While not a household name, Veronica Freeman has carved a nice niche for herself in the underground metal scene with her band Benedictum, who just released their last album Obey in 2013. Freeman was approached by Frontiers Records to record her very first solo album under the moniker (and nickname) The V titled Now or Never.
Long-time fans of Freeman may be surprised by the material on Now or Never, which, while featuring Freeman’s sultry and powerful leather lunged vocals, the songs have more of a bluesy hard rock feel with a touch of metal, as opposed to Benedictum’s all out metal assault on the eardrums.
For her first solo endeavor, The V enlisted an impressive list of guest musicians from the world of rock and metal including fellow metal queen Leather Leone (Chastain) for a duet on Kiss My Lips, former Black Sabbath frontman Tony Martin on King for A Day, Michael Sweet of Stryper (producing and playing guitar on two tracks Again and Love Should Be to Blame), Garry Bordonaro (The Rods), Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner), Mike Lepond (Symphony X , Silent Assassins), Jerry Dixon (Warrant), as well as her Benedictum bandmates.
In discussing Now or Never, Veronica comments: I had a lot of input and encouragement from Frontiers Records to try and stretch myself with different musical styles and approaches.
The album starts off strong with Again, an 80’s melodic metal anthem with a very catchy chorus. The album’s title track Now or Never is a cool melodic hard rock song that has a Led Zeppelin Rock n Roll feel during the verses with a chorus that is very reminiscent of obscure 80’s hard rockers Saraya’s MTV hit Love Has Taken It’s Toll. In fact, a lot of the songs on Now or Never are heavily influenced by 80’s hard rock from the punchy Rollercoaster to the light melodic rock of Starshine with some sweet harmony vocals provided by Meliesa McDonell and a guitar melody that has a classic Boston feel. Line In The Sand is a hard rocker that has a Stryper-esque vibe with the harmony guitars.
For fans of Veronica’s more metal side with Benedictum who may be turned off by the albums more commercial rock tracks, the songs Spellbound, Love Should Be To Blame, and the slow and heavy King For A Day are right up your alley.
All in all, with Now or Never, Veronica Freeman has created a fine solo album that is yet another extension of her personality. The main goal of any recording artist that is associated with one style of music, in this case heavy metal, is to do something out of their comfort zone and to deliver something different. It wouldn’t make much sense for The V to record a balls out metal record when she already has an outlet for that with Benedictum. In this regard Freeman has succeeded. Now or Never may not appeal to the more metal crowd but it is a fun hard rock record from one of the best vocalists in the underground hard rock/metal scene and should be mentioned in the same conversation as legendary female metal vocalists such as Doro Pesch, Lee Arron, and Leather Leone.