NEPA-rooted rock outfit Breaking Benjamin releases new album ahead of tour
Breaking Benjamin’s April 13 release, “Ember,” marks their sixth studio album, but frontman Ben Burnley doesn’t want fans to feel that a thorough knowledge of the material is a prerequisite to the band’s live show.
“Well we’ll only really incorporate songs that are fan favorites, the majority of songs people want hear and singles as far as the new stuff is concerned,” Burnley said.
That philosophy will be applied to Breaking Benjamin’s upcoming tours — a schedule that puts the band on the road from late April through September, and includes an Aug. 17 stop at Scranton’s The Pavilion at Montage Mountain with co-headliner Five Finger Death Punch.
Burnley said the band’s albums are where they want people to discover the music and form a connection with it. The live shows are where he and his fellow band members — guitarists Jasen Rauch and Keith Wallen, bassist Aaron Bruch and drummer Shaun Foist — want to celebrate that connection with their audience.
“It’s really really awesome to have people join in and be a part of it,” Burnley said. “That’s kind of like what we do with our live show: We don’t necessarily put on a show for people; we do it all together with the crowd, and that’s something we really enjoy ourselves.”
While Breaking Benjamin will be returning to Northeastern Pennsylvania to play in August, the band greeted local fans the day after their new album debuted, April 14, at Wilkes-Barre Township record store Gallery of Sound. Burnley said it’s important to never forget the band’s roots.
“No matter what, that’s where the band came from, you know, and that’ll never change,” Burnley said. “No matter how successful we get everywhere else, that’ll always be the case. So we have to pay homage to that and never forget that.”
Breaking Benjamin’s success reached a new plateau when “Dark Before Dawn,” the 2015 comeback album that introduced the band’s new lineup, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s new releases chart. Burnley said he had that album over 90 percent complete before bringing aboard his new band mates. “Ember,” on the other hand, was a group effort that takes Breaking Benjamin to heavier heights and lighter lows.
Burnley said he was comfortable with the change to the writing process because he respects his new coworkers’ visions.
“Well really it’s just what they do, what they make and what they create is something that I’m a fan of, so it matches Breaking Benjamin perfectly,” Burnley said. “There really isn’t too much of an effort to make it work; it just works right out of the box.”
That right-out-of-the-box chemistry has withstood elongated periods on the road together, and Burnley is excited to hear what fans think of the new territory the band has only begun to explore.
“We love to hear people’s take on things; that’s what we feel art should be,” Burnley said. “It should be left to the person that’s enjoying the art to make their own interpretation of things.”
When Breaking Benjamin returns to The Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Aug. 17, the crowd may just express their opinion on the new material by screaming every word.
To purchase tickets for Breaking Benjamin’s 2018 tour, visit breakingbenjamin.com/tour.