As we gear up for this year’s release of the next Queensryche album The Verdict, let’s look back at a different edition of their last album Condition Hüman. For our original 2015 review of Condition Hüman, click here!
It is almost customary now. When a band comes out with a new album, there has to be a crazy deluxe edition with vinyl and CD. The best of these editions are the ones that include exclusive music. In the end, all the posters and booklets in the world add up to only paper. Exclusive music is the thing of real value.
Queensryche did well with their Condition Hüman deluxe. It was available in a variety of colours. This one is yellow, number 659/1000. There’s a cool turntable mat inside, and a double sided poster. For music, the album is split onto two coloured 180 gram vinyl records, including the Japanese bonus track “Espiritu Muerto” on Side D. (The D-side is also etched with the Queensryche logo in the empty space.) For your convenience, the entire album including Japanese bonus track is duplicated on the CD inside. Then for the diehards comes the true exclusive: two more songs on a 7″ single, not on any other version of the album. This is the real reward for spending the extra money on the deluxe.
“Espiritu Muerto” chugs heavily along, punishing the skulls of unbelievers. On the 7″ record, the two exclusive songs are fairly non-descript. “46° North” is B-side-ish, like a leftover written for Empire but dropped in favour of something more commercial. “Mercury Rising” is on the other side, with a vaguely psychedelic metal vibe and science fiction lyrics.
Condition Hüman itself is a strong metallic album, though with hindsight perhaps too “metal” for its own good. There was a time, not so long ago, when fans would have begged and pleaded with Queensryche to write just one new song in the vein of Condition Hüman. Now that we have two albums solidly back in the metal genre, it would be nice to hear real diversity in Queensryche again.
That said, Condition Hüman is a damn fine album for what it is. The Queensryche of today, fronted by Todd La Torre, has been determined to retain trademark elements from Queensryche’s 80s heyday. That includes strong riffs, dual harmony solos, and screamin’ vocals. These are all delivered with gravy on top.
The vinyl experience of Condition Hüman is actually superior to that of CD. It was always a long album, with the standard edition being 53 minutes of pretty relentless stomping. On vinyl, you’re forced to pause and flip the record three times before even getting to the single. These brief respites allow you to breath and absorb. What I’ve absorbed is that Condition Hüman is still a damn fine collection of songs, if a bit too single-minded. One gets the impression from this album that, though good, Queensryche can still do better.
LP-A1 Arrow Of Time
LP-A4 Toxic Remedy
LP-B1 Selfish Lives
LP-B2 Eye 9
LP-C1 Just Us
LP-C2 All There Was
LP-C3 The Aftermath
LP-C4 Condition Hüman
LP-D1 Espiritu Muerto
7″-A 46° North
7″-B Mercury Rising