Released: 2013, Nightmare Records
Rare indeed to hear a band of A Sound Of Thunder’s caliber playing power metal and traditional metal and hail from the United States. Nevertheless, A Sound of Thunder calls the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., home. With two full lengths under their belt, and potent dose of momentum going, the band is keeping their name in the minds of metal fans by releasing a new EP. QUEEN OF HELL comes just 10 months after their 2012 album OUT OF THE DARKNESS. Led by classically trained vocalist Nina Osegueda, QUEEN OF HELL is a potent blend of power metal and heavy metal, evoking the best qualities of DIO and Primal Fear, with a dash of Warlock and Judas Priests for good measure. Released on vinyl and CD in limited quantities, this is sure to be a collectable for the hard core fans of the band.
The good news is that there are two new songs on the EP, with the title track being a pure blast of traditional metal that deservedly takes its place as a future classic. The other new tune is “Hello Nurse”, with a note dense opening riff that quickly shifts to a vintage Dio verse and ghoulish lyrics that are admittedly more tongue in cheek than your average black metal band. About half way through is an out of place piano, adding a dose of levity to what is lyrically a murderous tale. The other two tracks are a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Trashed”, faithfully but unremarkably rendered with Osegueda giving an admirable Doro Pesch impersonation. The biggest improvement on the song would be in the production, with the original being the lead-off track on one of the most controversial production sounds on an album ever, in Sabbath’s BORN AGAIN. Concluding the EP is “Queen of Hell again”, this time sung as a duet with Veronica Freeman of Benedictum.
Evaluating the overall package, it serves the purpose as a teaser for fans before the release of their forthcoming new album, TIMES ARROW. The title track is definitely the signature tune on the album, while everything else points more to novelty and trying to keep busy, not that any of it sounds bad. In terms of value, I guess fans will have to decide if two new tunes, and a cover song are worth it, the duet being basically a throw away. “Queen of Hell” is definitely worth seeking out as a metal anthem, the others only if they can be found cheaply (the album cover art is worthy of acquiring as well). Besides, most of this will most likely appear on an eventual expanded edition of one of their LPs, or on the Japanese version of a full album, provided the band can land a record deal with a respectable label. Let me be clear though that this is a very fine band, with outstanding music though. Curious fans should probably check out the 2012 album, OUT OF THE DARKESS as a more worthy introduction to the band. Recommended for the passionate and die-hard fans of A Sound Of Thunder.