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Queensryche: Queensryche

This album is another that proves that a change in front man isn't always detrimental, it may have been a long time coming but with a new vocalist on board the Queensryche of old are back. This self titled release is their best recording in such a long time, Queensryche makes you think back to those fantastic albums that this group used to record.

There has been a long running view that in order for Queensryche to recapture that earlier magic it would require the return of guitarist Chris DeGarmo. This album finally dispels that perception, Queensryche still have what it takes and it just took the change to let it out. While three key original members remain that is guitarist Michael Wilton, bass player Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield. That leaves guitarist Parker Lundgren who joined in 2009 and lead vocalist Todd La Torre (ex. Crimson Glory) who has proven to be the ideal choice for this crucial role, and with such a fitting range and style coupled with the music you wouldn't think it was any other group than Queensryche. I actually can think of quite a few other metal bands who have had major line-up changes and now combine experience and youth with equally great results.

Queensryche sound so invigorated and a highlight of the album is surely drummer Scott Rockenfield who puts in one of his best performances his drum work is so animated and creative on songs like "Spore" and "Vindication". Rockenfield's band mates also display so much enthusiasm Wilton and Lundgren's guitars are a winning combination. Queensryche is a somewhat atmospheric experience and the songs bring elements of that classsic Queensryche feel and still sound so fresh, with top vocals both lead and backing that combine so effectively the catchy chorus of "Spore" is a great example not to mention a fantastic song. "Where Dreams Go To Die" and "Redemption" gave us a taste of what was to come and the remaining songs offer plenty of great Queensryche metal. There's the pulsating rock of "Don't Look Back", the haunting sounds of "Midnight Lullaby" lead into the slow and mighty feel of "A World Without" and the many charms of "In This Light" capped of with a great guitar solo. "Fallout" delivers more vibrancy and the powerful "Open Road" has the band "Moving to another day, Searching for a brighter shade of grey".

I have noticed some complaining about the sound but that just seems to be the norm now when a prominent new album comes along. I'll admit that I don't go analysing this aspect of a recording as thoroughly as some do, to my ears Queensryche sounds fine and it isn't going to change anyway so any perceived sound issues really hold little interest and my focus is on the songs. That is where I am pleased to say Queensryche have scored big time, it seems like so many years since I enjoyed a Queensryche album this much what a great way to comeback.

Track Listing
1) X2
2) Where Dreams Go To Die
3) Spore
4) In This Light
5) Redemption
6) Vindication
7) Midnight Lullaby
8) A World Without
9) Don't Look Back
10) Fallout
11) Open Road

Added: August 10th 2013
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 5846
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Queensryche: Queensryche
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-08-10 06:55:49
My Score:

Having unwittingly joined the (I'm sorry to say) ever growing number of bands with more than one line-up operating under the same name when they unceremoniously dumped their long-standing frontman Geoff Tate on his ass, due to (allegedly) behaviour which even by rock 'n' roll standards is bizarre, Queensryche offer up their first album with new singer and one-time Crimson Glory frontman Todd La Torre. Self titled to illustrate that the band, featuring original trio Scott Rockenfield (drums), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Michael Wilton (guitar) alongside more recent recruit Parker Lundgren (guitar) and of course Le Torre, are reinvigorated and infused with the spirit that makes Queensryche the band they are - or more pointedly were, this first step into a new era has much more in common with the early years of the Ryche than any of their recent albums.

Does that mean that Queensryche have rediscovered their mojo and delivered and album to rival Rage For Order, Operation:Mindcrime or Empire? Well no, but let's be honest that would have been asking for a bit much. However what this reenergised band (for the first time in a long time, they do sound like a band) have delivered should leave their long suffering fans hopeful that a complete return to form can't be far away. New singer La Torre has always had a tone similar to a certain Mr Tate, but to his credit on Queensryche the man stepping into the big pair of shoes strikes a fine balance between delivering classic Tate and offering a slightly new vision. It works a treat and infuses tracks like the brooding "Spore", slow building "Where Dreams Go To Die" and mid-paced thump of "Redemption" with a real sense of purpose and theatricality without veering into the overbearing stodge recent Ryche has been guilty of. While "Fallout" grittily grooves in a rather seductive style while "Vindication" steps as close as Queensryche does to delivering the O:M style that broke the band big.

Still, even with all those positives, it isn't all quite plain sailing, with the short "Midnight Lullaby", which segues into the takes too long to get going "A World Without" feeling a little self indulgent on an album that verges on short, while the straight ahead "Fallout" grazes throwaway territory.

However considering where Queensryche's stock was after the aptly named Dedicated To Chaos, Queensryche the album is a rip roaring success and one that will make long standing fans of the band grin from ear to ear.

Queensryche: Queensryche
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-06-30 13:21:59
My Score:

Some new blood in the form of former Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre to replace the ousted Geoff Tate seems to have been just the key to finally drive Queensryche to make music that falls right in line with some of their classic material. This new self-titled release is the best the band has sounded in years, as the album is filled with those trademark dual guitar harmonies, memorable melodies, soaring vocals, and progressive arrangements. With all the talk of how Tate was the main force behind the band leaning towards mainstream rock and alternative styles over the past decade plus, it seems obvious that the rest of the band had plenty more metal in them after listening to this very strong self-titled release. La Torre sounds great here, much like a young Tate in spots, and overall this is a very upbeat, positive sounding album where the entire band shines. There's been some talk about the production being too 'hot' and loud, but that seems a little nit-picky if you ask me as so many metal releases nowadays have that characteristic. Metal music was always meant to be played loud and have that 'in your face' attitude, so if that offends you, perhaps you need ditch those headphones or try another genre. Good to have these guys back playing music they were meant to play!

» Reader Comments:

Queensryche: Queensryche
Posted by Dorothy L on 2013-06-28 10:14:45
My Score:

I'd say the album is adequate at best. Definitely puts them on par with their peers in the metal community and not a laughingstock trying to make alternative music for the past 15 years. Best songs I think are Spore, Vindication, and Don't Look Back. I tend to skew towards the heavier songs for Queensryche. That being said, there's a lot of ballads on here. I'm guessing to give Todd's voice rest when, and if, they ever play them live. So far they seem rather conservative with the new songs in the setlist. Even Latorre had problems singing Redemption and this has already been skipped from the setlist several times to make way for other new songs. I noticed Michael Wilton has rather limited output for sole writing credits on this album. He collaborates a lot with Rockenfield the drummer but doesn't seem to write compositions on his own. The one song he is mainly credited with "Don't Look Back" reportedly was co-written with guitarist Parker Lundgren and Lundgren even admits as much himself in interviews. Lundgren however isn't co-credited as writing for the track on the album liner notes.

Most of the new songs seem to cull influences from modern progressive metal bands like Dream Theater and Fates Warning. The Queensryche guys have said in interviews they had older songs in the vaults that Geoff Tate rejected and I was hoping for a little more similar to the 80s/90s sound, even the polished, Empire sound which is still lacking here. You hear flashes of the Iron Maiden 80's metal sound here and there but nothing too obvious. It sounds very modern and probably more on par with Promised Land, especially the ballads. "In This Light" could qualify for a single for a 80's hair metal band like Bon Jovi. "Spore" sounds like it could have been written during the Rage years but isn't exactly vintage/classic sounding. The lyrics are acceptable and aren't misguided. Todd Latorre and co-collaborators on several songs Rockenfield/Jackson/Lundgren write about general topics involving human emotion and never tackle the social stuff Tate was very much into up until last few years when he suddenly became obsessed his more personal interests.

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