Queensryche’s 2013 album is a short album compared to previous efforts, but with new singer Todd La Torre onboard, the band are back in familiar waters once more.
Written by: Dangerzone
LABEL: Century Media
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Todd LaTorre – vocals * Michael Wilton – guitar * Parker Lundgren – guitar * Eddie Jackson – bass * Scott Rockenfield – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 X2 * 02 Where Dreams Go To Die * 03 Spore * 04 In This Light * 05 Redemption * 06 Vindication * 07 Midnight Lullaby * 08 A World Without * 09 Don’t Look Back * 10 Fallout * 11 Open Road
WEBLINKS: Site Link
A few months ago the Geoff Tate fronted version of Queensryche was reviewed here and it’s safe to say ‘Frequency Unknown’ was a slab of hard rock mediocrity that was met with disdain by the world in general. Much more anticipated is this album by what most would consider the official version of the band.
The endless barbs traded by both bands (but mostly Tate) have become tiresome and surely it’s the music that does the talking. In this regard there’s no debate – the Todd LaTorre version wins with ease. That’s not to say this album is a classic, but it does adhere to a more traditional power metal style that suits Queensryche’s original 80’s sound to some extent.
One of the albums biggest talking points is its length; 35 minutes. While I’m not adverse to short albums, it seems surprising for a band like Queensryche who once reveled in epic power metal. Then again not having heard 80 percent of their albums I may be misguided.
The shorter songs don’t have an effect on the overall direction and tone of the album and this is much more melodic and accessible than anything Tate managed to conjure up. What’s noticeable is how identical the vocal styles of LaTorre and Tate are. Listening to most of these songs I was convinced it was Tate, which doesn’t exactly give this lineup too much of a new identity (Black Star Riders complexion?).
Regardless the riffs are solidly metallic, evident straight from the opening bars of ‘Where Dreams Go To Die’. It has the ‘Empire’ sound to it, with good use of melody and surging rhythms. This track alone is better than anything by Tate and it’s the first one off the bat. ‘Spore’ is aggressive and steeped in some more modern rock values.
But the 80’s come calling again on ‘In This Light’ which would have fit easily on ‘Operation: Mindcrime’. ‘Redemption’ and ‘Vindication’ offer more welcome melodic metal before the inevitable power ballad of sorts ‘A World Without’. Throwing in some speed is ‘Don’t Look Back’, offering some variety in the albums song structures, something Tate is clueless about.
‘Fallout’ is less than three minutes, but still getting its heaviness across in that time, the band obviously inspired. You can hear it in their playing, offering progressive elements, but with enthusiasm in their playing. ‘Open Road’ is another typical QR ballad, the type of song they excelled at with Tate but haven’t really explored since the early 90’s.
There isn’t too much to fault here and given the mass acceptance this album has already received it’s safe to say Geoff Tate is fighting a losing battle. Just by simply playing non-complicated metal Queensryche have succeeded, even if the album is shorter than you’d expect.
Again that doesn’t concern me like some others apparently, because the tone of the songs tells the story, which is that the band has been allowed to rediscover their roots. With Tate running the show Queensryche kept veering off into offbeat waters which alienated their fan base to breaking point. With LaTorre and his tremendous vocals they’ve made an excellent start in trying to win back those fans that gave up on them.
Where Dreams Go To Die
Entire Album (Select Tracks)