Benediction – Scriptures
Reviewed: January 2021
Released: 2020, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Despite sporadic touring and the occasional festival appearance, it’s been 12 mother loving years since we’ve had a proper new Benediction LP. In that time we’ve had 3 US Presidential election cycles, 3 new Star Wars movies, 2 Ozzy tour cancellations, 1 dead Lemmy and countless other milestones that we could use to cite the passage of time. We also saw the departure of longtime vocalist Dave Hunt and the return of OG vocalist Dave Ingram, which makes their recently released comeback album SCRIPTURES all the more special and worth the wait.
To be fair – Dave Hunt did absolutely serviceable work during his tenure with the band and was 100% integral to keeping the Benediction mission alive, but I’ll never forget the first time I heard Dave Ingram’s guttural roar 1991’s THE GRAND LEVELLER. Ingram’s kept his voice in shape over the years guesting with Hail of Bullets, Ursinne, and Down Among the Dead Men, but hearing his voice back alongside founding guitarists Peter Rew and Darren Brookes feels like home.
It also doesn’t hurt that SCRIPTURES is a masterclass in OSDM. Tracks like “Iterations of I”, “Stormcrow” and “Rabid Carnality” each share the charismatic simplicity of mid-90’s classics like “Nightfear” and “The Dreams You Dread.” Balancing speed, rhythm, and a dash of antagonistic “f@#k you” attitude, the tunes seethe with the band’s working class Birmingham roots, similar to another notable legendary metal band who’s name escapes me right now…Yes, there are pockets of d-beat churners like “The Blight at the End” and “In Our Hands, the Scars” that stymie the momentum a bit, but SCRIPTURES is quick to rally back with the monster “Progenitors of a New Paradigm” (featuring the mighty Kam Lee), and the slow burn doom of album closer “We Are Legion.”
For longtime Benediction fans, SCRIPTURES proves itself to be every bit worth the wait. Anything less than an album of this caliber would’ve been received as a disappointment, and I’m personally pretty chuffed that Benediction has risen to the occasion and will live to fight another day. For new listeners, SCRIPTURES is a fitting gateway drug to Benediction’s classic material; these 12 new tunes definitely share the same DNA and spirit of their elders, and if SCRIPTURES turns a few new fans onto TRANSCEND THE RUBICON, then it was all worth it. Old School is the Only School, and SCRIPTURES is out now.