The "Queensryche EP" was the first studio recording by the well known group from Seattle, WA. According to the liner notes, this low-budget demo was self released by the band, then re-released by EMI-USA. Nonetheless, through all this issues, the tracks have never been remastered nor remixed, due to the explicit will of the band-members. In my opinion, they chose for the better, 'cos the album surely shows a rather muddy sound, but beautifully captures that kind of fresh and energetic mood Heavy Metal had in the beginning. This is particularly true for the drumming sound, that is very raw and wild, still so pleasant to my ears.
The EP starts with "Queen Of The Reich", today become an all-time classic, and these guys show right away they're going for some serious stuff, here. The song has a solid rhythmic implant, on which the duelling guitars establish their powerful riffs and melodic leads. Well, maybe the dual guitar attack style is too much reminiscent of IRON MAIDEN, but who cares, when the quality is so darn' high, and after all this is QUEENSRYCHE's first effort so a less defined personality is understandable. In addition, I think Michael Wilton and Chris DeGarmo are two fuckin' skilled axemen, and can even rival with Adrian Smith and Dave Murray. And of course, need I mention the vocals by Geoff Tate? Everyone knows his vocal mastery. No wonder he set the standard for many generations of Metal-singers, along with a few other vocal gods.
The two following songs, "Nightrider" and "Blinded", keep the quality level reached by the opener, alternating effective guitar riffs to impressive vocals, and persuade even more the listener about the talent of the band. However, the shadow of the MAIDEN is still present in "Nightrider", while the beginning of "Blinded" reminded me of DIAMOND HEAD (pay attention to the guitar riff at the 0:19 minute mark).
Unfortunately, next to come is "The Lady Wore Black", and though it's still a good song, it's a bit too long and repetitive, paling in comparison with the previous tracks. I find the song-writing on the song being too much common, I'd go for some more tempo-changes to keep the thing interesting. This ballad could be slightly better if they avoided to repeat the chorus again and again, which in my opinion ends up resulting a tad boring.
The final track, "Prophecy", doesn't belong to the original EP, but is an extract from the "Rage For Order"-album-sessions (1986). It's a fast-paced song and though not so much different from the others on the EP, shows the undeniable progress of the band, moving towards the achievement of a personal sound through the years.
In the end, a strong debut and an essential release for every QUEENSRYCHE-fan, but if you aren't familiar to the band, this couldn't be the right album to start with.