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Queensryche: The Verdict

Album number three with vocalist Todd LaTorre in the lead vocal slot replacing departed legend Geoff Tate, is, like its predecessor Condition Human, a complete success for Queensryche, as the band return to the musical styles of their glory years but with one foot firmly planted in modern metal sounds. Original drummer Scott Rockenfield has been absent from the band since mid 2017, and LaTorre actually lays down all the drum parts on The Verdict, quite admirably I might add, with ex-Kamelot drummer Casey Grillo filling in for live dates. Rounding out the band are founders Michael Wilton (guitar), bassist Eddie Jackson (bass), and longtime guitarist Parker Lundgren.

Chris ‘Zeuss’ Harris once again produces the album, giving it that modern edge that worked so well on Condition Human, but it's the songwriting that is the key here, the band taking the formula that worked so well for them in the '80s, the big chorus, ear shattering vocals, melodic twin lead guitars, chugging riffs, a progressive sensibility, and dynamic rhythms. "Blood of the Levent" kicks things off in fine fashion, a memorable melodic metal beast chock full of riffs and soaring LaTorre vocals...and damn if he isn't a mighty fine drummer to boot! "Man the Machine" is like a distant cousin to "Walk in the Shadows", trademark Queensryche guitar licks flying all about the mix and Todd singing up a storm, while "Light Years" just plows through everything in its path, churning riffs and fat bass grooves hitting hard and going for the jugular, while the chorus is simply ultra catchy. Easily one of the albums highlights. The band goes for a more atmospheric and proggy vibe on "Inside Out", again, the hooks ever present, and the frenetic "Propaganda Fashion" is just a glorious prog-metal track, the twin guitars a joy to listen to. Synths and textured guitars permeate the lush "Dark Reverie", another winner for LaTorre, the lead and backing vocals rich and powerful, and the singer is seriously venomous on the hard driving "Bent", another riff fest with some scorching lead guitar and intricate rhythms. Another must hear on the album is the furious "Inner Unrest", ominous guitar patterns and potent vocals killing it on every level, as they do on the headbanger " Launder The Conscience", while the band slows things down for the moody closer "Portrait", the albums lone mellow track, but it's still a brooding winner.

With crisp production, memorable songs, and blistering musicianship, the 'verdict' on The Verdict is that this is another absolute winner from this current incarnation of Queensryche. The band have embraced their roots and delivered a sizzling heavy metal record here in 2019.

Track Listing
1. Blood Of The Levant
2. Man The Machine
3. Light-years
4. Inside Out
5. Propaganda Fashion
6. Dark Reverie
7. Bent
8. Inner Unrest
9. Launder The Conscience
10. Portrait

Added: March 10th 2019
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 739
Language: english

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