As any fan of Queensryche should be aware, there has been, and continues to be much uncertainty about things since their previous singer was ousted from the band for, quite frankly, overstepping the mark one too many times. That particular singer has since gone on to release a solo album, formed his own version of Queensryche and released an album with a bunch of hired hands who really should have known better. Those albums have proved once and for all that he has lost the plot (and any talent he once had) and both should really be consigned to the bargain bin to avoid any further embarrassment on his part. That’s all I’m going to say on that particular subject as I want to concentrate on the PROPER Queensryche and their new self titled album. This is easily the best album they have put their name to since ‘Empire’ (1990) and I am shouting from the rooftops because ‘QUEENSRYCHE ARE BACK’ and it’s about time!
Firstly, we have to deal with new vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Todd La Torre (ex-Crimson Glory), and there really could not have been a better choice to take on the mantle of Geoff Tate. Todd is magnificent on this album, he sounds like Tate (when he was at his best), but also brings his own style to the new songs. Michael Wilton (guitars), Parker Lundgren (guitars), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums) sound completely reinvigorated with his arrival and if there was any doubt that they wouldn’t, or indeed couldn’t, deliver without Tate then they have banished that thought and blown it clean out of the water. Let’s be honest, they haven’t been delivering with Tate for the last fifteen years so any stragglers out there who don’t think they should be called Queensryche because they have Todd on vocals need their heads testing. Listen to the songs!
Instrumental ‘X2’ opens the album and sets the scene brilliantly before morphing into first track proper ‘Where Dreams Go To Die’ and, within seconds, the smile on my face was so huge that a smack to the head with a spade wouldn’t have dislodged it! The album continues with ’Spore’ and ‘In This Light’, with its fabulous chorus, and you really start to get a grip on how good Todd is (check out footage of him singing live with the band on Youtube). First single ‘Redemption’ is next and if you’re still not convinced this is the real deal then ‘stubborn’ is obviously your middle name! Songs come thick and fast with hardly a pause and everything you want from a Queensryche album is present and correct. My personal favourite is ‘Fallout’ with its delectable chorus, which weirdly reminded me of the band Saga and the album closes with the stunning ‘Open Road’. My only small complaint is that it’s over too quickly, although 35 minutes of exceptional music is far better than an hour with four or five fillers. Also, getting James ‘Jimbo’ Barton (Metallica, Rush), who worked on ‘Operation Mindcrime’ and ‘Empire’ to mix and master the album was an inspired choice as it sounds immense and gives the band their signature sound back, but also the room to breathe and explore new avenues.
I’ve been a big fan of this band since 1983 and have very sadly watched them disintegrate in recent years to the extent that even I did not expect an album of this quality to arrive in 2013. Listening to this leaves me in no doubt that the poison which was slowly infecting the band has been eradicated with good riddance and long may they continue with this lineup!
Review by Rick Tilley
24th June 2013
2) Where Dreams Go To Die
4) In This Light
7) Midnight Lullaby
8) A World Without
9) Don't Look Back
11) Open Road
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...easily the best album they have put their name to since ‘Empire’..."