Benedictum - Dominion

Benedictum - Dominion

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(CD, Frontiers Records, 2011)

BENEDICTUM is an American Heavy Metal band from California. While Veronica Freeman is listed as the only vocalist, it does however, sound as if one of the other band members (a male) is a lead singer as well. It does not list which member it is. Also, I can hear a distinct Power Metal element in the band’s music.

The songs are varied and do not follow a formula.  No song sounds exactly like any other. Veronica Freeman has a beautiful voice.  She can also get raspy and make some vicious sounding vocals like Dore only without the accent. The drumming is intricate and well played. The fills are unique and mostly used in proper context to the song. I think the production is top notch as well. Three of the band members used to be in Ronnie James Dio tribute band, but I don’t hear it in their sound.  The soloing from Pete Wells is excellent. I really enjoy his playing. He does double duty performing on lead and rhythm guitars.

Although I do consider BENEDICTUM to in fact be a Power Metal band, they aren’t as fast as you would expect from a band in that genre. In fact, it’s very hard to effectively categorize the band. I would imagine that is intentional. It seems many bands are trying to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack more now than ever before. I remember back in the 80’s where all the hair Metal bands sounded alike. Whether or not this new trend of trying to be “different” is as a result of the tumultuous state of the music industry or not is hard to determine.

Pete Wells is capable of not only playing solid backing parts, but he can absolutely shred with the best of them. He deserves to be noticed. The man is a true talent.  In fact, the whole band is very talented. I foresee a bright future for them. Tony Diaz plays a mighty keyboard. He adds and epic sound to the music. They keyboards are not bound by the past. In my opinion, there has been a very annoying trend to bring back the Hammond organ in a climate in which it positively does not belong; A Hammond organ in Power Metal? It’s totally a misuse of the instrument. I am glad they keyboards are traditional here.

The song “Epsilon” is the fifth letter in the Greek alphabet, so who knows why this is used as a song title, but the song itself is a monster of changing melodies, tones, and tempos. It is the most varied song on the album. The drumming is a bit too discordant, but it isn’t a show stopper. I would have liked a bit more cohesion with the drumming on the song than what I got, but then I am not a true artist, I am just a reviewer. The acoustic guitar is very well played. You cannot hear the annoying pick scrapes that some bands insist on inflicting their innocent listeners to. One again, Mr. Wells triumphs over the fret board. Someone buy the man a pint.  I am not sure there’s anything this man can’t do on guitar. I am not trying to hype the guy, but it’s like hearing a new prodigy for the first time. One cannot help but get excited by someone new (new to them, not necessarily new to all) I hope to see this band live one day to watch this man shred.

Overall, this band is capable of so many things. They can play a slow melodic and beautiful song and then they can pound out a fast and furious tune where the luxuriant female vocals turn into a snarl, and then the multifaceted keyboards intertwine with the guitars in a manner close to a cyclone being unleashed upon your senses. Hyperbole aside, this is as close and as accurate as I can describe it. The final song on the album is an epic cover song of what I believe to be RUSH’s best song, “The Temples of Syrinx”, it also contains the opening “Overture” of the song combing the two into one long song. It’s a masterpiece and I like it a lot more than the original due to the fact that Geddy Lee’s voice sounds like nails on chalkboard done to torment unruly school children. I kid, but only by a little. This is a great album. In my opinion it deserves a purchase, not an illegal download. Support great bands financially, or all you will end up with is tripe like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber.

9/10


Links:

www.Benedictum.Net
www.MySpace.Com/Benedictum
www.FaceBook.Com/Benedictum


Tracklist:

01. Dominion
02. At The Gates
03. Seer
04.  Grind It
05. Prodigal Son
06. The Shadowlands
07. Beautiful Pain
08. Dark Heart
09. Bang
10. Loud Silence
11. Epsilon
12. Sanctuary
13. Overture/Temple Of Syrinx


Lineup:

Veronica Freeman - Vocals
Pete Wells
- Guitars
Chris Shrum
- Bass
Mikey Pannone
- Drums
Tony Diaz
- Keyboards