QUEENSRŸCHE – Queensrÿche (2013 Avalon Japanese import)
I purchased and reviewed the domestic “deluxe edition” of Queensryche (2013) in July of this year. I initially gave it a 3.25/5 stars, but I have since revised that score to 3.5/5. The album continues to appeal to me greatly months later, which is more than I can say for most Queensryche discs since Promised Land. At the end of that review, I cryptically added, “Oh, and the live bonus tracks absolutely smoke.”
Since nobody likes a tease, I’ve decided to focus on all four live tracks for this review. For the very reasonable price of $32 USD plus $3 shipping, I had a sealed copy of Queensryche sent to me from Japan, so I now have all four live tracks. If you want the short report: They’re good enough that Queensryche should consider releasing a full live CD/DVD. I’d buy it based on these four tracks. But nobody comes to mikeladano.com for the short version.
“Queen of the Reich” is the first song I ever heard from the original Queensryche, as I suspect is true for most of the band’s fanbase. Right from the opening scream, I feel that this is the band that represents Queensryche. Every note is nailed, as is every scream. On this song Todd La Torre can do no wrong, but not just that. I would say that his versions are, in general, fresh sounding. He is reverent to the originals, but I also hear his own voice. I must also commend Scott Rockenfield. His drums are heavy as fuck, and his bass drum precisely punctuates every beat.
“En Force” is a welcome surprise. In 2001, Eddie Jackson told me that it was considered in the running for the Live Evolution album but did not make the cut. The good news is the guys still know how to play it! This has never been my absolute favourite track from The Warning, but to hear it live with all the screams intact? That’s something I never thought would happen again.
“Prophecy” is a difficult song, and although Todd doesn’t sing it album-perfect, I have to ask myself, who else these days can sing these Queensryche songs like this? Not too many singers. I just hope Todd doesn’t blow out his voice. I’m sure this kind of singing takes its toll.
Last is the classic “Eyes of a Stranger”. This is the only bonus track not from the stone ages of the Ryche, the only representation of Operation: Mindcrime. It is actually this track, in many respects, that shows off the talents of Todd La Torre. It is another side of the spectrum, and Todd pulls this off as well. Look, I know Geoff Tate’s the original, etc. etc. I get that. Focused on the here and now, this is how I’d like to hear Queensryche sound. Heavy, slightly progressive rock music with shredding vocals. That’s what I like, and Queensryche deliver on these four bonus tracks.
Lastly, a word about Parker Lundgren. I remember when Kelly Gray joined the band, on Live Evolution he lent a different sound to the band. It was good, just different. Parker fits much more seamlessly. He doesn’t attract attention to himself by playing things differently, he played it the way you remember it.
Yeah, so I bought the album twice. You knew I was going to. For the bonus tracks:
- Geoff Tate’s Queensryche – “Cold” (2013 single)
- Queensryche – Q2k (Expanded edition)
- Video game review: Queensryche’s Promised Land (1996)
- Queensryche / Type O Negative – Toronto Ontario, July 27, 1995, Molson Amphitheatre
- Geoff Tate – Geoff Tate (2002)
- Exclusive interview with Eddie Jackson (2001)
- Queensryche – Empire (20th Anniversary Edition)