Monday, January 20, 2014

Queensryche - Queensryche

Okay, I am an old metal head and I grew up on Queensryche. I remember when the self titled EP came out and, like most metal heads of the time, was floored by this guy's vocals. How the fuck did this guy learn how to sing like that? Was this Rob Halford's love child? I became an instant fan of the band and believed (and still do) that Geoff Tate had (you see how I said HAD) the best voice in metal at one time. We all know the story...three essential albums and one good album after the release of the EP. Then it all went to shit!

So we get to 2012 and it seems that the band finally decided that they turned to shit because of the same man that made them great...Geoff Tate. So they fire him and bring in Todd La Torre from Crimson Glory. They start playing shows focusing on their earlier material. All the while a butthurt Geoff Tate decides that he's going to get a band of wash ups and call his band Queensryche too. WTF is going on? Will we actually get a decent Queensryche album now. Will this shake up make everything right in the world?

So, we fast forward to June 2013 and we get a new Queensryche album (if you can call thirty-five minutes an album). Metal heads are waiting on the edge of their seats to see if they will return to their former glory. Well, I'm sorry to say that what we got was an almost EP of mostly homogenized hard rock with minimal metal to be found. And what happened?  You got people jizzing all over themselves saying that Queensryche went "back to their roots." What album were they listening to? And don't get me started on the production! This is over loud production where the drums and base drown out the guitars. And the guitars have this strange thin sound to them and are buried WAY down in the mix.

Okay, before I get carried away here let me clarify where I stand with Queensryche. The EP, The Warning, Rage For Order, and Operation: Mindcrime are essential metal albums...period. These albums are as close to perfect as metal albums can get. Empire was a really good and enjoyable hard rock album with some metal here and there. Every album after that was absolute shit...including Promised Land. I still don't know why that album gets so much praise. So, to me, a back to their roots would be a heavy metal album from Queensryche and they failed to deliver that. Instead the band decided to play it really safe and make an almost sort of metal album. The opener, "Where Dreams Go to Die" is a really good metal song that would not have been out of place on Mindcrime. Sadly their are not too many more moments like that to be found on the album.

Todd La Torre is actually the perfect replacement for Geoff Tate. He has pretty much the same sound to his voice with a touch of James Rivera in his lower registers. Sadly this all goes to waste because most of the songs on this album are just mediocre. "Spore" seems to have a nice riff going throughout the song and would not be too out of place on Rage For Order were it not for the production. "In This Light", "Vindication", and "Fallout" are decent catchy songs but they still seem to play it really safe and have very minimal metal in them. The rest of the album is just so mediocre. Where's the metal??

So here we have Queensryche with an excellent new singer and plenty of potential. So why did they play it so safe? Did they rush this album just to put out something because of Tate releasing his abortion under the Queensryche name? This is the best album since Empire but that is not saying much at all. Their next album needs to crank up the metal or I will, once again, write this band off for good. So sad.


No comments: