Originally recorded when the group was still known as The Mob, Queensryche’s debut EP serves as one of the band’s most conventional yet definitive statements. Its four songs have more to say than most bands’ full-lengths and simultaneously expresses their influences while hinting at the shadow that they would cast over the prog music scene.
Seeing as how the band was still largely riding on their Iron Maiden and Ronnie James Dio influences, it isn’t too surprising for this EP to be their most metal-oriented release to date. The songwriting is straightforward, the guitars operate at more aggressive tempos, the vocals are as charismatic as they are high pitched, and the production job also manages to be their grittiest.
Yet even in their earliest days, the band had several nuances that placed them above most traditional metal fare. You won’t see any epics on here but tracks like the immortal “Queen Of The Reich” offer a degree of structural complexity while “The Lady Wore Black” offers some bells and literal whistles that keep it from being your typical power ballad. The band’s sophisticated air was also firmly secured by their debut, putting them two steps ahead of their contemporaries in Fates Warning and Savatage.
But as anyone will tell you, Geoff Tate’s vocals are what truly set Queensryche apart from the rest of the pack. He offers a great deal of variety and control in his delivery as he offers consistent wails throughout “Queen of The Reich,” a nut ripping scream on “Blinded,” and masterful low to high transitions on “The Lady Wore Black.” Not too shabby for a guy that doesn’t even like metal and performed on this EP as a favor…
While it has been overshadows by the best (and the worst) of future installments, Queensryche’s debut EP shows the band starting off strong. Despite there being only four songs on display, there are a few classic tracks on board and heavier metal fans may find this to be an ideal starting point if they don’t already have the obligatory Mindcrime. Either way, it’s just more proof that 1983 was a damn good year…
“Queen Of The Reich”
“The Lady Wore Black”