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“Sign Of The Times – The Best Of Queensryche” (Deluxe Edition) by Queensryche

Artist: Queensryche
Title: “Sign Of The Times – The Best Of Queensryche” (Deluxe Edition)
Label: Capitol Records
Release Date: 8/28/2007
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 4/5

“Sign Of The Times: The Very Best Of Queensryche” is a compilation CD that is quite similar to the original Greatest Hits piece that the band released in 2000 with a couple of exceptions. The original version covered all of the albums except for “Q2K” and offered sixteen of the bands most influential tracks. The new version comes with a snappy new title and changes this around a little bit in terms of a couple of the songs that are included as it now features music from all of the bands studio albums and some numbers from soundtracks that they appeared on. From the seventeen total songs on the first CD of the collector’s edition the listener is able to follow the bands progression into history as they released intelligent Metal that touched upon the Progressive end at times. Always a band that pushed the envelope and experimented with style and sound while other bands chose to remain content with delivering the same style again and again. As a result of this modus operandi the earliest fans of Queensryche found a band that was growing along with them and delivering musical colors that changed as often as the seasons. Some loved this and some didn’t because as is typical with fans of any group there are sides taken with each release and some defend it to the death. I remember originally hating “Rage For Order” myself and now find it a work of genius and later with the “Q2K” album which I refused to support on its release because of no Chris DeGarmo became an enjoyable listen when I heard the re-issue several years later. As expected CD1 for “Sign Of The Times” includes the standards from the self-titled EP, “Warning” and “Operation Mindcrime”, etc – but its really only a taste of the goods in my opinion. Legacy fans would enjoy this as something to put on for a great career overview while a new fan should make this required listening as Queensryche’s accomplishments for the heavy music genre have been pretty extraordinary.

The Collector’s Edition includes a second CD that makes the release all the more worthy of investigation based on what the listener will find on it. The disc begins with three demos by the band Myth – a group that Geoff Tate fronted before joining Queensryche. The titles of the songs might ring incredibly familiar but you would be surprised that the tunes themselves lean more towards the early years of European Power Metal. Tate describes them in the liner notes as “inclusions to show the metamorphosis of a song idea” and “discerning listeners will notice certain similarities to the Queensryche songs that came later”. They are really a treat to listen to and fans should know that guitarist Kelly Gray was also a part of this band. The other inclusions of note are the demos from “The Warning” as you can enjoy these great songs in their earliest stages to see how they started against that which was finally released as the bands official debut full length. Many of the other items presented here were available on the remastered versions of the bands back catalog, so if you have them already it might seem a bit repetitive. If not, it’s a good sampling of the additional tracks that were featured on these re-issues. The second CD closes with a new track entitled “Justified” and in review of it the song sounds like it could have been included on the latest studio release “Operation: Mindcrime II” even though it was supposed to appear on “Hear In The Now Frontier”. Fans would enjoy that former guitarist Chris DeGarmo had written this one. The CD comes in a beautiful deluxe packaging and includes a detailed history by Paul Gargano along with some interesting artwork and “reflections” by singer Tate. In late 2007 the band is planning on the release of an album of cover tunes which will feature their own take on some classic songs.

CD2: Take Hold Of The Flame (Myth demo), Walk In The Shadow (Myth demo), Before The Storm (Myth demo), Waiting For The Kill (demo), No Sanctuary (demo), Prophecy (demo), I Dream In Infrared (acoustic), Dirty Lil Secret, Last Time In Paris, Scarborough Fair, Dell Brown (MTV Unplugged), Someone Else?, Silent Lucidity (live), Chasing Blue Sky, Justified (new track).

Track Listing:
1. Queen Of The Reich
2. Warning
3. Walk In The Shadows
4. Take Hold Of The Flame
5. The Lady Wore Black
6. I Don’t Believe In Love
7. Eyes Of A Stranger
8. Silent Lucidity
9. Bridge
10. Jet City Woman
11. Another Rainy Night (Without You)
12. Sign Of The Times
13. I Am I
14. Real World
15. Some People Fly
16. Until There Was You
17. All The Promises

Official Website: www.queensryche.com