Label: Century Media
Three similar bands: Crimson Glory/Wildestarr/Slave To The System
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
1. X2
2. Where Dreams Go To Die Spore
3. In This Light
4. Redemption
5. Vindication
6. Midnight Lullaby
7. A World Without
8. Don't Look Back
9. Fallout
10. Open Road

Todd La Torre (Vocals)
Michael Wilton (Guitars)
Eddie Jackson (Bass Guitar)
Scott Rockenfield (Drums, Percussion, Orchestrations)
Parker Lundgren (Guitars)

The Warning (1984)
Rage for Order (1986)
Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
Empire (1990)
Promised Land (1994)
Hear in the Now Frontier (1997)
Q2K (1999)
Tribe (2003)
Operation: Mindcrime II (2006)
Take Cover (2007)
American Soldier (2009)
Dedicated to Chaos (2011)

Pamela Moore (vocals on 8)
Andrew Raiher (violin, additional orchestral arrangements)

Album produced by James ‘Jimbo’ Barton
Tom Baker – mastering
Alan Miller – recording (bonus tracks)
Tom Hall – engineering
Jason Daggett – engineering
Chad Gendason – engineering
J. J. Farris – engineering
Patrick Thrasher – engineering
Sean McLaughlin – engineering
Craig Howell – design, art direction
"Iron" Mike Savoia – album photography
Kari Pearson – videography
Recorded at:
Rockenfield Digital Studios (Seattle, WA)
Watershed Studio (Seattle, WA)[1]
Klaus Badelt Studios (Santa Monica, CA)
London Bridge Studio (Seattle, WA)
Uberbeatz Studios (Lynnwood, WA)
Reel Audio Studios (Des Moines, WA)

Released 2013-06-24
Reviewed 2013-08-15

century media

I'm not going to follow the ranting that's going on at the moment about Queensrÿche. At least not right now. This is a band that's made a couple of the most memorable albums in this obscure part of the music industry, called hard rock, ever. And they've also given me personally two of the most memorable live shows I've experienced besides that. Their position as one of the most influential bands playing progressive heavy metal can't be denied by anyone and even if some of their twelve albums haven't always been brilliant they've done more than enough that is.

Unfortunately, it's not only their music we remember when we hear the word Queensrÿche if we've had some perception of what's happened around the band during the years because besides making some really good (and not so good) albums, they've also gone through a whole lot of conflicts, disturbance and fraction. Lately more so than before, which has resulted in an pending legal process for who has the right to use the name Queensrÿche - Geoff Tate or the trio of Wilton/Jackson/Rockenfield. Until that is settled, we have two Queensrÿche roaming the world of music (just like we have two Asia-constellations) - which shouldn't be seen as a negative thing. This is the one without Tate and I'm guessing a whole lot of you (at least those who haven't heard this album yet) are sitting there thinking: So how does Queensrÿche sound without the characteristic, trademarked - almost iconic - voice of Tate that's been in the band for so long? I'll get to that soon...

'Queensrÿche is only 35 minutes long and that feels like a short album, for once. Normally I'm often complaining about album lengths the other way around but Queensrÿche don't need to worry about getting tedious with this album. Two of the eleven tracks on this album ends around the minute mark, while the other nine are normal songs around 3-5 minutes. All though I can't really relate them to an era of this band or an album to which it feels close, I think the album sounds very much like a Queensrÿche album.

So what's obvious on the album? Well, the heaviness of it is quite obvious - it's definitely the heaviest Queensrÿche album I can remember, which isn't a good sign alway. It's quite common that a band just go fast or heavy when they run out of other ideas, but in the case of Queensrÿche on this album - that's not the case. They've clearly been creative as well on 'Queensrÿche' and if we're talking creative, clever ideas in their otherwise quite modest take on heavy metal I think this one stands up well in their discography. Their pretty straight forward melodies are filled with idle pleasures to amuse your head to while you enjoy the simple part of the music, which they've managed to do somehow by letting every instrument play something that at the same time goes straight as it goes sideways. The guitars and drums are often those who makes these double steps by going back and forth from a symbiosis between the instruments. While often playing like a unit in the choruses, the verses are often at least a three level race on this album and therefore most songs are as memorable for their complex verses as for their catchy choruses. This album definitely stands closer to the most memorable albums of the band rather than their lows on the musical level.

So what about the vocals then? As said already, Tate has his own Queensrÿche now where he sings like Tate normally sings - high pitched to the border of falsetto and smoothly smoothy smooth. But Queensrÿche without Tate, how does that work? Well, here I'd like to give the band some criticism for their choice of voice because it feels strange to me that they'd choose a vocalist so similar to Tate when they nevertheless had to find a new voice for the band. So why not change more dramatically, so that you really hear the change? I never thought Queensrÿche were cowards, I always thought they dared to make drastic changes since they've done so quite a few times in the past. That's why I'm surprised by Todd La Torre as he sounds more or less like Geoff Tate, but with a different accent. It's almost like he was Italian, which - as far as I can tell - he isn't but still sounds like. Now I know the story with La Torre and that he wasn't chosen as vocalist solely because of his voice - he met the band and they got along and in the end he was more or less hand-picked for his character and not voice… but… judging from the voice alone (I haven't met La Torre so I know nothing about his character) it's not big change from Tate. Slightly less clean voice and, as I've mentioned, a different pronunciation.

The complete product that Queensrÿche gives us here have very little to complain about. If I were to complain about something I'd pick the album length for being ONLY 35 minutes. Looking at the songs I canät say I find any tracks being particularly bad, but there are a few that sounds somewhat better. Instrumentally I think the band are perfect and vocally their newcomer leaves very little to complain about as well. On the production side I also feel there's little to mention - it feels good all over, perhaps slightly too heavy for it's own good but that's a matter of taste and I'd much rather take an album like this than another one like 'Tribe'. Not because I disliked 'Tribe' unduly, but because it feels like one album like that in a career really is enough. So all in all it's a good album - definitely one of Queensrÿche top five! Now I haven't heard Tates version of Queensrÿche 2013 but I've found a couple of songs on the net and as far as I can tell from them this album sounds much more like the Queensrÿche I think of when I hear the name and it's definitely heavier and from what I can tell also better.

So is there a Queensrÿche without Geoff Tate? Definitely!



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