Originally created 02/04/03

Benjamin debut is clever, catchy



'SATURATE' GROUP: Breaking Benjamin

LABEL: Hollywood Records

FINAL GRADE: B+

While many hard-rock bands today fail to churn out a decent album, Breaking Benjamin scores with a smashing debut, Saturate.

What you get is a 49-minute trip into a motley mixture of Seether, Nickelback and Disturbed-like tunes. Band members Mark James Klepaski, Aaron Fink (both formerly of Lifer), Ben Burnley and Jeremy Hummel evoke emotions with colorful guitar riffs while still retaining melodic arrangements.

The song Home pays tribute to The Wizard of Oz, and Polyamorous, the first single, capitalizes on a catchy chorus that gets stuck in your head for days.

My favorite track is No Games. It's the perfect recipe for a good rock song: Take a good melody, turn the intensity down a notch, add some strings and, voila, you've got yourself a song that leaves you pressing the repeat button.

The lyrics are clever and wry at the same time, such as, "I am the meager/follow the leader," "Out of the ground I rise to grace," and "It's bitter still, your pretty pill."

A pleasant surprise is the hidden track, which is enthralling and beautiful.

Breaking Benjamin proves a band can produce a captivating record full of contemplative lyrics and still rock at the same time.

My only complaint concerns Mr. Burnley's voice. At times it emulates a growling bear. At other times it sounds as if he has a big air bubble stuck in his throat. A mellifluous voice should be a requirement for all singers, no matter what genre.

Breaking Benjamin should stick around for many years. If their debut album is any indication of where they are going, nothing should be able to break them.

Teen Board member Abby Oakley, 16, is a junior at Lakeside High School.