|Review: Queensrÿche - Queensryche|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 2013
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: September 21, 2013
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 4/5 (80%) (30 Votes)
The Queen is dead, long live the Queen. With the addition of former Crimson Glory singer Todd LaTorre and the release of their self-titled 13th full-length album in 2013, Queensryche are out to prove that reports of their demise were premature. A band that enjoyed a blaze of glory throughout the 80s and a steady decline from then until the departure of original vocalist Geoff Tate in 2012, Queensryche seemed to be destined to fade, leaving a few unassailably classic albums for fans to remember them by.
With a new vocalist in and founding guitarist and key songwriter Chris DeGarmo long gone, I feared that Queensryche would be yet another disappointing entry into the band's canon but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Anyone who heard LaTorre covering the old Crimson Glory material knows the man can sing and sounds eerily like the departed Tate. Though he doesn't sound exactly like the former front man, it is not hard to imagine it is the original lineup when you listen to songs like "Redemption" or "Fallout." The songwriting, though still missing DeGarmo's unique input, is quite good and Queensryche is about equal measures the dark and brooding style of Rage for Order and the cautiously optimistic style of Empire. The band is as tight and melodic as ever and really has recaptured some of that old Queensryche vibe, though I think they could have come up with some material that would have stretched LaTorre's abilities more. They saved that for the live versions of "Queen of the Reich," "En Force" and "Prophecy." If you find a version of Queensryche without those live tracks, put it back, as the band sounds every bit as good as they did in their heyday as they run through these classics.
Scoring Queensryche was difficult. One the one hand, I never expected anything the band did to ever be this good again. On the other, considering all the difficulties they've been through with changing the lineup, I was thinking they might unleash a monster, and they didn't. Queensryche is very good but I would stop short of calling it great. Fans will need to decide for themselves and not go strictly on my rating, but at the very least, Queensryche is a vast improvement over most anything the band has released since Empire and the future looks extremely bright.
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