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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Capitol Records

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Metal - Released March 1, 2019 | Century Media

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After nearly four years, Seattle metal heroes Queensrÿche return with their most progressive album since the departure of founding singer Geoff Tate. His replacement, Todd La Torre, has grown into and claimed that slot with authority and etched his persona into the band's DNA. That said, this date marks another big change in the lineup as well: founding drummer Scott Rockenfield has been on extended leave for nearly two years (following the birth of his son in 2017), with Kamelot drummer Casey Grillo filling in. Just as La Torre channeled Tate on the band's 2013 self-titled offering to acclimate himself, Grillo does that with Rockenfield on The Verdict. He doesn't ape the drummer so much as build on his basics, and never overplays. Of course, this means that Queensrÿche are down to two original members in guitarist Michael Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson. For fans nervous about what the change means, have no fear: on the Zeuss Harris-produced The Verdict, Queensrÿche sound more like their proggy selves than they have in over a decade. Opener "Blood of the Levant" rips out of the gate on full riffing stun with the three frontline players -- Wilton, Jackson, and guitarist Parker Lundgren -- locking in full-on chug. Grillo's kit work is packed with groove and La Torre's vocals have never sounded so clean and natural. His upper register and falsetto are smooth and expressive. The bridges in the tune offer melodic hooks and shifting dynamics constructing a narrative within the music itself. Even better is the relentless "Man the Machine," although it's even more musical. It is also feistier and more aggressive with wonderful twin leads and snarling rage from La Torre. Before changing pace, Queensrÿche deliver another whomping prog metal jam with an ominous guitar line and a hook-laden chorus. "Inside Out" is an arena rocker par excellence with post-psych overtones, while "Propaganda Fashion" delivers the massive drums and interlocking prog grooves. "Dark Reverie" showcases Queensrÿche's trademark orchestral persona amid sweeping synths, melded acoustic and electric guitars, and dynamic cresendoes worthy of Empire. "Inner Unrest" is a knotty wailer whose only fault is its length (under four minutes). "Launder the Conscience" commences with staggered lead guitar riffs and a swinging drum vamp framing an intricate melodicism and great lyrics. The tempo changes and the dynamic shifts are nearly breathtaking. Closer "Portrait" is the only true ballad here. While it might seem strange (initially) to end the set with such an atmospheric tune, it's actually perfect with cascading vocal harmonies and twin guitars offering a loping, reigned-in tension to contrast the killer lyrics, heartfelt melody, and popping, shuffling drums. The Verdict is Queensrÿche's finest effort post-Tate, and bigger and bolder than at any time since the early '90s. It reveals a band that has returned from a long period in the wilderness to reclaim their trademark creative strength and power. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | EMI - EMI Records (USA)

With its 1983 self-titled EP and 1984's full-length debut, THE WARNING, Queensryche began as a heavy metal band. But that wouldn't last for long--the members of Queensryche had always been admirers of progressive and art rock, and with the band's third record, 1986's RAGE FOR ORDER, Queensryche began merging its heavy rock with instrumental technicality and modern production techniques. Few other metal bands were challenging their listeners as much as Queensryche, and the group slowly built a hardcore following. Although it wasn't the commercial success that future releases such as 1988's OPERATION: MINDCRIME and 1990's EMPIRE would be, RAGE FOR ORDER is considered to be one of the group's finest by longtime fans. The album's lone video, "Gonna Get Close to You," is a creepy tale of surveillance that remains one of Queensryche's all-time best tracks (strangely, it's one of the few tracks the group has ever recorded that it didn't write itself). Other standouts include the album-opening story of vampirism, "Walk in the Shadows," as well as such unusually titled tracks as "I Dream in Infrared," "Neue Regel," "Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)," and "Screaming in Digital." RAGE FOR ORDER set the stage perfectly for Queensryche's next release, OPERATION: MINDCRIME.
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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | EMI - EMI Records (USA)

