Just as if two different Queensrÿche albums released within just three months wasn’t enough, here’s another Queensrÿche related release that came out recently. Yes, Miss Sister Mary, a.k.a. Pamela Moore. Pamela Moore’s big break came with her taking the part as the ex prostitute turning nun, Sister Mary, in Queensrÿche’s masterpiece, the rock opera Operation: Mindcrime (1988). However, Miss Moore had two solo albums released prior to that, Take A Look (1981) and You Won’t Find Me There (1982), but things never took off and it would take Pamela six years to be heard of again. This time, however, she was on a platinum selling record and was also inducted into the live show and became a part of the Queensrÿche touring entourage. But her connections with Queensrÿche didn’t end there. She also had a part in the sequel, Operation: Mindcrime II (2006) and she also contributed some vocals to the Todd LaTorre fronted Queensrÿche’s new self titled album, on a song called “A World Without”. She also recorded an album with a project called Radar on their R.P.M. album back in 2000. After that, she had a few more solo releases out, the independent E.P. A Retrospect (2004) and Stories From A Blue Room (2006) that was produced by Neil Kernon (who produced Queensrÿche’s Rage For Order) and a guest appearance from Queensrÿche guitarist Michael Wilton. The latter is an album that Moore is very proud of herself, but unfortunately nothing major came out of that project. Rumours also said that Moore started a band named Sister Mary after her Queensrÿche sojourn, but that was never either confirmed nor denied.
With her new album out now, it has taken her seven years to release anything new, but this time it seems like the world will know about her existence. I mean, even I, who am somewhat a music nerd who likes to dig up new stuff and find out about artists who have lived a somewhat quiet subsistence, didn’t know anything about Moore’s past. The fact is, this album is first one I have ever heard with her. Let’s just hope that the word of Miss Moore will be spread this time around because not only does she have a fantastic voice, someone said she sounds like a female Geoff Tate and I must admit there is some truth in that, but she has also recorded a very good album and it would be a shame if Pamela would have to stay unnoticed. Because this is no Idol talent. This is not manufactured – this is the real deal. Just listen to the opener “Acquiescent”. It’s really heavy, but with an awesome and memorable melody – great stuff. “Melt Into You” is a really good song with some very catchy riffing and reminds me of a more metal Queensrÿche and when we’re speaking of Queensrÿche, listen to the phenomenal “Paranoia” – this is QR with a female singer. “Awakening” is heavy, dark and epic – brilliant and “Breaking Down” is a magnificent ballad. But fear not, there is no cheese involved, in fact, it’s more of a progressive ballad. The ending track “Wide Awake (Phoenix Rising)” is just brilliant. Maybe it’s just me, but I hear traces of bands like Evanescence and such in that song, only more progressive – and I love it.
With the Queensrÿche connection and with guests such as Jeff Loomis (Nevermore) and Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) and a great album like this, hopefully she might catch a break this time around. One problem, if it can be called a problem, is that there might be a little too many of the Queensrÿche relations involved and if bad luck strikes, she might have painted herself into a corner there. But I don’t think that will happen as even though the QR influences are apparent, Pamela Moore sounds like Pamela Moore and nothing else. This album should be checked out by everyone who are into metal with a big melodic twist, good musicians and brilliant singer. As for me, I’m gonna start digging into her past and see if there are any goodies to be found there, hopefully while you are giving this album a fighting chance.
Jon Wilmenius (8/10)
02.Melt Into You
04.We Are Damaged
06.The Sky Is Falling
09.Desperate By Design
10.Wide Awake [Phoenix Rising]