Current members: Benjamin Burnley (vocals/guitar), Keith Wallen (guitar/vocals), Jasen Rauch (guitars), Aaron Bruch (bass/vocals) and Shaun Foist (drums)
Former members, Aaron Fincke (lead guitar), Mark Klepaski (bass), Jeremy Hummel (drums), Chad Szeliga (drums)
The band has released six albums to date and were considered one of the major Alternative Metal successes of the 2000s, led by lead singer Ben Burnley's emotive tenor. 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 2013, Benjamin Burnley won a lawsuit against Fincke and Klepaski and gained the rights to the "Breaking Benjamin" moniker. The band returned with a completely new lineup and released their fifth record Dark Before Dawn on June 23, 2015, and the sixth, Ember, in early 2018.
- Saturate (2002)
- We Are Not Alone (2004)
- Phobia (2006)
- Dear Agony (2009)
- Dark Before Dawn (2015)
- Ember (2018)
- Aurora (2020)
Diary of Tropes:
- Album Title Drop:
- The first song "Wish I May" off the first album Saturate drops it on the second verse.I can see you suffocate
I can find no other way
Try to make you saturate
- "Failure" drops the title of the album it's on in a verse.Drive the cloud away
We will fall from last to none
The dark before the dawn
- "Psycho" from Ember does it in the chorus.I am the ember fading
- The first song "Wish I May" off the first album Saturate drops it on the second verse.
- 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 I’m 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
- Appropriated Appellation: Apparently, the band got its 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."
- The Atoner: The soldier in "Blow Me Away" ("I will stay in the mess I made")
- Bathtub Scene: How the eponymous Jane is introduced in the "Diary of Jane" music video.
- The Berserker/Blood Knight/Death Seeker: From both the title and the lyrics, one could interpret "Unknown Soldier" being about one of these:
- 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:
- Cluster F-Bomb: When Ben's talking between songs during concerts, he uses the F-bomb like a comma.
- Continuity Porn: The music video of "Torn in Two" is a sequel to "Red Cold River" but also references their previous music videos.
- Cover Version:
- Darker and Edgier: Thanks to fan demand, Ember is, sonically, heavier than their previous albums, a direction the band was happy to move into anyway.
- Dead All Along: The eponymous Jane in the music video for "Diary of Jane."
- Deal with the Devil: Heavily implied in the "Red Cold River" music video. A Magical Native American helps the protagonist with finding who raped and killed his daughter, but in exchange, he transforms into a monstrous looking individual and is taken to Hell afterwards.
- Determinator: The protagonist of "I Will Not Bow".I will not bow
I will not break
I will shut the world away
I will not fall
I will not fade
I will take your breath away
- Determined Defeatist: "Until The End."I've lost my way, but I will go on until the end
- Dragged Off to Hell: The main plot of the "Torn in Two" music video.
- Due to the Dead: "Anthem of the Angels."
- Dying Alone: One of the three protagonists of the "Never Again" music video chooses to do this as atonement for hurting his friend after said friend discovered that he duped them and their other friend over the remaining waters from a Fountain of Youth they've been getting.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Benjamin used to have his tongue pierced. That's why he sounds a bit off in the first album.
- Egocentric Team Naming: The band is named after the lead singer.
- Ethereal White Dress: The eponymous Jane in the "Diary of Jane" music video is wearing white. She's Dead All Along.
- Face Death with Dignity: The protagonists of the "Never Again" music video do this once they find out that the waters they took from the Fountain of Youth ran out.
- Fountain of Youth: The "Never Again" music video has a tree which has water in its roots that restores youth for a certain amount of time. The main conflict of the video is when one of the three friends became greedy over it.
- 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 he would have eventually parted ways with the rest of his band members.
- The Grim Reaper: The subject of "Evil Angel."
- Happy Ending Override: "Red Cold River" had a Bittersweet Ending by showing the ghost of the protagonist's daughter stopping her father from killing her rapist and murderer. However, the Immediate Sequel music video "Torn in Two" shows that it's not really the ghost of the daughter and proceeded to drag the protagonist to Hell.
- The Hero Dies: The protagonists of their music videos do not have great mortality rates.
- The eponymous Jane in "Diary of Jane" is Dead All Along.
- The protagonist of the "So Cold" music video drowns himself.
