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Classic Review: Queensrÿche - The Warning
The Warning

Label: EMI
Year released: 1984
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: May 12, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
The Warning

Rated 4.65/5 (92.96%) (54 Votes)

Looking back at the dreck Queensröche have been foisting on us for the better part of a decade makes it easy to forget how good they used to be. "Warning" was their second release, their first full-length recording with label support. After the international hubbub over their EP, they were going to have a hard time making everyone happy with this, but back in the day Queensröche were the ace songwriters of the metal realm, and their proper debut put to rest all fears that they couldn’t pull it off.

While perhaps lacking the underground exuberance of the EP, "Warning" does not diverge widely from the basic sound established on such classic cuts as "Queen of the Reich". The sound is much more polished, as is the general songwriting, but the classic ‘Ryche sound remains intact. Songs like "En Force", "Deliverance", "No Sanctuary" and the mammoth "Roads to Madness" flash the beloved twin-ax riffs topped by Geoff Tate’s signature soaring vocals. He doesn’t sound as good here as he would on "Rage for Order" or on "Mindcrime", and the songwriting here is not as advanced as on either of those later releases, but all the things there are to love about classic ‘Ryche are here in plenty.

There are a few filler cuts here. "NM156" is a kind of experimental cut like "Screaming in Digital" off "Rage", but it’s not a very good song. "Child of Fire" is too simplistic and goes on too long. But everything else here just rules. The band got some flak way back when about "Take Hold of the Flame" being too happy-sounding, but now it stands as one of their signature songs. The production is a bit thin, and the album design is genuinely ugly, but what the hell, this was 1984.

"The Warning" is a genuine classic, no question. The huge success of their later albums has tended to obscure the quality of Queensröche’s early work, but not to me, and not to any fan of true classic heavy metal. This is an essential album, and you can’t call yourself a fan of old-school metal if you don’t have it.

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