Breaking Benjamin is an American Hard Rock
and Alternative Metal
band formed in 1998.
Current members: Benjamin Burnley (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Keith Wallen (lead guitar/backing vocals), Jasen Rauch (guitars), Aaron Bruch (bass) and Shaun Foist (drums)
Former members:, Aaron Fincke (lead guitar), Mark Klepaski (bass), Jeremy Hummel (drums), Chad Szeliga (drums)
The band had released four albums to date and were considered one of the major Alternative Metal
successes of the 2000s
, led by lead singer Ben Burnley's emotive baritone. In the summer of 2010, they went on hiatus so Ben could address his health. In August 2011, it was revealed that Ben fired Fincke and Klepaski over the planned release of a remix for "Blow Me Away" to be included on a greatest hits album. In September 2011, Szeliga was hired as the drummer for Black Label Society. In 2013, Benjamin Burnley finally won his lawsuit against Fincke and Klepaski and won the rights to the Breaking Benjamin moniker, so the band is returning... albeit with a completely new lineup, as Chad Szeliga announced just a few days later that he would no longer be working with Breaking Benjamin due to "creative differences."
Tropes that apply to Breaking Benjamin include:
- The Alcoholic: Ben Burnley was one early in the band's career.
- Alliterative Name: The band and the lead singer (Benjamin Burnley).
- Alternative Metal: Their primary genre, along with Post-Grunge. Being a part of this genre, they have been called Nu Metal before, but they generally aren't considered to be part of that scene.
- Although, their song "Sugarcoat" from their debut album seems to have drawn influence from the waning nu metal scene.
- And Your Little Dog Too: The song Home refers to the Wizard of Oz and includes the line : "cause Iím gonna get you and your little dog too".
- The Anti-Nihilist: The narrator of "Until the End":
Why give up, why give in?
It's not enough, it never is.
So I will go on until the end.
- The Atoner: The soldier in "Blow Me Away" ("I will stay in the mess I made")
- Badass Baritone: Ben's signature deep and soulful voice.
- The Berserker/Blood Knight/Death Seeker: From both the title and the lyrics, one could interpret "Unknown Soldier" being about one of these:
Borderline, dead inside...
Show me what it's like
- Careful With That Axe: Ben Burnley whips out the axe every so often; perhaps the most notable example is during "Until The End", at the very quietest part of the song where he's very nearly whispering:
Living is hard enough
- Dead All Along: The music video for "Diary of Jane."
- Determinator: "Until The End" and "I Will Not Bow" are pretty good examples.
- Due to the Dead: "Anthem of the Angels."
- Egocentric Team Naming: The band is named after the lead singer.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Ben Burnley's Wernicke's encephalitis (aka Wet Brain Syndrome) combined with his lung infection became one for the band. Without Ben being forced to go on hiatus, it's very unlikely that the events that caused Ben to part ways with the rest of his members actually ever happened.
- The Grim Reaper: The subject of "Evil Angel."
- I Am the Band: Since 2011, Ben Burnley is the only original member left.
- It Always Rains at Funerals: Heavily implied in "Rain" if you pay attention to the lyrics:
Rain, rain, go away...
Come again another day...
All the world is waiting for the sun...
To lie here, under you...
Was all that I could ever do...
- Lighter and Softer: Their first two albums were more influenced by Heavy Metal, and as such the more alt rock influenced latter two albums are slightly softer in the music department. The lyrics are arguably darker, however, and metal is still present.
- Meaningful Name: The name of the album Phobia is a reference to Benjamin Burnley's numerous clinical phobias.
- Metal Scream: Ben occasionally gives off a psuedo Death Growl. The choruses of "Sugarcoat" and "Believe" were performed in this manner.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Their songs range from 4 to 7.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Benjamin: A literal version of this trope. Apparently, the band got its present name from an incident at an open mic night where Ben Burnley was covering a Nirvana song and knocked over the microphone he had borrowed, cracking it. After the song was finished, the owner of the microphone came up on stage and said, "I'd like to thank Benjamin for breaking my fucking mic."
- Not Christian Rock: The song "Give me a sign" is close to a pray but otherwise the band isn't labelled as Christian.
- Off to See the Wizard: The song Home.
- Post-Grunge: Often considered to be one of the best of this genre.
- Precision F-Strike: As far as hard rock bands go, Breaking Benjamin's music is relatively clean. But they'll get a couple of these in every album. Notable is "Simple Design" on We Are Not Alone:
You must be out of your mind
This was a simple design
You fuck it up every time
How could you leave me behind?
- Rain, Rain, Go Away: "Rain."
- Shout-Out: "Home" is a song about The Wizard of Oz.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Forget It" and "Rain" from We Are Not Alone.
- There's No Place Like Home: The line is featured in and one of the major themes of "Home", a song that is basically a wholesale reference to The Wizard of Oz,.
- Video Full Of Film Clips[/]Trailers Always Spoil: The videoclip I will not bow promoted the movie Surrogates but shows many key scenes and the ending.
- What Have I Become?: Actually said (or, rather, screamed) word for word in "Diary of Jane."
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes??: The title of their third album, Phobia, is a reference to Ben Burnley's many phobias. The most notable of which is his fear of flying as it is the reason why the band doesn't tour outside the United States and Canada.
- World Half Empty: Played with on a few of their songs.