Hailing from San Diego, California, the five piece band who call themselves Benedictum are poised to follow in the footsteps of bands like Judas Priest, Metal Church and the legendary Ronnie James Dio. Now that’s one hell of a combo! Putting all those elements together, Benedictum’s debut release “Uncreation” is a raunchy, powerful, double-bass driven extravaganza which will have you banging your head from start to finish. I guess the best way I can describe the over-all feel would be on the lines of Dio’s “Angry Machines” or “Magica” era’s just a little less polished and a lot more abrasive.
Benedictum is fronted by the rasp and harsh vocal talents of Veronica Freeman who, in some ways, reminds me a bit of a cross between Wendy O. Williams and Doro Pesch with just a “hint” of Dio. Freeman is the perfect compliment to a band rich with
talent. From the grinding rhythm section of bassist Jesse Wright and drummer Blackie Sanchez, to the haunting keyboards of Chris Morgan and finally to the stellar guitar work of Pete Wells, Benedictum is definitely a force to be reckoned with. On top of all this, add some superior production by former Dokken / Dio bassist Jeff Pilson and
a few guest appearances by Craig Goldy and Jimmy Bain and you get an absolutely outstanding debut which should make a lot of people in the industry stand up and take notice.
The album opens with the title track, “Uncreation,” which features a creepy intro leading into a heavy, hard-pounding symphony which remains consistent virtually throughout the entire release. This theme continues on through the next couple of tracks, “Benedictum” and “#4” with their growling, sometimes almost chanting, chorus’ and hard, heavy, pulsing rhythms. “Misogyny” slows it down just a tad but still maintains that
Shifting into high gear once again, the next two songs (“Ashes To Ashes” and “Wicca”) are among my favorite tracks on the CD. These high-powered melodies feature some of the best guitar work on the album sounding very Yngwie-ish at times while just
subtly touching on a little George Lynch which is very apparent in the opening notes to “Wicca.”
Next is the first of two absolutely amazing Black Sabbath covers, “Heaven and Hell.” What can I say? This is one of the best covers I have ever heard of the song. It’s uniquely original yet stays true to its roots and includes some very impressive guitar work which would even make the great Tony Iommi stand up and listen! Kudos to you Veronica and the entire band… you make Sabbath proud.
“Them” steps back into that hard and thrashy feel once again and continues on into “Two Steps To The Sun” which (if you listen REAL closely) suggests a little bit of the
chorus to Rainbow’s “Gates of Babylon.” “Uncreation” then winds down with the absolute best track on the CD, “Valkyrie Rising.” Vocally, lyrically and musically, “Valkyrie Rising” brings the entire album together in an almost epic proportion combining elements of just about every track on the CD. Lest we forget though, this ain’t over yet as “Uncreation” finishes up with Benedictum’s second Sabbath cover, “The Mob Rules,” which is in every way yet another compliment to the original.
“Uncreation” is an absolutely tremendous first effort. The CD is hard, heavy and grinds through your bones like a dull razor. The metal Gods have once again opened their blackened gates and the muffled roar has released Benedictum!
- Veronica Freeman - Vocals
- Pete Wells - Guitar
- Blackie Sanchez - Drums
- Chris Morgan - Keyboards
- Jesse Wright - bass
- # 4
- Ashes To Ashes
- Heaven And Hell (Black Sabbath cover)
- Two Steps To The Sun
- Valkyrie Rising
- The Mob Rules (Black Sabbath cover)