The Album by Album Challenge: Queensryche (Part II) The Brainfart October 2, 2013 Album By Album Challenge 3 Comments Welcome back the Queensryche Album by Album Challenge. I hope everyone made it through Part 1. What are your thoughts so far? Here are with the 2nd and final installment and things are about to get pretty oogly here. Actually, things started to get kinda ugly towards the end of part 1 but part 2 is going to offer up quite a few ups and downs. I’m really curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on these albums more than anything because it’s this group of albums where I feel like things get pretty shifty and inconsistent. Ok, enough jibber jabber. Let’s carry on shall we? ============================================= Queensryche – Q2K Release Date: September 14, 1999 The Good: The Bad: Falling Down, Sacred Ground, One Life, When the Rain Comes, How Could I?, Beside You, Liquid Sky, Burning Man, Wot Kinda Man, The Right Side Of My Mind The Indifferent: … I just don’t know what to say about this album. I’m absolutely speechless. So this was the first album without longtime guitarist/co-writer Chris DeGarmo and this really shows a weak spot in the creative entity. I mean, the songwriting is credited to “Queensryche” so if this is the case, than DeGarmo was a much stronger creative force than we realized. This album just sounds like a totally forgettable alternative metal band album. This could’ve been Sevendust or any of those other forgettable modern acts. There is nothing good about this album whatsoever and has me dreading what is to come. Ugh… ============================================= Queensryche – Tribe Release Date: July 22, 2003 The Good: The Bad: Open, Losing Myself, Desert Dance, Falling Down, Rhythm of Hope, Tribe, Blood, The Art of Life, Doin’ Fine The Indifferent: Ok. So ANYONE who says, “Queensryche needs Chris DeGarmo back so they can make great music again” needs to listen to this album. This is proof that it really wasn’t Chris DeGarmo leaving the band that brought them down. After hearing this album it’s pretty safe to say that Queensryche is just ultimately creatively bankrupt. It’s like they burned up all of their awesomesauce on Promised Land and maybe even tapped into the reserves for that one. This album is just like the last one. It’s week, predictable, and just completely lacking of any substance. It’s nothing more than another piece of recyclable plastic full of subpar music. It’s really heartbreaking but it is what it is. DeGarmo or no DeGarmo, these guys are pretty much out of everything. ============================================= Queensryche – Operation: Mindcrime II Release Date: The Good: I’m American, Hostage, The Hands, Signs Say Go, The Chase, Murderer?, If I Could Change It All, A Junkie’s Blues, Fear City Slide, All The Promises The Bad: Open, Re-Arrange You The Indifferent: One Foot in Hell, Speed of Light, An Intentional Confrontation So this was kind of a surprise for me. I really had much lower expectation for this album but I was actually quite surprised to hear some really pretty great songs. Now remember to keep this in context though. When I say “The Good”, I don’t mean on the level of anything prior to Hear in the Now Frontier. Maybe it’s that the last few albums were so horrendous that mediocrity sounds like ear candy at this point. I didn’t really get or grasp the “concept” behind this album because of the inconsistency of the quality of the songs. Songs like “Hostage” and even “Murderer?” at times reminded me of songs that I could’ve heard on Rage for Order. “A Junkie’s Blues” is really a great fucking song and I have to say that the album closing “All the Promises” totally reminded me of “I Will Remember” from Rage for Order. It’s funny that the most of the songs remind me of that album more so than a continuation of Operation Mindcrime. As a whole, this album just doesn’t cut it but the fact that there were a handful of good songs shows me that the ability is still there to write great songs but maybe it’s just been lost for a while. ============================================= Queensryche – American Soldier Release Date: March 31, 2009 The Good: Sliver, Unafraid, Hundred Mile Stare, At 30,000 Feet, A Dead Man’s Words, Middle of Hell, Man Down, Remember Me, The Voice The Bad: Home Again, The Indifferent: The Killer, If I Were King, I was completely caught off by how much I actually dug this album. I don’t know if it was that at this point QR had made so many shitty albums that this was an improvement but I really did find myself liking a good number of these songs. This album came out at the time we were knee deep in war (for the 2nd time in my lifetime) and I feel and hear a lot of sincerity behind the songs on this one. It’s a loose concept album basically from the 1st person standpoint of a soldier at war. The songs are well written and really well executed. There are a few duds and even those didn’t flat out suck. The only thing that flat out sucked was “Home Again” which was a duet with Tate’s daughter. That poor girl should never be let near a microphone. That was painful. Other than that, what I do have to say is that you can really hear the strain on Tate’s voice at this point as he really is pushing hard to reach those notes that he used to hit with such ease. While the songs on this album were good, they are still far from the greatness of Promised Land but far superior to anything they did after that one. ============================================= Queensryche – Dedicated to Chaos Release Date: June 28, 2011 The Good: The Bad: Get Started, Higher, Hard Times, Hot Spot Junkie, Got It Bad, Around the World, Retail Therapy, At the Edge, Broken, Drive, I Believe, LuvN U, Wot We Do, I Take You, The Lie, Big Noize The Indifferent: Wow. Just… wow. I just don’t know what to say about this. What the fuck is this? I mean, I just can’t even wrap my head around this. This album should’ve been called “The Geoff Tate Sex Creeper Album.” I mean, I just can’t believe that the same guys who brought us songs like, “Breaking The Silence”, “I Am I”, and “Take Hold of the Flame” now bring us songs like, “LuvN U”, “Wot We Do”, “Big Noize”, and “Retail Therapy.” Really? You have got to be fucking kidding