Queensrÿche scored their breakthrough success with the ambitious concept album Operation: Mindcrime, which tells the story of a fortune hunter whose disillusionment with Reagan-era American society leads him to join a shadowy plot to assassinate corrupt leaders. For such a detailed story line (there is also a tragic romance thrown in), the band keeps its focus remarkably well, and the music is just as ambitious, featuring a ten-minute track with orchestrations by Michael Kamen. Those experiments don't tend to work as well as the tighter, more melodic prog metal songs, which are frequently gems, especially the singles "Eyes of a Stranger" and "I Don't Believe in Love." Granted, the lyrics and political observations can sometimes be too serious and intellectual for their own good (few bands, metal or otherwise, can make lines like "There's no raison d'être" work). But despite the occasional flaws, it's surprising how well Operation: Mindcrime does work, and it's a testament to Queensrÿche's creativity and talent that they can pull off a project of this magnitude. ~ Steve Huey
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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Capitol Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | EMI - EMI Records (USA)

After the breakthrough success and worldwide respect that Queensrÿche gained from their conceptual masterpiece Operation: Mindcrime, it was a fair assumption that they couldn't possibly outdo or perhaps even match themselves. Empire, released just two years after that watermark, reveals that Queensrÿche reinvented themselves (though certainly not for the last time). While many fans were clamoring for a conceptual sequel, the band offers a song-oriented approach that is more art rock and less metal (though Empire does rock hard in places). Far removed from the fantasy and techno-paranoiac themes of Operation: Mindcrime, the lyrics tackle social and physical handicaps ("Best I Can") and issues such as poverty and regret ("Della Brown"). Geoff Tate, Chris DeGarmo, and company focused much less on the darker side of love so prevalent in their earlier sound, and looked at romance head on with "Another Rainy Night" and "Hand on Heart." While Queensrÿche lost some die-hard metal fans with Empire, the mature sound and tight production of Peter Collins (Rush) saw the band break into the mainstream and hit number nine on the Billboard singles chart with the Pink Floyd-inspired power ballad "Silent Lucidity," which has remained one of the band's set standbys into the 21st century. ~ Doug Odell & Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | Virgin Records

Queensrÿche was poised to follow in the footsteps of Pink Floyd, Rush, and Iron Maiden. Their early albums were derivative but interesting, and the Seattle quintet quickly synthesized intelligent, technically impressive progressive rock and heavy metal. Vocalist Geoff Tate, guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson, and drummer Scott Rockenfield arguably peaked with 1988's concept album Operation:Mindcrime, a masterpiece in terms of musicianship and story structure. Then 1990's equally excellent Empire exploded thanks to "Silent Lucidity." But some things happened that stopped Queensrÿche from cementing itself as a superstar band for the ages: (1) Within a year grunge exploded, rendering Queensrÿche's skills "unhip"; (2) 1994's Promised Land did well commercially but was generally underappreciated; (3) Queensrÿche virtually ruined its own career with 1997's disappointing and ill-conceived Hear in the Now Frontier, which featured a stripped-down "modern" sound five years after the fact; (4) Queensrÿche's label, EMI, folded just after its release; (5) Perhaps reeling from creative uncertainty and label problems, DeGarmo quit. Prime highlights are collected on 2000's Greatest Hits, which covers seven EMI albums. "Queen of the Reich" is great heavy metal, even if Tate does imitate the operatic wail of Judas Priest's Rob Halford and Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson. Other early gems are "Take Hold of the Flame" and "I Dream in Infrared." Operation:Mindcrime works best as a whole, but "I Don't Believe in Love" and "Eyes of a Stranger" are the peaks. Promised Land is represented by the superb "I Am I" and "Bridge." Two bonus tracks from Japanese releases are included: "Chasing Blue Sky" is astonishingly beautiful and "Someone Else?" features the full band. The Greatest Hits liner notes feature an essay by Paul Sutter who wrote an early Queensrÿche demo review for Kerrang! All 16 songs are 24-bit digitally remastered. ~ Bret Adams
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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Capitol Records

Hard Rock - Released October 16, 2007 | Rhino

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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | Capitol Records

Queensrÿche returned from a four-year absence with Promised Land only to find the hard rock landscape very different than the one they left in 1990. But Queensrÿche did something smart. Instead of trying to adjust themselves to fit into the world that their Seattle brethren had created, they simply stayed the same. Not only was the record a commercial success -- it went gold in four months -- but it was also an engaging album. Promised Land lacks the conceptual unity and consistent songwriting of Operation: Mindcrime, but it makes it clear that the band hasn't run out of ideas yet. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Capitol Records

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Rock - Released August 1, 2013 | Sanctuary Records

