Condition Human Shows Why Queensryche Remains Today One Of Rock’s Elite Acts

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

The story of veteran rock band Queensryche is one of the most amazing stories in the music community today.  Having originally formed in 1982, the band has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the three decades plus since its formation.  Those highs include: releasing fourteen albums (or fifteen depending on whether or not one counts Frequency Unknown (which was recorded by Geoff Tate’s Queensryche after his split from his former band mates in 2013) as part of the official Queensryche canon or as its own recording separate from the official Queensryche canon, selling more than twenty million albums worldwide, and earning just as many fans, if not more, in every corner of the world.  It has done this largely without the support of mainstream rock radio or even that of MTV and other music networks.  The lows mainly are composed of the band’s lineup changes, including the now infamous split between now former front man Geoff Tate and his one-time band mates.  Through it all Queensryche has managed to soldier on and remain a relevant and creative force within the rock and music community.  Its latest album Condition Human is proof positive of that.  The twelve-song, fifty-three minute record contains what is in the eyes (and ears) of this critic to be some of the best material that the band has released in its more than three-decade life.  That is thanks both to its musical and lyrical content.  The album’s opener ‘Arrow of Time’ is a prime example of that.  ‘Just Us,’ which comes much later in the album’s run is another example of just how relevant and creative the band has remained.  ‘Guardian,’ with its mix of classic Queensryche sound and socio-political lyrical commentary is one more example of just how relevant and creative Queensryche remains more than thirty years after its original formation.  While all three noted songs show in their own way just how important Queensryche remains within the rock and music community in whole, it would be wrong to note only those compositions.  The seven songs that remain unnoted here each play their own part in exhibiting the band’s continued relevance and creativity.  All things considered Condition Human is an album that shows just how much this veteran rock act still has in the tank.  They show in whole to be one more of the year’s best new rock albums.

Queensryche’s latest full-length studio recording Condition Human is one more of this year’s best new rock records.  Regardless of whether one considers it the band’s fourteenth or fifteenth (thanks to the release of Frequency Unknown by Geoff Tate’s Queensryche in 2013), this album still stands as a tribute to the band’s drive and commitment to making music that it and its fans wil enjoy.  They show in whole a band that remains both relevant within the rock and music community and just as creative as ever.  Of course it would be impossible to cover every one of the album’s songs in one sitting.  Keeping that in mind, this review will focus on just a few of what this critic considers to be prime examples of what makes this album stand out so well beginning with the album’s opener ‘Arrow of Time.’  ‘Arrow of Time’ was a good choice for an opener for this record.  That is thanks largely to the song’s classic Queensryche sound in its musical content and its thought-provoking lyrical content.  Looking at the song’s musical content, guitarists Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren’s dual guitar attack creates the band’s trademark classic Queensryche sound.  At the same time,  there is also an obvious modern touch to the duo’s sound that could actually be considered somewhat hard rock-influenced.  It gives the song a nice touch that will take long-time fans back in time while also showing those same listeners just how far the band has come and how it has continued to adapt and change.  Front man Todd LaTorre, who took over vocal duties for the band in 2013, adds his own impressive element to the mix with his powerhouse vocal delivery.  Those that perhaps have not already had the pleasure of hearing LaTorre’s vocals will be blown away by just how similar LaTorre sounds to former front man Geoff Tate.  Audiences that are familiar with both vocalists’ styles could even argue that LaTorre is just as incredible as Tate in his abilities if not better.  These elements are just one part of what makes this song an example of what makes Condition Human another standout record from Queensryche.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important as its musical content in exhibiting this.  LaTorre sings in the song, which was co-written by himself, Michael Wilton, and bassist Eddie Jackson, “What will you do/When it’s right upon you/Like a ring of fire/Why ask why/No need to justify/Who really cares anyway/Ethical tragedy/Rabid humanity/Learn from the past they say.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Now is the time to make up your mind/And find out what is real/Fight or flight you can’t run/You can’t run from yourself.”  LaTorre and company come across as asking listeners, “what are you going to do with those tough situations in life that everyone faces?”  There seems to be a bit of sarcasm as he responds in the chorus, “Why ask why/No need to justify/Who really cares anyway/Ethical tragedy/Rabid humanity/Learn from the past they say.”  It’s as if the song’s subject is answering the question posed in the song’s lead verse by saying cynically, “Who cares what I do?  Look at everything going on.  No one has learned their lesson.”  This sentiment is echoed in the song’s second verse as LaTorre sings, “One reason to survive/With a thousand ways to die/When you’re living on the wire/Reaching the threshold near system overload/Caught on the red eye again.”  This verse sees LaTorre coming across as saying that with so much negativity out there there is so little reason to keep going when one is on the edge thanks to all of the negativity in the world.  The song closes with LaTorre singing once more, “You can’t run from yourself.”  In other words, we would do well to face ourselves even in those tough situations that seem overwhelming.  Trying to escape those problems only causes more problems.  This is just the interpretation of this critic.  By no means is it to mean that this is the only interpretation.  Right or wrong, the lyrical content contained within this song and the song’s musical content together make it a clear example of why Queensryche remains a fan favorite even in its latest new release.