me. I have to take a long break after this one. Avoid this album with everything you have. Kill it with fire! Now here is where things get weird. Head to head, Queensryche vs. Queensryche. In the left corner, you have Geoff Tate and his band of misfits. In the right corner you have Queensryche with bizarro Geoff Tate on vocals. Who will win? Who put out the best album? Which Queensryche will reign supreme in Kitchen Stadium? Who will be America’s Next Top Queensryche? Let the showdown begin! Queensryche – Frequency Unknown Release Date: April 23, 2013 The Good: Cold, The Hands of God, Running Backwards, Life Without You, Fallen, The Weight of the World, The Bad: Dare, Give It To You, Slave, The Indifferent: Everything, So here we go. Queensryche (aka. Geoff Tate’s Queensryche) put out Frequency Unknown earlier this year when it became a Queensryche vs. Queensryche where two versions of QR went head to head and released albums almost back to back. It became the cool thing to hate on Geoff Tate and I can see the problems but ya know what? I love Tate and I’ll tell you why. He’s never once apologized or taken back anything he did creatively no matter how much I liked or didn’t like it and this album is no exception. Can we just start off by acknowledging the cover art? This really turned a lot of heads and had fans screaming about how tasteless Tate was. I thought it was fucking brilliant and classic Geoff Tate so right off the bat I had to say, “Job well done Vestman! You stuck it to the haters!” As for the songs, the songs on this album that are good I find to be really good. “The Hands of God” is a pretty stellar cut while “The Weight of the World” just may have been a perfect fit on Promised Land as I feel that this is one of their sharpest, best written and executed songs in many, many years. The bad is just awful but again, it’s Tate’s game and he can play it any way he likes. Again, it’s not a great album but it really isn’t an all-out terrible album. I personally don’t find it to be nearly as good as his solo efforts which leads me to think that maybe he should move forward as a solo artist re-branding the his approach towards music since it really doesn’t sound like Queensryche. ============================================= Queensryche – Queensryche Release Date: June 25, 2013 The Good: Where Dreams Go To Die, Spore, In This Light, In This Light, Redemption, The Bad: The Indifferent: Vindication, A World Without, Don’t Look Back, Fallout, Open Road So the whole time I was listening to this album, all I could think of was that movie Rockstar where this band had a singer who they wanted to get rid of. They got rid of him and recruited this other guy who pretty much sounded just like the original guy but they just didn’t have to deal with the original guy’s ego or pay him the money the other guy made. I honestly swear that this was all I could think of. Todd LaTorre does a great Geoff Tate. Matter of fact, it’s funny cuz LaTorre sounds just like Tate from the Promised Land era so I honestly loved hearing him sing. I’d love to hear him sing the classic QR stuff as I’m sure he knocks it out of the park. This album however is more like a foul ball. Matter of fact, it’s residing out there in the right field with Geoff Tate’s Frequency Unknown as this one did just as much for me as Tate’s album did. Of course this album sounds more like QR being that it’s got 3/5 original members but the songwriting (yes, even the good ones) just sounds uninspired, boring, and pretty meaningless. No matter how you slice it, this album just doesn’t measure up to greatness and doesn’t fair much better than Tateryche. When I listen to those earlier albums, those songs touch me. They make me feel something and they make me even thing and honestly, not since Promised Land has QR been able to make me feel that. ============================================= So what is the final result of the Queensryche vs. Queensryche battle? Well, at the end of the day it’s us Queensryche fans who truly lose. Neither versions of this band can give us nearly a glimpse of the same magic that they gave us so many moons ago. Much like Metallica, they lost their way and their focus so long ago that they can’t even find their way back to that place where they were able to capture lightning in a bottle and make us all feel like we were getting something really special. It’s really sad because the end result of all of this is that we get two versions of one band where neither version is even remotely close to getting it right. Both sides had some good (and I said “good”) songs a long with a lot of really forgettable material. In my opinion, I think they should all call it a day. LaTorre’s Queensryche would’ve been much better off keeping their name as Rising West and becoming a new band and Geoff Tate should just get weird and keep putting out some of what I feel to be really exciting and different solo album. This way, neither side is dragging the Queensryche name as we know it through the mud. Then again what do I know? I’m just a no name blogger. Don’t mind me. I’m just the guy that feels like Promised Land was Queensryche’s amazing swan song to us all. If you need me, I’ll be jamming that one with headphones. Carry on. Like this:Like Loading... Flash says: October 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm I’ll have to agree with your article. EXCELLENT, well said. To AJ, GT may not be responsible for the”wot”. Could be any one of the highly intelligent souls working with him. Maybe the beautiful wife/manager,that has been absolutely brilliant with his/QR career, is responsible? Poor Geoff, no wonder he is “in the dirt. He is an artist none the less! I love fucking Geoff Tate! AJ says: October 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm I like how the quality of the music declines significantly as soon as Tate starts misspelling “what” as “wot.” Jeromy Dooyema says: October 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm Thanks for the rundown down Don! I have always liked Queensryche, but really haven’t listened to much since Operation Mindcrime. Sounds like I haven’t missed too much! I do still really like Geoff Tate’s voice, too bad the whole thing seems to be going to hell in a handbasket!