Queen of Distortion – Checkmate!

Queen Of Distortion
Checkmate
Green Bronto Records
July 02nd, 2021
Playing time: 59:14 / 01:18:04 (with Bonus)

A remarkably fitting name for the likeable Metal band from Brunswick. Distortion on the one hand is a vocal technique that singer Chris masters and presents perfectly, on the other hand there is “The Queen” as a fictional character of a story that runs through their music.

This is how the small press flyer explains the band’s name. But for historical information about the band and the musicians, you have to go to the internet. Queen of Distortion was founded in 2018. In the same year, the debut EP “Rising From The Fallen” was released. A live EP followed two years later. And this year marked the release of three singles and another live EP, before the first full-length album “Checkmate!” in July. I got to know Band as part of the Coroncert event series, or rather, I saw them in a livestream broadcast from near Hanover. And the musicians were able to enthuse me immediately. Logically, I listened to the debut a bit more closely.

Nomen est Omen? The opener “Throne Of Destruction” is not as destructive as one might expect from the title. Nevertheless, a real speed cracker. The guitarists fire off riff after riff. And show their skills on the guitars with grandiose solos time and again. Singer Chris, however, dominates everything. A true queen. The chorus is extremely catchy. In “Bloody Rain”, the singer shows how the aforementioned vocal technique must sound. Very rhythmic riffs and drum work. In contrast, “New Order” has an Alternative edge to it at times. With “Threatening Stalemate”, the band from Brunswick show that a one-and-a-half-minute bass solo can be pressed onto an album as an independent song. And not as a gap filler. It’s more of a transition to the next high-speed hit “Four Horsemen”. The guitars sound as if the musicians were riding a gallop on it.

And the speed remains high, also on “Save Yourself”. And again and again the impressive interplay of the twin guitars. The soulful ballad “Torn From Life” sets the contemplative resting point. Here you can just close your eyes and dream away. And that for almost seven minutes. Sobs! And what a huge guitar solo. After countless playthroughs, this song is the absolute highlight for me. At the beginning of “Into The Void”, strong folkloristic elements can be heard. But very soon, high-speed metal roars out of the speakers here as well. And Chris warbles in the highest tones. Yes, she can do that very well too. Guitar solo – brilliant, but I alreay mentioned that several times. In the video for the title song “Checkmate!” you can admire Her Majesty Queen Christine all dressed in black leather on her throne.  This is also part of the stage decoration at live performances. Shortly before the end, the midtempo song “People Without Tears” becomes hymn-like. At the end of the regular Queen of Distortion present nightmares – “Nightmares”. But here one is rather encouraged to headbang. There is rather no danger of sleeping disorders at night. As an encore, there are four live songs to listen to, which were also released as an EP shortly before.

There are albums that become worn out when you listen to them several times. There are albums that you have to listen to several times before you like them. And there are albums that thrill you right away and get better and better with every new listen. Checkmate!” is one of the latter. Just one year ago, the band from Brunswick was completely unknown to me. In the meantime, the quintet is more than just an insider tip for me.

Queen of Distortion – Checkmate! (Official Music Video): https://youtu.be/c3HzS0LSvoI

Lineup:

Christine “Chris T’Anti” Krüger* – Vocals
Torsten Schirmer – Guitar
Mike Richter – Guitar
Carsten Bätge – Bass, Backings Keys
Holger Schilling – Drums

* – Source: Encyclopaedia Metallum

Label: Green Bronto Records

Out: July 02nd, 2021

Playing time: 59:14 / 01:18:04 (with Bonus)

Track list:

  • Throne Of Destruction
  • Bloody Rain
  • New Order
  • Electrified
  • Threatening Stalemate
  • Four Horsemen
  • Save Yourself
  • Torn From Life
  • Rest In Pieces
  • Into The Void
  • Checkmate!
  • People Without Tears
  • Nightmares

Bonus:

  • Four Horsemen (Live)
  • Checkmate! (Live)
  • Into the Void (Live)
  • Rise (Live)
  • 10/10
    Album - 10/10
  • 8/10
    Cover-Art - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Songwriting - 9/10
9/10
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