‘Arrow of Time’ proves thanks to its musical and lyrical content to be a good choice for Condition Human’s opener.  In the same vein, it also is a prime example of why Queensryche remains just as relevant today as it was in its earliest years.  It also serves to show the band’s continued creativity even after so many years.  It is just one example of why Queensryche remains so relevant today and a fan favorite, too.  ‘Just Us’ is another one of the songs included in this record that shows the band’s continued relevance and creativity.  Unlike ‘Arrow of Time,’ this song is much softer but just as powerful through its musical content.  The same can be said of the song’s lyrical content.  It gives the song its own depth.  The song’s musical content harkens back to the days of ‘Silent Lucidity’ or perhaps something off of Promised Land with its dual acoustic/electric approach.  The song’s lyrical content set against that dual approach adds even more depth to the song with its seeming introspective feeling.  That feeling is interpreted as LaTorre sings, “Reflections of time/They’re still yours and mine/The things that used to be/Remains so fine/Is the face of a child/Your calm embrace/You’re my shining star of the darkest nights/A saving grace/Seeing the signs of the times/Forever is now/There’s no rewind.” It’s definitely a stark contrast to the much deeper, more contemplative ‘Arrow of Time.’ Yes it seems somewhat schmaltzy considering that verse and the song’s other emotionally introspective verses. But when those verses are set against the song’s musical content, the song becomes far less schmaltzy and much more emotionally hard-hitting. Keeping that in mind, it proves why ‘Just Us’ is another example of why Queensryche remains so relevant and creative to this very day. It is not the last example either. ‘Guardian,’ the album’s second song, is one more example of what has kept Queensryche relevant for so many years.

‘Arrow of Time’ and ‘Just Us’ are both good examples in Queensryche’s new album of what has kept the kept such a relevant part of the rock and music community for so many years. They are just a couple of the songs featured in this record that can be cited as said examples. ‘Guardian’ is one more example of exactly that. ‘Guardian’ comes early in the album’s run. It is in fact the album’s second song. Long-time drummer Scott Rockenfield’s driving tempo serves as the song’s foundation. Wilton and Lundgren build on that foundation, strengthening the song even more. LaTorre tops off the recording’s musical side with his powerhouse vocal delivery. What is really worth noting here is the modern rock vibe generated through Wilton and Lundgren’s work. It is fitting that this is the case with this song considering the song’s lyrical content. The song’s lyrical content is especially relevant in a time of so much unrest. That is clear as La Torre sings, “Insurrection/This time we’re playing for keeps/Arming police like the military/It’s obscene/And they’re stalking the streets.” He goes on to sing in the chorus, “It’s time to rise up/United we stand/Divided we fall/Evolution calling.” Such content comes across as LaTorre commenting on the current state of the nation. The mention of police being armed like the military hits home because there are in fact police departments that have in fact received military caliber weaponry and vehicles. It was even a major news item for some time recently. There’s even a mention in the song about the political elite and other topics. It all comes across as a warning of sorts as to the direction that the country has taken socially and politically. The urgent, up-tempo feel of the song’s musical content couples with that seeming lyrical warning to make this song one that will definitely have listeners taking note. Considering all of this, it becomes clear why ‘Guardian’ is another important and impressive addition to Queensryche’s new album. It works with the other songs noted here and those not directly noted to make Condition Human an album that shows in whole why Queensryche is still just as relevant and creative both musically and lyrically as it was in its infancy more than three decades ago. All things considered Condition Human proves to be an album that is one more of this year’s best new rock offerings.

