The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world









Of all the reviews I’ve read of this album the focus has very much been on one thing: is it better or worse than Geoff Tate’s version of Queensrÿche’ latest album: not only that, there has been a concerted emphasis on who has the best vocals. You can probably guess what the consensus has been with all the Tate-baiting out there (some of it seemingly encouraged by the man himself). To be honest if you want to get involved in a pissing competition, then go ahead. The truth of the matter is that both this album and Tate’s offering are rather poor. This one has the better songs though and is perhaps ‘safer’ in its take on the Queensryche sound. Both bands missed a trick in releasing material too early in my opinion. And that is all I’m going to say on that subject.



As an album ‘Queensryche’ offers nothing new to the legacy of the band, it may well be the start of a new chapter but it sounds tired with only patches of anything that doesn’t make you think it’s all been ‘phoned in’.



The atmospherics and the tolling bell that start the album may well have you jumping out of your skin thinking ‘Mindcrime’? before you realise that opening track ‘X2’ is just that, atmospherics that build into the mild military beat opening of ‘Where Dreams Go To Die’ where new Queensryche vocalist Todd La Torre tries nothing more than to phrase every sentence exactly like Geoff Tate would have done. The song is perfunctory at best and sadly it’s also one of the best here.



This is an album full of decent riffs, decent vocals and decent enough songs, but listen to tracks like ‘Spore’ and honestly tell me you’re excited. All these songs are OK, they sound like Queensryche songs but there’s nothing really special here at all. Sure I’m first to say this IS better that the last few Queensryche albums and if the ripping apart of the band is the only way to go forward then this looks like the horse to back.


If there were a few pointers to the light ahead then it’s the mid-tempo ‘In This Light’ that leads the way – it’s a track that takes the best of the distinct Queensryche sound and places it an ‘Empire-like’ context. It sounds like it might be the way ahead.  Conversely ‘Redemption’ with its few rapped lines sounds a little too like ‘Mindcrime-by-numbers’ and while that may excite a few it’s not particularly convincing. At times you get the feeling that the guys are throwing their lines overboard with all kinds of bait on the hooks to see what gets the best feedback. Maybe a better way would to have replaced the ‘sound-alikes’ with something more cohesive.



‘Vindication’ is OK, faster, somewhat catchy, but made annoying by the rather obvious Tate-like phrasing – I would have loved to have heard this played straight!



Just to piss you off ‘Midnight Lullaby’ turns out to be another minute long musical intro to ‘A World Without’ taking the number of real songs on this release down to a rather shabby nine. The songs itself is all empty histrionics and posturing – you know that bit about Queensryche that only worked if it was intricately wrapped up in a song of substance, this is all smoke and mirrors. Sure, it recaptures a mood created by the band in the past to a degree, but sadly that’s all.  Like a fading memory.



It’s not all bad though ‘Don’t Look Back’ works in the Mindcrime-by-numbers stakes where ‘Redemption’ largely failed; and single and video ‘Fallout’ is perhaps the best on offer here being about the only song you feel La Torre has been able to sound more like himself - now this is what we wanted to hear. As if to rub in that sense of better to come closer ‘Open Road’ is also pretty damn impressive.  



Not entirely convincing then, but you feel with far more promise than that other band of a strikingly similar name…   




Mark Diggins