BENEDICTUM       Seasons Of Tragedy
Locomotive Records (release: January 14th, 2008)

Following an intro (it sounds like Egyptian stuff to me), here turns up the road roller Shell Shock which leads you on the canvas from the very beginning ! Veronica Freeman and her mates are already on top of form with this bloody powerful song. What a "straight in the face" shock ! As a result, the couple of next ones seem to be a little dreary. Hey ! It's really hard to get over the first track ! But we're back to business with Beast In The Field and its killer riff, next come keyboards on melodic but also dynamic Legacy or heavier Nobodies Victim, until a cover of ACCEPT's Balls To The Wall. What a strange idea from a female singer ! But as she sings it with conviction, our German singing dwarf will have nothing to say about it.
But Veronica is not only a beautiful shouter. She proves it on Steel Rain, a ballad on which she uses her voice a fine way. But you know a band can't be summed up in its single singer, so now's the time to salute the musicians: Pete Wells, Jesse Wright and new drummer Paul Courtois, helped by a few guests. They do the job and they do it well. Hats off, guys !
And the album already ends with the leading track Seasons Of Tragedy, an epic 12 minutes song full of development, with even a Progressive part on keyboards. True, you can notice that they feel free to use tons of sound FX successfully all along the CD. In brief, you won't get tired of listening to this outstanding BENEDICTUM's second record…Laurent

LEVERAGE       Blind Fire
Frontiers Records (release: January 25th, 2008)

Here are newcomers straight from Finland (the country of LORDI) who combine STRATOVARIUS music with English Rock the MAGNUM way, which is a perfect mix of styles. They've just signed with Frontiers Records, and the label has also just re-released their first album (only available in their home country in the first place). Moreover, you have two bonus tracks here. Finally, they found a brilliant singer, Pekka Heino, coming from FIRETRIBE.Jean-Luc