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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Queensr├┐che

Queensr├┐che

Review by Gary Hill

Well, there are few albums that come out amidst this kind of controversy. With legal battles headed to a court of law, there are two versions of Queensryche. This one is the one featuring Todd La Torre. The thing is, no matter the results of the lawsuits, this is Queensryche. I really liked the second Operation: Mindcrime disc, but beyond that one, this is the best album to be released under that band name in a long time. It very much feels like it belongs in their catalog. In fact, that’s more true of this album than many of the albums they released in the last decade or so. This disc will probably make my best of 2013 list. Yes, it’s that good. If you’ve ever liked Queensryche (especially early Queensryche) you really have to get this disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
X2

Sound effects and textures are heard on this introductory piece. There are bursts of metallic music here, but just in short little bits. It’s also quite symphonic.

Where Dreams Go to Die
The atmospherics of the previous tune start this. They power it out from there in a powerhouse heavy metal sound that really rocks. Then it drops down to a mellow movement for the first vocals. The chorus is more powered up and is quite accessible. In a lot of ways, this sounds like something that could have come from the first Operation:Mindcrime album.
Spore
Here is more of a straightahead metal tune. This is both trademark Queensryche and awesome.
In This Light
This one alternates between mellower and harder rocking sections. The hook on this is particularly cool. There are also some great melodic guitar bits here.
Redemption

This is a bit more complex, at least in terms of some of the guitar riffing. It’s more aggressive than anything we’ve heard so far, too. It’s a killer tune that’s one of the highlights of the set.

Vindication

As this one powers in, it’s even more aggressive than the previous tune was. This is a real screamer. It’s another of the better tunes here, too. The chorus makes me think just a bit of Helloween for some reason.

Midnight Lullaby

Here is a short bit of atmosphere that basically serves as the introduction to the next song.

A World Without

This is definitely my favorite song on the album. It’s moody and dark. It makes me think of the Rage for Order album quite a bit.  That said, that disc had a bit of a dated production to it. This doesn’t suffer from that. But, in terms of the musical mode and mood, this would have fit nicely there. By itself this song is worth the price of admission here.

Don't Look Back

Heavy and aggressive, this is another tune that nods back to old Queensryche. It’s another killer tune on an album that’s full of killer tunes.

Fallout
Hard rocking and rather anthemic, this is another strong piece of music.
Open Road
There’s more of an epic texture to this cut. That’s because it alternates between a melodic, mellower movement and a harder rocking one. It’s definitely a highlight of the set and a cut that’s trademark Queensryche. That makes it an excellent choice to end the album.
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