Concert records have lost their impact, but man, Live Evolution gives a lot of Queensryche for the money. This oh-so-dense double set resembles Space Ritual, All the World's a Stage, or some lost too-long prog tome you study until you die. Let's face facts: Only fans are gonna buy this, and they're gonna be happy. With Operation: Mindcrime, Queensryche proved it knew how to make studio albums; but being sandwiched on tour, with limited time before the influential Iron Maiden and after guru Halford (who dubbed his record Live Insurrection), made the quintet understand the dynamics of a live setting. Queensryche compresses its legacy into a sizzling set of 29 songs recorded over two nights at the Moore Theater in Seattle. Live Evolution also marks the first release under Queensryche's new contract with Sanctuary, and the band seems energized and ready for another 20 years. Live Evolution is divided into four chronological suites: the EP/Warning Suite (which actually includes Rage songs); the Rage/Mindcrime Suite (which actually only includes Operation:Mindcrime songs); the Empire/Promised Land Suite; and, finally, the HITNF/Q2K Suite. Of course the first section kicks. From the primo Judas Priest-isms of the mammoth "Queen of the Reich" (admit it, Tate's right up there with Dickinson and Halford) to the insanity of the blinding "Roads to Madness" (not to mention the unbelievable "Walk in the Shadows" and "Lady Wore Black"), these blistering early bits make you glad you came. And then the question that plagued Queensryche during the storied second phase of its career: What do you do when you make the perfect concept record? Not a very common problem in this day and age, more of a quandary for the likes of Pink Floyd, who made albums so cohesive, ingenious, and intertwined that each record had to be performed all the way through at shows. In 1988, Queensryche amazed the world by accomplishing the same feat with Operation: Mindcrime. For several years, the boys kept the teeming masses happy by tearing through Mindcrime front to back. Here, of course, Queensryche has to trim some tracks, but the Mindcrime segment remains incredible. The prefacing hospital sounds of "I Remember Now" still bring chills to the spine (Those same snippets open Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood. The Crüe knew.). The initial guitar chords sound a bit different, but the words are still the same. Sure, everyone misses DeGarmo, but no true fan can ignore this swirling cyclone of intensity. And if you're not a fan, why are you reading? Seriously, it does not get any better than "Spreading the Disease" (except for "Speak," erroneously not included here). Given Mindcrime's familiarity though, it's almost refreshing to get to the underexposed stuff on the second disc. The confines of metal still limit Queensryche's later material, but through consistent dedication to quality, the quintet gets away with experimentation. Thus, long workouts like "Falling Down" and "Breakdown" (another concept?) remain cool and mix things up for variety's sake. Plus, the majestic "Silent Lucidity" actually provides a cool breather from the show's intensity. The flailing but tight stick-work of Scott Rockenfield anchors the entire bone-crushing masterwork. Queensryche survives because the band is comprised of true believers, headbanging for a cause. Take hold of the flame. ~ Doug Stone
$56.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2003 | Capitol Records

Revolution Calling is a box set of the complete EMI recordings -- and one interactive video game -- by Queensrÿche, the thinking-man's metal cum progressive hard rock band from Seattle. The package is slick in that all eight releases -- nine discs in all -- come in a tight, handsome black box with paper LP-styled covers for each album and a double gatefold version for the two-disc game Promised Land -- a further extrapolation on an album of the same name. First the bad stuff -- because there isn't much of it. Given the design of the box, the liner notes that accompany it are, by and large, instructions for the game. There is an introductory essay that is perfunctory at best, but no information regarding the considerable amount of bonus material included here (for instance, their self-titled EP, a mere four tracks, is fleshed out on CD with ten more cuts that were released on a Live in Tokyo videodisc but are discussed nowhere in the notes). That said, it might also have been nice to include the at least some of the band's considerable video output. Also, on virtually every other disc in the package, there is at least one bonus track not credited to anything. On Empire, none of them are. That said, there is plenty to be said for this box as an essential purchase for any real fan of the band. All of the studio recordings are here, with copious amounts of bonus material. Recordings like Operation: Mindcrime and Empire sound like new recordings, as they are so crisp, so detailed and warm in their remastering. Of the early material, it was obvious that Queensrÿche from the beginning thought big (conceptually, that is) and tried to make something of a statement with each recording. While listeners will have their favorites, this set goes a long way to revising the generally dour opinion about Hear in the Now Frontier, which in the context of the other six outings is not so much of a letdown but yet another expansion. Queensrÿche are like Liverpool's Anathema in that their sound is one that is always layered with equal parts emotion, metallic crunch, and melodic invention as well as the acumen to change. Hear in the Now Frontier, while harder than Promised Land or Empire, is no less well conceived and executed. This is a picture of the history of hard rock that was shorted out by Nirvana, and it's too bad. If all these albums are taken individually, you get fine 24-bit sound painstakingly remastered, cool packaging, and bonus cuts. All seven albums and one video game taken together in a collection is a testament to one of the most creatively intelligent and bad-ass rock bands to come out of the 1990s. Highly recommended for forgetting how bad the rest of hard rock was back then. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | EMI - EMI Records (USA)

