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  Queensryche
'Queensryche'
Century Media
24 June


Roger Berzerk Fauske

Roger Berzerk Fauske



queensryche

Queensryche have been in the news in the recent past, sometimes for things other than their music but this review is totally about the music. Legal and other issues I will leave to the lawyers and to be honest I really don't care about the who did what to who teenage tantrums – this is MetalTalk not Miranda's angst column.

Now that is out of the way, what of a band that have sold over 20 million albums but whose recent output hasn't been what you may expect? I never expected a second 'Operation Mindcrime' (you don't do two of those in one band's lifetime).

Guitarist Michael Wilton says of the new music. "We're rebuilding the architecture and setting it back on course. We have the energy I felt when writing 'Speak' and 'The Needle Lies' from 'Operation: Mindcrime'.

Article continues below...



Original bassist Eddie Jackson echoes that sentiment, "We want to bring back the sound we started with. As kids, we bonded over listening to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Rush. That heavier element is a major part of this band. We're revisiting that, and we're having a great time doing it."

Bravado from musicians and management is hardly a new thing so a lot of the time it is taken with a pinch of salt, or in some cases a whole salt cellar. My ears make far better sense than their pens.

So should the advertising descriptions people be called in to have a look at any outrageous claims? In a word no.

From the opening instrumental intro 'X2' you just get the feeling that things have got better, a lot better. It is grandiose intriguing molten lava pouring out of your screen – enough to give Icelanders that deja vu feeling. Intros are something this lot have always done rather well and always thought about. Short they may be but they stand out on their own.

There is mention of Revolution on the next track 'Where dreams go to die'. Shades of 'Revolution calling'? Well in a way yes but this is revolution in the truest sense, they have had their share of incidents over the years but with this line up, the creativity is there once again. The Queensryche revolution has gone full circle. Drums pounding away, forceful bass line behind it, this is classic 'Ryche. Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson of course know each other's playing as well as I know the inside of a bottle of JD, but they do what they do so well it is a beautiful thing. Michael Wilton is, well, Michael Wilton. Part of the glory days and you can tell immediately that his words are not just empty ones. Parker Lundgren, with the band for a few years now, never had the easiest of jobs convincing the Queensryche fans replacing possibly the most creative element in the band, Chris DeGarmo. But slowly and surely he has been fitting in, morphing into pure Queensryche along the way and with this album it is apparent he is where he belongs.

So to the man behind the voice. OK, so I lied about not mentioning the ensuing catfight, but I will only mention it only once. We don't know what will happen in court later this year between Geoff Tate and the rest of his former band mates. I also want to place on record that I love what Mr Tate, in a purely platonic way you understand, and the band produced especially before Mindcrime and of course the epic itself. But in an ironic way, events of the past year have provided the kick up the proverbial arse that maybe the band needed. Yes yes, I am getting to the current singer, be patient. Early Queensryche without Tate just would not have produced what they did, so in a way it seems a touch ludicrous to try to get back to the glory days and that sound without him. Who on earth could you replace him with? As it turns out, Todd La Torre is about as close to the answer as it gets. Yes really.

He has that feel to his voice, and that is such a huge part of the band, the feel, the emotion, the passion. There may be an argument that he is trying to sound like Mr Tate but in truth the music lends itself to him being like that, this is no stars in their eyes episode. And as those who knew him from Crimson Glory will already expect, there is so much more to his voice and that makes this album so damn good – classic Queensryche with extra protein thrown in.

As if to prove the point 'Spore' has all the ingredients of something lifted from 'Rage for order' and given a testosterone implant. Rockenfield again pounding away. It is almost military in its precision, a call to arms. La Torre's voice echoing Tate's but with a lot more to it, taking it in directions that never happened before.

'In this light' has La Torre drifting more into his own sound but it is still very Queensryche. Balladic, but still a rocker, bass lines shifting your attention, there is so much depth to this one. Twin guitars in perfect harmony, like snakes wrapped round each other, at times deceiving into one entity.

So to the single 'Redemption'. A first taster to the fans that the band meant what they said and are back. Also a vehicle to show that the voice they now have is only going to grow their sound not detract from it. Only the most bitter Tate fan can have reservations.

