Released in the closing days of 2013, Obey is the fourth studio album from US-based traditional metal band Benedictum. The band gets saddled - unfairly in my opinion - with the "female-fronted metal" tag, but from the very start they've brought the metal in a big way. Yes, their singer is a woman - the very powerful Veronica Freeman - but that's not some gimmick the band is relying on.
Benedictum plays full-on traditional heavy metal inspired by Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio-era Black Sabbath and Accept. This is not light and airy "gothic" or operatic stuff. It's kick in the teeth, headbanging heavy metal full of pounding rhythms, heavy guitar (with a solid melodic aspect), and a strong, powerful vocal performance.
Benedictum had back-to-back amazing releases with 2008's Seasons of Tragedy and 2011's Dominion, but Obey falls a bit short of those two overall. The musicianship and vocals are still very solid, but the songwriting isn't quite as impressive. With Dominion in particular, you could tell on first listen that there were several songs that were going to stay with you long after the disc stopped spinning. I just don't get that here. The songs on Obey are all solid and enjoyable, but after several spins there aren't any - with the possible exception of "Cry" (featuring a duet with former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin) - that really stayed with me.
It didn't quite live up to my admittedly high expectations, but Obey is still a very solid traditional metal album, and hey, an "average" Benedictum album is still heads above most of the competition. If you're already a Benedictum fan, you'll still want to get a copy of this album. If you're unfamiliar with the band, but are into bands like Accept, Warlock, Judas Priest and Chastain. You may want to skip Obey in favor of Seasons of Tragedy or Dominion.
Disclosure: I was given a MP3 copy of this album by the label for review.