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Queensryche – Condition Human

Label: Century Media
Format: CD
Released: 2015
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 9/ 10


Many years wallowing in mediocrity have plagued Queensryche. With the departure of key songwriter Chris DeGarmo after (and where it began) “Hear in the Now Frontier” album (1997), and then the creative and control issues with singer Geoff Tate to follow from 1999-2011. Even 2006’s “Operation: Mindcrime II” which was better, yet still couldn’t live up to the original albums genius, still was not the Ryche I came to love in the 80s. Since the fallout between Tate and three remaining original members; guitarist Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson, and Scott Rockenfield (drums), Tate leaves the band, and all connected outside writers.

 

“Condition Human” is the second album with Todd La Torre on vocals and trust me, just close your eyes and more often than not you’d swear Tate is still in the band. So no reason to complain. With control and songwriting credits back to the band members themselves, a democracy rules again. The result, Queensryche are back in the game making music like their classic albums Queensryche E.P. up though “Empire”. The arrangements are filled with busy drums, dual guitar lead melodies, verses that lead to the chorus, and vocal harmonies.

First two singles, ‘Arrow of Time’ and ‘Guardian’ clearly demonstrate a return to the Ryche’s metal roots given the riffing and driving drums, also incorporating those touches of prog as the drums and guitar change gears for verses and chorus. The heavy metal punch to ‘Hellfire’ (and ‘Hourglass’) brought me back to “The Warning” album. Wilton, Rockenfield, La Torre penned ‘Selfish Lives’, one that could have fit well on “Empire” or “Promised Land”, while Eddie Jackson’s bass begun 3:21 sec ‘Eye9’ arrangement (with a little vocal effect) has this moody Fates Warning artistic feel. ‘Just Us’ is very chill in vibe, just acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and vocals with harmonies. Parker Lundgren on second guitar (since 2009) gets in some co-writing credit for ‘All There Was’, and the title track to which the short “Rage For Order”ish ‘The Aftermath’ precedes.

Solid album front to back.

 
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