Queensryche/Queensryche [Remastered]

Queensrÿche /ˈkwnzrk/ is an American progressive heavy metal band formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Washington out of the local band The Mob. The band has released 14 studio albums, one EP and several DVDs, and continues to tour and record. The original lineup consisted of vocalist Geoff Tate, guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield.

Queensrÿche has been successful in the progressive scene, having sold over 20 million albums worldwide, including over 6 million albums in the United States.[1] The band received worldwide acclaim after the release of their 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime, which is often considered one of the greatest concept albums of all time[by whom?]. Their follow-up release, Empire, released in 1990, was also very successful and included the hit single “Silent Lucidity“. The band has received three Grammy Award nominations for songs off both albums. In the late 90s, drummer Rockenfield also received a Grammy nomination outside of Queensrÿche.

In 1997, guitarist and primary songwriter DeGarmo left the band for personal reasons. Over the years, his replacements have beenKelly Gray, Mike Stone, and Parker Lundgren, respectively. Following a highly publicized backstage altercation before a show in São Paulo, Brazil in April 2012, Tate was fired from the band and replaced with then-Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre. In response to his dismissal, Tate and his wife Susan (who served as the band’s manager from 2005–2012) filed a lawsuit in a Washington court, claiming that he was wrongfully terminated. The ruling in the preliminary injunction was that both parties were allowed to use the name Queensrÿche until a court ruling or a settlement decides who gets to use the name.[2] A settlement was reached on April 17, 2014,[3] in which founding members Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson were awarded the rights to the band trademark, continuing to play with the lineup that additionally includes singer La Torre and guitarist Lundgren.[4]

During the time both parties could use the name Queensrÿche, Tate created his own lineup featuring former guitarist Gray and musicians from bands including Blue Öyster Cult, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Dio, AC/DC and Quiet Riot.[5][6] This version of Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate released the album Frequency Unknown on 23 April 2013,[7] while Queensrÿche (with La Torre replacing Tate) released their eponymous album on 24 and 25 June 2013 (European and American release date, respectively).[8]Both bands toured in 2013 and 2014.

The Analysis—-

Queen Of The Reich—-Say what you will about me and my early 80’s rock beginnings. I knew Lady Wore Black and the Rage For Order release far before I investigated and became familiar with this EP…..I’m slow, what can I say. For me…..this track is all about the vocal. Even in it’s remastered state, the song sounds a bit metallic and under-produced….but that opening and subsequent screams from Tate are something that should always be recorded in great Metal History.This track has all of the great elements of classic 80’s metal…the vocal…the twin guitars…the background drums. The energy is incredible. This was a great debut for a band that will go down in history for more than just lawsuits and internal discord. Tate cannot sing like this anymore….but who can…fortunate for us…we have this to remember! A huge track that will live forever!

Nightrider—-A little less familiar with this track, but it has all the elements necessary to put this band in rock royalty. The vocal is extraordinary…the guitars strong as hell. This mix has the drums much more in your face. This band managed to do things in the studio with effects etc. that most bands in this era would never attempt. Tate sounds so clear….this set the band up for the continuing journey into prog-metal that it finessed. This is an incredible track…sorry I never paid it more attention.

Blinded—-Building and building with guitars and drums until you can barely stand it, Tate enters with a vocal that is phenomenal. The chorus is huge with the entire band joining in to create a chorus of voices. The song is neo-science Nordic stuff that most bands did not thing about singing about at the time. This has ebbs and flows…guitar solos [which soar] and a fantastic harmony/melody line. Just breathtaking!

The Lady Wore Black—-This is the Queensryche I cut my teeth to…thanks to a compilation album called Slave To The Metal. The song brings forth thoughts of fog…mystery and intrigue. The vocal is stellar and really the star of the show. That is not to say that DeGarmo lacked any…his guitar playing carried this band for a very long time. I love the melodic ebbs and flows…..the mystery…and the VOICE!!!

Nightrider [Live]—-Much of this remastered copy contains live cuts such as this and songs from The Warning. This is nothing to new….it is still amazing to see how well the band sounds live…almost without a fault. Tate could deliver….in those days…on stage or in the studio. I still love having this…just because of the extras and the clearer sound to the original release.

Prophecy [Live]—-From the upcoming [at the time] release The Warning. This is not a let-down from the debut….it seems even tighter here then I remember. Tate had an almost operatic delivery to his voice…but he should have known that he cold not continue to sing like this forever…..outside of Halford and Dickinson can anyone? This is pretty melodic…even in its live setting. Not a favorite of mine…but the only live version I have…so I will take it.

Deliverance [Live]—-Personally, I love the hell out of this song. The energy is incredible. The song is faster than anything they had done before…and the harmonies still give me goosebumps. This is a phenomenal live version….his vocals are spot on perfect. I love the chorus….makes me hyped. I did love this band…..although for me…they climaxed at Rage For Order….and then bit the mainstream vein. This was classic 80’s metal.

Child Of Fire[Live]—-This is one of those tracks that I fell in love with because the content and galloping beat reminded me of my beloved Iron Maiden.There are some really nice breaks in the track….gong from fast and progressive to slow and introspective…it all seems to showcase that voice. It is too bad Tate can’t deliver vocals like this any longer…but most singers can’t. Thank God we have this to remember.

Enforce[Live]—-Perhaps one of my all time favorite Ryche songs [outside of London]. The music, the lyrics, the IDEA and progressive as hell. Tate delivers a vocal that is just incredible. Of course you have to excuse the 80’s mandatory cow bell [thanks Motley Crue] . The entire mixture comes together to create a moment in time for me that is hard to erase from my memory…and isn’t that what music is all about…bringing fond memories or heartbreak to your memory forefront as to see that you never forget or let them go. This is one of those songs for me….

Blinded [Live]—-Not much changes between live and recorded versions when it comes to this band. The simple fact, as I stated before, is that I find it amazing they were able to sound so ‘studio-perfect’ live. This is a damn contagious chorus though…..man…such memories.

The Lady Wore Black [Live]—-I remember the first time I really got into this band…a live in store autograph signing before they were scheduled to open for Judas Priest on the Turbo tour. I still have that autographed copy of Rage For Order. When the band sang this song live…I was so excited…this song…I knew!!!

Warning[Live]—-A live rendition of the title track for the first ‘proper’ studio release. This is pretty damn measure for measure. Live this band only started to miss beats in the later years when it all seemed to become the Tate show. To bad….I like the ‘new’ Queensryche. But I really miss the old Queensryche.With a nice drum intro to the song, this really showcases how damn tight this band was live….I still can’t believe how great the vocals sound live. This is another very favorite track of mine…can you fault anything about the early days of this band? Probably only that they forgot to prepare for the future.

Take Hold Of The Flame [Live]—-Beginning with a melancholy intro, the song builds via instrumentation and vocals to an incredible all around track. The production here is a bit lackluster…but damn…it is hard to find anything negative about this recording. What can I do but gush…if you come across a copy of this remaster….grab it and fall in love all over again.Man….when Tate hits that note towards the end of the song…..damn.

Queen Of The Reich [Live]—-Would there be any other way to end this release than with a live rendition of this track. Yes…..that scream is perfectly repeated…no worries. This man could sing…the voice is crystal clear and the instrumentation spot of. The live version seems a bit faster and more galloping than the studio version…..but in few words…this is a masterpiece.

****1/2 out of 5

The past and the present…..

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