- The protagonists of "Ashes of Eden" die as they fall to Earth, though this is migated by their Reincarnation Romance.
- The protagonists of "Never Again" all die when the waters they took from a Fountain of Youth finally ran out.
- The protagonist of "Red Cold River", "Torn in Two", and "Tourniquet" gets Dragged Off to Hell, which is essentially this trope.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: When paired with Lacey Sturm for the Aurora version of "Dear Agony", with Benjamin being 6'4 and Lacey standing at only 4'11.
- I Am the Band: Since 2011, Ben Burnley is the only original member left.
- Intentionally Awkward Title: Burnley jokingly stated that Ember was originally supposed to be titled Ass-End, a purposeful play-on-words of the word "ascend", but the record label expressed displeasure with his idea.
- 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 Phobia and Dear Agony are slightly softer in the music department, despite darker lyrics. Dark Before Dawn continues this, with Ember showcasing their metal side more once again.
- The acoustic renditions on Aurora are softer, making songs like "Failure" sound oddly tranquil.
- Lingerie Scene: The eponymous Jane in the "Diary of Jane" music video is wearing a negligee.
- Magical Native American: Appears in the "Red Cold River" music video, helping the protagonist with finding who raped and murdered his daughter.
- 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.
- Missing Child: The whole point of the "Red Cold River" music video. It shows a father searching for his missing daughter, who unbeknownst to him, was raped and murdered by a pedophile.
- Ms. Fanservice:
- Non-Appearing Title: "No Games", "Topless" and "Unknown Soldier" never use the title in lyrics. "Lights Out" downplays this as the chorus says "After the lights go out on you".
- Subverted with their Greatest Hits Album Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin. It is named after their song Shallow Bay, an album track from Saturate, which does have the name in the it's lyrics. However, because the album is focused on their singles, Shallow Bay is not on this album.
- Off to See the Wizard: The song Home is basically a wholesale reference to The Wizard of Oz.
- 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 mindThis was a simple designYou fuck it up every timeHow could you leave me behind?
Fuck you fireflyHave you lost your lightNow I hate your ways'Cause they're just like mineSo you've lost my friendSuch a sorry endAnd I don't know whySo I choke and smile (smile)
- From the same album, "Firefly":
- Rain, Rain, Go Away: "Rain."
- Reincarnation Romance: The music video of "Ashes of Eden" has a couple of Ancient Astronauts who fall to Earth then find each other again in modern times.
- Shout-Out: To promote Dear Agony, Breaking Benjamin released a flash game on their website based on Altered Beast (1988) called Altered Benjamin, starring the lead singer as the player character. It can be played here.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: Ben has a deep, growly voice when singing, but is fairly soft spoken in interviews.
- Space Opera: The "Ashes of Eden" music video begins in outer space.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Keith and Aaron regularly perform lead vocals for certain songs during live shows.
- Enforced by Ben, who cited this ability in Keith and Aaron as a primary reason that he picked them for the band's new lineup.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Forever" from Saturate, "Forget It" and "Rain" from We Are Not Alone, "Ashes of Eden" from Dark Before Dawn, "The Dark of You" from Ember.
- Take That!: Ben delivered one to Star Wars Battlefront (2015) on his Instagram account. He claims he was supposed to promote the game in return for payment, but decided to violate the agreement because of how terrible he found the game.
- Tears of Blood:
- 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.
- Together in Death:
- The lovers in the "Ashes of Eden" music video, though thankfully they have a Reincarnation Romance.
- Two of the three protagonists of the "Never Again" music video. The remaining protagonist chooses to die alone for atonement.
- The conclusion of the "Red Cold River", "Torn in Two", and "Tourniquet" music videos feature the deceased father and daughter together in the afterlife.
- Two Guys and a Girl: The main characters of the "Never Again" music video.
- Video Full of Film Clips: The videoclip I will Not Bow promoted the movie Surrogates but shows many key scenes and the ending.
- Villain Song: "Failure", if you consider the lyrics from a certain perspective.Tired of feeling lost, tired of letting go. Tear the whole world down, tear the whole world down...
- What Have I Become?: Actually said (or, rather, screamed) word for word in "Diary of Jane."
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: The music video of "Never Again" shows the negative side of immortality, namely duping your True Companions for waters from a Fountain of Youth.
- 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 didn't tour outside the United States and Canada for a very long time.