Queensryche review by Queensrÿche

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  • Released: Jun 24, 2013
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.8 (40 votes)
Queensrÿche: Queensryche
3

Sound — 9
Queensryche, in it's earliest beginnings, was progressive metal at it's best. Throughout those first handful of albums, including "Empire," "Rage for Order" and "Operation: Mindcrime," the band produced mind altering classics and a line of iconic hits. The up-close-and-person dueling guitar work of Michael Wilton and Chris DeGarmo, most similar to that found in Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, and the commanding vocal ability of lead singer Geoff Tate made such songs as "Eyes of a Stranger" and "Revolution Calling" such heavily hailed anthems.

But following their album, "Promised Land," the band's iconic sound began to diminish, and fade away into a style that most heavily resembles the alternative metal genre. There's nothing wrong with a band wanting to change their sound, but when you try new takes on your own style there has to be some anchor to your previous work. In this case there was nothing, none of that classic Queensryche element that originally made them stand out, and throughout the 2000's the band released a string of increasing unsuccessful albums comprised of downright bland pop rock.

But as any fan who hasn't been under a rock for the past twelve months can tell you, the reason as to why these albums had a drastic change in sound was revealed to be attributed to Geoff Tate, who had been ruling over the rest of the band members with an iron fist by directly limiting their ability to creatively contribute to songwriting and instead bringing in groups of outside writers to forge the past decade of Queensryche albums. After multiple physical assaults towards the rest of the lineup, three of the original members of the band sat down and eventually came to the conclusion that working with Geoff was no longer possible, and decided to fire him from the group and replace him with new powerhouse lead vocalist Todd La Torre of Crimson Glory.

Geoff later decided that he is entitled to the Queensryche name, and formed his own version of the band. But that is another story. What we're here to talk about now is the dynamic return-to-form given by this lineup with their new self-titled studio album. This album is a proud collection of eleven new compositions that all are simply soaked in classic Queensryche influence. All of those aforementioned factors that made the band's earlier material so iconic have proudly returned, louder than ever. There's no need for cheap album covers; this album makes a bolder statement than the letters "F.U." ever could.

Songs such as "Vindication" and "Don't Look Back" are fast paced riff racers that proudly feature some dominative guitar playing. It's refreshing to hear Michael Wilton be a rock guitarist again; throughout this new album it's almost as though he's been pent up for the past decade, and now that he's been freed he's letting loose finger blistering guitar solos and mad riffs unlike ever before. "A World Without" is a downright powerful song, that is drowned in progressive elements similar to those found in "Silent Lucidity." And "Where Dreams Go to Die" is another song that sounds as though it just stepped off of the "Rage for Order" album.

For the first time since 1994, I have been able to listen to a Queensryche album from start to finish and end up with absolutely no complaints.

Lyrics — 9
Lead vocalist Todd La Torre gives an astonishing performance throughout this new album. His range is simply uncanny, there is no way a human being should be able to produce those meanousing growls at the end of "Don't Look Back" and still be able to hit ball crushing highs such as those found in "Vindication." His voice has enough resemblance to Geoff to keep the album sounding familiar to the band's earlier material, yet just as Todd has stated on multiple occasions in interviews he makes a conscious effort to just add enough personality and uniqueness to allow him to stand out and make his own mark on the band's history. And he ever does so throughout "Queensryche."

Overall Impression — 9
It shouldn't be possible for a band to make a comeback as glorious as Queensryche does with their new album. I personally could not be happier or more impressed with this album, as a longtime Queensryche fan I had to sit there for year after year as the band released bland album after bland album, never once staying true to the sound that made them unique. So to have the band transition so quickly from the atrocity that was "Dedicated to Chaos," to the instant classic that we have in front of us with "Queensryche," it's incredible. It's an album that is long overdue, but at least it's finally here.

