All Access Magazine Articles

June 15, 2006

Uncreation :: Benedictum
Locomotive Records 2006
CD Review

By The Rocker

BenedictumFrom the shores of the pacific, down San Diego way, come a band of brothers who don’t play surf music, but old school metal, with enough riffage to make Tony Iommi smile. Its not that a band from San Diego is playing metal, no it’s the lead vocalist. Its not quite Ozzy, more Dio, if you will, but there is a catch - the singer is 5’9 and all woman. Her name is Veronica Freeman and her voice is a combination of Kimberly Goss (Arch Enemy) and Doro (Warlock). She and guitarist Pete Wells were in the band MALADY before this. With Benedictum, they’ve brought in double based drummer, Blackie Sanchez, bassist Jesse Wright and Chris Morgan on keyboards. Veronica’s friend Craig Goldy (Dio) liked their demo’s and gets his friend Jeff Pilson (Dio, Dokken) to produce their debut. Pilson also mixed the CD, along with another bassist, Tommy Henriksen (Warlock). What we got, is one of modern metal’s most listen-able and enjoyable CD’s in years. Heavy riffs, huge rough vocals, locomotive rhythms and symphonic production, sounding like Warrior meets Tracy G. era Dio. The CD opens with the title “Uncreation” spoken backwards, then right into some power metal double bass drums. The vocals sound like Doro singing for “Painkiller” Judas Priest and get a load of Pete’s searing guitar solo. The next two songs show the pulsating power of the rhythm section. “Benedictum” has Veronica speaking in tongue. It’s a song about demonic welfare of the spiritual kind. Track 3 is called “#4” and has more backward masking while Chris Morgan’s keys are flying throughout. The song is brought to life with the chanting chorus. “Misogyny” is slower, but not a ballad, it’s a song about serial killers through the eyes of the victims. I have to say, these are some of Veronica’s best vocals. Songs like “Ashes to Ashes” & “Wicca” are melodic but still very heavy. This is where the Tracy G. era Dio influence shines through. “Valkyrie Rising” opens with keyboards and has a solo from friend Craig Goldy. This song is an epic tale of a strong female warrior.

Benedictum are a traditional metal band with a modern touch, the songs are carried away by the force of Veronica’s powerful vocals that are sung with an unbridled passion. Let me mention the two covers, both are from Dio era Black Sabbath and they are “Heaven & Hell” and “Mob Rules”. Do they do them justice? Hell, yes! If you’re into ballads, this CD is not for you, if you love metal, then do yourself a favor and get “Uncreation” on Locomotive Records. You just may be in the presence of a metal goddess fronting a very capable metal band.

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