Condition Human is one of the best new rock albums to be released this year. The twelve-song, fifty-three minute album shows where the band has been and where it is headed from beginning to end. This is at least the case in terms of the album’s musical content. The record’s lyrical content shows just as much the band’s continued ability to adapt to its musical surroundings. The combination of both elements in each song makes Condition Human in whole a record that fans will agree is some of the band’s best work to date. And that is saying a lot considering the band’s extensive body of work. It is an album that, again, is deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock albums. Queensryche is currently taking some time off from the road before it heads back out in the New Year in support of Condition Human. The band’s upcoming slate of tour dates kicks off January 7th in San Jose, California. It also includes a date at Amos’ Southend in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday, January 19th. Fans can see the band’s current tour schedule online now along with more information on Condition Human and the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.queensrycheofficial.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/queensryche

 

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Queensryche Starts Writing Process For New Album

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

The battle between former Queensryche front man Geoff Tate and his former band mates is finally over. A judge recently made the decision that Tate’s former band mates would henceforth be the only ones legally permitted to use the Queensryche name. With that battle finally over, the members of Queensryche have announced that the band has started work on its next album.

Queensryche’s next as yet untitled album is expected to be released early next Summer via Century Media Records. Founding guitarist Michael Wilton discussed the different vibe within the band now that its legal battle is behind it. “The Queensrÿche internal dynamic has certainly changed in terms of musicianship. It’s more of a cohesive team and the chemistry we have now is making what we can do creatively limitless. For Queensrÿche, it was always about being able to write together as a band. We didn’t have that for a long time but now that it’s back, we feel extremely liberated,” he said. “We’ve already begun the writing process for the next album and have a few songs demoed that we feel really good about. We’re taking the songs in the classic Queensrÿche direction but maybe a little more progressive and heavier at times. The thing is, you never know what you really have until it’s complete. We can’t wait for the final outcome. Writing with such a dynamic group of individuals has been nothing short of amazing.”

Queensryche is slated to hit the road later this month for the next leg of its tour. The band’s upcoming tour schedule kicks off Friday, May 23rd in Tucson, AZ at the KLPX Desert Rocks Beach Bash. The complete tour schedule is listed below with more to be announced at later dates.

Confirmed 2014 Tour Dates:

05/23 Tucson, AZ KLPX Desert Rocks Beach Bash

05/24 El Paso, TX Speaking Rock Casino

06/04 Solvesborg, SWE Sweden Rock Festival

06/06 Mt. Pleasant, MI Soaring Eagle Casino

06/07 Salt Lake City, UT Salt Lake City Harley Davidson

06/13 Rothbury, MI JJ Resort

06/21 Idaho Falls, ID Rock The Falls

07/19 Waukesha, WI Waukesha County Fair

08/08 Three Forks, MT Rockin’ The Rivers

08/31 Wauconda, IL Farm Rock 2014

10/11 Las Vegas, NV Eastside Cannery Casino

 

More information on the band’s upcoming album, tour and more is available online now at http://www.queensrycheofficial.com, http://www.facebook.com/queensrycheofficial, and http://twitter.com/queensryche. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Queensryche Releases New Video, Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Legendary Seattle based prog rock band Queensryche and its new front man Todd La Torre are heading overseas this Winter for a European tour in support of the band’s new self-titled record.  It has a pair of U.S. dates in November before it heads overseas in December.  In anticipation of the upcoming tour, the band has released a video for its new single, ‘Redemption.’  The video mixes elements of the band performing live and working in the studio against the song.  It is being premiered through the UK’s PROG Magazine, and can be viewed online right here: http://www.progrockmag.com/video/queensryche-premiere-redemption/.

