Breaking Benjamin is a post-grunge/alternative metal band Formed in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA in 1998 by vocalist Benjamin Burnley and drummer Jeremy Hummel, Breaking Benjamin quickly garnered a strong local following.
1st Studio Album (2002) - Saturate
The band signed to Hollywood Records in 2001 after the success of an independently-released, self-titled EP, which sold all 2,000 copies that were manufactured. Hollywood Records released their full-length, major-label debut, Saturate, on August 27, 2002. The album's first single, "Polyamorous", received a fair amount of radio play, although it failed to reach mainstream audiences. A video was released in two different versions for Polyamorous: one that had all live-action footage, and one that had footage of the video game Run Like Hell. The following single "Skin" was also released from Saturate, although it fared worse than "Polyamorous" and received even less airplay. "Skin" was also performed live on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show. "Medicate" was also released as a single, to little commercial success and airplay. Saturate has gone on to sell over 300,000 copies.
2nd Studio Album (2004) - We Are Not Alone
Breaking Benjamin released their second album, We Are Not Alone, on June 29, 2004. The album featured the lead off single "So Cold", which reached number two on the United States Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The band had two music videos made for the song, one of which was a promotional video made for the movie Hellboy. The commercial success of "So Cold" led to We Are Not Alone achieving platinum status in late 2005. Also released as singles from the album were "Sooner or Later" and a re- recorded version of "Rain", which was featured on later pressings of the album. While the former again got the band as high as number two on the Mainstream Rock chart and featured a music video, the latter garnered little radio play and had no video created for it. Another song off "We Are Not Alone", "Sooner or Later", had a video created for it and got a fair amount of radio play. Later in 2004, the band released the So Cold EP. The EP contained live recordings of We Are Not Alone's "So Cold" (an acoustic recording), "Breakdown", and "Away", as well as studio recordings of "Blow Me Away", a song that was featured in Bungie's video game Halo 2, and "Lady Bug", an early fan favorite of the band's.
In September of 2004, drummer, and founding member of Breaking Benjamin, Jeremy Hummel was relieved of his duties in the band. Subsequently, on September 28, 2005, Hummel filed a federal lawsuit against the remaining members of Breaking Benjamin, as well as its management, claiming he was not paid for songs he helped write. Hummel's lawsuit asked for more than $8 million in damages. A message was released October 25, 2006 on the bands official website stating that the band and Hummel had come to agreement on the lawsuit.
3rd Studio Album (2006) - Phobia
In the fall of 2006 the band began a tour opening for Godsmack for the IV tour, hitting up mostly eastern and Ohio Valley venues, and soon moving out west, still in support of the Phobia album, released on August 8 that year. Several of the shows had been canceled, or turned into Breaking Benjamin headliners due to scheduling conflicts. Many of Breaking Benjamin's tour dates from December 3rd have been rescheduled due to illness in the band's ranks. All dates were rescheduled as the band announced another headlining leg before going on a nationwide tour with Three Days Grace and Nickelback.
On March 4, 2007, HDNet premiered a one-hour show of the Breaking Benjamin concert in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at Stabler Arena. This is also the concert that was included on the Phobia re-release DVD in April of 2007, advertised as "The Homecoming". Footage of the band's live Stabler Arena performance of "Breath" comprises the song's music video.
On April 17, 2007, Breaking Benjamin re-released the album Phobia. The album featured a DVD with about an hour of their Stabler Arena concert footage.
4th Studio Album (2009) - Dear Agony
On the 29th of September, 2009, Breaking Benjamin released their 4th studio album, entitled "Dear Agony". Some of the tracks on the album, were co-written by Jasen Rauch, from the Christian-metal band Red.
On September 23, 2009, Breaking Benjamin released a flash video game parody of Altered Beast, aptly titled "Altered Benjamin". The game contains three levels and plays the same as the original, except the player controls vocalist Ben Burnley and the three bosses are each other member of the band respectively. Altered Benjamin is still available through the band's website, and their MySpace page.
Certain copies of Dear Agony purchased at Best Buy also come with a bonus DVD that includes the band's six music videos including a previously-unreleased version of the video for "I Will Not Bow". The version on the DVD is of the band only and does not contain any footage from the movie Surrogates, unlike the version released on the Internet.
On August 31st, 2009, prior to the release of Dear Agony, Breaking Benjamin released their first single from DA, "I Will Not Bow". It was featured in the 2009 Sci-Fi film [Starring Bruce Willis], "Surrogates". The song was not written specifically for the film, but according to drummer Chad Szeliga, “Ben sent a few songs to our record label, Hollywood Records,” which is owned by Disney, who then decided they “wanted a Breaking Benjamin song for this movie.”
The music video for I Will Not Bow was released to the band's Myspace on August 21, 2009. The video was shot at the World Trade Center building 7, but has no connection or significant meaning having to do with the 9/11 events as stated by Aaron Fink in his Point interview on August 13, 2009. The video was directed by Rich Lee who has also directed for Evanescence. Lee chose the location, feeling it was an eerie place to film.
A second version of the music video without the Surrogates footage was released with the Best Buy Exclusive version of Dear Agony. It includes various bridged footage of the band performing.
