Review: BRKN Love ‘Black Box’

BRKN Love, Black Box

By Mike O’Cull

BRKN Love shouts down the demise of rock and roll on the band’s blasting new record Black Box.

The album makes impact November 4th, 2022 on the Spinefarm imprint and clearly demonstrates that the power and glory of rock music is alive, well, and still being achieved by young people. In fact, it’s becoming the genre of choice for yet another disaffected, distrustful, and dislocated generation of youth seeking release and peace.

“At a time when mental health is at the forefront, rock is so important, because it’s abrasive, in your face, and blatant about what it stands for and the feeling it evokes,” said frontman, guitarist Justin Benlolo. “It’s a great outlet, since it’s loud, heavy, and cathartic. The punk attitude is rising again, and guitar music is coming full circle. There’s a generation of angered youth torn apart by all of this shit going on in the last couple of years. If anything, rock has never been so relevant.”

BRKN Love has proved its relevance as a band relentlessly since first emerging in 2019. The outfit has rung up tens of millions of streams globally, logged thousands of miles on the road, and received critical acclaim for its tough-as-nails sound and attitude. They’ve toured with groups ranging from Badflower and Highly Suspect to Big Wreck and Dinosaur Pile-Up, burning crowds down at every stop along the way.

This time out, BRKN Love tracked Black Box, which encompasses tight, new material with the songs from their two previous EPs, with producer Anton DeLost (Cleopatrick, Seaway, State Champs). Their combined efforts created a dominating record that speaks to the climate of its time in countless important ways.

BRKN Love kicks the new set open with the riff-heavy jam “Little Black Box.” The track struts and swaggers like a proper rock song should and showcases Benlolo’s impressive vocal skills. He’s a multi-dimensional singer and lyricist who’s quite adept at expressing himself in unique ways that connect with listeners everywhere.

“Dead Weight” is a hard-edged anthem for all those out there who are drifting towards the fringes of life. It’s the lead single from Black Box and is the band’s third-straight Top 10 single in Canada. The song is an interior monologue from an isolated, unhappy mind set to a thumping beat and big guitars. Benlolo uses different guitar tones like they were colors of paint, which they are, and his approach adds a lot of sonic interest.

“Like A Drug,” another single, puts a danceable groove underneath the song’s distorted guitars and intense vocals. It’s an arena-shaking cut that will absolutely get people up and out of their seats, even if they’re listening at home. It has a huge pocket made of the fusion of an epic riff, big-league rhythm guitar work, and an unstoppable drum part. BRKN Love has a knack for being memorable and the chorus hook on this one is a prime example of that talent.

The overwhelming “Rubber Room” blends metal-level guitars with a melodic chorus that quickly switches back to more attack-oriented sections. It’s the heaviest riff BRKN Love has ever thrown down and the arrangement they crafted around it is daring and bold. Benlolo again delivers a monologue of madness, giving himself over to his words fully and keeping nothing back. It’s arguably the best song on Black Box and will stay with you long after the music ends.

Highlights abound on Black Box and include “Bad Blood,” “Fever Dream,” and the closer “Spell.” This is modern hard rock done up right and will likely install itself into your ears permanently. BRKN Love is going to see this record go large. Turn it up!

“Like A Drug”

BRKN Love website 

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