Before Seattle released it's aweful grunge invasion on America's ears, they gave us such great metal bands as Metal Church, Forced Entry and Queensryche. Led by operatic lead vocalist Geoff Tate, Queensryche took the underground metal scene by storm in the early 80's with a little four song ep. Although I am reluctant to call Queensryche one of my favorite bands any longer, when they first came on the scene I was a huge fan, even painting a combination of their first two covers on the back of my jean vest, which covered my black leather jacket of course.

Queensr˙che-Queensr˙che (EMI) 1983

1."Queen of the Reich" (4:22)
2."Nightrider" (3:46)
3."Blinded" (3:06)
4."The Lady Wore Black" (6:13)
5."Prophecy" (4:01)

I was in high school when this came out. (1983, yes I know, I'm old!) Me and my metalhead friends would BLAST "Queen of the Ryche" while proudly displaying our "Ryche Campaign" buttons on our patch & button clad demin vests that covered our black leather jackets. (Really, I have pictures!) This little 4 song ep ruled my world for a while. (The original did not have "The Prophecy") I even painted the ultra-cool purple and gold QUEENSRYCHE logo on the back of my denim jacket along with the cover "The Warning," which came out shortly after this ep. My friend's band (Heather's Rage) was covering "Queen of the Ryche" and "Lady Wore Black" live. We all thought this obscure band, Queensryche, were the greatest thing in the world. Perhaps they did sound a tad like Iron Maiden, but they did it so darn good! Nobody had the pipes that Geoff Tate had. (He even had long hair on this ep) Yup, Queensryche ruled! Finally broke down and replaced my vinyl with the cd when it was released with a bonus track, a song I had already heard live on "The Warning" tour when they opened for KISS. (I also had a bootleg copy of this song.) There is a big difference in the production of this song to the other four as "Prophecy" was recorded during the "Rage for Order" sessions, while the original four were recorded for a demo in 1983. Oh and I forgot to mention that "Lady Wore Black" is one of the finest power ballads ever written.

The Warning Queensr˙che-The Warning (EMI) 1984

1."Warning" (4:44)
2."En Force" (5:14)
3."Deliverance" (3:17)
4."No Sanctuary" (6:02)
5."NM 156" (4:38)
6."Take Hold of the Flame" (4:54)
7."Before the Storm" (5:13)
8."Child of Fire" (4:31)
9."Roads to Madness" (9:43)

The first signs that Queensryche may not be the mighty metal machine that their ep led us to believe they were. Still none of us knew that at the time as this was an awesome chunk of melodic, almost symphonic, metallic mayhem. I loved this album when it came out; I still love this album today. A brilliant album! "Take Hold of the Flame" was their first hit single. I saw Queensryche on this tour opening for Kiss in Rochester, NY and in Philadelphia, PA. Quite the treat seeing two of my favorite bands share the stage.

Rage for Order Queensr˙che-Rage for Order (EMI) 1986

1."Walk in the Shadows" (3:34)
2."I Dream in Infra Red" (4:18)
3."The Whisper" (3:36)
4."Gonna Get Close to You" (4:37)
5."The Killing Words" (3:56)
6."Surgical Strike" (3:20)
7."Neue Regel" (4:55)
8."Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)" (4:15)
9."London" (5:05)
10."Screaming in Digital" (3:37)
11."I Will Remember" (4:25)

This album was probably the last great heavy metal album that Queensryche would do. After this one, the MTV syndrome would take over and they would start churning out. . .well, I'll get to that. "Rage for Order" is one of the finest melodic metal albums ever. Geoff Tate's vocals along with great songwriting and a whole lot of hooks kept this one on the top of my favorites list for a long time. A few of the songs have a almost industrial-electronic sound, but overall this is a fine example of melodic metal.

Operation: Mindcrime Queensr˙che-Operation: Mindcrime (EMI) 1988

1."I Remember Now" (1:17)
2."Anarchy X"--instrumental (1:27)
3."Revolution Calling" (4:42)
4."Operation: Mindcrime" (4:43)
5."Speak" (3:42)
6."Spreading the Disease" (4:07)
7."The Mission" (5:46)
8."Suite Sister Mary" (10:41)
9."The Needle Lies" (3:08)
10."Electric Requiem" (1:22)
11."Breaking the Silence" (4:34)
12."I Don't Believe in Love" (4:23)
13."Waiting for 22"--instrumental (1:05)
14."My Empty Room" (1:28)
15."Eyes of a Stranger" (6:39)

This album broke Queensryche into the mainstream market BIG TIME after they had struggled for such a long time. To be honest though, I was a bit disappointed at the time as this is no where near the metal that I had hoped Queensryche would be putting out. In retrospect, this is a really good concept album that is based around a mysterious person named Mr. X, who is an assassin. Looking back now, and after years of listening to this, I must confess that Operation: Mindcrime is one of the finest concept albums ever.

