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Do you guys recall Phantom Blue? If not, they were a ladies band who could stand face to face with most heavy metal guys bands back in the 80’s. The debut was produced by none less than Marty Friedman, exactly when Rust in Peace came out. So, that tells you a little bit of the kind of release we had. Phantom Blue does not exist per se anymore, but their two albums were kick ass, and yes, the entire band was girls.
Nowadays there are two waves of female bands: the overwhelming soprano-orchestral based bands such as Nightwish, Midnattsol, Epica, After Forever, etc. and the more guttural voice styled bands such as Arch Enemy. So, where does Benedictum fall into? Veronica’s sharp vocals seem very much to Gigi Hangach from Phantom Blue.
They are quite a band. This is modern heavy metal, not symphonic, not melodic death metal, just pure delight of heavy metal with modern influences. Now, when I say modern influences I mean down-tuned distortion, half rhythm guitar solos and half slashing but equally as good. ‘Uncreation’ guitar solo will kill you either way.
The majority of the songs fall in the mid tempo pace, but it does not mean they lack power. They definitely know how to use the crunch in the distortion so you don’t get Stratovarious’ speed or any other kind. This is so well performed that you don’t need speed actually. This is simply very cool groove metal feast. They also innovate in regards to the choruses, they are simple phrases and very catchy and in some instances ala Sabbaton, very operatic with very low voices. Double bass drums are ever present and it also sounds cool, because it increases the heaviness without being necessary too fast. The keyboards, for my pleasure, are in the very background and absolutely not overused. So the atmosphere they add is on its precise tone. Again, they do not sin like modern heavy metal bands which bury the guitars due to overuse of keyboards.
Veronica’s high pitched screams are definitely the highest point to mention. Her screams on ‘’#4’’ will hyper ventilate you. This is a girl who can rock your balls out!!! She screams a lot and damn she does it very well. She also uses very low tons and actually, some growling here and there, yes my friends, growling. The good thing about her is, despise the lack of wide range vocal skills, she uses her abilities amazingly. She knows what she can and cannot do.
Lastly, in regards to the production, this album is very well produced. Nowadays you get walls of sound and instrumentation and the overproductions tends, sometimes, to take off the enjoyment of distinguish the instruments. In exchange, you get walls of sound but it lacks what heavy metal slashing instrumentation was all about. This is not the case with Benedictum, Jeff Pilson knew exactly what to do, oh, and the executive producer was Veronica’s herself. This is a girl who knows where she stands.
Being this a debut, I’d say this is great heavy metal to get your hands on. You will not be disappointed at all and you will fall in love with the band. Although some of the songs (Misogyny) could be a little, just a little boring (this, by the way, only when you compare it to the second album) there is plenty of room to enjoy the entire album I will not detail in the comparisons to Dio, since they were already pointed out and perfectly explained. This is quite refreshing since we are attacked with power metal, symphonic power metal, Hollywood metal, melodic progressive metal, etc. and all the fusions you can think of. This is simply kicking ass heavy metal with some modern spicy influences but pure enjoyment, very much in the vein of Halford’s act when he returned with Resurrection and Crucible. This is, in the end, straight-to-the-point-pumping metal with a female vocalist that will rip your guts out.