“Queen of Hell” EP

By Dr. Abner Mality

Here’s a very odd yet cool collaboration between members of Canada’s hard rockers Danko Jones and Finland’s super-prolific and hard to define Circle. Together these guys have conjured up a kind of music that dances between the worlds of heavy metal, AOR and hard rock. The perceptive press sheet mentions that it sounds like something that might have been released in 1980 and that description is remarkably accurate.

The primary feeling I get from these four extremely catchy tunes is radio-friendly hard rock with overtones of Blue Oyster Cult, Aldo Nova and Red Rider. The opening title track is an instant classic and the most overtly “metal”, with a kind of NWOBHM gallop to it but also strange bursts of analog synth and a smooth, singalong-able chorus. Infectious song! “556” is longer and stranger, with the synth being more obvious and sly lyrics that don’t take themselves too seriously. A lot of BOC in this one.  “Foes To Fire” is equally as weird but still retaining an AOR feel. Last track “Rise of the Deth” even features harsh, almost black metal vocals along with the much smoother clean singing. It’s like an early 80’s band having a brief glimpse into the future and incorporating those sounds into their standard catchy framework.

I don’t know if Iron Magazine is just a cheerful one-off but I wouldn’t mind hearing a whole album of this kind of material. You sure don’t hear anything else like this today!