special feeling, a completely different dimension of the band. For those who are unfamiliar this is a good opportunity to listen to something that is a little different in terms of its acoustic composition and provides a special experience.