'Vindication' is next up and I doubt the name was intended to mean this but if there was ever any vindication for Mr and Mrs Rockenfield to buy little Scott his first drum kit, then this is it. The drummer going through all the moves but never making it seem like it is all about him. Forceful melody stampeding its way through, vocals piercing. Anything else you need?

55 second instrumental 'Midnight lullaby' is as intriguing as it is short. Personally I wouldn't recommend it as a lullaby unless you want to scare the living daylights out of your precious little cherub, but as a break on this album it is perfect. A little of the feel of Mindcrime about it, eerie, ghostly in its essence, fading back into your speakers as the calm before the storm.

'A world without' expands on the dark theme, bass and drums in sync driving you towards certain gloom and doom. But it is gloom you want to delve deeper into. Chorus almost anthemic, this is a beautifully crafted song.

'Don't look back' could well be a retrospective look at the world described in 'Mindcrime', the revolution theme again rearing its head with a vengeance. "A revolution on the brink" screams out at you, corporate greed getting a thorough slap on the naughty bits with a big pointy stick. Musically as well it could easily fit side by side with that album.

More mention of revolution follows in 'Fallout' this time apparently it is in disguise though. Another superb song powered by La Torre's vocals almost harmonising with himself in competition with the twin guitar harmony.

So to the final track, 'Open road'. Toning things down just a little, it is a song with a meaning, "Searching for a better way...a blessing in disguise right before your eyes".

It is a song full of hope, optimism and for what it's worth guys, I for one am fairly sure the search for a better way is over. Classic Queensryche riffs, rising vocal chorus, rhythm unit bludgeoning along behind the guitars, it is a perfect way to finish.

It is possible you may have detected a slight feeling that this album has me impressed; it has, immensely. Queensryche had maybe become one of those bands that I still listened to more due to past glories and a blind sense of loyalty. After all they were responsible for one of THE great Rock albums.

As much as I would have loved them to reproduce their greatness with Geoff Tate, the fact is that would never have happened had he stayed. La Torre is the man behind the mic now, get used to it as it can only get better.

To me though the glory behind this album is the sound that Wilton spoke about. It is pure Queensryche, classic Queensryche. Even better than it once was. The original members are the driving force behind this, not the new vocalist. If you want to throw hands I will but don't try to tell me this isn't the genuine article.

Down side – it is an incredibly short album, not too much more than 30 minutes. Quality not quantity.

This is the 12th studio album and perhaps strangely self-titled. But maybe not so strange after all. New York was so good they named it twice; the same goes for the lot from Seattle.

It may not be normal to give an album a maximum 5 out of 5 pints, but for one I like beer. Secondly it is worth the extra ½ for the damn big smile it put on my face.

Welcome back guys.

beer beer beerbeerbeer


12.6.13













 

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hrh aor ALL GUNS BLAZING FOR NEW HRH AOR 5 ANNOUNCEMENT
Phil Lewis & Tracii Guns unite under the L.A. Guns banner once again for next year's HRH AOR 5 being held next March at Camp HRH in North Wales...

deep purple DEEP PURPLE 'LIVE AT THE NEC' DVD ON THE WAY: FAREWELL JON, WELCOME DON
The two share keyboard duties during the night in a very fitting "passing-of-the-torch" moment...

status quo ROCK 'TIL YOU DROP WITH STATUS QUO 1981-1986 VINYL BOX SET
In addition to the studio albums the box set will include an extra disc of b-sides and extended mixes...

zz top ZZ TOP TO RELEASE THEIR VERY FIRST OFFICIAL LIVE ALBUM IN SEPTEMBER
"In an abstract surrealism style, this collection is a definitive chronicle of the band hangin' together for four plus deluxe decades..."

