Right now, there are piles and piles of CDs sitting on my desk to be reviewed. Seriously, probably 60 or more at this point. When this happens, I generally go through the CDs, drop them in the player, and give them 30 seconds to impress me…or at least give me a reason to give a shit what else is on them. They are broken into down into piles – one that is considered “important to review” and another that becomes the “when I have time” pile (a pile that still has CDs in it from 2002). Luckily for me, Benedictum did just enough to grab me with the beginning of their title track. The CD, though, has remained in my player since that first listen for about three weeks now.
Benedictum is metal, plain and simple. The power of bands like Dio or Metal Church drives this band, with other influences from Doro, King Diamond and lots of Black Sabbath for good measure. Uncreation finds a new band with an old-school cause, but they are as good as anyone making “real” metal today.
Without question, the focal point and driving force behind Uncreation is vocalist Veronica Freeman. Where most female singers are caricatures of metal vocalists who feign toughness in order to prove their worth in their band, Freeman appears to be the real deal. I could be way off, but from the sound and the real metal aura she presents, you just know this lady was raised on Sabbath, Priest and Iron Maiden by the crateful. She’s got a smoky-sounding metal voice that really doesn’t come off as gender specific as much as pure metal. She brings the rage on rockers like “#4” and the smoking cover of Black Sabbath’s classic “The Mob Rules”. There’s hints of Dio throughout her vocal presentation, and a lot more of the rough-edged Doro sound, but the reality here is that she’s got a unique, real voice that is compelling and rugged.
When Freeman isn’t stealing the show, the guitars of Pete Wells are excellent. With solos, blazing riffs and raucous fills, Wells delivers the goods on Uncreation. On songs like “Misogyny”, there’s a big KK Downing-Glenn Tipton thing going on that’s an obvious influence. There’s no denying that Wells can play and adds the perfect accompaniment to Freeman. The same can be said for the rest of the band. The bottom end of each song is created by bassist Jesse Wright and drummer Blackie Sanchez. Both are solid. They create a very thick base that will rattle the speakers in the door of your car when turned up to 11. (Trust me on this… I tried it.)
There are few weaknesses on this album, but there are one or two things. First of all, the keyboards have got to go. Chris Morgan lays them in and does a fine job. That being said though, they are unnecessary and take a little away from the power of the band. Secondly, there’s the standard issue that a lot of female-fronted metal bands have where they overcompensate their toughness in some effort to prove their metal toughness. On “Them”, Freeman has the single dumbest lyrical point-prover ever when she spouts off, “They tell me I can’t because I’m a chick / I tell them you’d better suck my dick”. Um… either that’s a horrible attempt at proving how metal she is, or the tranny-police need to be alerted immediately! Either way, not necessary. The music speaks so loudly for this band, they don’t need to fake credibility. It’s there.
RATING – 9/10 – I can’t think of anything really more I could ask for from a band. They are proud of their old school sound, pay mass tribute to their heroes with two blazing Black Sabbath covers, and in between create some brilliant new metal that isn’t lame, trendy or useless cookie-cutter shit. Winner all the way around.