Vera : Since the very beginning and their debut album ‘Uncreation’ in 2005, we had a soft spot for Benedictum with the enthusiastic, flamboyant Veronica Freeman as stalwart female singer and her buddy Pete Wells as magnificent guitarist. Once they started in a Dio cover band and you can still hear that in their style: traditional heavy metal with guts and a touch of epic feel. The San Diego based band is now ready with its fourth studio album ‘Obey’ and (once again) they present us a new line-up. These guys are (again as well) no beginners, since we know drummer Rikard Stjernquist from Jag Panzer and bassist Aric Avina comes from less known Tynator. In Jeff Pilson (Dio, Dokken, Foreigner) they keep on having a great mentor, since he did assist the production of ‘Obey’, while he once launched them out of obscurity.
They did not change anything on the pure heavy metal sound, although they kick off in a real brutal way with ‘Fractured’ and title track ‘Obey’. They even play with some thrash-like influences and Veronica really screams the lungs out of her body, so it seems. Male choirs scan the titles or core sentences in a sturdy manner. It is obvious that a song like ‘Obey’ is written on the wealthy body of the dominant Freeman and also in ‘Fighting For My Life’ she gives as good as she gets. Yet a song such as ‘Scream’ includes beautiful melodic guitar skills in which emotions prevail and there is even a passage with lower ranged, melancholic vocals. But do not worry; the inciting character of the music prevails. That is why we get nothing but elated and exultant when hearing the fetching ‘Evil That We Do’ and ‘Crossing Over’ with its grand epic chants. In the rather dramatic semi-ballad ‘Cry’ The V sings a duet with Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath singer) and this is naturally amazing and completely fitting the picture. Guest vocals of Nina Osegueda (A Sound Of Thunder) in the next ‘Thornz’ do not really leap to the eye. ‘Die To Love You’ is graced with orchestral arrangements, while the sound of a motor happens to be the entrance to the fast and furious ‘Apex Nation’. No cover song this time, but a lengthy, epic track to round off and that is something we are always excited about. A solemn choir defines the atmosphere and in the midst of echoes from the past (it happens more than once that the riffing sounds familiar, as if you have heard it before), vocals of Freeman are amazing and guitar skills from Wells eminent. This is a brilliant track to occlude! Par hazard we just stuck into the stand out band Avatarium, otherwise Veronica would have stayed our favourite female Dio chanteuse.