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Breaking Benjamin

We Are Not Alone [Clean]

Format: CD   Release Date: 09/01/2009
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Some of rock's idealists would have listeners believe that every artist who comes along is obligated to be totally original. But realistically, any genre of music -- be it rock, jazz, RB, country, or Dominican merengue -- is bound to have its leaders as well as its followers. Innovators who come up with something that's totally fresh -- which could be anyone from Charlie Parker to the Sex Pistols to Astor Piazzolla to the outrageously eclectic Nellie McKay -- deserve applause, but the more derivative artists shouldn't be condemned if they're skillful at what they do. Take Breaking Benjamin, for example. We Are Not Alone, the Pennsylvania post-grunge foursome's second full-length album, is every bit as derivative as their previous release, Saturate. Sure, Breaking Benjamin tends to be slightly heavier than Creed, Third Eye Blind, and other melodic post-grunge bands they're frequently compared to; they do, in fact, incorporate traces of alt-metal favorites Tool and Korn (minus the latter's hip-hop obsession). But at the end of the day, Breaking Benjamin is still a very derivative post-grunge band -- and like Default and 3 Doors Down (two other frequent comparisons), they do such an enjoyably skillful job of being a derivative post-grunge band that one cannot help but give it up for them (unless he/she is among the musical ideologues who hate them on principle because they aren't trying to reinvent the alterna-rock wheel). We Are Not Alone (which contains three songs that were co-written with the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan) won't win any awards for innovation, but in terms of quality and craftsmanship -- as well as warmth and feeling -- Breaking Benjamin generally delivers the goods. We Are Not Alone might give you a sense of "been there, done that," but it's still a respectable footnote in the incredibly crowded post-grunge field. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi

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