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WLM Reviews: Benedictum – Obey

December 1, 2013
By

Benedictum - ObeyI admit that I don’t typically like female singers in my Metal.  They usually come across as weak and frilly (looking at you Nightwish & Epica).  I honestly have avoided most female fronted bands, save for a couple (Diablo Swing Orchestra, anything with Floor Jansen), to include San Diego’s Benedictum.  Well, I took a flyer and decided to review the band’s new album Obey from Frontiers Records, and am very glad I did.  Veronica Freeman proves to have attitude, passion, and the edge to her voice to make it effective for the Heavy/Power Metal provided by the remainder of the band.  Aside from the vocals, musically Benedictum brings the Metal.

Obey is a powerful album, full of aggressive riffs, fierce rhythms, strong melodies, shredding leads and strong hooks.  There is a nice mix of Traditional Metal and a more modern innovative Power Metal ethos.  The band’s line-up has solidified with Freeman and Pete Wells and the addition of Rikard Stjernquist (Jag Panzer) has brought a whole new level of drive to the band.

The song selection on Obey is strong from beginning to end, aside from a couple of relatively weaker tracks – which are by no means bad.  Following the instrumental intro, the first couple of proper songs are simply killer.  Fractured and the title track get things off to a rip roaring start.  Fighting for My Life and Scream keep up the headbanging and are basically a couple of smashing Heavy Metal songs, although it seems like Freeman is really stretching to hit some of the higher notes in Scream.  The first half of the album ends with one of my favorites, Evil That We Do.  This is a smoking track that just annihilates.

The second half overall is slower than the first and somewhat less in your face.  It includes a ballad with Tony Martin (of Black Sabbath fame), a couple of almost doomier songs, a speedy biker metal track (Apex Nation), and a crushing closer in Retrograde.  A couple of these songs come across as somewhat filler material, but by no means are they terrible.  Just not as compelling as some of the earlier tracks.

Check out Evil That We Do:

Benedictum is setting a new standard for American Power Metal along with the likes of one of my other favorites, Pharaoh.  Their combination of heaviness and melody makes for an outstanding final product.  Obey comes highly recommended, especially to fans of the Power Metal genre.

Obey: 8/10 – Great

I hear the sound in a METAL way.

Let me know how you hear it – harley_wlm@zoho.com

-Harley



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