Singer Pamela Moore is famed for performing as Sister Mary on Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime albums, along with guesting on metal-related projects by Eden’s Curse, Halcyon Way, and Primal Fear. But her fourth solo record, Resurrect Me is the first time she’s totally embraced metal on one of her own albums after flirting with it on 2006’s Stories From a Blue Room.

“This is the album I’ve always wanted to write,” she says of the Rat Pak Records release that arrived May 14th. “I’m glad [co-writer/co-producer/guitarist Michael Posch and I] stuck to it and saw it through the many years we had to write. I’m happy with how it turned out.”

Due to moving to Seattle from Chicago, running a successful vocal coaching business, and working around each other’s schedules, four years passed before Resurrect Me was completed. Moore and Posch, who’s a member of the Pamela Moore Band, pieced it together by sharing files via the internet. “We’re both really busy people, so we both had our times where we were able to sit down and concentrate on something without having to drive to one location and work on something,” Moore says.

Check out the song “Paranoia”

Posch’s fevered guitars and Moore’s dynamic voice are the primary drivers of Resurrect Me. She infuses her singing with just the right amount of passion and inflection on each track, and her vocals remain a force to be reckoned with. When album highlight “Awakening” finally bursts into a climax that’s assisted by a guitar solo from Nevermore’s Jeff Loomis, Moore loses herself in the song’s emotion, wailing so fiercely that she verges on Mariah Carey whistle territory.

“I really love how the song builds because it kind of has a lazy feel at the beginning, and it just kind of takes off. Once Jeff Loomis gets a hold of the solo it goes into this huge chaotic sound, and that’s where I start doing what you call my Mariah Carey,” she says, chuckling. “I don’t know what happened there. I think just at the end when we were doing it that just started coming out at the outro. We haven’t rehearsed that song yet, so it will be interesting to see how it sounds live.”

Lyrically, the album reflects on the personal growth Moore experienced the past few years. Much of it “has to do with processing change in my life and how I view certain things,” she says. “I hadn’t really set out to say, ‘I’m gonna write a record [with these kind of lyrics].’ It’s mostly what I connect with and hopefully what I connect with, other people will find some other connection as well.”

Pop-culture moments also influenced the project. The hooky, propulsive track “The Sky Is Falling” relates to the apocalypse that people believed the Mayan calendar predicted for December 12, 2012. Joining Moore on the song is Primal Fear vocalist Ralf Scheepers, whom she says lends “a lot of muscle” to it. Moore admits that deep down she wondered if doomsday was actually nigh and was asking herself soul-searching questions, like whether she’d done everything in life that she’d hoped to.

“The song is basically about the fact that it could happen, it could happen any day, and are we ready? These risks that we take all the time, is that worth it? It’s kind of a reflection and asking a question about things,” she explains.

The “Twilight” movie series also got Moore thinking. “Melt Into You,” which layers her vocals atop Posch’s fiery guitar, examines the sexual tension between the characters of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. “The whole idea of ‘Twilight’ about the fact that these lovers meet and it’s forbidden, and she crosses over and you have to be careful. The whole thing was kind of interesting, the dynamic between that, the tension between that, so I guess I have to say that movie kind of inspired me to talk about melting into people,” she says, laughing. “It’s a romantic thing about being with the ultimate bad boy. [But] maybe I shouldn’t fess up to [the “Twilight” connection] because all the metal heads will go, ‘What?'”

Lead single “Paranoid” is being supported with a video that was shot in an abandoned concrete factory. The creepy location lent itself to the jittery, black-and-white clip of Moore skulking about the ruins. Coincidentally, as she and the film crew were creating a video about fear, they had an unsettling experience. Near the end of the shoot as daylight was fading, a freshly charged battery in the videographer’s camera suddenly went dead, followed by a second battery. Moore’s phone also unexpectedly died. Unnerved, they packed up and left—and later found out that paranormal activity had been documented at the site. “Someone said to us that the draining of energy like that means that there’s a preparation of paranormal appearances, so we’re like, ‘OK, I guess we left at the right time because the ghosts wanted us to leave,'” Moore says.

Check out the song “Silent Lucidity”

Interestingly, in one of the video’s frames, a spray of graffiti reading “Pray for your soul to take” is visible on the wall behind her. The tagging is similar to the lyrics Moore wrote for the groove-filled closing track “Wide Awake (Phoenix Rising),” so she included a photo of the wall in the CD tray to Resurrect Me.

The 25th anniversary of Operation: Mindcrime had passed a few weeks prior the interview, so Moore was (again) asked about her thoughts on the album that was a milestone for both her and Queensrÿche. It’s a legacy she knows will always be with her. “I asked someone the other day, ‘Do you think I’ll ever get away from “Pamela Moore known as Sister Mary”?’ And he goes, ‘No, it will be forever etched in your gravestone,'” she says with a laugh. “I’m not worried about it. I proudly hold the title.”

She also can’t get away from another inevitable question: what she thinks of the acrimonious split that occurred between singer Geoff Tate and the band last year.

“Change is good for anyone as long as you can look at it as understanding your accountability in it and understand that these things happen, and you can move forward and start a new beginning. I think that’s what’s going on with Geoff and the boys,” she says. “But it’s sad, because people have known and loved Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate as the singer for a long time. And of course, look at me. I’ve stood next to him for many years, singing with him and learning from him. That’s something I will always appreciate very much, but there’s times when things change and sometimes the rug gets pulled out right from underneath you and maybe you didn’t notice something you should have.”

Check out the ‘Resurrect Me’ album teaser

Moore says that Tate asked her last August to reprise her role for the Operation: Mindcrime 25th anniversary tour that he rolled out with his new version of Queensrÿche in April. She says it was difficult to decide, but she declined so she could fully focus on Resurrect Me. “This album was finished and I was feeling very strong about the album and how my fan base would feel about it, and I didn’t want to make a commitment with him and then have to pull out of it for whatever reason. I wanted to be able to stand up onstage and show people this work I’ve done.”

However, Moore did do a few local shows with the original Queensrÿche last year since the band was performing close to Seattle. (“It wasn’t a situation where I was asked to go on tour with them,” she points out.) She also contributed vocals to the moody track “A World Without” on the band’s new self-titled album, which arrives June 25th. The appearance on another Queensrÿche album musically brings Moore full circle.

“I have a lot of different influences. I’m not somebody that just sticks with one particular type of music,” she says. “If you looked at my iTunes, it’s a list that goes from Tony Bennett to Primal Fear to Queensrÿche and everything in between… I would say Queensrÿche really did have a strong influence on me and I just worked on that craft—maybe by default, I guess, because that’s the genre I got put into and I enjoyed it. It just kind of went from there. Of course, I’m very grateful for it.”

Pamela Moore will perform material from Resurrect Me on July 13th at Louie G’s in Fife, Wash. W.A.S.P.’s Randy Piper, who also sings on the album, will join her as a guest.