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG "SPECIAL TIME" HAS COME WITH NEW RELEASE
"The new Tygers album is finished, done and dusted and ready to unleash on our 'Tygertastic' audience. You're gonna love this one, it's a MONSTER..."

andy fraser ANDY FRASER OF FREE'S LAST RECORDING WITH SAIICHI SUGIYAMA ONLINE HERE
"'Melting Away' became one of Andy's last recordings. He still had so much to offer and I was really looking forward to continuing to work with him."

ritchie blackmore RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW TO PLAY AGAIN BUT WITH LESS DEEP PURPLE SONGS
"I would do probably ninety-five percent Rainbow songs; that's what they seem to want to hear. And it didn't occur to me. I just naturally assumed they wanted to hear everything."

saxon EXCLUSIVE: THIS IS WHAT OUR FAVOURITE ROCKERS THINK OF THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE
Comment from Saxon, Slash, Thunder, Iron Maiden, Uli Jon Roth, Hawkwind, Cher, Johnny Rotten, Machine Head And More...

beyond the black UK EXCLUSIVE: BEYOND THE BLACK SINGER JENNIFER HABEN IS LOST IN FOREVER AS FIVE MEMBERS DEPART THE BAND
"I have enjoyed the time together with the guys very much and am grateful for everything we have achieved together in Germany. I am currently looking for new colleagues..."

cats in space CATS IN SPACE SET TO RELEASE SLADE CLASSIC WITH DANNY BOWES OF THUNDER ON GUEST VOCALS
"It's is one of my favourite Slade songs, so when they asked me to sing on their version it took me a good second and a half to say yes..."

guns n roses WAS BREAKING NEWS: GUNS N' ROSES ADD MORE TOUR DATES FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER
The Gunners' newly announced dates are for South America with ten dates in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia with more to be announced soon...

keith moon YOU WON'T GET FOOLED WITH OFFICIAL KEITH MOON COMMEMORATIVE DRUM HEAD
Manufactured as a special, custom product by Remo, these 14" high-gloss drum heads are a perfect collector's item for true fans of the legendary drummer and The Who...

the answer WAS BREAKING NEWS: THE ANSWER AND THE DEAD DAISIES ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER UK TOUR
"The fact that we get to debut this new material with our mates The Dead Daisies just adds to the rush we're currently experiencing. You really don't want to miss this one!"

ian gillan IAN GILLAN SAYS: "IT'S A WONDERFUL THING, VINYL..." WITH NEW COLLECTION ABOUT TO BE RELEASED
"You just bought something significant, not easily disposable. And look at the sleeves - aren't they cool..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY: "THE LYRICS ON THE TITLE TRACK ARE SOME OF SPIKE'S BEST EVER!"
"I approached the songwriting from a different angle and it felt good. There's a lot of passion there."

48 hours 48 HOURS TO ROCK THE UK TO A CITY OF ASHES
"We're hitting the road in September for a co-headline tour with our broseph's City Of Ashes! This will be one of the unsigned tours of the year!"

hammerfall WAS BREAKING NEWS: LIVE LIFE LOUD WITH HAMMERFALL ON 2017 EUROPEAN TOUR: NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY
"We can't wait to get back on stage again to have a gigantic Heavy Metal party every night with all our Templar friends!"

joe perry AEROSMITH GUITARIST JOE PERRY REPORTEDLY SUFFERS HEART ATTACK DURING HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES GIG
"Thanks to everyone asking about our brother Joe Perry," Alice Cooper wrote. "He is stable right now, with family and is under the best care."

onslaught ONSLAUGHT, BEHOLDER AND ANIHILATED TOUR PROMISES TO BE A TOUR DE FORCE
"By the time we hit the road in November it will be well over two-and-a-half years since we did the last run and we feel the time is now right..."

arw ARW (JON ANDERSON, TREVOR RABIN AND RICK WAKEMAN) ANNOUNCE BAND FOR UPCOMING WORLD TOUR
"I have played with arguably the three greatest bass players ever and I can't wait to play with one of them again!"

marillion MARILLION UNVEIL 'THE NEW KINGS' FROM FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM 'FEAR'
'The New Kings' can also be heard on Marillion's current tour which starts on Monday 11th July in Barcelona...

michael des barres AN AMERICAN WRITER ASKS WHY IT TAKES A BRITISH EX-PAT TO ASK, "WHAT'S GOING ON?" MICHAEL DES BARRES HAS THE ANSWER
This incendiary cover of Marvin Gaye's classic confronts America's issues in an incredibly timely and head-on manner...

freedom call FREEDOM CALL RELEASE A NEW METAL HYMN 'HAMMER OF THE GODS', AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD NOW
The trademark bold vocal harmonies remain. The track is taken from forthcoming opus 'Master Of Light'...

