Queensryche EP

Queensryche - Queensryche EP ©1983 EMI
1. Queen Of The Reich
2. Nightrider
3. Blinded
4. The Lady Wore Black
5. Prophecy

There was a time when Queensryche was more than just a pop metal band that most people know via "Silent Lucidity". At their most formative stages, the Seattle band released this EP (amended with "Prophecy" for the CD release down the road) and set the stage for their earliest works. Obviously Geoff Tate's high octave and powerful voice was the main point of notice for metal fans discovering this band. There is a decent amount of good guitar interplay between Michael Wilton and Chris DeGarmo. I do have to commend the guitarists for solos that actually fit within the framework of the song, rather than simply wailing away like far too many metal bands tend to do. "The Lady Wore Black" is a highlight, as it showcases their ability to create strong music in a moodier song. The other famous track, "Queen of the Reich", is not quite as powerful as it could be. Perhaps the somewhat underpowered production robs the song of its potential. The CD bonus track "Prophecy" captures the band in 1986 and shows their slow but steady development. For longtime Queensryche fans, this EP is vital. I do suggest a newer fan check out Operation: mindcrime before investigating back any further.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/1999

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The Warning

Queensryche - The Warning ©1984 EMI
1. Warning
2. En Force
3. Deliverance
4. No Sanctuary
5. N M 156
6. Take Hold Of The Flame
7. Before The Storm
8. Child Of Fire
f9. Roads To Madness

Having already garnered a considerable amount of attention for their 1983 self-titled EP, Queensryche ventured forth their first full length in 1984, The Warning. As with all their efforts up to 1988's Operation: mindcrime, The Warning shows promise and invention but never quite takes it to that notch where they truly are mindblowing. The album contains more than a few decent songs, but there's a slightly sedated feel throughout the record as if the band is somehow holding back. The most notable feature of the album is Geoff Tate's remarkable range of vocals and he hits more than a few impossibly high notes over the course of The Warning. The band also shows a reasonable amount of songwriting skill as the songs never quite repeat themselves and have a fair amount of intricacies. The guitar playing is reminiscient of the mellower side of Judas Priest, with good twin guitar interplay. However, the production somehow takes away from the overall power of the guitars, which leads to that sedated feel. Moreover, the songs tend to be a less energetic and more introspective. By the album's end, one knows that Queensryche is indeed a promising band but The Warning isn't quite the release to place them on a higher echelon.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2001

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Rage For Order

Queensryche - Rage For Order ©1986 EMI
1. Walk In The Shadows
2. I Dream In Infrared
3. The Whisper
4. Gonna Get Close To You
5. The Killing Words
6. Surgical Strike
7. Neue Regel
8. Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)
9. London
10. Screaming In Digital
11. I Will Remember

Having built up a reputation with their self-titled EP and The Warning, Queensryche's second full length was a bit of a schizophrenic release, both highlighting the band's strengths and underscoring how their still blossoming skills were not in full force yet. The collection of songs written for this album both were powerful and intriguing and also reaching for a more firm foundation. The band had already honed their slick sound into a more technically proficient approach, particularly with Geoff Tate's consistently strong vocals. What is missing is a consistently fiery precision to all the songs here. While "Gonna Get Close to You" is a well structured and highly creepy song where the music intertwines with the lyrics perfectly, songs like "I Dream in Infrared" or "London" seem like they aren't quite there in terms of delivery. Rage for Order constantly seems like it is stretching for something the band cannot quite latch onto and the resulting performance is a tad more stiff and tense than it ought to be.

Regardless of the album's flaws, it is still necessary for fans of Queensryche to search this out to better understand the development of the band. There are more than enough fine songs to counteract the tension of the album. Chances are it'll never see as much playtime in your CD player as other releases from the band.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2001

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Operation: Mindcrime

Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime ©1988 EMI
1. I Remember Now
2. Anarchy-X
3. Revolution Calling
4. Operation: Mindcrime
5. Speak
6. Spreading The Disease
7. The Mission
8. Suite Sister Mary
9. The Needle Lies
10. Electric Requiem
11. Breaking The Silence
12. I Don't Believe In Love
13. Waiting For 22
14. My Empty Room
15. Eyes Of A Stranger