Operation: Livecrime Queensr˙che-Operation: Livecrime (EMI) 1991

1."I Remember Now" (1:19)
2."Anarchy X"--instrumental (1:27)
3."Revolution Calling" (4:58)
4."Operation: Mindcrime" (4:26)
5."Speak" (3:44)
6."Spreading the Disease" (5:05)
7."The Mission" (5:47)
8."Suite Sister Mary" (11:37)
9."The Needle Lies" (3:19)
10."Electric Requiem" (1:16)
11."Breaking the Silence" (4:21)
12."I Don't Believe in Love" (4:19)
13."Waiting for 22"--instrumental (1:27)
14."My Empty Room" (1:37)
15."Eyes of a Stranger" (8:25)

I bought this little live cd years after it's release because as I said, I was disappointed at the time with the direction Queensryche had taken. Well, I found this cd used for something like $6, so I decided to give it a listen. Not a bad live disc, as all the songs are played with serious energy and enthusiasm, but there is nothing special about this disc as they only play songs from Operation Mindcrime and NOTHING ELSE! I found the companion video, "Video Mindcrime" a few months later in a paw shop for five bucks. Hmm, good deal I think since I've been offered upwards of $50 for the cd alone.

Anybody Listening Queensr˙che-Anybody Listening (EMI)

1. "Anybody Listening" (7:40)
2. "Scarborough Fair" (3:48)

A single from 'Empire' with the non-album track "Scarborough Fair," which is a Simon & Garfunkel cover. Cool cover printed with metallic ink, which doesn't translate so well to a scan.

Empire Queensr˙che-Empire (EMI) 1990

1."Best I Can" (5:30)
2."The Thin Line" (5:42)
3."Jet City Woman" (5:20)
4."Della Brown" (7:04)
5."Another Rainy Night (Without You)" (4:44)
6."Empire" (5:07)
7."Resistance" (4:47)
8."Silent Lucidity" (5:45)
9."Hand on Heart" (5:30)
10."One and Only" (5:52)
11."Anybody Listening?" (7:40)

OK, I'm a die-hard and hoped for the best on this one. To be honest once again, despite that fact that Queensryche abandoned their power metal roots, I had now grown to accept them for a melodic hard rock band and found "Empire" to be an excellent cd. "Jet City Woman" and "Silent Lucidity" were two huge hits that were overplayed on the local rock stations, but despite that I still loved this album. Geoff Tate's voice alone is enough reason to hit the repeat button after songs like "Resistance." Of course by this time MTV had picked up on this band and their popularity exploded, which unfortunately ruined this bands creativity for they would now release:

Promise Land Queensr˙che-Promise Land (EMI) 1994

1."9:28 a.m."-instrumental (1:43)
2."I Am I" (3:56)
3."Damaged" (3:55)
4."Out of Mind" (4:34)
5."Bridge" (3:27)
6."Promised Land" (8:25)
7."Disconnected" (4:48)
8."Lady Jane" (4:23)
9."My Global Mind" (4:20)
10."One More Time" (4:17)
11."Someone Else?" (4:38)

Uh, what happened? I'll tell you what happened. In an effort to reproduce the ballad "Silent Lucidity" Queensryche put out an album full of "Silent Lucidy" wanna-bees. Gak! There are a few shining moments in the first two tracks, but that is about it. How sad, such a great band begins their downward spiral. I put off buying this one until I found a used copy. Didn't take long as the discs began flowing into the used stores almost immediately.

Hear in the Now Frontier Queensr˙che-Hear in the Now Frontier (EMI) 1997

1."Sign of the Times" (3:33)
2."Cuckoo's Nest" (3:59)
3."Get a Life" (3:39)
4."The Voice Inside" (3:48)
5."Some People Fly" (5:17)
6."Saved" (4:09)
7."You" (3:54)
8."Hero" (5:25)
9."Miles Away" (4:32)
10."Reach" (3:30)
11."All I Want" (4:06)
12."Hit the Black" (3:36)
13."Anytime/Anywhere" (2:54)
14."spOOL" (4:53)

This is NOT Queensryche. This is a group of aliens who have come down to earth and taken the form of Geoff Tate and his cohorts in an effort to force feed us pure horse crap!

