After already being one up on the fact I had seen these girls perform all these tracks live, whilst supporting The Almighty in Sheffield, I was interested to see how well it sounded on more produced level because their set was pretty bloody good.
McQueen are probably one of the only decent metal acts peeking through the scene at the moment, which lets face it, up until the late 90's considered 'metal' a dirty word, with the exception of a few bands like Metallica just making the bench still. What sets them apart from the rest? Well aside from the fact they're all girlies, quite a lot actually!
Not only have they enjoyed touring success with the likes of The Foo Fighters, Juliette and the Licks and our very own Kaiser Chiefs, they have now embarked on their own tour, and quite rightly so.
'Break The Silence' proves these girls to be potential contenders for 'queens of metal' and this debut EP certainly doesn't lack in the crunch department. It is a product of the times and McQueen show a lot of promise with these tracks. McQueen don't really have a distinct image, but anyone who has grown up on alt-metal will find similar touchstones throughout all the tunes which will remind them of something else, just with Leah Duors singing it but in her own distinct style.
First track on the EP is 'Neurotic' which is reminiscent of sleazy grunge and you would forgive anyone for thinking that they were going to be expecting flat out aggression but in fact they have turned up the feelings for the open tune on this CD which is a good opener, a metallic variation of emo.
'Dirt' is heavy yet current and weighty on the bass [Sophie Taylor] with a few little riffs thrown in for good measure. The drumming at times is brutal and tight and not just on this track, it is present in each of the tracks performances from Hayley Cramer.
One of my favourite tracks on this EP would have to be 'Running Out Of Things To Say' which is reminiscent of Hole and L7 however this motley group of females seem to have more balls than Courtney and Suzi Gardner put together.
There are few slower more toned down tracks on the EP such as 'Break The Silence' and 'Blinded' which show Leah Duors to have a much softer style to her vocal range than the usual fierceness.
There are two amazingly good tracks by way of 'Numb' and 'The Line Went Dead' which are seedy LA glam based tunes that are amazingly good anthems and they have a real groove to them, and in an era where all you get from female songwriters is a song about getting coffee down the street and putting their records on, it makes a refreshing change to hear strut out songs that that transcends your usual hard rock fodder.
'Not For Sale' is very rhythmic and follows an Alice In Chains vein and you will definitely find yourself bopping along to it as they have got it just right - although I will say that some of the lyrics are a bit na´ve and simple, but as Obi Wan said - with great power comes great responsibility and I'm sure they will get better with more experience.
'Don't Know How To Break It To You' has some interesting breaks in their from guitarist [Cat de Casanove] but the best song by far is 'Bitch' which is a manic hurricane of sound and a vocal which sounds like Leah Duors is alternately possessed by Phil Anselmo from Pantera.
This EP will flatten you! And it pushes the boundaries of this genre further than any group I heard in a very long time. It is brutal and beautiful and McQueen have a lot of talent, originality and offer maturity to their head splitting chaos and noise. They create an atmosphere which drives the songs and never fail to give any song a pulse, yet crude and playful at the same time. The bottom line is, McQueen are a bloody good venture, dirty, loud and nasty... with a touch of good radio friendly songs. Fantastically themed!