Breaking 2.0′ (Traiman). The band has been influenced by

Benjamin, a hard-rock/alternative rock band from Pennsylvania, formed in 2000
with vocalist/guitarist Benjamin Burnley, guitarist Aaron Fink, bassist Mark
James Klepaski, and drummer Jeremy Hummel (Henderson). As seen in the interview
on YouTube “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Breaking Benjamin,” the band acquired their name from
vocalist Benjamin Burnley. Burnley was originally in a previous band called
Plan 9, but ‘broke off’ from the band to come into
Breaking Benjamin. Their first album, Saturate,
was released on January 1st, 2002, with their second album We Are Not Alone being released on June
29th, 2004 (iTunes). Before long, band member Jeremy Hummel was
replaced by Chad Szeliga (Henderson). In this time period, they marketed
themselves through video games. VP of marketing at Hollywood Rob Souriall
teamed up with Breaking Benjamin to release 11 tracks from their first two
albums in the video game ‘TRON

            The band has been influenced by
Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Korn, Tool, and others (Henderson). In 2006, the band
introduced their 3rd album, Phobia,
which quickly became debuted at album #2 on the Billboard charts (Henderson).
The band headlined on a nationwide tour, alongside acts Evans Blue and Dropping
Daylight (Henderson). When the band returned from tour, they quickly dived into
writing their fourth album, Dear Agony,
which was released in 2009 (iTunes). This album was followed by more touring,
alongside big-name acts Three Days Grace and Nickelback. Chad Szeliga left the
band shortly after tour due to musical differences (Henderson). Benjamin
Burnley however announced that the band would continue as a quintet, and on
June 23rd, 2015, released their most recent album, Dark Before Dawn (iTunes).

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            To date, the band has sold over 7
million copies of all of their records (Rutherford). During the period which
they teamed up with VP of marketing at Hollywood Rob Souriall to release their
tracks in the video game TRON 2.0 (the year 2002), the band signed with
Hollywood Records (Traiman). With the release of their debut album Saturate, the band reached No. 2 on the
Billboard charts (Henderson). Their second album We Are Not Alone reached No. 20 on the Billboard charts, Phobia reached No 2. On the charts, Dear Agony reached No. 4 on the
Billboard charts, and Dark Before Dawn was their first album to reach No. 1 on
the Billboard charts (Henderson).

            What first got the band attention
was when a DJ played their single “Polyamorous”
frequently on a station (Henderson). The song soon became the #1 requested
track on the station, and the band was signed in 2002 to Hollywood Records. After
Saturate was released and the band
began working on We Are Not Alone, Burnley
worked alongside Billy Corgan, front man of The Smashing Pumpkins to write
songs for the new album (Henderson). The release of this album was a struggle
both personally and financially for all members of the band. Drummer Jeremy
Hummel filed a lawsuit against the band, claiming that Burnley had wrongly
terminated him (Rutherford). The lawsuit was settled in 2006, during the time
when Phobia was being worked on.
After his departure, Burnley auditioned 15 drummers for the band, and chose
Chad Szeliga for his outstanding ability on stage (Rutherford). The main theme
of the album was centered around Burnley’s many phobias with driving anxiety, death
anxiety, fear of flying, and fear of the dark (Rutherford). The album had so
much success that bands like Three Days Grace, Skillet, Red, Puddle of Mudd,
and Seether joined them on tour in the fall of 2007 (Henderson). In 2009 when
the band began working on Dear Agony,
fans learned that this was the first album that Burnley wrote while being ‘completely
sober’ (Henderson). The album cover is a photo of Burnley’s
brain scan, which is a representation of his illnesses due to being an
alcoholic (Rutherford). The album was a huge success, but was followed by a few
years of hiatus. It was not until 2015 that the band released their newest album
Dark Before Dawn (iTunes). The album
has been mainly met with only positive reviews, and during an interview while
being on tour this year, the band revealed that they have finished a 6th
album titled Ember that has a pending
release date (iTunes).

            What makes this band my favorite is
the feeling I get when I listen to them. I can feel through the guitar riffs
how much pain they are feeling, or the kind of regret they are experiencing, or
the struggles that they face, or the anger that they have. No other band has
written lyrics that have had such an impact on me. It wasn’t until I listened to their songs
that I began to really question the meaning behind the words that an artist
sings. This was when I was 13 years old, as an 8th grade
middle-schooler. Now, as a 21 year-old college student, I have a greater
capacity to appreciate everything they’ve
ever written, because I understand more in-depth the messages that they are
trying to get across.