Artist:  Benedictum 
   Title: Dominion
   Label: Froniers Records

Frontiers Records has always been seen by many as a Melodic and Hard Rock label, but over recent years the label has welcomed with open arms more heavy bands, with last years Primal Fear album being one of the years outstanding metal albums.  Now here we are in 2011 and this year we see not only the new solo album from Ralph Scheepers being released on the Frontiers Records label, but also the mighty Benedictum with their third studio release 'Dominion'.

It’s without a doubt a real coo for the label to sign one of the most outstanding metal bands around today, who are fronted by Veronica Freeman who is probably the most exciting female metal vocalist around since Doro Pesch first hit the scene.

But a great vocalist needs a band of real susbstance to back up that power and Freeman is joined by has founding member, writer and shredder supreme in Pete Wells, along with Chris Shrum on bass, Tony Diaz on keyboards and tub thumper Mikey Pannone, behind her vocal might.  Together the band are about to take on the world once more and reign supreme with ‘Dominion’.

The album is what we’ve come to expect from the band, big fiery licks from Wells, a massive backbone of menacing rhythm from Pannone and Shrum, while Diaz adds that keyboard panache, all of which are engulfed by the storming vocals of Freeman.

The album gets underway with the title track ‘Dominion’, which starts off with a screeching mix of guitars and keyboards before building into a real metal monster, as the pounding drums and thumping bass lines lay down a metal pathway for Freeman to stand on and deliver a vocal might that just blows you away. This is a real ballsy opener that sets out the stall for the rest of the album.

The torrent of power and melody rich metal continues with the mighty ‘At The Gates’, again Freeman delivers a real punch that hits you in the face like a feather wrapped around a gold bar (you know it looks harmless then it hits you and knocks you for six), in this true blue metal anthem.  A real metalheads delight.

There is more than a touch of old school metal about ‘Seer’, a real guitar and drum laden track that just explodes out of the traps from the start and continues on right through to the last chord, which is quickly followed by another powerhouse vocal on the crunching ‘Grind It’.

It’s time to put the pedal to the metal and Pannone pumps out a double kick demolition of the skins on the potent metal of ‘Prodigal Son’, before my track of the album the excellent ‘Shadowlands’.  This is where Freeman delivers a near perfect mix of power and polish vocally, while in the background the powerhouse drumming of Pannone and the bass thumping of Shrum form the foundations with the sublime guitar licks of Wells are the cement that holds it all together.

Speaking of sublime guitars check out the stunning instrumental that is  ‘Beautiful Pain’.  A track that acts as an intro into the all conquering ‘Dark Heart’, then it's time to raise the horns and salute the might metal assault that is ‘Bang’.

After that mighty slice of metal it's time to bring it down a little with fantastic ‘Loud Silence’.  This one gives Freeman a chance to show that she has a mellower side that still can sustain power.  Like a tamed tiger that you know you can stroke, but you know that at any time it will take you hand off with one mighty snap! 

The album proper come to a close with the epic ‘Epsilon’, this nearly nine minutes of sheer Metal joy that just skirts around the Power Metal and Symphonic metal genres, whilst still retaining its Heavy Metal foundation.

I said the last track was the end of the album proper because the album does boast two bonus tracks, the first of which is excellent ‘Sanctuary’, again a very Melodic Metal.  The second is the surprisingly brave cover of Rush’s ‘Overture/ The Temples of Syrinx’.  To cover anything that Geddy Lee and the guys do is brave but to cover it and make into a little heavier is bravery beyond the call.  But this one works and wait till you hear Freeman’s vocals, they're like Geddy but with more bite.  This wraps up yet another slice of metal that once shows that Benedictum are a force to be reckoned with, so watch out for them donning the European Festivals this year again and be prepared to become a “Victim of Benedictum”!

Tracklisting:

1. Dominion
2. At The Gates
3. Seer
4. Grind It
5. Prodigal Son
6. The Shadowlands
7. Beautiful Pain
8. Dark Heart
9. Bang
10. Loud Silence
11. Episilon
12. Sanctuary (bonus track)
13. Overture / The Temples Of Syrinx (bonus track)

                   

 

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