My interest in Queensryche goes a pretty long way back and I can say to the readers that the first time I ever caught them in concert was when they were opening up for KISS on the bands “Animalize” tour. They were supporting their soon to be released masterpiece “Warning” and believe it or not, I couldn’t have cared less that night. This was based on the KISS mania setting in and my not being open to this obviously rising star in the Metal world. I was not alone in this view and that was just how a KISS show worked. You often were bored at any opening band while you waited for the Kings Of The Nighttime World to come out and dominate the stage. Moving ahead a couple of years in time, the chance to see Queensryche again happened when Iron Maiden was on their legendary “Powerslave” tour and for me this was a match made in heaven. I say it like this because the band was winning me over note after note and had the many thousands of fans in Radio City Music Hall pushing their fists into the air as singer Geoff Tate told us to “Take Hold Of The Flame” with a soaring and commanding register. I’ve been a fan ever since that time and have followed them as a band in both my personal life and as that of a music journalist. They pushed the envelope a number of times in their releases and we have reviewed many of their recordings and video films on the site as well as supported their touring efforts. To see any contest that features Queensryche just click their logo below to launch the query that will present all that is resident on the PiercingMetal.com website.
Title: “Empire” 20th Anniversary Edition (remastered)
Label: Capitol Records
Release Date: 9/14/2010
Genre: Hard Rock/Metal
What a great year for important Metal anniversary releases. I mean let’s look at what’s come out so far. We had Judas Priest celebrating thirty years of “British Steel” a few months ago and now its time for Queensryche’s stunning “Empire” to get its due. Believe it or not my friends, the pivotal album in the bands career is now officially twenty years old. When the band issued remastered releases a couple of years ago we offered up some thoughts on this album and I am presenting them to you all again to refresh your memory (I’ve modified this text only slightly to be a little more current). After you catch up, we will examine this edition a little more. Please read on.
After extensive touring in support of “Operation: Mindcrime” the band was able to call more of the shots when it came to delivery of the next album. Geoff Tate was largely the creative force behind Operation: Mindcrime and now the task would fall to guitarist Chris DeGarmo who would have a writing credit in every song except for the title track. “Empire” would also be the bands biggest commercial success due to the fact that many tracks were considered “radio friendly” to what was on the airwaves at the time. The 1990 release would find an incredibly heavy rotation on the MTV network with their videos and the then strong rock radio empire as well. Songs like “Empire”, “Best I Can”, “Jet City Woman” and the crossover hit “Silent Lucidity” were staples and could be heard every day and more than once to boot. The latter track was often referred to as Queensryche does Pink Floyd, for it held such a strong common feel to the psychedelic Rock giants own “Comfortably Numb”. The band surely deserved the larger critical acclaim which would arrive seven years after their debut EP but the strong commercial angle of the recording would lose some of their heavier music fans. In the end there were more who would stick with the band as their audience itself was growing older and finding expanded musical interests themselves. Queensryche seemed to be a band that matured along with their audience and that is never a bad thing. The remasters of the Queensryche back catalog are impressive not only in sound but in the inclusions they offer. Expanded artwork and liner notes are par for the course in this release as with the others as well as unheard or rare tracks. This album features an amazing cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair” as well as a track only heard in a movie before (“Last Time In Paris”). Okay so “Scarborough Fair” is not a track actually penned by the Folk Rock duo, but one cannot argue how they are probably the ones that made it most popular. With “Empire” it was safe to say that this would be the album for you if you had moved on from the blistering displays of Metal and wanted a little more Progressive nature added to your musical diet. Lyrically it has some bright spots and while one or two moments are uninspired, there is some great stuff on the album. Favorites besides the tracks referenced above would be “Anybody Listening?” which sounds like it was something that should have been on “Operation: Mindcrime” but for some reason was left off. “Empire” is in a lot of ways the first album that people learned about Queensryche on, and that is another reason it is such a hallowed piece of music.
Continue reading “Empire” 20th Anniversary Edition (remastered) by Queensryche
Venue: Nokia Theatre Times Square (New York, NY)
Label: Rhino Entertainment
To celebrate the release of their new album “American Soldier”, Queensryche had returned to New York City for another performance at The Nokia Theatre in Times Square. When I sit back and think about my experiences with the band at this particular venue, I am starting to feel that I have seen them perform here almost as much as I have seen the band Into Eternity perform at various places all around the city and if you understand the reference then you will know that I mean its been quite a few times. In some sense it is almost as if the legendary Queensryche are the venues house band and in the end it’s a welcome thing since every show is loaded with surprises. Having been an almost yearly event for the Hard Rock and Metal fans of the region the Queensryche shows have been keeping things interesting by focusing on a particular album or theme with each go round. We once saw them performing the two “Mindcrime” releases back to back and on another occasion they had offered up a night of rarities and cover versions blended in with some of their standard classics. I had to say that this was much better than those bands who stick to a particular set list for a couple of tours with only minor changes. Tonight’s festivities would not only be paying attention to the new album but would also wisely offer up extended suites that presented both the “Rage For Order” and “Empire” albums as well. This would amount to a Metal show with three distinct parts and based on this we broke our thoughts up into sections as well to better transfer the vibe of the night.
Continue reading Queensryche @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (5/16/2009)
Title: “Empire” (remaster)
Label: EMI Music/Capitol Records
Release Date: 6/10/2003
Genre: Progressive Rock
After extensive touring in support of “Operation: Mindcrime” the band was able to call more of the shots when it came to delivery of the next album. Geoff Tate was largely the creative force behind Mindcrime and now the task would fall to DeGarmo who would have a writing credit in every song except the title track. “Empire” would also be the bands biggest commercial success due to the fact that many tracks were considered “radio friendly” to what was on the airwaves at the time. The 1990 release would find heavy rotation on the MTV network with their videos and the then strong rock radio empire as well. Songs like “Empire”, “Best I Can”, “Jet City Woman” and the crossover hit “Silent Lucidity” were staples and could be heard every day. The latter track was often referred to as Queensryche does Pink Floyd, for it held such a strong common feel to the psychedelic Rock giants. The band surely deserved the larger critical acclaim which would arrive seven years after their debut but the strong commercial angle of the recording would lose some of their heavier fans. More would stick with the band as their audience was growing older and finding expanded musical interests themselves. Queensryche seemed to be a band that matured along with their audience.
Continue reading “Empire” by Queensryche (remaster) by Queensryche