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Queen of Distortion - Checkmate!

Queen of Distortion
Checkmate!
by Kevin Lewis at 20 September 2021, 2:45 PM

QUEEN OF DISTORTION is a German band formed in 2018. The music is power, symphonic and heavy metal mixed into a nice blend. Checkmate! is their debut full-length album and was released on July 2, 2021, via Green Bronto Records. Using two guitars with layered keyboards added in, plus female lead and male backing vocals, they cross genres effortlessly and defy singular categorization.

The record kicks off with “Throne of Destruction,” a heavy song with a cool guitar riff. The drums are fast, the bass steady. This is a formidable rhythm section. The vocals use a lot of distortion, rarely going fully clean. Obviously, the band chose their name well. Even when going into her higher ranges, the distortion is still pretty evident. That takes talent!

The first single from the record, “Bloody Rain,” starts with a quick drum intro and a nice chugging guitar riff with some cool frills at the end of the phrase. The vocals are still pretty gritty and really fit the song just right. The bass is very present in this song, becoming a driving force. That galloping rhythm is fun to hear. The fun piece for bass comes in “Threatening Stalemate.” Nothing but bass showing off. Don’t you love it when the unsung hero gets some recognition?

Save Yourself” has a nice, crunchy riff and a cool rhythm. And as good as that song is, part of what really makes it interesting is that it leads into “Torn from Life,” a slower, melodic tune that just creeps along and oozes angst and pain. That kick in the middle really takes this song to the next level. This is the early favorite for me on this album. I would love to see this live. Those guitar solos near the end would be epic.

Into The Void” has a nice, almost nautical theme at the start, but really rips into you after that intro. We then get to the title track, “Checkmate!” That riff is brutal and the building beat from the drums and bass give the song a real nice feeling of mass. The song is big, it takes up a good space and fills up the sonic space.

The album closes with “Nightmares,” a heavy song with a killer beat. The vocals are a little more subdues at the start, but the gruff is still there. The riff gallops almost like a NWOBHM twin guitar lead, then drops into a more melodic pattern, only to take off again, this time closer to thrash. This is a complex song that really shows off the talent of the musicians.

QUEEN OF DISTORTION is an interesting new band with some interesting sounds. The multitude of influences heard on this record make it a lot of fun to listen to. The songs are catchy and have some complexity but are also straightforward enough that they remain coherent. Some bands try too hard and end up sounding forced or disjointed. Not this one. They stay consistent and focused. It will be fun to hear where they go from here.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  8
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Throne of Destruction
2. Bloody Rain
3. New Order
4. Electrified
5. Threatening Stalemate
6. Four Horsemen
7. Save Yourself
8. Torn from Life
9. Rest in Pieces
10. Into the Void
11. Checkmate!
12. People Without Tears
13. Nightmares
Lineup:
Chris T'Anti – Vocals
Carsten Bätge – Bass/Backing Vocals/Keyboards
Holger Schilling – Drums
Torsten Schirmer – Guitar
Mike Richter – Guitar
Record Label: Green Bronto Media
     


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