NEPA Scene Staff

Breaking Benjamin and Five Finger Death Punch rock Montage Mountain in Scranton on Aug. 17

Breaking Benjamin and Five Finger Death Punch rock Montage Mountain in Scranton on Aug. 17
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From a press release:

It was announced last week that Wilkes-Barre’s own Breaking Benjamin and Las Vegas metal band Five Finger Death Punch will return to The Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton to perform together on Friday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. Today, further details about the show were revealed.

Special guests opening the concert will be three-time Grammy Award-nominees Nothing More and Bad Wolves, who are currently dominating the rock and metal charts around the globe with their cover of The Cranberries’ “Zombie,” which was released in memory of singer Dolores O’Riordan, who was supposed to record guest vocals on the song the very day of her tragic passing. Proceeds will go to her three children.

“When I’m asked for a tour quote I’m always scratching my head… Is there anything to add?” says Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory. “We are putting together 2018’s biggest hard rock tour of the summer, where even the first band on the bill has a massive hit single around the world. There will be fire, there will be lights, and it’s going to be loud. An experience you can’t just download, you have to be there. We all get about 80 summers in our lifetimes, so make them count.”

“This is the type of tour package that is all too rare nowadays,” adds Larry Frank, owner of Frank Productions/Live Nation. “Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin, Nothing More, and Bad Wolves is the kind of tour that keeps music alive and exciting and, at the same time, introduces the audience to newer bands that will become the next generation of arena rock acts.”

Tickets, which range from $34-$119, will be available to the general public starting this Friday, March 16 at 10 a.m. through livenation.com and the Live Nation app. A series of various pre-sales began today at 10 a.m. and will end on Thursday, March 15 at 10 p.m.

For the first time ever, The Pavilion at Montage Mountain will offer Ticket to Rock bundles to see three concerts this summer, including this show, Slayer with Lamb of God and Anthrax on Tuesday, July 31, and Godsmack and Shinedown on Friday, Aug. 31.

Lawn ticket bundles for all three shows are $59, while reserved seating bundles for the three shows will cost $79. These bundles are on sale now at livenation.com and will be available to purchase in limited quantities while supplies last.

Fans purchasing a ticket to the tour will also support a good cause. The co-headliners will donate $0.50 from each ticket sold to two charity organizations close to their hearts. Five Finger Death Punch has chosen C.O.P.S (Concerns of Police Survivors), an organization whose mission is rebuilding shattered lives of survivors and co-workers affected by line of duty deaths through partnerships with law enforcement and the community. Breaking Benjamin has chosen Prevent Child Abuse America to help counteract the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children by promoting services that improve child well-being and developing programs that help to prevent all types of abuse and neglect.

In late 2017, Five Finger Death Punch released their greatest hits album, “A Decade of Destruction,” with two new tracks, “Trouble” and “Gone Away” (their own rendition of The Offspring’s 1997 hit single). Both tracks garnered much critical acclaim and great success, as “Gone Away” received over 10 million streams since its debut on Dec. 1 and over 10 million video views in less than a month. It is already No. 25 on the Active Rock chart and climbing steadily. In addition, the first single from the collection, “Trouble,” racked up over two million streams worldwide in just a few weeks, making it the band’s biggest streaming debut for a lead track. Both songs have topped the iTunes Rock and Metal charts globally.

5FDP rounded out 2017 by celebrating two new RIAA platinum certifications for their 2011 album “American Capitalist,” and 2013’s “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 1.” “War Is the Answer,” the band’s 2009 album, and their hit single “Bad Company” were previously certified platinum in 2016 and 2013, respectively. The band has amassed a total of over two billion streams worldwide to date.

5FDP’s seventh full-length album, “And Justice for None,” will be released this spring on May 18.

Breaking Benjamin are also no strangers to the upper echelons of the rock charts. Since bursting onto the scene with 2002’s “Saturate,” the band has amassed an impressive string of mainstream rock radio hits, including “The Diary of Jane” and the No. 1 singles “So Cold,” “Failure,” “Breath,” and “I Will Not Bow.”

The self-produced “Ember,” Breaking Benjamin’s sixth album and first full-length since 2015’s “Dark Before Dawn,” once again contains an abundance of high-caliber, melodic hard rock that will be released on Friday, April 13. But ask Breaking Benjamin vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist Ben Burnley about the significance of the album title, and his answer hints at intriguing new dimensions: “An ember can either be the end of something or the beginning of it.”

The band’s new single, “Red Cold River,” falls firmly into the latter camp. After starting with a subdued intro, the song explodes with stinging riffs, howling vocals, and frenzied drumming. Later, an avalanche of churning guitars and mesmerizing harmonies cloak the ominous assertion, “I can’t feel anything at all / This life has left me cold,” before the song’s verses retreat once again into sparser territory. It’s an earworm that burrows deep and begs repeated listens.

