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The third album, the hour of artistic maturity? The moment of confirmation on a large scale? Benedictum, heavy formation riding by comely Veronica Freeman, they are arrived at this goal/test successfully passed, now we exchange a word with her for more information about a band that is deservedly carving out a place within that counts.
Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine. Benedictum certainly have a legion of fans, but for those who still not had the pleasure of crossing your reality, we can give a few hints about the history of the band and why it was born?
Veronica: First of all allow me to thank you from all of us in Benedictum for the opportunity to be a part of your Webzine and to reach out to your readers and hopefully some new fans! Benedictum was formed with founding members Pete Wells (guitar) and myself ,Veronica Freeman in 2005. Pete and I had been writing music together for a long time but decided to give it another shot with Benedictum. After submitting some of the demo music to long time friend Craig Goldy (Guiffria, Dio, Dio Disciples) he really got behind us and introduced us to Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Dio, Foreigner) who took us on as producer. Things sort of took off from there and we released our first two albums "Uncreation" and "Seasons Of Tragedy" on Locomotive records and our third album, produced by Ryan Greene, "Dominion" on Frontiers Records. I would say we are traditional type metal with a modern edge I guess. We just play the music we love.
You are becoming, in a little more than five years, from a surprise with "Uncreation" to an absolute certainty with proof of quality "Seasons Of Tragedy" before and now with "Dominion". The formation has also suffered a couple of line-up changes over the years, as you remains focused and ready to earn the merits on the field as you have done so far? What are the qualities that allow you to create your music?
If I understand the question correctly, indeed we have gone through a lot of line up changes. That is largely due to the fact that we are in different cities now. Pete and I are living in the Phoenix AZ area but are from San Diego, CA where we started out. A lot of members have moved on due to either family issues or work but we are all still part of the Benedictum family. During the latest album "Dominion" I would have to say that although Pete and I are still core writers, that the rest of the band, Mikey Pannone and Chris Shrum really stepped up and added a lot of their flavor to the music. It made for an interesting mix of influences.
You have never been fossilized, certainly the first two albums are slightly less varied than the last delivery. There is never any shortage of hits, "Dominion" shines, however, for the way in which carries out a speech aimed to look ahead, there really is a bit of everything, from seventies influences to certain grunge sensations, from the more classically heavy powerful and rocky songs from plush movements. How was the process of writing the album? There have been frequent listen in that period or in recent years that you believe may have affected an as well faceted development?
Creating "Dominion" was a very different process than the first two albums. We had so many factors that were changed. We had new members, we had a different producer (Ryan Greene) and we had a different mind set at the time. At least I know I did. It was a long while between albums and there was a lot of frustration on my part so I believe that this process allowed me to really exorcise a lot of the feelings that were building up. Where as in the past we had more of a "bank" of material this album developed a lot along the way. We went back to the drawing board on more than one occasion but we all learned a lot from the process.
Bonus tracks: why keep the charm of "Sanctuary" locked up in that role? The (wonderful) choice of play a cover of Rush of "2112" who is coming?
We were required to do two bonus tracks so that is how that worked out. I had wanted to make sure and get a chance to work with Jeff Pilson on this album in some way so it was cool that we were able to collaborate on "Sanctuary" and do something acoustic for a change. Most of the members of the band are huge Rush fans and so is our producer so we were exchanging some ideas "2112" was mentioned. We thought it might be too ambitious at first but we really enjoyed the challenge.
The previous releases have had some songs that have made towed, I can think of the title-tracks and pieces like "Valkyrie Rising" and "Beast In The Field", if you must quote your personal hit of this "Dominion" on such songs your preference would fall? Why?
If I read this correctly you are asking for my favorites. I would say the title track "Dominion" the song "Bang" and "Shadowlands". "Dominion" really expressed a lot of my frustration and what I was going through at the time, Bang, was something that had been in my head for a while so it was cool to have the guys help me bring it to life and the Shadowlands, there is just something about the way Pete plays that solo that gets me every time!
Lyrics are almost always of your expertise, what are your sources of inspiration?
For the most part my inspiration comes from my life experiences. Mostly how I feel about something or if I am going through a particular time or struggling with something I use music and lyrics as a way to express those feelings. It really helps me work through things at times.
"Dominion": even the title and the cover seemed to portend an even more darker and harder vision of sound, in some cases it is gray, in other the tones are more melancholic, in others they blacken. What is the "Domain" mentioned in the disc? Who suffer it?
If you mean who suffered the Domination? Then I guess I would have to say that the song and the album is actually reflective of fighting back from being dominated or surpressed. It embodies that unrelenting spirit of not wanting to give up just yet and struggling to push through till the end.
You are a charismatic and imposing figure on record as on stage, one that makes the difference. The role of a singer is the one that most of the others to feed the public, is the one who drives the scene and that, for better and for worse, is the first to be tried, how you handle the situation when you're on stage? There's always that feeling just before you get on and start the show?
Good question. It is a bit different for the front person because I think we feel the frontline of the energy a little more… however the reality is… I have great people surrounding me, each one who can hold their own and create a lot of personality on that stage. Each member collectively adds something to the mix that makes us who we are. For the most part we have a lot of fun on stage and I think that translates over to the performance.
In the last decade the number of female fronted band has increased disproportionately. Excluding Gothic, or what passes for it, as you see this trend? It's a matter of fashion or women, who have always had an important presence in the metal world, they just want more?
Again not quite sure on the question but, indeed there are a lot of women in Metal and Rock.. but honestly as long as you can "bring it" I think it is great. I hate to be pidgeon holed and I think a lot of other women feel the same way. Gender shouldn’t matter, if you are passionate about what you do and can bring that passion with conviction… bring it on!
There are your colleagues that you particularly appreciate and with whom you may make a duet in the future?
I have met with Graham Bonnet recently and I think he and I will be doing something together on the next album. He is quite a character and I know it will be fun. He makes me laugh!
How was it to bring live the pieces of "Dominion"? Where did you get the better feedback?
We are still perfecting the live performance of "Dominion". We had a lot of fun playing in Mexico this year and played a LONG set which included quite a few track from "Dominon". So far the feedback has been great, we still want to really get our stride with our live show and get out there and conquer all [smiles]!
Live dates? Where you will spend this warm summer?
Right now we are working on a few shows here in the states, will be touring on the East Coast in November and hopefully planning some cool things for next year.
Future plans? What moves in Benedictum home? Short-term news?
Right now our main focus is to get out there and play and have a good time spreading the word of Benedictum. We all really appreciate your attention and thank you readers for showing us some love!
It's the end of this pleasant conversation, thanking you for the availability, I'll leave you the word to finish as you prefer and to send a greeting to our readers.
Thanks to everyone for checking us out. Keep it Metal people!