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Wednesday, 17 August 2011 21:18 | Written by Raymond Kruijen |
THE V DOMINATES WITH DOMINION
With their debut album ‘Uncreation’ the American metal band Benedictum impressed media and fans of melodic Heavy Metal in 2006. One year later they continue their succes with ‘Seasons Of Tragedy’. With the new album ‘Dominion’ they prove to belong to the best female metal bands these days. LazyRocker.com spoke to Veronica Freeman, an “angel” with an voice strong as reinforced concrete.
• How did your life as musician start ?
I really never set out to be involved with music. Both of my parents were very creative and I guess I was actually more drawn to dance but you know how that goes, life doesn’t always go the way you plan it.
It was actually Craig Goldy (Giuffria, Dio) who introduced me to Metal and convinced me that I should give singing a try. From that point on I fell in love with Metal and started to pursue music.
• Which music/artists you’re influenced by ?
My influences are pretty widespread LOL. From Etta James to Ronnie James Dio to Tina Turner and back again. I have an eclectic taste in music, the more variety the better.
• What inspires you to write songs ?
Life and all that comes with it! Sometimes there will be a subject that will intrigue me but mostly it comes from an experiential standpoint. I am a very emotional person and writing lyrics and melodies are quite cathartic for me. It is like a way to sometimes exorcise my demons and express my thoughts, doubts and fears.
• Benedictum’s debut album ‘Uncreation’ received rave reviews. What do you think about that album 5 years later ?
I have a better appreciation for it now. I listen to it now and it sounds very raw to me but in a good way. It contains all those hopes and dreams and when I listen to it, it takes me back to that time when things seemed to happen so fast and all of it was so new and overwhelming. Of course there are some things I wouldn’t mind changing but I guess that would be for anything you look back upon.
• Covering an classic hardrock anthem like ‘Heaven & Hell of the legendary Black Sabbath must be a great challenge. What are your memories about recording ‘Heaven & Hell’ ?
I was so excited and nervous at the same time. In many of the bands I had been in before we would do a version of this song. I had always promised myself that if I had the chance to do an album I would want to do that song so it is very special for me. It is still one of my most favorite songs to sing live.
• In 2007 Benedictum released their successor ‘Seasons Of Tragedy’. This album received rave reviews from press and fans too. The band did not change their success formula. Do you agree with that ?
We had learned a lot from the first album and from working with Jeff Pilson. By the time we did 'Seasons' we had developed an even closer relationship with Jeff and had a better handle on how to go about a song writing process that worked for us all. So I guess you could say that we enhanced the formula a bit LOL.
• Let’s talk about your newest “baby” ‘Dominion’. Releasing the album on the Frontiers label is quite remarkable, as the label is more AOR/Melodic Rock orientated. What made you decide for the Frontiers label ?
Trust me, I was quite surprised that it all worked out the way it did but really happy about it. I had done a lot of research and had heard a lot of good things about Frontiers so we were really happy when they took us on. But we do realize that we are sort of the “odd ball” band on the label.
• How did the cooperation with producer Ryan Greene ( Megadeth) established ?
It worked out really well that the management company we were working with at that time, had suggested working with Ryan Greene. He also at that time was living in Arizona. We met and did the song Dominion first as sort of a trial period to make sure we could all get along and work with each other. Once that was done we decided to go all the way and have him do the entire album. It took a while but we got it done and we are very appreciative of Ryans great talent.
• ‘Dominion’ is the result of artistic development. What do you think about that assertion ?
I guess one could say that. It is the result of the culmination of a LOT of changes happening at once. Line up changes, location changes, producer changes.. all of these things and more coming together made Dominion what it is.
• Beside you there’s only guitarist Pete Wells whi is in the band since the beginning. What happened to the earlier line up ?
Nothing really dramatic I have to say. Just life really. Some had family issues, others had job offers that required them to move that sort of thing. We are one really good terms with all of our ex members. You see a lot of line up changes these days, its tough to keep it together in these tough times for music.
• Let’s have a closer look at some songs. ‘The Shadowlands’ knows very strong guitar parts and a great solo. What do you think about that song ?
The solo on that song takes me to another place. I remember when I first heard it, I didn’t think it fit the song, then I changed a few things lyrically and it is now one of my favorite solos. Pete really rose to the occasion on this album and I think Dominion contains some of his best work yet!
• ‘Epsilon’ almost has an epic approach. Benedictum never did such a long song before. Something you gonna repeat on an next album?
Well actually it is our longest but we have what we call “epic” songs on each album. It has been our tradition. 8 minute long Valkyrie Rising on Uncreation, the title track Seasons of Tragedy was over 8 minutes and now Epsilon. The funny thing is that it was supposed to be even longer but Ryan decided it needed a bit of trimming.
• IMO another very strong song is ‘Dark Heart’. What’s the story on this one?
'Dark Heart' is a song about that inner turmoil when you feel lust or a longing for something that you know you shouldn’t have or that struggle with a feeling that you feel guilty about. It is human nature to want what we are not supposed to have and the song is about that struggle.
• On ‘Sanctuary’ Benedictum even goes “acoustic”. I think it's a fantastic song by the way. This must be “another cup of tea” for your voice ?
Jeff really helped me a lot on that one. It was very different for me but it was really a great change and I enjoyed the recording of that song immensely.
• With ‘The Temples Of Syrinx’ you cover Rush. A less logical choice than Black Sabbath. What made you decide for a Rush song ?
It was actually brought up by Ryan Greene or was it me? I don’t remember but he and I are both HUGE Rush fans and we kicked the idea around of doing a Rush cover. When Temples was discussed you could really see his gears going in his head. He had a lot of cool ideas on how to approach it and I had always wanted to do that song. So we did !
• Is there an ‘Dominion’ tour in the making (beside the gig at the Female Voice Fest in Belgium later this year) ?
I have to be honest and say that this time around the whole tour thing has been the most frustrating thing. We want to play and are trying to work it all out. Economics play a large part in things but trust me, we plan on doing as many shows as we can in the future. Fingers crossed.
• Knowing you can sing as like “angel” (‘Sanctuary’). Is a Veronica Freeman solo album an possibility for the near future ?
Wow, thanks for that. I am always open to doing some projects here and there but for now, Benedictum is my baby….
• Thank you for the interview!
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer these cool questions! It is an honor and Benedictum always appreciates being shown some love !