Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Queensryche ~ Queensryche (aka debut) (EP)

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: heavy metal
Label: 206 Records
Year: 1982
Home: Seattle

Members: Geoff Tate ~ vocals
Chris DeGarmo, Michael Wilton - guitar
Eddie Jackson ~ bass
Scott Rockenfield ~ drums
Seattle's pre-grunge Queensyrche has become known, if not stereotyped, for their prog-metal 90's efforts based around their break-through 1990 hit "Silent Lucidity" & the earlier success Operation: Mindcrime ... but they didn't start their career sounding like this, in an 80's music scene where grunge & prog-metal were not descriptive terms. In 1983 the two year old band released a four song self-titled debut album, reissued a year later under EMI with an unnecessary bonus track as the band worked on a more formal full-length debut, that was as far from prog-metal or anything that would become prog-metal as one could probably get at the time. Actually, it's seeped in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to suprising levels. There's Iron Maiden/Judas Priest tribute bands that don't sound this British & hardcore. If one wants to compare Queensryche to America, perhaps early, also pre-prog, Savatage might come to mind with similarities between frontmen's vocal styles, lyrics & even the steady rhythm sections though it's a far from perfect comparison. "Queen Of The Reich" is particularly Savatage in feeling but without the blistering Criss Oliva dominating riffing that characterizes early Savatage. "Nightrider" has a definite Iron Maiden flavor to it while "Blinded" could very well be out of the Dio catalog with its epic lyrics. The closing track "The Lady Wore Black" is the only song that hints of what would follow a decade later with its re-occuring slow sections that allows Geoff Tate to croon in the open spaces. Listening to this early album, even considering the arrangement of "The Lady Wore Black", it's hard to imagine Queensryche becoming the success they did with the musical style they did. Much in the same way it would have been impossible to eventually see Savatage touring Xmas metal songs as the family friendly Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Queensryche's debut was largely ignored by American audiences at the time of its release, though it found audiences in Europe, & even continues to be a highligh for collectors, though it really should be listened to more as there's nothing niave or demo-ish about it & Tate is using his voice as fully as ever. Considering it was this EP that got Queenryche a major label deal there's obviously something special & good about it ... let alone its just intersting to hear where the band came from. Though, thankfully, like Savatage, they chose to go into deeper musical directions as, also like Savatage, a few albums in they soon discovered the limitations of this particular metal template to dire critical results forcing a change. For a bit of interesting history when this debut EP was recorded Queensryche technically didn't exist. The band was known as The Mob with Tate, who was also in the band Myth, primarily involved for recording & a few live gigs. It was only after the release of the album & a great review in Kerrang! magazine that Tate joined full-time & Queensyrche was truly born.



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