Metal powerhouse Queensrÿche release their sixteenth studio album, Digital Noise Alliance.
It doesn’t always happen this way, but I was on board with Queensrÿche from their very first self-titled EP. That song, “Queen Of The Reich,” got more spins from me than anything else I had going at the time. I immediately loved the band and have followed them ever since. Their music changed almost immediately from the hard rock / metal of that first release, transforming into complex, progressive-oriented concept music, and that was fine with me. Every step of the way – The Warning (1984) and Rage for Order (1986) – was leading unswervingly to the all-time great Operation: Mindcrime (1988). Even now, Queensrÿche is most remember and revered for that album, but every record they have released before and since is a shining example of their dedication to their music and their artistry.
There have been a few personnel changes over the years, and that is to be expected of such a long-lived act. The current lineup is Eddie Jackson (bass), Michael Wilton (guitar), Mike Stone (guitar), Todd La Torre (vocals), and Casey Grillo (drums). The sound they achieve on the new album harkens back to the early days of the band and has firm filaments that trace Queensrÿche’s entire history. The opening track, “In Extremis,” has a charging rhythm and forceful guitar front that sets the stage for Todd La Torre’s strong and melodic voice. The lead guitar elements have a progressive feel to them, attenuate in precisely the right way to integrate with the song’s set-up and to reach audience’s ears in the most impactful way. The next song is “Chapters,” and it slows the pace a bit to emphasize emotion and drama, all the while preserving the guitar and percussion innovations and, of course, the vocals. As you move through the record, each song is a new journey and discovery.
Across the eleven songs on the new album, Queensrÿche creates incredible music to express ideas in the way that they have been doing since the beginning, and in the unique way that only they can. The new set stacks up beautifully with the existing canon of the band, demonstrating irrevocably that heavy music would be incomplete without them. Highly recommended.
Digital Noise Alliance is out now through Century Media Records. Listen to the album and go see Queensrÿche on tour now with Judas Priest.
Queensrÿche website, http://www.queensrycheofficial.com/
Century Media Records, https://www.centurymedia.com/artist/queensryche
© Wayne Edwards