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Jun 17, 2013

QUEENSRYCHE: Self Titled CD Review

Queensryche started off the new year with a new singer by the name of Todd La Torre and they made guitarist Parker Lundgren a permanent member (An excellent choice in my opinion). I don't really want to focus on all the drama that has gone down since late last year because I want to focus on the brand new album by what I consider to be the actual band Queensryche. Having been a fan since I saw the "Queen of the Reich" video on MTV in the early 80's. I went out the next day and picked up the vinyl for the EP and didn't look back.

I think we can all agree that the output from Queensryche since "Promised Land" has been far from stellar. Don't get me wrong, there have been a few gems in there but nothing compared to the heyday of the first five albums. Those were great from start to finish and will continue to be classics for years to come, but enough about this... lets get to the new album.

Track Listing:

Where Dreams Go To Die
In This Light
Midnight Lullaby
A World Without
Don't Look Back
Open Road

The CD starts out  with the album intro called "X2". As most hardcore Queensryche fans know... the album "The Warning" was supposed to begin with the song "NM156". "X2" kind of reminds me a bit of this type of an intro to the album. It has a dark kind of mecanical tone to it that sets up the second song perfectly.

Moving on to the Parker Lundgren penned "Where Dreams go to Die". Talk about the new guy knowing what the "Queensryche" sound is. This is kind of a dark song that appears to be aimed straight at their former vocalist. Like most of the songs on this disk the musicianship is tight and on point. Scott Rockenfield is back in full form and this song is a testament to him finally being set free to do what he does best behind the kit. Eddie Jacksons bass lines thunder through the mix and provide an excellent foundation for Whip to do his thing. I love the guitars in this song, they set the mood from the get go.

I am going to interrupt myself here for a bit because I want to cover something that I think is very important to point out. Todd La Torre is a very natural replacement for their former singer. I have heard a lot of comments about him sounding just like Tate.... bullshit. If you listen to the album with an open mind you can easily hear that Todd has not only given Queensryche new life, but the vocals on this entire album are his and his alone. The only song that he sounds a little too much like their former singer is on "Redemption". The rest of the songs sound like Todd La Torre singing for Queensryche and that is because they are Queensryche. OK back to the album.

Of all the songs on the album that really doesn't feel like it belongs on this album with the other songs is "Spore". This is a killer song, It could have been on "Rage for Order" and fit right in. One thing I have noticed throughout this album is that the songs convey the "Queensryche" sound mentioned earlier but it has been updated and at least to me does not sound dated at all. The song "Vindication" is a great example of this. It is a fast paced song that you can clearly tell has the signature sound of the band, but is probably not something you would have heard from them during the highest point of their success. And this is a good thing, as it shows that at least in my opinion they are not trying to rely solely on the sound of their past to carry them in to the future.

I know I am kind of going out of order in relation to the actual track order of the CD so please bear with me.

Redemption is a good song, probably not my favorite on this album as it sounds a bit too formula driven, but it is still a good song and the chorus hooks me every time I hear it. It is very well played and of all the songs on the CD is probably the most radio friendly. Now that I think about it I think I could hear "In This Light" on the radio too. Some of the lyrics to this song are a bit cheesy and I think the ladies would eat it up. But this is one song where Scott just whips ass, the drumming is classic Scott Rockenfield. The dual guitar solo is absolutely killer, even though he's not there you can almost imagine Chris Degarmo there.

OK I have to admit "Midnight Lullaby" is just kind of strange. I think they could have found something else to fill in 55 seconds. It just seems like an out of place interlude to put in there. I would be curious to hear from the band as to why they thought the CD needed it. For me it ruins the flow going into one of the best songs on the disk "A World Without" this song features long time Queensryche collaborator and fan favorite Pamela Moore. This is a slower, darker song that really shows the band is not content with just re-creating the old sound and Todd really shows his vocal range on this one.

I like "Don't Look Back" a lot. This is the kind of song that for some reason makes me want to drink beer and just rock the fuck out. This is just a straight forward rock song, and fuck Todd that scream is killer, it makes me want to break shit. Another song I like a lot is "Fallout" this is your classic killer Queensryche song, Ed bass brings a backbone to this song that elevates it to a whole different level. Having been a pro drummer for the majority of my life I have always loved the anchor of Scott and Ed, it's like they were born to play together.

The song that really shines on this CD is the final song called "Open Road" This one is a Queensryche masterpiece and really shows that Todd is his own vocalist and not trying to replicate their former singer at all. It's one of the slower songs but it has a ton of power and emotion and shows the evolution and the return of one of my favorite bands of all time.

There is so much that I want to say about this CD but it would take up pages and I am just trying to give you all an overview of what I thought of the album. I think it is a well written, all be it short CD, coming in at a little over 35 minutes. To me this is a return to what I remember Queensryche to be. I have not heard such inspired drumming from Scott Rockenfield in a long long time and I am so glad to hear that he still has the passion and drive to amaze his fans. Whip... what can be said man, we all know who the Queensryche guitar sound comes from. You and Parker tear it up. I love the double leads, that is one thing that has been sorely missed on a lot of the more recent releases. Nothing says Queensryche like those dual leads. Ed, you are a master man you hold the bottom down like no one else. You always know what sounds good and where it needs to go. And Todd, thank you. I never thought I would hear the real Queensryche again and you have given the band the voice it has needed for a long time.

The new CD is being streamed in it's entirety right now at:

QUEENSRYCHE is back my friends. A solid 9 out of 10. I cannot wait for the next album guys.

Brian G.

Here are a couple of live videos of songs on the new CD.


  1. Agreed!! Todd breathes new life into the band, and I for one am ecstatic about it.