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Queensryche - "Queensryche" (CD)

Queensryche - "Queensryche" CD cover image

"Queensryche" track listing:

1. X2 (1:09)
2. Where Dreams Go to Die (4:25)
3. Spore (3:25)
4. In This Light (3:23)
5. Redemption (4:16)
6. Vindication (3:26)
7. Midnight Lullaby (0:55)
8. A World Without (4:11)
9. Don't Look Back (3:13)
10. Fallout (2:46)
11. Open Road (3:54)

Reviewed by on June 12, 2013

"'...[B]anished is both the dull lifeless musical direction and wretched vocal performances. The band has brought back much of the direction that made it one of the most revered in progressive/power metal history.'"

Have you grown sick of the Queensrÿche saga? Don’t care whether Mr. Tate keeps the name, falls apart, throws cell phones, and conducts stupid contests to “call out reviewers?” Couldn’t give a rat’s ass whether the rest of the band continues on with former Crimson Glory frontman Todd La Torre? Well, you came to the wrong review. For less drama, just head on over to the Megadeth news reel. The fact remains there are questions that need answering. When we last left Queensrÿche, its ousted king went off to the highest mountain in the kingdom to create the rather “Tateless” offering "Frequency Unknown”, having ignored his own capitulation - calling it “Queensrÿche” – all while its loyal subjects fenced him and his band of merry castoffs into the “world’s largest petting zoo.”

However, whatever became of the new king? Was the kingdom restored? Did it use its new found wealth to either build that crystal palace under pressure of hype to create “The Warning Re-visited” or did it put that money back into infrastructure after 15 years of neglect, in essence “rebuilding the Empire” and restoring “Promised Land Road.” Read on…the answers lie within!

Scott Rockenfield and company have conducted themselves with class before and since the virtual shit hit the fan, with all of the scumbaggery coming from one direction: Tate telling a crowd it sucked, alleged knife pulling on bandmates, suing and badmouthing the band after being dismissed, rushing a new album with a message, and Tate throwing fan cell phones. Now, three quarters of “Triryche” has answered with an album that was patiently crafted, with no mudslinging attached. However, when arranged in a certain way, the song titles read like chapters in a book about a country embattled in a fifteen year civil war….highlighting the suffering, to the battle plan, to the victory speech: “Where Dreams Go to Die,” “Fallout,” “Redemption,” “Vindication,” “A World Without,” “Open Road,” and “Don’t Look Back.” The end result is an album that puts Queensyche back on track around the time of “Promised Land.” Is it the greatest album ever released by the band? Absolutely not, but it certainly is a return to form with immense promise towards the future.

First off, banished is both the dull lifeless musical direction and wretched vocal performances. The band has brought back much of the direction that made it one of the most revered in progressive/power metal history. These latest and long painful years of “why” turned into “hatred” – something that was personally very hard considering how much the band meant over the years. This album is a refreshing return to well written songs, highly skilled musicianship, and the voice to bind it all together. Hardened fans of “Operation: Mindcrime,” who have been lying in wait with “pie in the sky” hopes will undoubtedly find much to criticize. Face it...Chris DeGarmo is not here folks, but I am confident that deep down he would agree that this album repairs the rudder that steered Queensrÿche down the roads to madness. The bottom line is that all the qualities lost have been regained: La Torre can hit a note and Whip and Parker do a damn great job at restoring that dual guitar harmony QR trademark.

From a critical point of view, one must not merely be lulled in by the instant mouthwash ridding that awful tate left by “Dedicated to Chaos” and every album that proceeded it all the way back to “Empire.” Comparing this to that timeframe is too easily beaten. However, had Geoff been sacked in 1990-1991 (with all things the same: DeGarmo gone and such), “Queensrÿche” would absolutely be the next logical step for the band, even a bit less commercial. “Redemption,” “Spore,” and “Fallout” brings that straight line power/rock back to the band and “Where Dreams Go to Die,” “In This Light,” “Vindication” and the gorgeous building of “A World Without” bring back that exciting prog element. From beginning to end, it was a sincere pleasure to actually enjoy Queensrÿche again. As for the run time, I have zero complaints about a 35 minute album. As a matter of fact, if progressive metal bands cut out the instrument fapping, the best parts of albums would be revealed and prove just as short.

With the kingdom restored and righted, now all that remains is the battle over its name. Like most tyrannical coups, there are always minor skirmishes and cultural differences that need to be resolved before the world returns to normal. Whatever the outcome, Queensrÿche no longer sits in the moat of its own castle, mired in the muck of wild experimentation, frightening cabaret nightmares, and lifeless degenerated music that had little association to what made the band so successful at its zenith. My only complaint is that they didn’t call the album “Restoration,” a classy counter message that would take that useless fist and shove it up the…well, you get the picture!

Highs: Restoration and vindication and a return to post "Empire" form.

Lows: Is it "Operation: Mindcrime III" - No.

Bottom line: The real Queensrÿche returns to a frequency that is well known.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)