1984's The Warning proved to be a holding pattern for Seattle's Queensrÿche, offering quality classic metal with lyrics tending to the mystical and occult. The band would soon embark on a massive creative growth spurt, but they seem to be treading water on tracks like "En Force," "Sanctuary," and the pedestrian title cut. Bright spots include the technology nightmare portrayed on "N M 156" and the nine-minute epic "Roads to Madness," where singer Geoff Tate demonstrates all of his incredible range. The album's high point comes with the anthemic "Take Hold of the Flame," which became a monster smash worldwide, especially in Japan. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Metal - Released October 2, 2015 | Century Media

When Queensrÿche issued their self-titled 2013 album they were engaged in a nasty legal battle with fired founding vocalist Geoff Tate over the brand. He lost, leaving the title free and clear. It was their first with new singer Todd La Torre. Queensrÿche were so intent on reestablishing their brand trademark, he ended up sounding too much like Tate. The hastily assembled collection also lacked their usual songwriting precision. Condition Hüman offers fans the opportunity to re-evaluate Queensrÿche on their own terms. With producer Chris "Zeuss" Harris, this band is keen on reestablishing its identity as a prog metal unit with the accent on "metal." Queensrÿche toured together enough to offer proof of their now cemented relationship on the set's two pre-release singles, "Arrow of Time" and "Guardian." Both offer hard edges. The former contains classic (à la Iron Maiden) metal riffing and spiraling dual leads from guitarists Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren. The tune spins and gallops with a fresh burst of energy. "Guardian" is a showcase for La Torre and drummer Scott Rockenfield. La Torre still has Tate in his delivery, but that's because he's a lifelong Queensrÿche fan. Given this tune, he's obviously studied Ian Gillan and Bruce Dickinson too. He soars with clearly annunciated phrasing, highlighting each pass in the music's development. Rockenfield's groove is iconic at this stage, but he is less celebrated for his impeccable syncopation. It's split evenly between snare, cymbals, and double bass drums on this jam. La Torre really soars on "Hellfire," and its fiery guitar and vocal pyrotechnics recall the Operation: Mindcrime period, while "Selfish Lives" with its political lyrics and rousing chorus touches on Empire. Despite this return to harder prog metal, Queensrÿche also resurrect a particular strength on Condition Hüman not once, but twice: the power ballad. "Bulletproof," begun with a soft, liturgical female choir, introduces a swaying, infectious melody. La Torre offers his most passionate delivery on the record before a killer dual guitar break in the bridge, making the tune an arena rock anthem. His approximation of new age Celtic melody in "Just Us," buoyed by strummed 12-strings and popping tom-toms, is the other number that the one and only Queensrÿche could pull off without sounding cloying. Eddie Jackson's nasty, fuzzed-out bassline kicks off "Eye9," a choppier, harder-edged, knottier jam than we've heard from Queensrÿche before -- though the chorus is catchy as hell -- and it signifies a new musical direction. The title track closer, at just under eight minutes, is almost worth the price tag. It's an epic with four sections featuring a clean-tone, near operatic chorus (complete with chorale), a screaming Wilton solo, and a breathtaking outro (think "Roads to Madness"). Condition Hüman isn't perfect and it's not altogether instantly accessible; it will take a few listens to completely absorb. That said, it's more creative than anything from Queensrÿche in at least a decade and far better than we had any right to expect. ~ Thom Jurek
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Pop - Released June 25, 2013 | Century Media