Q2K Queensr˙che-Q2K (Atlantic) 1999

1."Falling Down" (4:28)
2."Sacred Ground" (4:12)
3."One Life" (4:48)
4."When the Rain Comes..." (5:05)
5."How Could I?" (3:44)
6."Beside You" (5:14)
7."Liquid Sky" (4:53)
8."Breakdown" (4:11)
9."Burning Man" (3:42)
10."Wot Kinda Man" (3:15)
11."The Right Side of My Mind" (5:51)

I'm not sure what it is with me, maybe these bands that I loved so much growing up have this nastalgic hold on me, because I rushed out to buy this the week it was released. I had read that Queensryche were getting back to their roots, which to me meant POWER METAL! However, this is not what they meant. Well, after repeated listens I have come to the conclusion that this disc is not that bad. OK, it's miles away from "Empire" or "Warning" but songs like "Liquid Sky" and "Falling Down" are really pretty good. Not really power metal, nor is it the melodic rock of the early 90's but at least it shows that there is some life left in the band.

Live Evolution Queensr˙che-Live Evolution (Sanctuary) 2001

EP/Warning Suite
1. "NM 156" (3:56)
2. "Walk in the Shadows" (3:37)
3. "Roads to Madness" (5:46)
4. "The Lady Wore Black" (5:28)
5. "Take Hold of the Flame" (4:55)
6. "Queen of the Reich" (5:01)
7. "London" (5:15)
8. "Screaming in Digital" (3:48)
Rage/Mindcrime Suite:
9. "I Remember Now" (1:13)
10. "Revolution Calling" (5:13)
11. "Spreading the Disease" (2:29)
12. "Electric Requiem" (1:13)
13. "Spreading the Disease (Part II)" (1:48)
14. "The Mission" (5:45)
15. "Suite Sister Mary" (10:41)
16. "I Don't Believe in Love" (4:23)
17. "My Empty Room" (1:21)
18. "Eyes of a Stranger" (6:17)
Empire/Promised Land Suite:
19. "I Am I" (4:05)
20. "Damaged" (4:12)
21. "Empire" (4:50)
22. "Silent Lucidity" (5:28)
23. "Another Rainy Night" (4:37)
24. "Jet City Woman" (5:22)
Hear in the Now Frontier/Q2K Suite:
25. "Liquid Sky " (4:59)
26. "Sacred Ground" (4:05)
27. "Falling Down" (5:17)
28. "Hit the Black" (3:39)
29. "Breakdown" (4:03)
30. "The Right Side of My Mind" (6:29)

No doubt one of the biggest bands to come out of Seattle are Queensryche. I have honestly been a fan since the very beginning buying their first EP as a new release. I became such a huge fan by 'The Warning' that I painted the cover on the back of my denim vest in high school. By the time their second full length disc came out I was in total awe, although I was already beginning to become disenchanted by the fact that the band was losing their power metal edge. Despite this I saw the band several times on these first few tours, including twice opening for Kiss. During this same time, Queensryche released a live video of mostly EP and 'Warning' cuts live from Japan. The pure aggression of a young and hungry metal band would have been cool to hear on cd, but alas it was never released. Now that the band has begun a bit of a slide downward in popularity some fifteen years later, they finally release a live album comprising partially of these classic early songs. The band compresses its legacy into a decent set of 29 songs recorded over two nights at the Moore Theater in Seattle. ('Live Evolution' also marks the first release under Queensryche's new contract with Sanctuary Records.) While I am overjoyed to finally have a live disc from these guys, and am also very happy that they chose to release so much early material, I do not hear the same passion that I heard from the band in those early years. Geoff Tate while being one of my favorite singers of all time, sounds a bit tired on songs like "The Lady Wore Black," "London" and especially "Queen of the Ryche." Sure, he still hits those high notes, but with an obvious struggle that was not present in those early years. Of course what could one expect with age and years of touring. Also, guitarist Chris DeGarmo is missed. Despite my minor complaints here, I am totally enjoying this live testament to a band that has put out some of the finest rock and metal platters ever over the past decades. Disc One absolutely floors me. Love it, every pounding second of it. Disc Two, while containing much less favorites, especially on the second half still sounds so much better to me in the live setting than the studio discs ever did. I cannot even remember the last time I listened to 'Hear in the Now Frontier' but certainly these tracks will see play much more often. Must also mention that the packaging on this foldout digi is rather nice. The booklet itself contains plenty of live shots from the performance and a nice write-up of the event. One minor mistake in that the track listing for disc one is incorrect. The first eight tracks are not in the correct order and they left off 'My Empty Room' altogether.

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