Queensrÿche /ˈkwiːnzraɪk/ is an American heavy metal band. It formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Washington out of the local band the Mob. The band has released 14 studio albums, one EP, 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 sold over 20 million albums worldwide, including over 6 million albums in the United States. The band received worldwide acclaim after the release of their 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime, which is often considered one of the greatest heavy metal concept albums of all time. 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 from both albums. In 1998, drummer Rockenfield received an individual Grammy nomination.
In 1997, guitarist and primary songwriter DeGarmo left the band for personal reasons. Over the years, his replacements have been Kelly 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. A settlement was reached on April 17, 2014, 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.
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. This version of Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate released the album Frequency Unknown on 23 April 2013, while Queensrÿche (with La Torre replacing Tate) released their eponymous album on 24 and 25 June 2013 (European and American release date, respectively).Both bands toured in 2013 and 2014.
Operation: Mindcrime is the third studio album by the American progressive heavy metal band Queensrÿche, released on May 3, 1988. The album was re-released on May 6, 2003 with two bonus tracks, and in 2006 as a deluxe box set.
A concept album and a rock opera, its story follows Nikki, a recovering drug addict who becomes disillusioned with the corrupt society of his time and reluctantly becomes involved with a revolutionary group as an assassin of political leaders. In January 1989, it ranked at No. 34 on Kerrang! magazine’s “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time”.
I Remember Now—-It is quite possible, to listen to this release and not buy into the whole concept…but it is difficult. This interlude sets us up……
Anarchy-X—-Tate, the modern day Roger Waters of the rock world, truly brought this release to life with his over the top ideas and vocals and added effects. There is no doubt though….that this was a band at it’s best moment. The guitar from Chris was phenomenal…..the drums a huge wall of pounding and emotion. tie that all together with the vocals from Tate and you realize this was truly a landmark recording.
Revolution Calling—-The vocal has a dirty quality to it….making you fall right into the story.Tate has so many overlays to his vocal…making the sound of the band literally huge. The drums come at you so strong….and although the songs are important to the story….the arena ready tracks are as acceptable played out of context as any thing in the bands catalog. This is huge and requires a crowd to just lose their mind to.
Operation: Mindcrime—-All of the effects layed out on the release really add to the ebb and the flow as the story progresses. There never is a lack of emotion or power to the delivery of the songs. Tate delivered his baby and it lives in infamy. This is a powerhouse of a song…steeped in classic 80’s style Metal…..huge instrumentation….soaring vocals and an attitude that makes you lose control.
Speak—-Huge guitar from DeGarmo, Tate enters with his vocal and the band takes on that jaunty delivery that it started to establish back in the early days of releases. There is a remarkable energy to this…..making you want to pull your hair out with emotion as the music sinks into you deeper and deeper. This is classic…I miss the energy of THIS version of the band…altogether, they were unstoppable. The vocal here is INCREDIBLE!!!!
Spreading The Disease—-Again, the band delivers that energy that they really started to establish on Rage For Order. The jaunty guitar that evokes energy and conjures up the need for the listener to jump up and down with enthusiasm and excitement. This is the band at the peak of creativity and vision. The drums…..will make your brain explode.
The Mission—-Sometimes….the vocal interludes allow you to realize the age of the record…but at the same time allow you to realize how history tends to be repetitive. Tate delivers a great vocal…allowing a well placed cool down and quiet time before the band becomes alive and delivers another chapter in the story…this is so well out and constructed. I love this record!!!
Suite Sister Mary—-Progressing with the story through brief spoken words, the recording still manages to maintain its energy despite the slower acoustic style interludes and interruptions. Your ears are almost transfixed as the music continues to tell its story. Much like The Wall….this has an entire subtext that you only catch after many listens. Just magical.
The Needle Lies—-Perhaps one of my favorite tracks on this release…it reminds me of the London style music from Rage….which to me was a land mark recording. The energy and the vitriol are incredible. The feeling you get from the music….in conjunction with the dark words creates a literal picture in your brain. This is just fantastic…I’m in love all over again.
Electric Requiem—-A brief respite before….
Breaking The Silence—-Tate is in his best emotive voice on this track…the quivering of his voice apparent as he delivers his emotional tale that propels the story. The energy of the band is incredible…the vocal delivery making the song even larger than thought possible. The sharp guitar bursts and constant high hat taps on the drums make the urgency smack you in the face This is exquisite.
I Don’t Believe In Love—-Songs like this…the down tempo ballad style tracks….helped propel this band to million dollar sales and a career of money. Perhaps tracks like these only added to the demise of the band. The emotional quality is palatable…the musicianship never suffering…but sometimes the bigger the song…the harder the fall.
Waiting For 22—-Filler that is emotive but offering nothing to new for me…I often skip over this and it all works out fine. Although…Tate sounds literally Waters possessed towards the end of this track.
My Empty Room—-Returning to the same melody that plays through much of the album and the concept, this all ties things together in a neat package…such as the concept record is. I like this…but it just seems like a redux of everything that has already been played.
Eyes Of A Stranger—-You can never deny the vocal power that Tate had in his younger days. Having seen him recently…let me assure you….the voice is no longer there. The grandiosity of this excellent song will never again be repeated by him live…..he just can’t do it anymore. This will still live on though….an excellent closer to a fantastic journey.
****3/4 out of 5