Hailing from sunny San Diego, California, traditional heavy metalists Benedictum have been causing a stir in the underground over the last few years with their two previous releases, UNCREATION and SEASON OF TRAGEDY. Part of the commotion is the band’s vocalist Veronica Freeman, who sings with more power and balls than 90% of the male singers out there – her conviction is second to none. The other part of it is the band’s well-earned reputation for dishing out pure, no frills heavy metal. DOMINION is the band’s third album and hopefully it’s the one that finally makes the band a household name in metal.
Opening with the full-throttle title track, the band quickly gets down to business of kicking ass. Freeman’s vocals lead the band, but the guitar riffs are unrelenting and highlighted by washes of background keyboards. From there until the closing notes of their excellent cover or Rush’s “The Temples of Syrinx”, Benedictum stomp all over the metal bases, whipping up a satisfying blend of traditional metal mixed with the (very) occasional spice of power metal. Some of the songs are a bit duff (i.e. “Loud Silence” which is an ill-fitting ballad, and has a horrible title) but when the band is on, man, they are ON. Highlights include the prog-inflected epic “Epsilon”, the sure to be concert favourite “Bang”, and the thunderous “At the Gates”.
It’s become cliché to point out that a traditional metal band isn’t really doing anything new, but it is true of Benedictum. That said, few bands play metal with such convincing prowess and feeling and that’s what sets this band above the competition. This band is definitely a contender in 2011.
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