Benedictum may be fronted by a woman, but don’t let that deter you.
Veronica Freeman is in the same vein as Dio and the usual lighter, operatic rock that is typical of modern female metal vocalists has no place on this record. Dominion is traditional classic metal that you don’t see enough of these days. With their third release, Benedictum has continued to evolve and perfect their classic metal sound.
This evolution has meant that a keyboard player has been added to the mix. Tony Diaz knows his place, and never tries to lead songs or be over powering. The keys accompany the songs, rather than being a driving force. In the epic prog piece “Epsilon” Diaz has a strong opening before taking a step back, coming in only to spruce up the material at the right moments.
The whole band has brought a little more to this album. Pete Wells’ guitar playing is a lot stronger and determined than before, creating a great partnership with Freeman’s vocals. “At The Gates”, “Seer” and “The Shadowlands” perfectly highlight this teamwork, while the instrumental “Beautiful Pain” gives Wells a chance to truly prove himself. And of course, Mikey Pannoe’s drums and Chris Shrum’s bass are as ready as ever to carry each and every track.
The work and effort put into this record is obvious. Dominion is easily Benedictum’s top album and proves they deserve to be bigger than their current standing. The two bonus tracks “Sanctuary” and “Overture/Temples of Syrinx” are the icing on the cake. “Sanctuary” sees Benedictum slowing things down a bit, with an acoustic track that demonstrates their range. The cover of Rush’s “Overture/Temples of Syrinx” establishes them as a strong power metal band just for having the courage to cover and record this track, and for executing it almost perfectly. Benedictum is definitely a band to be on the lookout for in 2011.
2. At the Gates
4. Grind It
5. Prodigal Son
6. The Shadowlands
7. Beautiful Pain
8. Dark Heart
10. Loud Silence
12. Sanctuary (bonus)
13. Overture/Temples of Syrinx (bonus)