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'Condition Hüman'
(Century Media)
Release Date: Friday 2nd October 2015

Johnny Main

johnny main


American progressive Heavy Metal band Queensrÿche were originally formed in 1982 in the Bellevue area of Washington and have released fourteen studio albums in their long and successful career. In case you're not aware of the band's history, they rose to fame in the 1980s supporting Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Metallica and Ronnie James Dio on US and European tours.

A watershed moment for the band came in May 1988 with the release of the 'Operation: Mindcrime' album, which is considered one of the greatest concept albums of all time along with 'The Wall' by Pink Floyd and The Who's 'Tommy'. The follow up album, 'Empire', was released in 1990 and confirmed their status even further. The hit single 'Silent Lucidity' (the first ever Queensrÿche record I bought back in 1991, incidentally) garnered two Grammy nominations in 1992, (losing out to Sting and Bonnie Raitt/Delbert McClinton in the end), which also helped to increase the band's reputation as one of the best rock bands of the time and ensured the 'Empire' tour played to sold out arenas all over the world.

As the late-1990s dawned, guitarist, and one of the main songwriters, Chris DeGarmo left the band (although he did return briefly in 2003 to help write tracks for the 'Tribe' album) and front man Geoff Tate took over as main songwriter as he pushed the band forwards with his own ideas dominating their output.

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The loss of DeGarmo was felt deeply by fans as the material released by the band after his departure seemed to lose its way. Under Tate's leadership, the band recorded 'Operation: Mindcrime II' in 2006, which was a far inferior album compared to the original one, and this was followed in 2007 by 'Take Cover' (an album of covers from artists including Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath Queen and U2) which also failed to win any new fans or plaudits.

As the band's career hit an all-time low, tensions began to grow within the group. These tensions eventually spilled out in a backstage altercation before a show in São Paulo, Brazil in April 2012. Tate was eventually fired from the band and was replaced with Todd La Torre (from the band Crimson Glory) later in the year before a lengthy court battle between Tate and the remaining members of Queensrÿche over the rights of the band name ensued, with Tate losing out in the end.

With La Torre on board as a permanent replacement for Tate, the existing members of the band regrouped in 2013 and inked a deal with Century Media and recorded what would become their thirteenth full length album. Titled simply 'Queensrÿche', the album returned to a more hard rock sound that they'd deviated from in previous years and it signalled something of a musical return to form for the band.


Their latest effort, 'Condition Hüman', is the highly anticipated follow up release, and it builds on the success of the previous 'Queensrÿche' album. Coming in at around fifty five minutes long, the twelve track opus sounds a lot more cohesive than its predecessor to me. The 'Queensrÿche' album wasn't quite what I hoped for, but that's only natural given the circumstances under which is was recorded, but the 'Condition Hüman' album is absolutely everything I've been waiting for from the band for the last decade. It's a solid piece of work with each member of the band firing on all cylinders ultimately producing an album that it a definite return to form.

Take 'Arrow Of Time' for example, which was the first track unveiled by the band back in July 2015. The fast guitar intro gives way as drummer, Scott Rockenfield, lays down the solid beat whilst the guitar solos from Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren are short but technical. It might be a high energy track and a great way to kick off the album, but it also includes a slower mid-section, which gives La Torre plenty of scope to stretch his voice and show what he can really do.

'Hellfire' has Rockenfield laying down a militaristic beat which is joined by a simple guitar track on what becomes quite a lengthy intro. The drums solidly anchor the track with the guitars punctuating some of the lyrics, before they come into their own during the solo. Both Wilton and Lundgren are technically well matched and their sound here is better than it's ever been.

In comparison to the faster songs you also have a couple of slower number like 'Toxic Remedy' which still retains a great overall sound. The floating guitar solo here is unhurried and as the track fades out, it's left to bass player Eddie Jackson to have the final word. 'Bulletproof' has more of a soft and measured approach with La Torre once again able to flex his vocal muscles. It's not quite a power ballad but it's certainly a powerful number, and the choir of voices in the background adds a classical touch to the song, making this an instant favourite of mine.

'Eye9' wouldn't look out of place on the 1994 'Promised Land' album (an album which I really like, by the way) whilst 'All There Was' is reminiscent of 'The Needle Lies' from the original 'Mindcrime' album with Rockenfield pushing out a punishing beat – I only hope the latter is added to the bands live show as it really shows what a powerhouse drummer he can be when he wants to be. Proof too, that these songs have their roots based in the rich history of the band that gives this album a "something for everyone" feel to it.

'Just Us' is as close as it gets to a proper ballad, with a simple acoustic guitar and soft vocals showing the way with La Torre once again taking his time with a thoughtful vocal performance. In the background, there's some electric guitar interspersed throughout but this song is really all about the acoustic guitar and the voice.

As I said earlier, this is the album I've wanted from Queensrÿche for more than a decade, and despite having to jettison their long term lead singer to achieve it, it's all been worth the wait – I can safely say that there's not a single bad, or indeed a mediocre, song on here. I've played this album continuously for over a fortnight and I'm still not tired of any of the songs.

The band seem to have settled down and have put everything that's gone on in the last five years behind them, to come out stronger and better than ever. Long live The 'Ryche!

You can see the official video for 'Guardian' here:

You can see Queensrÿche live here:
Tuesday 22nd September – LC Pavilion, Columbus (supporting The Scorpions)
Wednesday 23rd September – Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, Cleveland (supporting The Scorpions)
Thursday 24th September – The Vogue, Indianapolis
Friday 25th September – Caesar's Windsor, Windsor (supporting The Scorpions)
Saturday 26th September – Allstate Arena, Chicago (supporting The Scorpions)
Tuesday 29th September – Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, Denver (supporting The Scorpions)
Thursday 1st October – SAP Center, San Jose (supporting The Scorpions)
Friday 2nd October – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe
Saturday 3rd October – The Forum, Los Angeles (supporting The Scorpions)
Sunday 4th October – House Of Blues, San Diego
Tuesday 6th October – Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara (supporting The Scorpions)
Wednesday 7th October – The Joint, Las Vegas (supporting The Scorpions)
Friday 9th October – ShoWare Center, Seattle (supporting The Scorpions)
Saturday 24th October – Bossanova Ballroom, Portland
Sunday 25th October – Northern Quest Resort & Casino, Airway Heights
Friday 6th November – Isleta Resort & Casino, Albuquerque
Saturday 14th November – Speaking Rock Casino/Socorro Entertainment Center, El Paso
Monday 22nd February – Tuesday 1st March – Monsters of Rock Cruise, Miami
Saturday 16th April – Fort Hall Casino, Fort Hall

'Condition Hüman' Tracklist:
Arrow Of Time
Toxic Remedy
Selfish Lives
Just Us
All There Was
The Aftermath
Condition Hüman

Queensrÿche are:
Todd La Torre – Vocals
Michael Wilton – Guitars
Parker Lundgren – Guitars
Eddie Jackson – Bass Guitar
Scott Rockenfield – Drums

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