Queensrÿche released their self-titled debut EP independently in September 1983 through 206 Records. That same year, the band reissued the EP through EMI-America, and a remastered edition was reissued in 2003 through Capitol Records. Two singles were released from the EP: Queen of the Reich and The Lady Wore Black.
The opener, Queen of the Reich, is a metal song that is characterised by dark guitar riffs and high-pitch metal screams – very typical for those times. The tempo of the song, as well as the clever arrangements and melodies, prove the band’s good ear for contemporary metal music. Also, the harmonious guitar solo is excellent. Personally, this is one of my all-time favourite Queensryche songs. If a band can pull off to debut their first ever music with such a burning song, success is as good as to be programmed. Well, the rest is history…
Nightrider holds on to the mood set by the opener. By now, it becomes obvious that Queensryche has been influenced by bands such as Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. It was said that the band was a metal cover band before becoming an original band. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
Blinded, track 3, still sticking to the dark mood and uptempo, goes as strong as the previous two songs. It is great that the production also sticks to the same sounds and production arrangements. It creates a flowing sensation and keeps the story united across the songs. I can obviously not know if that was the intention, but it definitely works for me.
The Lady Wore Black is the ending song of this 4-track EP and can be defined as a rock ballad given its slower, undistorted, and more melodramatic verse. It was an obvious choice to release it as the second single of this release. The song became a classic for Queensryche fans though the years. I remember the MTV Unplugged version of the song somewhen in the 90s. It was a very emotional and beautiful performance by the band. A very strong song!
The Queensryche band that produced and recorded this gem included Geoff Tate on vocals, Chris DeGarmo on guitar, Michael Wilton on guitars, Eddie Jackson on bass, and Scott Rockenfield on drums. The EP was engineered by Tom Hall and recorded in late summer 1982 at Triad Studios, Redmond, Washington. Therefore, big kudos to all involved!
The music of Queensryche has changed quite a bit since 1983, which is not necessarily bad. Nonetheless, this debut EP is timeless and I can take it out of my virtual shelf and listen to it any day, because of the greatness of the songs. The rawness of the production is actually really cool, too. And it must be said that is sounds very good given the smaller budget available for this production.
Every time I see the cover of the EP, it reminds me of the first time I saw the very cool video to Queen of the Reich: I was a very young boy and my cousin had this VHS cassette with lots of heavy metal videos. The sound of Queensryche combined with the visuals of the video bedazzled me and I kept asking my cousin to record that song onto a tape for me, which he did. Years later, when I finally had the money to buy vinyl for myself, I found the EP in a second-hand shop. Good times.
Total grade 8.75/10