Up to 1988, Queensryche existed as this enigmatic band who never quite had found their precise niche with either of their full length releases, nor their debut EP. However, in 1988, Queensryche took the critical world by storm with the expulsion of one of the more heady concept releases up to that date. Operation: mindcrime immediately caught a great deal of attention due to its highbrow storyline featuring a theme of conspiracies, double crosses and betrayal. Moreover, the band was able to rein themselves in from their previous album's flaw of reaching short of their lofty ambitions. The music on Operation: mindcrime was written to suit the story as well as allow each chapter of the story to unfold in an appropriate musical backdrop. And even more amazingly, the band was able to write some catchy tunes to pull this off. Beyond just writing rock tracks, there are interludes, dialogue and snippets of sound effects to enhance the experience.

Operation: mindcrime features the best of both worlds. The music remains ambitious but still quite accessible to the average rockhead while the storyline behind the album is quite intriguing. People often wished there would have been a way to bring Geoff Tate's tale to the big screen and to a degree, the story seems strong enough to at least validate that argument. The album can be listened to either as a good, hard rock album featuring some mighty fine playing or as a heady concept release requiring a listener's steadfast attention to digest everything the band throws at him or her. Regardless of how one approaches the record, it does stand as one of Queensryche's climatic moments in their long career and is truly a classic record of the 80s.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2002

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Queensryche - Empire ©1990 EMI
1. Best I Can
2. The Thin Line
3. Jet City Woman
4. Della Brown
5. Another Rainy Night (without You)
6. Empire
7. Resistance
8. Silent Lucidity
9. Hand On Heart
10. One And Only
11. Anybody Listening?

After the critically lauded and highbrow concept performance of Operation: mindcrime, it seems only natural that Queensryche would follow up that album with a bit more mentally light album that eased up on all the intense storytelling and album-wide ideas. Empire did in fact do all that and provide a full album's worth of good, accessibly and pleasant hard rock, but also gave the band their first taste of widespread attention when the orchestrated and quite beautiful "Silent Lucidity" found a decent amount of airtime on radios everywhere.

For the most part, Empire is indeed enjoyable but overall somewhat lightweight. The focus of the album is pretty much on Geoff Tate's remarkably powerful voice and melodies but the music behind it is fairly average, at least in comparison to the band's previous works. The catchiness factor is very high (as the popularity of "Silent Lucidity" will attest) throughout and these are songs you'll remember well after shutting down your stereo. But what comes across quite blatantly is that there isn't the sense of ambition of earlier releases, as though the band needed a break from the intensity of their previous work. Granted, Empire is still a strong album, but it will appeal in a different way than Rage for Order or Operation: mindcrime. For a more mainstream rock release, Empire is better than most of its contemporaries, but simply not the absolutely most compelling Queensryche release of all.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2000

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Promised Land

Queensryche - Promised Land ©1994 EMI
1. 9:28 A.m.
2. I Am I
3. Damaged
4. Out Of Mind
5. Bridge
6. Promised Land
7. Disconnected
8. Lady Jane
9. My Global Mind
10. One More Time
11. Someone Else?

Due to the overexposure Empire received thanks to "Silent Lucidity" as well as my general lack of interest in this sort of hard rock/metal in 1994, I never bothered picking up Promised Land when it came out. Much to my surprise six years later, this album happens to be one of the more overlooked albums of the 90s. Not as digestible as Empire and nowhere near as heady as Operation: mindcrime, this outing simply took the listener on a road of good songs that contained depth as well as entertainment value. The songwriting took on the mood of "Anyone Listening?" from Empire and spread it out over an entire album using a multitude of approaches. "Out of Mind" is probably the most brooding and sullen track on the album, using both stark acoustic guitar and Geoff Tate's natural ability to croon to the maximum effect. "Bridge" follows up the song well, continuing with both the acoustic guitar base and Tate carrying a melody very convincingly. Possibly the best thing about Promised Land is that there are few high pitched vocal tricks and Tate obviously realized the importance of restraint in properly using his voice. The title track finds the band using the album's production to make them sound as though they were surrounded by vast amounts of space. Very effective and appropriate. Most importantly the band just seemed to have happened upon a creative streak that allowed them to come up with a group of songs that needed writing. Promised Land offers nothing more than intelligent rock, yet it contains nearly fifty minutes of some of the band's best work to date.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2000

