A Sound Of Thunder - Queen Of Hell

4 songs
22:40 minutes
***** ***
(self released)


Last year A Sound Of Thunder left a lasting impression with their second longplayer Out Of The Darkness, and therefore I was more than willing to give a shot at their new EP Queen Of Hell which is probably intended as an appetiser for the next album.

Normally I am wary of female-fronted metal bands, as good looks are often used to overshadow lacklustre performances. This is fortunately not the case with this quartet from Washington DC and Northern Virginia. This doesn’t mean that their singer Nina Osegueda isn’t good looking. Her exotic looks are quite unusual in the context of a metal band and stand out not only for that reason. But apart from that, she is also one hell of a singer! As that is not enough, we are also in the presence of musicians who know exactly what they are doing, even if this is not so much, considering the short space on an EP.

But let’s start at the beginning. The title track Queen Of Hell is one of those perfect heavy metal songs that you come across maybe once every two or three years. The band plays a mix of American styled metal la Helstar with a healthy dose of British metal reminiscent of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. But instead of focusing their entire energy on the form, they also never neglect the content, so that we are treated with one of the most elaborate choruses. Add to this Ms Osegueda’s incredible vocals, and you are definitely in metal heaven with the queen of Hell. What makes her such a talented vocalist is her gift to sing powerfully yet melodic at the same time. At times she may remind of Doro Pesch, but frankly, I prefer Nina Oseguedo who just sounds fresher.

Up next comes a more humorous moment with Hello Nurse, a more hard rock oriented track with rather sexy vocals and even an unexpected piano part. This is the kind of track that will polarise the audience, and while I would be critical myself in the context of a regular album, I believe that an EP is just the place where a band can do something more experimentally. Then we are treated with Trashed, a cover version of the opener of Black Sabbath’s album Born Again with Ian Gillain. As most metal bands prefer their luck at the more obvious Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie James Dio era, I commend the band for their choice of such an unlikely Sabbath tune. The EP concludes with a different version of the title track where Nine Osegueda is joined on vocals by Benedictum’s Veronica Freeman, and while this version is also quite interesting, I prefer the regular one.

Queen Of Hell may be twenty-two minutes long, but in the end we only get one real, in the sense of representative, song, plus a novelty track and a cover version. But that doesn’t decrease the high level of quality, and I am certain that I am not the only one eagerly awaiting the next longplayer. A Sound Of Thunder are on their way to become one of the USA’s best hidden metal secrets.

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