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Queensryche: Human Condition
Queensryche Human Condition CD Album Review

Queensryche: Human Condition

Melodic/Heavy/Power Metal
4.0/5.0

When is Queensryche no longer Queensryche? Or perhaps asked another way, when does Queensryche begin to not sound like Queensryche anymore. I'm not talking about issues regarding the departure of Geoff Tate. Frankly, he's the single biggest reason I didn't enjoy listening to Queensryche 30 years ago. Replacement Todd LaTorre is a sufficient replacement, sounding more like a stronger, more versatile, maybe even more pitched, Bruce Dickinson.

Queensryche Human Condition Band Photo

Queensryche

No. I'm talking about the Queensryche sound, it's timbre, temperament, and musical expression. Honestly, more and more, in the LaTorre era, Queensryche reminds me of a European melodic heavy power metal band, with some prog metal tendencies. That's not a bad thing by any means. On both sides of the Atlantic the influences have always been mutual. But, Queensryche seems no longer the mildly avant garde Operation Mindcrime or commercially intriguing Empire.

Nope. I find their sound to be more straightforward. Classic heavy metal: melodic, with groove and density, soaring and harmonious vocals (that don't attempt to drive a needle through your eardrum), lots of large riffage and blistering solos, all powered by an engaged and steady rhythm section. Which is to say, Scott Rockenfield has never sounded better. Damn. He can play, and may be the definitive focal point of all the songs. Sure, sometimes the songs can sound tricky, tricked out maybe, with some prog nuances. Selfish Lives comes to mind with the twisted movement from riffs and drums. Actually, it's rather dull. Hellfire, with mild Eastern guitar intrigue at the front and back, is better. Yet, it's also the song that evokes European power metal for me. More thorough in the progressive power motif is the title cut with it's diverse moments from the flurry of riff heaviness to the swell of soaring guitars. Another, returning to the power metal thing, is Hourglass with it's blend of swiftness and heaviness at the start. Yet it has some of the best Queensrychian twin guitar harmony in the center, followed by a mellow breakdown for LaTorre. An attempt is made at something more delicate with Just Us, with acoustic and smooth guitar lines. It's got a sweet timbre, but not the emotion and rise of that other famous Queensryche song. Fundamentally, as alluded to earlier, and not dismissing some fine material in their older catalog, I find I like the new Tate-less version of Queensryche much more. You get the band's well-known heavy metal ingenuity, but in a more engaging and accessible package. Besides, anything has to better than the bravado and blather of Addicted To Chaos. Recommended.

Queensryche - Guardian


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In Short

Fundamentally, and not dismissing some fine material in their older catalog, I find I like the new Tate-less version of Queensryche much more. You get the band's well-known heavy metal ingenuity, but in a more engaging and accessible package.

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