Queensryche is one of the most well known bands in the history of rock. This Seattle based band survived the hair metal movement and the nu-wave movement of the 80s. It also survived the grunge movement of the 90s and even the musical gold rush of 2000. Throughout all of these different phases that the music industry has seen come and go, Queensryche has had its share of highs with iconic albums such as Empire, Operation: Mindcrime, Rage for Order, and to a slightly lesser degree, Hear in the Now Frontier and Promised Land. While it did survive the musical gold rush of 2000, the release of its 2003 album, Tribe and its predecessor, Q2K (1999) were met with lukewarm reviews at best. And 2011’s Dedicated to Chaos was perhaps its least warmly received album in its thirty year plus long career. Things didn’t get much better after the less than pleasant split between the band and its now former front man Geoff Tate. But it looks like the band is well back on track with a new front man and a self-titled album that takes long-time fans back to the days of Empire, Rage For Order, and even HITNF and Promised Land.
The very first thing that audiences should note with this new release is not much its musical side but its cover art and title. Most people don’t pay much attention to any album’s title or even the cover art for its liner notes/booklet. But in the case of Queensryche, both are of equal significance with this new release. They are so significant because of the recent history between the band and its former front man. The artwork for the standard edition of the album is simplistic, unlike that of many of the band’s previous releases. It is simply the band’s logo set against a solid metallic background. In its own way, one could argue that this is its own statement of the band redeveloping its identity through this fashion. Just as the artwork is simple, so is the album’s title. The band’s very first release way back in 1983 was a self-titled release. Now three decades later, the band has offered fans another self-titled release. Again, it seems insignificant on a small scale. But considering everything that has happened with the band since 2012, making the album self-titled is another statement of rebirth for the band. Just as Tate was delivering a statement with the title and artwork of his Queensryche album, Frequency Unknown, so is this Queensryche’s album title. And it’s a statement that is as solid as the album’s musical content.
Musically speaking, this album is a rebirth for this Queensryche band in every way. The ten songs that comprise the record are classic Queensryche, hands down. Even with new front man Todd LaTorre manning vocal duties, listeners will be taken back. If one were to listen to this record without knowing about the band’s rather acrimonious split with Geoff Tate, one would swear they were indeed hearing Tate. That perhaps is the most intriguing fact of all about this record. Forget the fact that the classic bombastic guitar work of Michael Wilton and the equally impressive drumming of Scott Rockenfield are back. LaTorre’s vocal style and sound are near mirror images so to speak of that of the band’s previous singer. It’s incredible how similar the two sound. And it is because of this and the album’s overall old school sound (not to mention the statement of the album’s artwork and title), that fans that grew up with Queensryche will cheer happily once more. It is everything that those fans have awaited for so many years.
Queensryche is currently wrapping up the U.S. leg of its tour in support of its new album. It will kick off the European leg of its tour beginning October 2nd at the O2 Academy Islington. Fans can get a complete tour listing and all of the latest tour updates and general news from the band on its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial and its official website, http://www.queensrycheofficial.com.
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