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Cavalcade
    I didn't expect too much from this album, after all the drama, but it's all right. Not my thing, but it's all right. I think some people are comparing it to the Tate stuff that came before it, which (of course) it looks godlike next to, but then again, so would anything. It's a solid retro heavy metal album with good songs, but it doesn't do anything new, and there are better albums. 7-8/10.
    starfire666
    "It's an album that is long overdue, but at least it's finally here." - amen to that, brother!
    JackalUK
    It's not a perfect 'comeback' album, but it is pretty good. I've heard that they are already writing material for the next release so hopefully they can continue to build on the foundations they have laid with the album and push even closer to the sound of their prime.
    Anjohl
    Everyone really needs to buy this album, and not Tate's, so that the boys can present sales figures to back up their case in front of the judge. The market's perception will play a big part here.
    RycheRulz
    I've been Queensryche fan since 1988 when Operation Mindcrime came out and I was 17 years old. I heard Eyes of a Stranger on Headbangers Ball and fell in love with that sound. I still remember it, Domino's Pizza, and a Coke and Mtv. I imediately got the earlier albums and was hooked. Empire came out and, yes it was different, but GOOD different. Promised Land was meh, for me and it's been steadily downhill since. I hung in there as well, hoping to hear a glimmer of the Ryche sound. Never happened. This album fulfills that need! It's not perfect, no, but it is an 8/10 for me. About the same rating I'd give Empire. I am betting they delve deeper into the classic sounds for the next album. Longer songs are being written according to an interview with LaTorre. Here's to not giving up!
    Countsluggo
    Definitely the best Queensryche album since Promised Land. I thought it was quite refreshing to hear. Sure its not a classic like Empire, but its nice to hear some guitar harmonies again, and Todd is a fantastic vocalist. liked his work with Crimson Glory so I'm not surprised he kills it on here. Look forward to seeing them live. Solid 7-8 for this album.
    Abacus11
    "Empire" was the last Queensryche album that did anything for me. I'm looking forward to giving this one a chance.
    Megadeth2011
    Glad to see this review is here 6 days after the album release. But in all seriousness, I do like this album. Todd sounds more like Geoff than Geoff does.
    rami80
    So UG gave this a higher rating than Black Sabbath's new album album. I'm not saying this album is bad, but I'm confused by how UG puts these numbers.
    travislausch
    Opinions, man. Reviews aren't meant to be completely objective. It's a review, not a description.
    takenthecannoli
    I'd accept that if this weren't a review that represented what the Team had concluded (if it was user-submitted) about it. You're also brushing off the idea of a review as purely subjective, which is rather ignorant. Just like analysis of any other entertainment medium (film, literature), music CAN be objectively analyzed and compared to other music. Either way, 9/10? You kiddin' me? 9-10/10 goes to album of the year. To near-and-perfect masterpieces.
    Mahoru
    Really good album! Definitely better than what most expected, myself included. I knew that without Tate on the band they'd be able to play much better stuff, but I wasn't sure if it could stand up against the classic (that means, good) Queensryche albums. Well, after a week of constant listening to this album I must say it does. It's not Rage for Order or O:M, but it's really good nonetheless. They haven't done anything new here, so it's not the most original album for certain, but they've been able to come up with a collection of songs which sound a thousand times better than anything they'd done under Tate's command since the mid 90's, and finally sound like Queensryche, not like some washed-up alt rock band. Not a perfect album, but after 19 years of absence of quality Queensryche I think we should be thankful they're finally back. A solid 8.5/10 for me.
    HeavyMetalSonic
    How the **** can people not notice how horrible it sounds? It's about as bad as Death Magnetic.
    MackD1970
    You must be thinking of "Frequency Unknown" since, that was the WORST QR album ever - and it's not even QR!!! THIS album sounds light years better than anything they have done since "Empire!"
    FireReaverX
    "finger blistering guitar solos and mad riffs unlike ever before" Seriously? Come on, man. There's a lot of ridiculous stuff in this review, but that's just going too far. None of the guitar solos are even remotely comparable to the leads he was playing in the 80s and 90s. Every single solo Wilton did on Empire was distinctive, highly memorable and served a purpose. Same with most of the records prior to that. On the flip side, almost everything on this record is a throwaway - either a simple harmonized lead melody or some semi-fast shredding that doesn't really develop into anything. Even on American Soldier, many of the songs had more creative, melodic and impactful lead guitar than what's on here. This is his worst lead guitar work on a Queensryche record. Ever. 6/10 for me. Decent background music, but not much more. Everything I hear on this album has been done before and done better either by Queensryche in the past or any number of modern bands in the past few years. It's not a "comeback" either. It's a debut. Black Sabbath this year, Soundgarden last year...those were comebacks. This is a different band. Different singer, different songwriters.
    MackD1970
    This album is a return to true form. Very well written, and the lyrics are about conquering, whereas Geoff Taint's version of QR has very juvenile lyrics, and horrid production values! THIS, is what I have waited almost 2 decades for. And with what I am hearing about the next album... I am STOKED!
    FadetoBlackened
    Easily the best since Promised Land. I think it's a more consistent album than Empire or PL to be honest. 9/10
    TheBigDirty716
    "ball crushing highs" HA! yes!
    Anjohl
    There are no "metal" highs on the album. Apparently, they originally cut the album with that style of singing, and changed it to a more Empire-style of vocals. I have a feeling that had something to do with the court case. It's too bad, as there are some very good songs on there, but none of the vocal lines really get you there.
    raymoore66
    first this is a review of the album the political lead in seams unnecessary and biased but that will be for a court to decide. as far as this track its is not the second coming as there are better and worse tracks since promised land. its good though. this is basically a different band, 2 of the major parts of the great chemistry are no longer a part of the mix and it will never be the same. i will base my decision on the album as a whole and as a new entity and not based against the original line up queensryche. I hope this will be fair to all three side of the queensryche family.
    Warheart1188
    The album didn't quite meet my expectations, although I do really like it. WHen I saw the band back in March, Todd's performance and the way they hyped up the album made it seem like we would definitely get old school prog metal Ryche but this album didn't deliver that. Todd was hitting a lot of high notes when I saw them like Tate used to but it's non-existent on this album (at least from the few listens I've had). It's a good vocal performance but not what I expected. Best I've heard since 'Empire'.
    Fjagi
    So shit.. Like the new megadeth and black sabbath record :S
    kiba56
    Personally I think that Geofs tate queensryche album sounded more like the old queensryche. His album and this album are better than the american soilder one imo
    Warheart1188
    You mean the heavy rock "F.U." album sounds like the old Queensryche? How old? 2000s and 90s old or 80s old? It sounds like anything Queensryche put out in the 2000s. Sounds nothing like old school Ryche.
    travislausch
    Better than their last couple, but prog-metal this ain't. La Torre sounds decent, a little too Tate-like, but the songwriting seems a little too... generic. I've always found Queensryche to be way too generic to be "prog" metal. I can see how they're trying to hark back to their Empire-era sounds here, but meh. Also does anyone else notice how auto-tuned La Torre's voice sounds? Sounds like ones and zeros, man /dethklok
    Tridyed
    Hmm well, I hate to be critical of a band I have held in such high esteem but.... Not making me feel the QR feeling really. They always had a way of creating songs that would lead to anthem like chorus areas that would make the hair on the neck raise up.... Not on this CD tho. As someone said above, QR in the day were gods and it would be hard for any one, even with the same old line up with Chris and Geoff back to capture what they were at in their prime. The leads are very forgettable and the chorus is at time more rappishly sung than the huge Backing vocals of their great years. 5/10 Good effort but such a long way to go to impress a huge QR fan. No comments I would give about the break up or who should own the rights. They can hash that out with out my input.