On January 5, 2010, Give Me a Sign was the second single released from Breaking Benjamin's fourth studio album, Dear Agony.
2 extra tracks were featured on the Japanese version of "Dear Agony". An acoustic version of 'Without You', and an acoustic version 'Give Me A Sign'.
Hiatus, greatest hits album and legal issues (2010-2014)
In the summer of 2010, Breaking Benjamin announced an indefinite hiatus, due to Burnley's recurring illnesses. Guitarist Fink and bassist Klepaski rejoined their old band, Lifer, and Szeliga toured with his other band, OurAfter.
On June 7, 2011, a remixed version of "Blow Me Away", featuring Valora, was released. An animated music video for the remix was released on August 24. On June 30, 2011, Rock Access posted the tracklist for the band's greatest hits album, Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin, and for its "deluxe edition". It was released on August 16, as a one-disc "standard edition" and a two-disc "deluxe edition" (featuring b-sides and rarities). Burnley publicly opposed the album's release, saying content had been altered and released without his consent, and that it did not meet his standards.
In May 2011, Burnley fired bandmates Fink and Klepaski. Shortly after, a dispute over the new version of "Blow Me Away" went public. Burnley gave his side of the dispute in a June court filing, saying Fink and Klepaski made unilateral and unauthorized decisions on behalf of the band, such as giving permission in May for the remixing of "Blow Me Away". Burnley seeks at least $250,000 and the exclusive right to the "Breaking Benjamin" name. Burnley has stated he plans to revive the band when the lawsuit is settled.
Little was heard from the band throughout 2012, the only exception being a February 2012 interview with Szeliga, where he assured fans that the band was still together, and that he looked forward to working on another record in the future. On April 19, 2013, Burnley announced that the legal issues had finally ended, with Burnley winning the rights to the name of the band. However, Szeliga posted an announcement on his Facebook page on April 22 that he was leaving the band, due to creative differences. In October-November 2013, Burnley played a number of acoustic performances around the Wilkes-Barre area, playing Breaking Benjamin songs.
On August 19, 2014, the band announced that they had reformed via their official Facebook page. The band re-emerged as a quintet, consisting Burnley as the lead vocalist and four new members. New members include guitarist Jasen Rauch, previously of the band Red, who had previously collaborated with the band off of four tracks on Dear Agony, guitarist Keith Wallen, previously of Adelitas Way, bassist Aaron Bruch, who played a couple of acoustic shows previously with Burnley, and drummer Shaun Foist, previously of the band Picture Me Broken.
5th Studio Album (2015) - Dark Before Dawn
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. 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. 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. 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. Why shouldn't I be known to be doing it?"
Within an hour of pre-order availability, Dark Before Dawn reached No. 1 on the rock albums chart on iTunes and No. 3 on the overall album chart. It sold 135,000 pure album units and 141,000 equivalent album units in its first week, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, making the album the group's heretofore most successful sales effort.
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. 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.
6th Studio Album (2018-present) - Ember
The group's sixth studio album was first revealed to be completed in August 2017. 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. 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. Three subsequent songs—"Blood", "Psycho", and "Save Yourself"—were released ahead of the album as promotional releases.
Writing for the album began in 2016, with recording primarily happening in 2017. While Burnley remained the primary composer for the album, he stated that around half of it was written by the rest of the band. Burnley returned to producing for the album, along with the rest of the band, a first for the group. Rauch commented that the album pushes the boundaries with heavier material than the band's done in the past. 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. Burnley explained that there was demand for heavier material from fans, and that the group was happy to reflect that. 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. 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.
It sold 88,000 units in its first week of sales, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. "Red Cold River" peaked at No. 2 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, and No. 5 on the Hot Rock Songs chart.
2002 - Polyamorous
2003 - Skin
2003 - Medicate
2004 - So Cold [EP]*
2004 - Sooner or Later
2005 - Rain (Drums re-recorded by Chad Szeliga)
2006 - The Diary Of Jane
2006 - Breath
2006 - Until The End
2009 - I Will Not Bow
2010 - Give Me A Sign
2015 - Failure
2015 - Angels Fall
2018 - Red Cold River
*So Cold [EP] featured 5 songs, 'So Cold (Acoustic)', 'Blow Me Away', 'Lady Bug', 'Away (Live)' and 'Breakdown (Live)'.
The name "Breaking Benjamin" comes from Benjamin Burnley's early solo experience. Burnley was covering a Nirvana song during an open-mic night at a club when he finished he dropped the microphone to the ground, breaking it. The person who owned the microphone came on stage and said, 'Thanks to Benjamin for breaking my fucking mic.' In 1999, the band briefly renamed themselves "Plan 9." In late 2000, after various line-up changes, the band changed its name back to "Breaking Benjamin" and two friends of Burnley, Aaron Fink and Mark Klepaski, left their previous band, Lifer, and joined the ranks of Breaking Benjamin as guitarist and bassist, respectively. Lifer was a band that gained brief mainstream attention because of their part in an MTV cover band contest that resulted in a record deal with Universal Records.
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