guns n roses STEVEN ADLER JOINS GUNS N' ROSES ON STAGE IN OHIO: FOUR FIFTHS OF 'APPETITE' LINE-UP PLAY TOGETHER FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1990
"On the drums, you might know this guy. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Steven Adler..."

ac dc AC/DC BASSIST CLIFF WILLIAMS TO RETIRE AFTER ROCK OR BUST WORLD TOUR: "IT'S BEEN SURREAL"
"AC/DC has been... you know, just... I don't know what else I would wanna do. I love the music and I love playing in the band, and I'm all filled up..."

guns n roses GUNS N' ROSES USE THEIR ILLUSION TO SILENCE THE DOUBTERS WITH US TOUR GOING SO FINE
Axl is clearly in his element on this tour, running across the stage to jump on the monitors mid-song and displaying all the panache of a man completely on top of his game...

stray del bromham STRAY TO ROAM AROUND THE UK ON TOUR INCLUDING A RARE REUNION OF THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP
No need to move a mountain as both Stray and Del Bromham's Blues Devils are on their way to a venue near you...

amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOY THE NEIGHBOURS WITH RAUCOUS NEW SINGLE
'Let The Neighbours Call The Cops' was co- written by vocalist Gill Montgomery and Black Star Riders front man Ricky Warwick...

eagles of death metal WAS BREAKING NEWS: EAGLES OF DEATH METAL WANT YOU SO BAD ON TWO UK DATES IN AUGUST
This is EODM's first visit to the UK since the band were caught up in the terrible events at The Bataclan Theatre in Paris back in November 2015...

soil SOiL 'SHINE ON' THE UK WITH COMPREHENSIVE TOUR
"We are looking forward to seeing some new places and making some new friends this time around..."

acid reign ACID REIGN GET IN FESTIVE MOOD EARLY WITH SPECIAL GIG ANNOUNCEMENT
'Tis the season to Thrash as Acid Reign team up with Shrapnel with far from obnoxious results...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN: LEGACY OF THE BEAST MOBILE RPG GAME IS OUT NOW
"We've always wanted to make a quality Maiden mobile game as we think the combination of Eddie and the music is so well suited..."

rick parfitt status quo EXCLUSIVE: STATUS QUO'S RICK PARFITT SEEMS TO BE 'FINE FINE FINE' AS HE IS SPOTTED OUT AND ABOUT
Following the recent health scare a picture has emerged online of him taking a walk in Kingston over the weekend...

bullet for my valentine BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE TO PLAY 'THE POISON' IN FULL FOR THE FIRST EVER TIME
"We promised you something special right? See 'The Poison' played in full for the first time in Manchester! Tickets on sale now here..."

alter bridge WAS BREAKING NEWS: ALTER BRIDGE TO HEADLINE ARENAS ACROSS EUROPE THIS WINTER WITH GOJIRA AND VOLBEAT
This will be their biggest headline tour yet with twenty-four dates across fifteen countries, kicking off on November 4th 2016

the mission WAS BREAKING NEWS: BAUHAUS FRONTMAN PETER MURPHY TO GUEST WITH THE MISSION ON THEIR 30th ANNIVERSARY UK TOUR
"Peter's appearance will help make these shows the special events that we always wanted and hoped they'd be..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN ILLUSTRATOR DESIGNS SHIRT FOR ONE DIRECTION'S ZAYN MALIK, MAIDEN LAUNCH THIRD TROOPER BEER AND HI-ON-MAIDEN TO HEADLINE PICCSTOCK
A full-bodied beer using a blend of chocolate and crystal malts to give "a roasted malt and caramel backbone with hints of liquorice and honey"...

bruce dickinson BRUCE DICKINSON TO TAKE PART IN TOP GEAR STYLE CHARITY ROAD TRIP
"The enthusiasm from the group is amazing which will lend itself to making it an unforgettable trip..."

anvil WAS BREAKING NEWS: ANVIL ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR FOR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
Anvil will not only be playing dates in Scotland and Wales but also English towns which rarely see major international artists, such as Huddersfield, Doncaster and Grimsby.

status quo IT'S TIME TO GET 'DOWN DOWN' TO BUTLINS AS SECOND STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION IS ANNOUNCED
The weekend will feature live music from ex-Quo drummer John Coghlan and his band with long time friend of the band, Jackie Lynton also scheduled to appear...

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