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Operation: Mindcrime II

Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime II ©2006 Rhino
1. Freiheit Ouverture
2. Convict
3. I'm American
4. One Foot In Hell
5. Hostage
6. Hands
7. Speed Of Light
8. Signs Say Go
9. Re-Arrange You
10. Chase
11. Murderer?
12. Circles
13. If I Could Change It All
14. An Intentional Confrontation
15. Junkie's Blues
16. Fear City Slide
17. All The Promises

It can be argued that Queensryche jumped the musical shark in the 90s with Hear in the Now Frontier and the equally lackluster Q2K. In fact, some would contend that Promised Land was a major blunder for the band, although in my opinion, that is one of the finer releases in the band's catalogue. However, it would have been ideal if each member of the band had discovered new hobbies to distract them from ever making music again because they haven't done a single worthwhile thing ever since.

Let's just say that not only does Operation: mindcrime II jump the musical shark, but it borrows a high speed powerboat, revs it up to full speed and finds the world's biggest ramp to ensure complete shark jumpage.

The original Operation: mindcrime was a watershed album in 1988 that justifiably cast Queensryche as a highly commendable band with some great music and even a powerful story to go right alongside. There is no doubt in the mind of anyone who seriously likes heavy metal or hard rock that the album was a classic of the era. However, one must regard a sequel with serious reservations, particularly in light of the rotten output of the band for over a decade.

Simply put, this is abysmal garbage that puts such a hideous blemish on Queensryche that I can't take them seriously again. Nothing is worse than a pompous effort filled with truly subpar songwriting. The 1988 classic was one devastatingly powerful song after another. This, however, is warmed over cat vomit. Wait. Let me take that back. I do not want cat vomit to be given such a negative connotation.

Easily the worst album of 2006 by any "name" band. Avoid and strike Queensryche from the list of relevant hard rock bands.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2007

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Take Cover

Queensryche - Take Cover ©2007 Rhino
1. Welcome To The Machine
2. Heaven On Their Minds
3. Almost Cut My Hair
4. For What It's Worth
5. For The Love Of Money
6. Innuendo
7. Neon Knights
8. Synchronicity II
9. Red Rain
10. Odissea
11. Bullet The Blue Sky (Live)

Of all the atrocious, poorly conceived ideas for a new release...

Let's face it. Queensrcyche has essentially become the King of Bad Album Ideas for nearly a decade and a half. The band's attempt to capture their earlier career glory in the miscarriage that was Operation: mindcrime II demonstrated how far away from good music they had travelled. 2007's Take Cover only furthers the reality that this band needs to retire, but somehow travel back in time and do it after 1994's Promised Land. Time travel occurred in many episodes of Star Trek, so there's no conceivable reason that Queensryche shouldn't take this vitally necessary step to eliminate the embarrassment they have become.

Cover songs can occasionally spice up a band's catalogue. In a live set, cover tunes can be a great deal of fun. However, some bands, once past their expiration date, rely on cover songs to obscure the fact they can no longer write good original material. (Case in point: Metallica.) But if you're going to put together a full length covers album, the very least you could do is not completely and totally suck. Take Cover is an exceptionally painful experience. The band tries to blanket a lot of musical territory with their choices, from the obvious (Pink Floyd) to classics (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) to strange (Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice). In some cases, the end result is just rotten. Their attempt at Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" is truly terrible. In fact, I am forced to feel mortified on Queensryche's behalf, and that's simply not a way to win over fans. Queensryche is thoroughly outclassed by the version some adorable forest critters performed on The Muppet Show. In two cases, The Police's "Synchronicity II" and Peter Gabriel's "Red Rain", Queensryche paint by numbers and add absolutely nothing new to the original versions, which creates unneeded redundancy in the world. At their worst, "For the Love of Money" is cringeworthy.

At some point, one just hopes Queensryche realizes that they have ascended rock stardom, been one of the most recognizable names in hard rock, and had a pretty good career...at least till 1994. Surely they have enough money in the bank to retire comfortably and stop forcing people to sit through such wretched piles of drivel. This isn't even worth downloading for free through some illegal filesharing service.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2007

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