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A Killer EP - 85%

CrystalMountain, October 16th, 2004

When most people think of Queensryche, they think Operation: Mindcrime, and they think of progressive metal. What most don't know is before Queensryche turned "artsy" they were helping pioneer a more traditional/power metal style of music. They were probably one of the first popular American bands to draw inspiration from the NWOBHM, and Iron Maiden in particular. I've always heard the production on the original album is pretty bad, but I can assure you that the production on the remastered version sounds just fine, it actually sounds quite good to tell you the truth.

The album kicks off with "Queen of the Reich" and this easily one of the best heavy metal songs ever. A fast and energetic rocker, with an almost thrashy, speed metal riff. Aggressive drumming, and absolutely stellar vocals. Geoff Tate has such a high vocal range, he never has to really do an all out falsetto, but it's still very high. The lyrics are awesome, the solo's are kick ass. This song is 4 minutes of heavy metal perfection. "Your soul slipped away....It belongs...Queen of the REEEEEEEIIIIIIIICH!!"

Next up is "Nightrider" and this is total Iron Maiden worship, when the song kicks in at about 1 minute it reminds me of a slightly slower version of "Murders in the Rue Morgue". This isn't a bad thing, this is a killer song. Pretty fast and aggressive for 1983. The solo is pretty impressive too, and I love that ending, "Beware of the NIGHT!"

"Blinded" follows, it starts out with some nice shredding, and kicks in at probably an even faster tempo than the first 2 songs. Short and to the point, the only thing I really don't like is the chanting at the end of the song. A pretty long solo with some nice melodies here and there.

"The Lady Wore Black" is the other well known song off the album, and for good reason. This is probably one of the best heavy metal "ballads" ever penned. A real atmospheric song, Tate's vocals sound creepy and dark. And the shrieking he does before the chorus is classic, I have no clue what he says but it sounds really awesome. The chorus is simple, but heavy and effective. The solo is emotional and to the point, they knew not to over-do it. Awesome song.

"Prophecy" is only found on the re-issued version, which is what I'm sure most people have anyways. Really catchy, you can tell this was recorded during the Rage For Order sessions, it obviously has that sound. I think if this had been releasd on RFO it would have been the best song on there. Sometimes you wonder why bands choose to ditch such awesome songs. This one is a catchy head banger, with some of the best lead work on the album.

An awesome first album, and since there's only 5 songs, you can rest assure there is no filler to be found. Definitely worth a purchase, any fan of old school heavy metal should love this album. Oh and I love the Queensryche logo on the cover, I don't know why they didn't keep that logo.