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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Benedictum - 2008 Seasons Of Tragedy
Benedictum - 2008 Seasons Of Tragedy

ARTIST: Benedictum
ALBUM: Seasons Of Tragedy
LABEL: Locomotive Records
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Veronica Freeman - vocals * Pete Wells - guitars * Jesse Wright - bass * Chris Morgan - keyboards * Paul Courtois - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dawn Of Seasons * 02 Shell Shock * 03 Burn It Out * 04 Bare Bones * 05 Within The Solace * 06 Beast In The Field * 07 Legacy * 08 Nobodies Victim * 09 Balls To The Wall * 10 Steel Rain * 11 Seasons Of Tragedy



Back at the start of 2006, myself, among numerous others were part of the throng that threw bouquets at new San Diego metallers 'start-up' CD called 'Uncreation'. Combining a mix of traditional and power metal styles, the five-piece with vocal queen Veronica Freeman leading the way, earned themselves a few brownie points for their debut effort produced by Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson. Since then, Benedictum headed over to Europe (where they are signed by Spanish label Locomotive Records) to play a few select dates, in a bid to showcase themselves in front of European audiences. During 2007 the band returned to songwriting chores in a bid to drive home their position as a top metal prospect with album number two in the can. The new album 'Seasons Of Tragedy' is once again produced by Pilson, and it also features a number of guest appearances from the likes of Craig Goldy, George Lynch and Manni Schmidt (Grave Digger).

The Songs
'Dawn Of Seasons' is the customary lead-in keyboard laden intro, before settling down to some rapid fire riffing which is the order of the day on 'Shell Shock'. Combining with some keyboard fills and growling vocals - this one is a killer.. probably the best track on the album! 'Burn It Out' is pretty good too, with prowling guitar riffs courtesy of Pete Wells. The solo section sees Wells joined by German riff-meister Manni Schmidt from Grave Digger - the solos going to head-to-head over an intense chest beating rhythm section. 'Bare Bones' grooves along on a mid-tempo beat, lacking nothing for power nor intensity. George Lynch contributes some guitar lines on this one. 'Within The Solace' is a track did nothing for me, I don't think it's one of the strongest that they've written. The solemn piano intro of 'Beast In The Field' belies the power about to break loose. This is what heavy metal should sound like, and thankfully in 2008 Benedictum prove that HM is alive and well. The band deliver some brooding power on 'Legacy', and while lacking in all-out speed, there's enough here to take out a few city blocks! Lots of growling vocals and sinister riffing can be found on 'Nobodies Victim' - it does sound similar to stuff off 'Uncreation'. As in keeping with their past cover efforts (a la Black Sabbath), Benedictum hook onto Accept's 'Balls To The Wall' with gusto, though I gotta say, the original is pretty hard to top. In saying that though, Veronica consigns Udo's vocal to an unmarked cemetery dated 1982! I never did think he was much of a singer anyway.. sorry Alun!.. lol). Dropping a few notches on the metronome meter is 'Steel Rain'. It meanders amid the dark soundscape, and here Veronica's vocals swirl around the song, rather than attempt to blitz it to smithereens as she does on the heavier tunes. I liked this one because of its point of difference. The epic 'Seasons Of Tragedy' is an intense near 12 minute extravaganza. the band dip in and out of various metal genres, and even add their own progressive touch on precedings. From Latin like chants to piano laced moments of delicacy, these are all change-up moments to what is predominantly epic-metal.

In Summary
Benedictum have just come off a month long January 2008 European tour showcasing the new album to European audiences. As a compendium to 'Uncreation' - well I think it would be silly not to have both albums in the collection - don't you? From a purists point of view, the harder faster songs show the band in their true element. I think ultimately the slower songs were less interesting for me than the 'full-on' ones, but it does demonstrate that the band aren't one dimensional. Certainly listening to 'Steel Rain' for instance, that one showed Veronica still sounds effective and melodic - even at half-pace! Without doubt, Veronica Freeman's voice is the catalyst for the rest of Benedictum to show their wares. As I was at the start of 2006, I was impressed then, and remain so two years on.

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