Breaking Benjamin's No. 1 & Beyond: 10 Rock Bands That Sell Much More Than You Think
Breaking Benjamin's new album debuted with a healthy 135,000 copies sold its first week -- and they're not the only rockers moving albums.
The music-listening public is often very misinformed about the current state of rock music.
If you're still making Nickelback jokes in 2015, you should do your homework. Regardless of your opinion of the old-school, all-American rockers (who happen to be Canadian), jabs at their alleged radio dominance and endless string of hits are almost as dated as that old photograph. You know, the one that every time… never mind. The point here is that Nickelback hasn't had a top 10 hit since 2008 and although they're still successful in rock circles, mainstream fans can take a deep breath and relax.
But it's not all bad news for those who rock to metal, pop-punk, Christian and the myriad subgenres in between. It's difficult for these bands to cross over to top 40 like they did in the early 2000s, but they frequently post sales figures that astound just about everyone outside of their own highly dedicated fanbases.
Last week, Breaking Benjamin earned its first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. According to Nielsen Music, Dark Before Dawn sold 135,000 copies in the week ending June 28, marking the 17-year-old band's best sales week ever. Tori Kelly, Kacey Musgraves and Leon Bridges all released new albums that same week to considerably more media fuss, yet only Kelly's Unbreakable Smile managed to sell close to half of Breaking Benjamin's total (65,000 copies).
Here are 10 more rock bands whose popularity -- particularly in album sales -- is far greater than their mainstream coverage suggests.
Five Finger Death Punch
The Las Vegas metal band is readying a new album aptly titled Got Your Six, which will be its sixth offering since 2007. Aside from being prolific, they've also been very successful; those previous five albums have sold more than 3 million copies combined. Their last release, The Wrong Side of Heaven... Volume 2, placed at No. 57 on 2014's year-end Billboard 200 chart, ahead of Beck's Grammy-winning Morning Phase and just a few spots behind Jack White's Lazaretto.
Looking for a band that could follow up on the Breaking Benjamin trend this year? Shinedown may be your best bet. The Florida hard rockers recently announced a new album that will look to follow on the massive success of their catalog to date. Since 2003, they've sent 14 singles to the top five of Mainstream Rock Songs, and their last LP, 2012's Amaryllis, sold 106,000 in its first week, marking the band's best sales week ever.
Slipknot first gained prominence during the late '90s's nü-metal boom, but their continued commercial success often goes overlooked outside of the rock world. Their last album, 2014's .5: The Gray Chapter, debuted atop the Billboard 200, with a healthy 132,000 copies sold. Corey Taylor's crew also recently announced the third annual U.S. running of its self-curated festival Knotfest.
Of Mice & Men
Following FFDP, here's another shout out to the hard-rock indies. All three of this metalcore band's albums have come out through Rise Records, an Oregon-based indie known for consistently overachieving in the sales department. Of Mice & Men's last album, 2014's Restoring Force, sold 181,000 copies. And along with other Rise acts like Memphis May Fire and Sleeping With Sirens, they can expect even more success in the future. The label was recently purchased by BMG, giving its artists more resources than ever before.
Skillet is one of the biggest bands in Christian rock. Their 2013 album Rise sold 345,000 copies, and the one before it, 2009's Awake, broke a million (1.3 million to be precise). But their appeal goes beyond record sales. In last year's Billboard Fan Army Bracket competition, their own #Panheads fans got all the way to the final four and defeated the armies of Iggy Azalea and One Direction along the way.
The commercial success of Avenged Sevenfold may have peaked with 2005's City of Evil, which sold over a million copies. But the Warner Bros. act is still prospering well above the industry average. Their last album, 2013's Hail to the King, sold 587,000 copies, giving them a streak of five consecutive LPs to break a half-million.
Three Days Grace
Canadian rockers Three Days Grace have sustained a successful career since songs like "I Hate Everything About You" and "Just Like You" crossed over in the early 2000s. Their last album, 2014's Human, didn't fare as well commercially as its predecessors (selling 89,000 compared to Transit of Venus' 263,000 and Life Starts Now's 660,000), but that could be chalked up to the departure of original singer Adam Gontier. Still, singles "Painkiller" and "I Am Machine" topped the Mainstream Rock Songs chart.
Beginning in 1998, Godsmack began a streak of five studio albums that all sold at least half a million copies. 2014's 1000hp only sold 199,000 to date, but that's still a healthy figure for a rock band in today's landscape.
Pennsylvania hard rockers Halestorm have been around since the late '90s but still managed to pull off their best sales week ever this April, when Into the Wild Life opened with 53,000 sold and earned the band a No. 5 debut on the Billboard 200.
All Time Low
Rounding out our list is All Time Low, another veteran band that earned its best-ever sales week in an era when acts are more likely to endure declines. Back on April 15, ATL learned its sixth album Future Hearts had debuted at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart with 75,000 copies sold. They're a pop-punk band, making them stylistically different than most of the acts on this list, but their sales success often goes unnoticed just the same. Rest assured we did our part, having them on the Alt In Our Stars podcast earlier this year.