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Benedictum - Obey

by YngwieViking at 08 November 2013, 2:44 AM

All the way from San Diego, here is the 4th Album from the female fronted Traditional US Metal Band BENEDICTUM, led by the sculptural, high-heeled and ultra-sexy Veronica Freeman, who provides an amazing amount of powerful and raspy howling, her incredible vocalizing are done with a wonderful voice organ that remind me the great Leather Leone from CHASTAIN / MALIBU BARBI / SLEDGE LEATHER fame, her talent and personality has been praised numerous time by me and other on the Web and even on a larger mainstream scale, thanks to the Don Jamison’s television show “That Metal Show” on VH1.

Musically, BENEDICTUM doesn’t reinvent the Power Metal, but the steel dogma is truly celebrated in the faithful respect of the great Metal Gods from JUDAS PRIEST to DIO to SAVATAGE among others; Freeman and her boys displays a plethora of aggressive double kick rhythmic patterns courtesy of drummer Rikard Stjernquist from BALLISTIC / JAG PANZER, enhanced by many traditional but powerful straight riffage by six-strings behemoth and BENEDICTUM's co-founder Pete Wells.

The story of BENEDICTUM began after the demise of the band named MALADY, both Freeman and Wells were originally in the MALADY's team line-up and so, they decided to keep on Metalizing and the duo has forged a new Gang under the BENEDICTUM moniker, which quickly caught the ear of DIO’s alumni Craig Goldy (ex-GIUFFRIA) and Jeff Pilson (ex-DOKKEN/FOREIGNER).

Their debut album "Uncreation" in 2005 was produced brilliantly by Pilson and was a great success, it was quickly followed by another high-octane-scorching album called “Season Of Tragedy” that was released in 2008 both recordings featured many guest appearance from the members of the DIO family and both albums contains tremendous cover from Ronnie James Dio related famous songs such as “The Mob Rules”, “Heaven and Hell”, “Catch the Rainbow”, I still rank those superb discs very high and in my book, a real manifesto of the US Metal and the best example of how a female singer can beat each and every male singer at their own game.

However the penultimate album the 2011’s “Dominion” produced by Ryan Greene (MEGADETH / F5 / NOFX) was a major letdown and a big disappointment, some said that their new contractual agreement with Frontiers Records was guilty of such a weak release, a real fiasco both in the lackluster playing, the absence of energy and also in an obvious tarnished edge in the compositions. Since then BENEDICTUM went through some internal turmoils, some musician changes and a new challenge: to bring back the spirit of the early releases for their starving fans, so the question is do they had succeed in providing another classic record full blistering American Heavy Metal…Well, the answer is a mixed bag of heterogenic feelings…

Some tracks are right-up on the legacy of “Season Of Tragedy” such as “Crossing Over”, “Apex Nation”, title track “Obey” and the outstanding duet with Legendary Tony Martin himself (ex-BLACK SABBATH / CAGE) on the power-Ballad “Cry”. After that, another duet is present with A SOUND OF THUNDER’s vocalist Nina Osegueda on the cut “Thornz”… There are interesting arrangements and strong structure. On the other hand, a few songs aren’t near of the same level (“Fighting For My Life” / ”Evil That We Do” / ”Retrograde”) and are symptomatic of a the aftermath plague of “Dominion” ineffective and redundant in its recipe.

The band is still in a recovery state, but Freeman and Co seems armed and ready to hit the road another time again, and I sincerely think that the next release will be an absolute winner, as BENEDICTUM is back on the right track.

3 Star Rating

1. Dream Of The Banshee
2. Fractured
3. Obey
4. Fighting For My Life
5. Scream
6. Evil That We Do
7. Crossing Over
8. Cry
9. Thornz
10. Die To Love You
11. Apex Nation
12. Retrograde
Pete Wells - Guitars
Tony Diaz - Keyboards
Veronica Freeman - Lead Vocals
Aric Avina - Bass
Rikard Stjernquist - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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