|Classic Review: Queensrÿche - Rage For Order|
|Rage For Order|
Year released: 1986
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: March 14, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Rage For Order
Rated 4.23/5 (84.62%) (39 Votes)
In the continued spirit of making this site as complete as possible, I bring you the most underappreciated Queensrÿche album (No, not "Hear in the Now Frontier" that album is appreciated exactly the right amount: not at all.) I mean the lost ‘Ryche classic "Rage For Order". This album got pasted in the press when it was released, and the fans made their displeasure with this CD’s direction so plain that Queensrÿche had no other choice but to follow it up with the greatest metal album of all freakin’ time. And with all the furor over "Mindcrime", this album kind of vanished into the past, which is a shame.
Let’s be clear, the real reason people hated this album was not the music – though that didn’t help – it was the glammy vampire look the band cooked up for the cover and the one video they shot for this release ("Gonna Get Close to You"). This was 1986, and metal was starting to really take off, and I guess the band thought a visual hook would help to separate them from their increasingly numerous competitors. But a glam Queensrÿche was not at all what the fans wanted, and the band themselves have admitted that they made a serious mistake in trying to change their image.
So, let’s look at the actual music. This is actually one of the band’s very best albums, second only to "Mindcrime", far superior to "The Warning" in musicianship, production, diversity, and emotion. Rather than the straight-ahead metal on their previous album, "Rage" cultivates a gloomier, more gothic sound. While there are some excellent metal riffs on here, as on "Walk in the Shadows", "The Whisper" and the epic "Neue Regel", a lot of the album is slower-paced and moody. "I Dream In Infrared", "The Killing Words", and the spectacular "London" are mid-paced songs with lots of keyboards, acoustics, and a symphonic sweep not to be found on other Queensrÿche albums. The musicianship on this CD is tremendous, and Geoff sounds amazing. The superior production really gave him his first chance to show off what he could do beyond just power it out. This is a more dynamic album than "Warning" and Geoff rises to the occasion with a performance of great emotion and depth.
"Gonna Get Close to You" was the single released from the album, and the one they made a video for. It was the only song a lot of people heard from this album, and it is the least typical song they could have chosen. Almost any other tune would have been better. Not that "Close To You" is a bad song, it actually isn’t. Its just not a very Queensrÿche sort of song, with an almost industrial backbeat from Scott Rockenfield and understated guitars. The title makes it look like a pop song, but it’s actually not a love ballad but a creepy stalker song, quite good.
There are some clinkers here. "Surgical Strike" is a rather uninspired fast tune, more in the vein of "The Warning", but without the cool riffs. "Chemical Youth" is a lot like it, and again, a lack of riffs or a catchy chorus hamstrings the tune. "Screaming In Digital" is a little better, with creepy spoken verses and lots of keyboards, atypical and experimental, and not entirely successful.
The CD cover is nothing special, and the band photos are pretty hideous. I never really wanted to see Chris DeGarmo with moussed hair. But the lyrics are included, and these are some of Queensrÿche’s best lyrics – very dark and melancholy stuff.
Despite its reputation, this is an excellent CD. From the driving opener "Walk In the Shadows" through "The Whisper" and the high point of the album "London", this is a class album. Here Queensrÿche showed they could be more than just a good metal band, that they had the chops and songwriting ability to transcend genres and create quality music by any standard. "Operation: Mindcrime" is still their best album, but this runs a close second, and that’s no mean feat.
Standout Tracks: Walk In the Shadows, The Whisper, The Killing Words, London.
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