Queensryche has signed with metal label Century Media Records for a worldwide record deal. The group will release its next album - its first with singer Todd La Torre - on June 11.
Drummer Scott Rockenfield says, "Century Media has been extremely enthusiastic ever since they came into the equation with us, and for what it's worth it's hard to find enthusiasm like that. After 35 years I guess I'm gracious and honored that we have people that are that enthusiastic about the band, so we're really happy about moving forward with them."
Century Media president of North American Don Robertson wrote in an email to Billboard about the label's interest in the band, "Many of us at the label have been longtime fans of Queensryche as a band. When we heard they were recording a new record, we were all definitely interested."
The deal resulted from Queensryche's team putting out feelers for interest in the album. Conversations directly with the group began when the band met Robertson at the Anaheim, Calif., NAMM convention in January. Rockenfield and Robertson declined to reveal details about the deal, other than Robertson stating in his email, "We have the option to be in business with Queensryche for a long time."
In September 2012 Geoff Tate rolled out his own Queensryche lineup, followed by a November announcement that the 25th anniversary of the band's 1988 breakthrough album "Operation: Mindcrime" would be celebrated with a tour. Two of those members (guitarist Glen Drover and drummer Bobby Blotzer) have since left the band. The lineup now features brothers Rudy and Robert Sarzo on bass and guitar, respectively; drummer Simon Wright; guitarist Kelly Gray; and keyboardist Randy Gane. Multiple guest musicians are also performing on Tate's upcoming Queensryche record, such as Brad Gillis, K.K. Downing and Ty Tabor.
As far as the original Queensryche is concerned, it's focusing on its Return To History tour, which begins today (March 5), and completing the album. "Recording is finished. It's that final stage where we mix and we master... It's been quite crazy so we're winding down so we can focus on the final section of the record, which is the artwork and the name and everything else," Rockenfield says. The band has reteamed with producer James "Jimbo" Barton, who also guided Queensryche in the studio for its albums "Operation: Mindcrime", "Empire" and "Promised Land", for its latest project.
What will happen when the album hits shelves - and the lawsuit is settled - remains to be seen. The trial date is set for Nov. 18. Asked how it would affect the terms of their deal if its version of Queensryche loses the lawsuit, Robertson wrote, "I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it."