Benedictum – Obey
Reviewed by SpaceKev
Benedictum has always been a solid band with solid CDs full of solid songs. Their songs are always either good or great. Don’t be confused and think I mean killer and filler. I would never consider any of their songs as throw away at all. What I mean is that, when it comes to each of their CDs, of the songs that make up those releases, several of them are good and many of them are great. The way it usually seems to break down, each CD is made up of 1/3 good songs and 2/3 great songs.
Obey keeps my opinion of the 1/3 – 2/3 song quality going. Although I’d say that the songs that make up 2/3 of the CD are so excellent they make the other 1/3 seem just OK rather than the typical good. Try to wrap your head around that as we proceed.
When I first started listening to Obey I loved every note of every song. After a half dozen listens I subconsciously started skipping through the first four songs to get to the fifth song and the single, “Scream”. After that, it is on like Donkey Kong all the way to the end of the CD.
Anyone familiar with Benedictum knows that they have covered a couple of DIO-era Black Sabbath songs. It should come as no surprise then that there is a duet with Tony Martin, the oft overlooked singer of Sabbath that performed on some truly remarkable albums. The duet “Cry” is a fantastic power ballad. The vocal performance by Martin and Benedictum’s Veronica Freeman is outstanding, with a subtle string arrangement in the song that adds dimension.
I think the reason “Cry” is such a standout song is because the song comes across effortlessly, and I think this can be said about all of the songs that I end up liking on Obey. Once the band hits its stride with “Scream”, all of the songs after it come across as a natural fit for the band. The band itself sounds really tight: there are a lot of great individual performances on each of the guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. It is because of these performances that the music sounds fresh.
I have already mentioned “Scream” and “Cry”, but there are other standout songs. Anyone who knows me knows that harmony guitars give me goosebumps, and “Crossing Over” is a great mid-tempo song that has those delicious harmonies. “Apex Nation” is an uncomplicated, turbo paced rocker that does more of the same. The most excellent Nina Osegueda (from Sound Of Thunder) performs another duet on here called “Thornz”. It has is a steady driving tempo and a finger-pointing-in-the-face delivery and message.
While none of the songs seem forced, there is something about the opening songs that that just makes them feel like they don’t belong to Benedictum. Let me use the title track as an example: it has a great chorus and a great opening riff that reminds me of Danzig. The parts of the song in between these elements seem like run-of-the-mill modern metal, however. That doesn’t mean that it is bad, but I can hear sounds like this if I turn on the radio.
Even though I find the opening songs simply OK, Benedictum’s Obey is a great CD. When they band embraces its influences, the songs have an added dimension and they sound organic and natural. It is probably the group’s most solid CD from top to bottom to date.
Live Long and Rock Hard,
3.5 // 5