Pretty pedestrian

A few years ago hailed as saviours of true metal with a style touching base with the likes of Metal Church and Jag Panzer (from whence comes current drummer Rikard Stjernquist), Benedictum may leave their fans wondering if they’ve abruptly run themselves out of ideas as they chug and churn their way through this lastest offering.

Obey isn’t a terrible album by any means, but compared to what this San Diego four piece has served up in the past, it’s pretty pedestrian.

The biggest let down is Veronica Freeman – while still the ballsiest female trad metal singer west of White Skull’s Federica de Boni, this time around she sounds like she’s straining her voice quite a lot of the time. ‘Scream’ is particularly noticable on this score, but right from the start Freeman just doesn’t sound herself. Freeman isn’t completely to blame though: overall, the song writing doesn’t live up to expectations. Along with Pete Wells’ chugging and frankly uninspiring riffs (his soloing is spot on, as usual), Freeman warbles her way through some pretty lame and predictable, cliché ridden lyrics and the first couple of songs sound like carbon copies of each other. Add Stjernquist’s lifeless drumming to the equation – if he was even present at all – and what you have is an album made by a band that seems to be phoning in their performance. Even Tony Martin can’t save it.

1. Dream of the Banshee
2. Fractured
3. Obey
4. Fighting for My Life
5. Scream
6. Evil That We Do
7. Crossing Over
8. Cry
9. Thornz
10. Die to Love You
11. Apex Nation
12. Retrograde