Tag Archives: queensryche remasters

“Q2K” (remaster) by Queensryche

Artist: Queensryche
Title: “Q2K” (remaster)
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 8/29/2006
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

In 1999 Queensryche would find themselves in a bit of a bind for not only did they lose the label they had for much of their career but co-founder Chris DeGarmo would also choose to move on and pursue other interests in life. Musically this would not be a release that many Queensryche fans would embrace very openly; but upon listening to the remastered and expanded edition some seven years – I can safely say that there is some enjoyable stuff on it and necessary as part of the complete Queensryche catalog. The best way to enjoy this one is to skate around the tracks and find the most acceptable ones such as “Sacred Ground” and “One Life” which show a different Queensryche from the band you grew up remembering. I think the initial problem fell in the expectations of the fan base as well as the bands quest to keep themselves relevant during a difficult musical point in time. They were no longer Progressive Metal and had instead become a style of harder Progressive Rock that used their typical strong melodic sense mixed in throughout their songs. Technically, they remained the same and sounded fine, as the band did not aim for high levels of avant-garde musical exploration as the bands that came after them (I speak especially of Dream Theater and Fates Warning). DeGarmo’s spot in the band would be temporarily filled by Kelly Gray (now of Slave To The System) while the rest remained the originals (Tate, Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson). Gray was good but perhaps did not receive any level of compliment based on fans refusing to let go of the fact that Chris had left the lineup. The remaster includes several additional tracks and “Until there Was you” is a perfect ballad for the group while “Howl” is a rocker from top to bottom. Maybe their inclusion to the original release would have helped it along but now we have them on the re-issue so its no longer a problem. The original album tracks of “Breakdown”, “Right Side Of My Mind” and “Liquid Sky” are quite good as well and could have carried the release forward but perhaps its lack of an overall theme and instead just built as straight songs caused this additional grief. To be honest, I remember finding myself uninterested in it when it first hit the shelves but cannot recall what kept me from it back then.
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“Operation: Mindcrime” (expanded edition) by Queensryche

Artist: Queensryche
Title: “Operation: Mindcrime” (expanded edition)
Label: EMI Music/Capitol Records
Release Date: 6/27/2006
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 10/10

Queensryche truly had a winner with their third album; the long acclaimed and revered Progressive Metal Rock Opera “Operation: Mindcrime”. The release became an instant favorite among their fan base and proved to the Metal world that the group was not a one-trick pony. The release of the expanded edition by EMI Music/Capitol Records celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the band’s formation and takes the original release and expanding it to a larger level of potential. The original album saw the remaster process a couple of years ago with the rest of the catalog and these are some of the best releases I had ever gotten my hands on so how could an already well-done issue be pushed up another notch. The answer would be simply to just do it and give the people a little bit more to enjoy of this Metal masterpiece. On top of the original album and its bonus tracks a second CD would be included that featured an unreleased performance of the album from the Hammersmith Odeon in London. While the label had issued an individual album called “Operation: Live Crime”, it is a great idea to have this connected to the studio recording. Those who have enjoyed the music on this album can attest that hearing Mindcrime live in its entirety is simply amazing. The storyline of the album was so rich in detail that one begins to wonder why this never saw conversion to either the Big Screen or Broadway stage. It could have worked and become a bit of a cult classic if done to the exact specifications of the plot.
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“The Warning” (remaster) by Queensryche

Artist: Queensryche
Title: “The Warning” (remaster)
Label: EMI Music/Capitol Records
Release Date: 5/6/2003
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 8/10

The first full-length album by Queensryche took the Heavy Metal and Hard Rock world by surprise and with their support of both KISS and Iron Maiden (who were pushing “Animalize” and “Powerslave”) the band was instantly able to put themselves in front of a great potential fan base. The material on the new release “The Warning” and the bands incredible sound allowed them to stand as tall as these heavy hitters and along with music from the self-titled EP performed to an outstanding reaction. The touring for this release pretty much opened the door for Queensryche because back then the only folks who would have had the EP were those who often scoured the back pages of Rock magazines of the time and dug through record bins digging for gold. Queensryche was smart in the decision to not place any songs from their EP on the debut release which almost guaranteed that it would be purchased if you found yourself impressed by them. Most listeners to the growing Metal genre would find this to be the case and discover a band deeply rooted in the teachings of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest yet moving in a more technically progressive nature like that of Rush. With Queensryche you would get a little of everything and overall a very impressive band would be the result of these influences. The vocal power of Geoff Tate would blow you away with his breaking glass register. Musically they were incredible as well with twin axe-man ship of DeGarmo and Wilton taking what other bands had introduced for lead players and raising the bar to the next level. Scott Rockenfield was also a terrific drummer who worked his magic on the kit while bassist Eddie Jackson held it all together with ease. A great debut, with a lot of incredible songs that still hold relevance and awe on their fans to this day. Favorites of mine include not only the hit of “Take Hold Of The Flame” but also “Before The Storm” and “Child Of Fire”.
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“Rage For Order” (remaster) by Queensryche

Artist: Queensryche
Title: “Rage For Order” (remaster)
Label: Capitol Records
Release Date: 5/6/2003
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 7.5/10

Queensryche would not suffer the dreaded “sophomore curse” with their second album but it would not win over all of their fans right away. It was not as much the display of Progressive Metal that their debut was but instead a dark and more somber musical experiment. The dramatic use of keyboards and an emphasis on technological aspects made this a little difficult to appreciate at first listen for the typical Metal fan. However, at the second turn at the music you will find yourself taken to a world that is as dark as it is thought-provoking. Songs like “Walk In The Shadows” and “I Dream In Infrared” were powerful and showcased a different Queensryche than we had experienced on the last album and from their tours. Maturing more and more as time went on, they were proving themselves worthy of holding the torch that was being held high by the likes of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. In 1986 when this album was released both bands were riding a Metal wave that was showing no signs of stopping.
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“Promised Land” (remaster) by Queensryche

Artist: Queensryche
Title: “Promised Land” (remaster)
Label: EMI Music/Capitol Records
Release Date: 6/10/2003
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 7/10

Queensryche would continue its progression into a slightly different style from their origin on “Promised Land”. The album would follow hit maker “Empire” after a long break in releases for the band was almost always on tour. Released in 1994 we find a very different Queensryche and the end result makes “Promised Land” a very tricky record to absorb. While there are some solid rocking tracks like “I Am I” and “Damaged” there are also a few that seem out of place in this particular band (“Dis con nect ted”). “Bridge” is a nice ballad and would have made a good single for the band but I don’t recall it getting much radio play. The times of the day were loaded with other Seattle bands now as the “grunge movement” was in full sway and dominating every medium available. The title track itself has a very Pink Floyd feel to it and perhaps owes some respect to the legends for the way it ebbs and flows. At this point Queensryche had their core following and it seemed to maintain its course from there. Those that wanted heavy music had long since stopped and perhaps the mega hit of “Silent Lucidity” from “Empire” while making the necessary financial changes to their lives ended up costing some of those who supported from the beginning.
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