American singer James Durbin isn’t a household name in the UK, but for those Stateside, his work comes with a certain amount of expectation. After a stint fronting veteran metal band Quiet Riot, he eventually launched a solo career that aimed to take his huge voice and a love of classic metal in an even more traditional direction. The resultant album, ‘The Beast Awakens’ (released under the name Durbin in 2021) was well received in some corners of the rock press, but despite a few great tracks, the bulk of the material valued volume and bombast over almost everything else. In addition, clichéd material like ‘By The Horns’ and ‘The Prince of Metal’ honestly didn’t do Durbin any favours. Although it was all well intentioned, the worst aspects of the album played too much like a broad parody of old school metal, leading to the kind of thing that a more discerning listener might spin twice and then move on.
Veronica “The V” Freeman will be familar to some as the vocalist with power metallers Benedictum, a US/Euro outfit who often favour bombast over decent songs. Her first solo release, 2015’s ‘Now Or Never’ (released via Frontiers Records, home of the previous two Benedictum discs) retains a fair amount of heaviness, but brings in a much welcome melodic element. The dozen featured numbers hark back to the days of classic eighties sounding metal, with tunes regularly casting Freeman in a Doro Pesche-esque mould.