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Benedictum - 'Dominion' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/8c/98/ec/1032_BenedictumDominion_1298671032.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 25, 2011    
 
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Taken as a whole, this is not something I would expect adorned with a Frontiers logo.

For the record (no pun intended), let me state that this is a very difficult review for me to compose. Forever the optimist when listening to bands of which I have no prior knowledge, it bothers me when I fight to find something positive to say. What's more, I have the dubious honour of those very thoughts now printed for public consumption…oh the trials of journalism! 

Unfortunately, this is sadly the case when tasked to review the latest from Benedictum, a female fronted metal band hailing from Sand Diego, California. They celebrate the year 2011 with 'Dominion,' their first album since signing with Frontiers and third overall. The dark, gothic-tinged image and sound is not typical of what I'm used to from this label. Veronica Freeman's vocal delivery immediately strikes a comparison to Linda Perry (4 Non-Blondes) with hints of Lita Ford and Ann Wilson (Heart) thrown in for good measure. Certainly more than capable of delivering a soaring melody, these moments are few and far between. Instead, she too often performs within the lower portion of her range and with a rough edge, more closely resembling that of a male voice. As a matter of fact, it seems like there was concerted effort to be heavier than necessary as Judas Priest had attempted with 'Jugulator'.

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Songs like the title track, 'Grind It' and 'Prodigal Son' are instances that really don't work for me. If the band should endeavour to continue in this direction, I think a male vocalist would better suit the band. In fact, it is not until the third track ('Seer') that features a prominent melody. To make matters worst, the production is insipid and does nothing to enhance the music. Taken as a whole, this is not something I would expect adorned with a Frontiers logo.
Just when readers think I found 'Dominion completely devoid of merit, I would consider the albums highlights to be three tracks; the last two ('Loud Silence' and 'Epsilon') and one of the bonus tracks ('Sanctuary'). The latter is a sensitive, melodic song with a rather veridical performance. 'Epsilon' most certainly fits the direction of the band. It is progressive and develops well complete with copious amounts of melody and drama. I hope to see future efforts exploit the formula they have managed with this track.

Like ice cream, music has a plethora of flavours. However, this is one that I do not care to try again. But don't rely on my word alone. I encourage everyone to go to their website (http://www.myspace.com/benedictum), listen to a few samples and decide for yourself.

Brent Rusche

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