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Benedictum - Seasons Of Tragedy (CD)

Seasons Of Tragedy
by Alex Zervanos at 21 January 2008, 10:02 AM

Allegedly handpicked by an impressed Craig Goldy (DIO, ROUGH CUTT), California's BENEDICTUM were subsequently assigned to DOKKEN's/DIO's bassist Jeff Pilson, who took care of their 2006 debut release's (titled Uncreation) production. Apart from sounding even crisper than its predecessor (Pilson's glossy, all-jagged-edges-removed approach could in fact be considered disturbingly faceless by some), Seasons Of Tragedy never veers far from the template set by the band's first effort.
Veronica Freeman still keeps maniacally yelling her guts out throughout, a testosterone-infused wild-cat in a tumultuous state of constant rage that in the context of several of the songs often seems to flatten the impact of her voice's innate aggressiveness. Chris Morgan tiptoes in and out of the mix equally unexpectedly, but less frequently than the first time around (providing the album with its Eastern-tinged central theme on the way), and Jesse Wright's/Paul Courtois' rhythm section strikes with predictable tightness. There's plenty of good, old-school riffing meandering through these tunes (e.g. Shell Shock's Bay-Area mosh-pit shaker, or Within The Solace's Zakk Wylde-like slow-build), for the most part delivered with the compressed, intense detachment inherent in all things modern.
Despite the abundance of stimulating ideas, though, the songs never really catch fire or find focus, as BENEDICTUM's effort to craft effective hooks and construct an identifiable melodic kernel for their music is hardly facilitated by guitarist Pete Wells' tendency to set his playing adrift on purposeless, occasionally off-tune shredding.
Had he been more determinedly concentrated on adjusting his parts so as to add texture to the tracks, this might have actually emerged being closer to classics such as (the adequately adapted here) Balls To The Wall than one would have imagined, or at least it could have more consistently matched the genuine emotional thrill of the dramatic show-stealer Steel Rain, where Veronica & Co finally let loose.

3 Star Rating

Dawn Of Seasons
Shell Shock
Burn It Out
Bare Bones
Within The Solace
Beast In The Field
Nobodies Victim
Balls To The Wall
Steel Rain
Seasons Of Tragedy
Veronica Freeman - Vocals
Pete Wells - Guitar
Jesse Wright - Bass
Chris Morgan - Keyboards
Paul Courtois - Drums
Record Label: Locomotive Records


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