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Articles Home » 2011 Articles » Benedictum - 2011 Dominion
Benedictum - 2011 Dominion

ARTIST: Benedictum
ALBUM: Dominion
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: Veronica Freeman - vocals * Pete Wells - guitars * Chris Shrum - bass * Mikey Pannone - drums * Tony Diaz - keyboards

Additional Musicians: Craig Goldy - guitar * Jeff Pilson - bass * Rudy Sarzo - bass ('Bang')

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dominion * 02 At The Gates * 03 Seer * 04 Grind It * 05 Prodigal Son * 06 The Shadowlands * 07 Beautiful Pain * 08 Dark Heart * 09 Bang * 10 Loud Silence * 11 Epsilon * 12 Sanctuary (bonus) * 13 Overtures/ Temples Of Syrinx (bonus)



San Diego metallers Benedictum have been regular attendees here at GLORYDAZE over the past few years. Their output has mainly been routed through European channels, with Spanish based Locomotive Music being their most recent record label. This strategy continues, with melodic rock label Frontiers picking up the band for their third release 'Dominion'. Frontiers have had many metal releases in the past, so Benedictum's signing is not unusual. Benedictum will get continued support from the European fan base, though I doubt the band get the same level of interest back home in the USA, which perhaps typifies the indifference of metal fans across the continent. Benedictum have stayed true to their 80's metal rehash, and you hear snippets of Maiden, Priest, Sabbath and co-blended in the mix. Ryan Greene handles the dials this time round, with regular attendees Jeff Pilson and Craig Goldy adding themselves to the musicians credits instead.

The Songs
Once you get past the unusual introduction, title track 'Dominion' is a powerhouse of a track, Veronica Freeman laying claim to the title of 21st century metal queen. Guitarist Pete Wells has factored in a swathe of guitar influences from Zakk Wylde, Tony Iommi to the duo of Tipton/Downing. It's a perfect fit for this band. Things move into accelerator mode for 'At The Gates', with Wells sending down gigantic riffs bouncing off verses and choruses with equal impact. The solo echoes around the stereo space, it's followed by some booming vocal gang-chants. Priest like guitar parts announce 'Seer', Veronica's big boomer of a voice is the dominating feature, this one is a spacious sounding track, and I was reminded by 80's era Queensryche in places. 'Grind It' lives up to its title, a song that has been put through the grinder - literally. 'Prodigal Son' is next, and though it has the makings of an epic styled track, it was all over the place musically and not particularly cohesive. Much better is 'The Shadowlands', which has a European metal flavour to it. It's deep, dark and menacing. The wolf howls add to the ambience. 'Beautiful Pain' shows a new side to Benedictum, soulful progressive styled metal with tender keyboard work and soaring guitar lines. It's the pre-cursor to 'Dark Heart', a staggered approach with staccato time changes. 'Bang' is a return to Benedictum's fast n furious HM, this will be a great live track for sure. The track that is the most different is without doubt 'Loud Silence'. It's restrained mostly, Veronica singing in a cleaner style, even the guitars are held back, the song itself kept in check until chorus and solo time. The epic track on the album clocking in at 9 minutes is 'Epsilon', with gorgeous keyboards preceding it, until overtaken by rampant drums and shotgun guitar work. This track is more along the lines of progressive metal. The two bonus tracks showcase different sides to the band. 'Sanctuary' is a flowing acoustic power ballad that is lush and delicate, the band sounding mainstream more than anything. Veronica's voice is kept clean and pure, proving she's not just a metal queen with the power voice. The final track is a Rush cover of 'Overture/Temples Of Syrinx', albeit a very heavy version thereof, the keyboard work on this one sounds very cool.

In Summary
For old style HM fans, Benedictum deliver a little bit of everything, and keep the flag flying for all the old warhorses, witches and warlocks. 'Dominion' is not a one-dimensional affair, in fact, there are a few surprising moments which sees the band expand its diversity, and is without doubt their most expansive effort to date. As we saw last year with albums by Krokus, Accept and a handful of others, old style metal is still alive and well.

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