For the first time in a long time, people are excited about Queensrÿche, and rightfully so. The addition of new vocalist Todd La Torre, and reenlistment of James “Jimbo” Barton for the producer’s chair has lit a fire under them, and the fan base is eager to hear the fruits of their labors, in the form of a self-titled album, due out June 25 on Century Media Records.
The brooding intro “X2” segues perfectly into the marching drums of “Where Dreams Go To Die” which serves as Todd’s coming out party and lets the listener know there’s a new sheriff in town. Also featured prominently are the dual harmonies from guitarists Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren, something that had been missing for a long time. Driving riffs, and Scott Rockenfield’s drums are front and center on “Spore”, a song that is sure to be a fan favorite for years to come.
“In This Light” is a mid-tempo song one might find on a vintage Queensrÿche album, while managing to sound totally fresh, and don’t look now, but there’s those guitar harmonies again. First single “Redemption” has a soaring chorus that really showcases the power and range of Todd’s voice and is one of the album’s best cuts, no question. “Vindication” brings the heavy with a vengeance, anchored solidly by Eddie Jackson’s tightly coiled bass line.
After the dark interlude of “Midnight Lullaby” the band takes it down a notch for the hauntingly beautiful “A World Without” which features a brilliant call and response between Todd and guest star Pamela Moore, and features a guitar solo that is elegant in its simplicity.
“Don’t Look Back” sounds eerily like one of Fates Warning‘s better songs from days of yore, and is a fast-paced number sure to get people moving, while “Fallout” delivers easily the album’s most anthemic track, hands down. An absolute home run. “Open Road” finds the band shifting gears once again to close out the record on a slower note, and it works perfectly.
This is an album that should satisfy longtime Queensrÿche fans while gaining them scores of new ones.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
– Originally published in Dallas Metal Music Examiner, June 10, 2013