Along with the new music video, the band has also filmed a “mini-movie” set to the band’s own music.  The band used the songs ‘Spore’, ‘Midnight Lullaby’, A World Without’ and ‘X2’ as the score to the ten-plus minute feature titled, Queensryche: Ad Lucem.  The film was created by Veva Entertainment Company.  It was directed by Daniel Andres Gomez Bagby and produced by Marco De Molina.  It was filmed in September at Central City Stages in Los Angeles, CA and will be released later this year.

The most current listing of the band’s tour dates is available below.

The upcoming European tour dates are as follows:

12.10.2013 O2 Academy – London, United Kingdom

13.10.2013 Wulfrum Hall – Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

15.10.2013 The Garage – Glasgow, United Kingdom

16.10.2013 HMV Ritz – Manchester, United Kingdom

17.10.2013 Rock City – Nottingham, United Kingdom

18.10.2013 Button Factory – Dublin, Ireland

20.10.2013 Turbohalle – Bucharest, Romania

21.10.2013 Retro Music Hall – Prague, Czech Republic

22.10.2013 Orpheum – Graz, Austria

23.10.2013 Club 202 – Budapest, Hungary

25.10.2013 Theaterfabrik – Munich, Germany

26.10.2013 Burgerhaus – Quadrath-Itchendorf Bergheim, Germany

27.10.2013 Rockfabrik – Ludwigsburg, Germany

29.10.2013 Moonwalker – Aarburg, Switzerland

30.10.2013 Stadthalle – Langen, Germany

31.10.2013 Brielpoort – Deinze, Belgium

01.11.2013 Effennaar – Eindhoven, Netherlands

 

The upcoming American tour dates:

11/15/2013 Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom Hampton Beach NH
11/16/2013 The Asylum Portland ME
1/3/2014 Snoqualmie Casino Snoqualmie WA
4/17/2014 Bergen Performing Arts Center Englewood NJ
4/19/2014 Mohegan Sun Casino Uncasville CT
 

 

 

     

 

Tickets for the band’s upcoming shows are available online at http://www.queensrycheofficial.com/tour.  More information on the band’s upcoming tour and more is available online at http://www.queensrycheofficial.com and http://www.facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Queensryche’s Upcoming LP A Welcome Return To Form

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

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

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Queensryche still shows its “dedication” after thirty years

Thirty years is a long time for a musical act of any kind to make music.  Very few acts can brag taht they’ve been around for three decades.  Seattle based prog-rock band, Queensryche, is one of those bands.  The band celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2001.  And it did it in fine fashion with the release of one of its best releases to date in “Dedicated To Chaos”.

“Dedicated To Chaos” is the band’s thirteenth original, full length studio release.  That’s not counting its covers album, “Take Cover”.  It’s also one of the band’s best records to date, right after “Hear in The Now Frontier”.  It’s a solid album from beginning to end.  Musically, it takes the best elements of “Tribe”, “Q2K”, and “HITNF”, and combines them together for what is one of the band’s most accessible, radio friendly albums to date.  That’s not a bad thing, either.  In an industry in which acts come and go with the changing of the seasons, this release is more proof that Queensryche still has plenty to offer.

The band’s new album has had its detractors since its original release this past June.  But most of the album’s detractors are those who expected it to be like so much of the band’s other, heavier guitar-driven records.  The same thing happened with fellow prog-rockers, Dream theater, when they released their 1997 album, “Falling Into Infinity”.  But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any band making itself commercially viable.  Sure the lyrical content is nothing new for any musical act of any genre on “Dedicated To Chaos”.  But that doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that Queensryche has crafted an album that will have its own identiy among the band’s catalogue of albums. 

Queensryche has released more than its share of quality albums over the course of its three decades in the music business.  From “Promised Land” to “Empire” and all the way back to “Rage For Order”, every one of the band’s releases has been a new listening experience.  And while lots of people have come out against “Dedication to Chaos”, the band’s newest release is still a great new listening experience in its own right.  And those who listen all the way through, will appreciate it.  They’ll understand why it is one of the band’s best albums, regardless of its detractors.  Even if it turns out to be the band’s last, it’s a great way for the band to go out.