Benedictum - Dominion review
|Release date:||February 2011|
02. At The Gates
04. Grind It
05. Prodigal Son
06. The Shadowlands
07. Beautiful Pain
08. Dark Heart
10. Loud Silence
12. Sanctuary [bonus]
13. Overture/The Temples Of Syrinx [bonus] [Rush cover]
Coming back with their third album Dominion, one of contemporary traditional metal leaders Benedictum both confidently hit the listener with their aggressive yet melodic breed of metal and step into a new territory for them, and quite successfully. Unfortunately, as with the second album, the result is not as strong as the explosive debut but, nevertheless, there is at least something refreshing this time around.
Dominion features a selection of songs with a decent measure of variety between them, but they are not super-original or continually arresting attention. Frankly speaking I hated the album immensely after the first two listens, but being a fan of the first album, I gave it more time, which, after all, changed my perspective a little. What really bothered me and still does is the seemingly absent development in their sound. While they do not exactly copy their inspirations from the 80's (it seems to me), they have already started copying themselves, which, in fact, was more audible on the sophomore effort. Not a good thing, especially for a young band.
Dominion to me, after all, is a recovery from its very generic predecessor. The sound is much more balanced and not as unnecessarily loud. The band's charismatic vocalist Veronica Freeman also sounds more diverse (those not familiar with the band will be surprised by the power of her voice), and Benedictum as a band actually managed to craft good melodies both on heavy numbers as well as very decent ballads. The songwriting has become more interesting, but unfortunately not on all songs: run-of-the-mill bangers like "Grind it," "At the Gates," and to a lesser extent "Dominion" and "Bang" do mingle with more creative songs. "The Seer" would be a good example: a mid-paced piece with a mesmerizing vocal line on the verse, which smoothly flows to a groovy pre-chorus, a pretty beautiful chorus, with keyboards thrown in for variety the third time the chorus comes around. Another slower song "Loud Silence" also falls into that category. The second part of the album overall is quite strong and interesting, where the album ends with an unexpectedly progressively riffed "Epsilon." I personally welcome this blow of fresh air from Benedictum and hope for more quality material like this. Besides that, the band did a great short cover of Rush's 2112 title track.
The bottom line is on Dominion Benedictum managed - even if with relative success - to do what they do best, and that is to craft songs that emphasize melodies, regardless of if they are aggressive or calm, fast or slow, and fans of traditional heavy metal can find something of interest on this release for sure.
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