Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Queensrÿche - S/T (2013)

You probably already know about the feud between Queensrÿche and Geoff Tate, which has led too that we now have two different Queensrÿches to deal with. One with the original members and new singer Todd La Torre and one with Geoff Tate and some of his buddies. Geoff made his move about two months ago with "Frequency Unknown", a album that was not impressing, but was still miles ahead of the two latest Geoff Tate releases ("Dedicated To Chaos" and "Kings And Queens"). So now, the real Queensrÿche is showing their muscles with this self titled album that is the 13th album in the band's discography.

I have to start this review with my thoughts of Todd La Torre. He was the previous singer of Crimson Glory, but he never released an album with the band, so I did not know what I should have expected from him. After listening to "Queensrÿche", my first thought was that he almost had the exact same voice as Geoff Tate. I did not know if I was happy or sad about the fact, but one upside was that you recognized the band instantly and you can easily accumulate to the vocalist change. So yeah, choosing Todd was a good idea by the band, even though the similarities to Geoff are way too big.

When it comes to the music, the band has definitely gone back to their old works and tried to find what once made the band too what they are today. "Queensrÿche" has a lot of vibes from the band's earlier works, but it still feels refreshed and new. But the thing that strikes me most is the passion that the band has rediscovered. This is definitely a proof that Geoff was holding the rest of the band back.

The clear star of "Queensrÿche" is the opening track "Where Dreams Go To Die". A beautiful, but also a dark song that chugs it way through your mind like a snow plow after a long night of snowing. The riffing is great and Todd sets the mood perfectly. It definitely feels like the band has found its way back to the right path already after hearing that one song. Another great song is "In This Light" with its uplifting chorus and amazing guitar work (seriously, the guitars in this album is just unbelievably amazing). Then we also have "Redemption" that amazes with its interesting song structure and, once again, amazing guitar work, but I feel that they could have worked the chorus better since it feels a little misplaced with the rest of the song.

And the strong songs keeps on coming. The powerful "Spore", the fast and uplifting "Vindication", the soothing "A World Without" and the groovy "Don't Look Back" all helps making "Queensrÿche" one of the best albums that the band has ever made. It definitely feels like the band has been reborn since Geoff got sacked.

However, this album is far from perfect. First off, the album is way too short (a mere play time of 35 minutes) and while the overall standard of the songs are good, it could have been a little better (but there is no filler to be found here). So do not think that this album is a new "Operation: Mindcrime", but if Queensrÿche would have put in one or two more songs in with the same quality as the rest of the album, I would probably rated this album even higher. But what ever, I am happy as it is right now.

So who wins the first round? Queensrÿche or Tatesrÿche? It is a clear win for Queensrÿche, but Tatesrÿche rises up on the stroke of nine before being counted out. "Queensrÿche" is without a doubt the best album by the band in a long time and it feels like they have gotten rid of the shackles that Geoff Tate had been placing. After this release, I really hope that the court makes the right decision and gives this band the right to be named Queensrÿche. Because unlike Tatesrÿche, this band deserves it.

Songs worthy of recognition: Where Dreams Go To Die, In This Light, Spore, Don't Look Back

Rating: 8,5/10 Redemptions

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