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Hard Rock - Released July 2, 2007 | Rhino

This was inevitable. In 2006, Seattle's proto-'80s and '90s metal rockers Queensrÿche released a sequel to their critical and commercial classic Operation: Mindcrime, entitled, appropriately enough, Operation: Mindcrime II, recorded by using the same technology they'd used to do the original in 1988. Far from being cheesy, the experiment worked: the story picked up where the original left off, with Nikki out of prison and seeking revenge for the killing of his beloved former prostitute turned nun, Sister Mary. There were screaming guitars, Geoff Tate's disciplined roaring vocals filled with drama and conviction, and a guest spot by Ronnie James Dio as Dr. X. During the same year, the band brought both volumes -- i.e., the entire saga -- out to the Moore Theater in Seattle for three nights and recorded everything with a slew of guests, and the results cover the two discs here. Pamela Moore returned as Sister Mary, and the host of backing vocalists as the jury include Miranda and Susan Tate. The other big surprise is the inclusion of the entire Seattle Seahawks drumline! The recording is pristine and flawless, the performance is truly inspired, and the interaction with the audience pushes the energy level over the top. It is pointless to go into this track by track. The reason? This is the true culmination of a rock & roll classic that gives the name "heavy metal" a great name. Guitarist Mike Stone, who joined the band as a permanent member in 2005, is fully integrated with his counterpart, guitarist Michael Wilton. The rhythm section, both original members in bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield, simply gels and pushes Tate to the very height of his ability as a lead vocalist. The drama in this set, which is nearly three hours long, is all there -- especially given the fact that people in the U.S. are faced with living in a country at war and a media perception of their government trying Draconian measures in their dealings with prisoners, and in matters of secrecy. The rage, dynamic, texture, and sheer professionalism on display here actually serve to bring that home -- all one needs to do is listen to the crowd in all the poignant moments. This is theater at its best; it takes a particularly creative and disciplined band to pull off any concept record, an enduringly creative group to pull off two of them some 18 years apart, and a band that transcends its era -- the '80s in Queensrÿche's case -- to be able to present that material as relevant, immediate, and urgent in a new epoch. In rock, those trends change every year or two. That Queensrÿche can maintain their identity and remain a vitally important and driven heavy metal band in the 21st century is accomplishment enough; that they can perform this work so passionately and convincingly, and with such focus -- by making the familiar sound new -- is the mark of legend. This is the way to send the Operation: Mindcrime epic off into rock & roll history -- even if nobody quite gets that for another 20 years -- in one's hometown in front of the audience that made you. This is the definitive end to Mindcrime, and no one would blame Queensrÿche if they called it a day after this. That said, it seems by the energy and ideas at work in this collective that their resurrection and closing of Mindcrime may indeed be the beginning of a whole new creative era for them as a band. We can hope. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released March 1, 2017 | Sanctuary Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | Capitol Records

When Queensrÿche toured in 1991 in support of Empire, EMI released Operation: LIVEcrime, a limited-edition set containing both a videocassette and a CD of live performances. Interestingly, nothing from Empire is included on this hour-long CD, which instead focuses strictly (and obviously, from the title) on material from the acclaimed Operation: Mindcrime. While EMI would have done better to release an official live album (perhaps a two-CD set?) that also contained some of the songs from Empire, inspired live performances of such gems as "The Needle Lies," "Eyes of a Stranger," "Anarchy-X," and "Electric Requiem" are nothing to complain about. ~ Alex Henderson
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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | EMD Commercial Marketing

This disc opens with screaming guitars that lead listeners to expect another strong Queensrÿche release. In fact, the opening cut, "Sign of the Times," feels a bit like the fine Rÿche rarity "Last Time in Paris," found only on The Adventures of Ford Fairlane soundtrack LP. However, as it carries on, it becomes clear that, like this album as a whole, the song has a tendency to lose its way, and consistency suffers as a result. There are definitely strong points present on Hear in the Now Frontier, but in general it is portions of songs that stand out rather than entire pieces. "Cuckoo's Nest," a hard-rocking piece, is an exception to that rule, though, being one of the most consistent compositions on display here. On the plus side, the album seems a bit harder edged than its predecessor, Promised Land, and that is definitely good for the older fans of the band. ~ Gary Hill