Monday, June 27, 2011

QUEENSRYCHE -CD- DEDICATED TO CHAOS

Before even getting into any detail, for any youngsters interested in or buying this record, this is not your father's Queensryche.

Queensryche formed in Bellevue, Washington in 1981. The current lineup consists of original members vocalist Geoff Tate, Michael Wilton on guitar, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield. Guitarist Parker Lundgren, who joined in 2009, rounds out the band on guitar.

"Dedicated To Chaos" is the Twelfth studio album from Queensryche. As I alluded to above "Dedicated To Chaos" does not have the sound or style that Queensryche had through 1990's "Empire". To be fair their sound started to go in a different direction than what you expected from them with "Empire" but only on a couple of tracks or so. The Queensryche hard and heavy sound that blasted onto the scene with their self-titled 1982 EP and maintained through their 1988 masterpiece "Operation: Mindcrime" was some of the best mix of hard rock and heavy metal out there. They started to tinker with their direction with "Empire" and by the time we were handed 2003's "Tribe" they had completely transformed their sound to that of a progressive rock and roll band. That's all well and good and it shows their creativity and ability to broaden their musical horizons. There was always still signs of their metal roots and hard rock style riffs to keep their loyal long time fans interested. "Dedicated To Chaos" however leaves that hard and heavy sound in the rear view mirror.

This is quite definitely an experimental album for Queensryche. It is possible that i could alienate some of their long time fans who were hoping that they would return to their loud and proud roots but Queensryche has been experimenting since 1994's "Promise Land" and it should not be that much of a shock that they are experimenting again. If they released "Dedicated To Chaos" and credited it to a new name other than Queensryche it probably would receive a lot more favorable reviews than it has already. It's a pleasant listen and their playing is as tight as ever. It's just not "The Warning" or "Operation: Mindcrime". Odds are if they made a true hard rock album it would never live up to those albums either and the reviews would be harping on that issue. As someone who loved early Queensryche and after seeing them open for Iron Maiden five nights in a row in 1985 I thought for sure they were going to be as big as Maiden and their peers this leaves me a little conflicted on how I feel about the direction they have taken.

I did say that if you look at it as a new body of work without Queensryche colored glasses it's a pleasant listen. Chaos is appropriate as part of the title too because the album seems to jump from one style to the next at times. The first track, "Get Started" is the most rocking track on the album. Although horns have been used in the past, Geoff Tate on saxophone on the track "Higher" might leave Queensryche faithful scratching their head. "Around The World" has a very 60s feel to it and leads you to suspect this album is very influenced with what these guys grew up listening to on the radio. There is also "Retail Therapy" which hints the most at the old Queensryche sound.

If you can approach listening to this album without the jaded view of comparing it to Queensryche of old and can listen to it as a separate entity then you'll find it to be entertaining but it probably won't make your best of 2011 list. There is also a "Special Edition" with four bonus tracks available.

QUEENSRYCHE - DEDICATED TO CHAOS COMPLETE TRACK LISTING:

1. Get Started
2. Hot Spot Junkie
3. Got It Bad
4. Higher
5. Wot We Do
6. Around the World
7. Drive
8. At the Edge
9. I Take You
10. Retail Therapy
11. The Lie
12. Big Noize
 
Released June 28, 2001 on Roadrunner Records/Loud & Proud Records

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