The V ‘Veronica Freeman’ |Now Or Never
Release Year: 2015
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Band Members & Special Guests
Veronica Freeman – Lead Vocals
Leather Leone – Duet Vocals “Kiss My Lips”
Tony Martin – Duet Vocals “King For A Day”
Meliesa McDonell – Additional Vocals “Starshine” & Acoustic Guitars
Derek Kerswill – Drums
Jeff Pilson, Mel Brown, Garry Bordonaro, Aric Avina, John O’Boyle & Mike Lepond – Bass
Pete Wells, Michael Sweet ,Peter Tentindo, Jimmy Durkin, Mick Tucker, Jordan Ziff, Michael Harris – Guitars
Produced by John Herrera
“King for a Day” (produced by Kenny Lewis)
“Love Should be to Blame” & “Again” (produced by Michael Sweet)
In about 2008 a friend of mine handed me a CD that would be Benedictum’s – Season of Tragedy. What I heard was nothing short of one of the top 10 album’s of the first decade of the 21st century. Outside the mentorship and production of the likes of Jeff Pilson – Dokken Dio and Craig Goldy – Dio and legendary guitarist George Lynch – Dokken and Lynch Mob there was much more there. What I heard this ultra powerful voice that reminded me of power metal’s past like Leather Leone – ex- Malibu & Chastain, Kate French – ex-Chastain & Vainglory. I would come to find out this most powerful leather lunged melodic beauty in the form of Veronica Freeman. I was hooked from that day forward.
Fast forward to 2015 and Veronica Freeman has returned with a solo statement. affectionately titled ‘The V’ – Now Or Never. She has most definitely returned with one of the most definitive powerhouse melodic lineup’s in recent memory. Look at the introduction above to see all that participated on what I am calling a ‘Instant Classic’ and a definite easy front runner for one of my Top 5 of 2015. ‘The V’ – Now Or Never has given Veronica Freeman a more melodic metal outlet compared to the heavier power metal we are accustom of hearing in Benedictum. Let’s explore some highlights of the project.
The intro track Again, produced by Michael Sweet shares signature hallmarks of Stryper between the Reborn and No More Hell To Pay era. There is that distinctive sound Michael Sweet and Stryper have crafted melodically in recent years both in vocal range and chord progression.
Now Or Never the self titled track on the album opens with a gritty distorted killer rhythm section. Veronica’s harmonies are more in sync with with the rhythm section between the drums and bass. Now Or Never comes armed with a nasty rhythm guitar with a killer shred section.
Rollercoaster is a drummers delight. With great double bass drum blast beats in harmony with snare, tom and cymbal fills. Once again Veronica is spot on with her harmonies following the lead with more of the drum and bass backbone. Her timing is perfect.
L.O.V.E is a straight away hard rock n roll gem. It tells a story of one’s opinion on what love is to her and what it is not. L.O.V.E is one of those tracks that could hold up and be current in any decade whether it be the 1980’s , 1990’s or 2000’s. It contains both vintage and current relevent elements both musically and lyrically.
Line In The Sand is a hybrid track mixing a little melodic metal, hard classic rock and AOR. Killer guitar hooks and melodies with a great guitar solo. Line In The Sand is one of the more stringed melodic tracks on the album with a nice blend of background vocal harmonies as well.
Love Should Be To Blame, once again produced by Stryper’s Michael Sweet. This time it bears a lot of the signature riffs and hallmarks of Stryper’s Against The Law album. Veronica definitely displays much emotion vocally here. This track has a wonderful stand alone guitar solo that demands the listener’s attention.
Kiss My Lips is a power metal fans’ dream come true. On this track Veronica enlists the vocals of the legendary Leather Leone ex- Malibu Barbie, Chastain. It certainly is one of the best duets I have heard in the last 15 years. Kiss My Lips leaves a hunger for perhaps a future exclusive album featuring Veronica Freeman & Leather Leone. Only time will tell however.
Spellbound is a highly introspective track lyrically. One can only speculate what Veronica was going through when she wrote it. Musically it is a pure straight up melodic hard rock jewel.
Starshine opens up with some killer guitar work from Hitman Honey’s very own front woman Melissa McDonell. Starshine is also the second outstanding duet with both women masterfully going in and out between front woman melodies to duet style harmonies. Much like Kiss My Lips, Veronica seems to hold court with gorgeous duet clinics with other women in the industry.
Below Zero has a Aldo Nova’s – Fantasy meets Dio’s – Mystery. This is also the longer track on the album and every musical harmony, vocal harmony, and 4/4 , 5/8 .
Ready To Run totally reminds me of Dio’s – Stand Up And Shout on the metal side with a twist of Giant’s – Time To Burn on a heavy AOR side. Killer runaway jam track that will totally sound powerful live.
King For A Day features yet another legendary voice in Tony Martin ex-Black Sabbath. This is definitely one of the more heavy handed tracks on the album. It even has light elements of doom metal. Really killer detuned bottom on the rhythm section mixed with powerful vocals to perfectly complimenting the musical composition. King For A Day is the closest track to hearing anything remotely to Benedictum.
This is one of my more enjoyable reviews I have done in 2015. I can appreciate any artist going a totally different direction than what we are use to listening to. Veronica Freeman definitely put together a killer album here. This was a profound departure from what we hear of her in Benedictum but still was as heavy and melodic. I believe ‘The V’ – Now Or Never solo effort has opened a door for Veronica Freeman to go out on her own more often during her breaks from Benedictum. For this effort alone I give this a 4.5/5.
The V – Now or Never EPK (Official / Studio Album / 2015 / Veronica Freeman)
The V – Again (Official Audio)