“Red Cold River,” which Burnley says the band recognized as “one of the most powerful songs” they had written for the album, is emblematic of “Ember’s” aggressive approach and dramatic dynamics. Although there are subdued moments – the somber piano intro of “Feed the Wolf,” the crooning, melodic choruses on the yearning “Torn in Two,” and “Close Your Eyes” – the record skews heavy. Abrasive guitar slashes dominate both “Blood” and “Feed the Wolf,” while the chugging “Save Yourself” boasts a ferocious rhythmic backbone.

“People have always really liked the heavier side of the band,” Burnley says. “I think that’s what they sort of gravitate towards. But we also make sure to explore our melodic and softer side too. On ‘Ember,’ we just tried to make it more extreme – the softer side on this album is really soft, and the heavy side is really heavy. We decided to give everybody what they want to the furthest degree.”

This commitment to sonic progress is one of Breaking Benjamin’s best qualities. Not only does it reflect Burnley’s ambition, but it also explains the band’s enduring success and ability to weather changing musical trends and lineups. “Our records are very different from one another, as far as the actual technical aspects are concerned, such as how many tunings we use,” Burnley says. “Every Breaking Benjamin album features something new we’ve never done before.”

“Ember” is no exception. For example, the record features more prominent programming flourishes. The atmospheric “The Dark of You” features melancholy effects scurrying beneath jagged guitars, while electronic shirring adds rhythmic texture to the slow-burning “Tourniquet” and an eerie, haunted house vibe to the cinematic “Down.”

In typical Breaking Benjamin fashion, however, these forays into the digital realm complement the band’s rock-oriented sound. “Our programming is done in such a way that it’s not obvious or intrudes on the core of the song,” Burnley notes. “We found a way to do programming live, instead of having it on a track that just plays and then we play to it. We don’t like to do that. We can separate the drum loops and all the other sounds so that they can be played live instead of pre-recorded.”

It helps that Breaking Benjamin’s current lineup – which, in addition to Burnley, includes guitarists Jason Rauch and Keith Wallen, bassist Aaron Bruch, and drummer Shaun Foist – features gifted players who can easily recreate even the most complicated parts. In fact, “Ember” contains Breaking Benjamin’s most advanced and challenging music yet. Exhibit A: “Psycho,” which finds Rauch unleashing gnarled, metal-leaning riffs and technically precise (but intricate) phrasing.

“It’s difficult to play some of the songs,” Burnley says. “They’re not something somebody could just pick up and play.”

Such complexity is also a testament to “Ember’s” expanded, full-band songwriting approach. On previous Breaking Benjamin albums, Burnley would shoulder the bulk of the composition, something he was happy to do, but which made recording more of a labor-intensive experience. This time around, although he wrote the majority of “Ember’s” lyrics and vocal melodies, his bandmates made significant contributions to the music, ranging from stacked background vocals to soaring hooks. Bruch even wrote the music and vocals for the chorus of “Red Cold River.”

“They’ve really contributed a lot more than anybody else has in the past,” Burnley says of his bandmates. “And they’re more like-minded, musically, than people I’ve ever played with, and so everything that they gave me fit into songs that I already had.

“I wrote the majority of our last five albums, and so I’m good with that – you know, that’s enough for me,” he adds with a laugh. “Five albums pretty much by myself; I’m ready to pass it along. It’s more fun when you’re not doing everything by yourself.”

This musical chemistry has buoyed Breaking Benjamin as the band embarked on U.S. tours with Shinedown and Sevendust and landed a headlining slot on the 2016 Axes & Anchors Cruise. They also booked their first overseas shows, including two tours of Europe – and appearances at festivals such as Rock am Ring and Austria’s Nova Rock – and a visit to the U.K. for the 2016 Download Festival and the 2017 Reading and Leeds Festivals.

“There was a lot of support, and a lot of people that knew who we were,” Burnley says of heading to Europe for the first time. “It was very much in a lot of ways exactly like what we have here in America. It was an awesome surprise, because the first time we went there, we didn’t know what to expect.”

Doing so much touring over the last few years hasn’t necessarily had a direct influence on Breaking Benjamin’s sound. However, being on the road has strengthened the relationship between the band members, which has had an organic influence on “Ember’s” music. As Burnley and Breaking Benjamin look to tour heavily in 2018 (and beyond), expect this positive momentum to continue gathering steam.

“Creatively, we mesh really well, and so it makes us personally mesh really well,” Burnley says. “We want to be together and tour; we’re brothers. If anything, our friendship is growing stronger. And so that’s why we tour so much, because we really enjoy that – we enjoy being there for the fans, and we enjoy playing together. Things just keep getting better for us.”