Chase Charaba, Online and Social Media Manager
Queensrÿche’s new album, Condition Hüman, was released Oct. 2 and delivers the highest quality progressive metal since the band’s 1994 album Promised Land.
Following the band’s split with lead singer Geoff Tate in 2012, the band hired former Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre. Tate formed a new band called Operation: Mindcrime and released an album this year, taking the name from the 1988 Queensrÿche album.
Queensrÿche released a self-titled album with La Torre in 2013 that showcased his vocal talent and the band’s rejuvenated energy, but it didn’t deliver to hardcore fans. The album sounded forced, although it fared better commercially than the previous album with Tate.
The new album blows the past two decades of Queensrÿche away.
The album starts with Arrow of Time, a track with fast twin-guitars with an attack not heard in years. La Torre’s vocals soar for nearly four minutes and tell the world that Queensrÿche is back.
The track is followed by Guardian, a heavier song with a concrete display of power. The chorus repeats the words “revolution calling,” a throwback to Revolution Calling on Operation: Mindcrime. Furthermore, the guitar solo pulls from the band’s 1990 hit Jet City Woman to produce a fresh but familiar feel.
The album’s third song is Hellfire, which may be the best on the album. Right from the start it sounds like a song Tate might have performed in 1986. The chorus gets annoying because it doesn’t quite match the traditional Queensrÿche sound, but it doesn’t detract from the overall production.
Toxic Remedy might have served well on Empire in 1990 because of the similar composition to those songs and their dark feel, however, La Torre just doesn’t unleash his voice like Tate might have if he could still hit those notes.
Selfish Lives and Eye9 can be mistaken for filler, but La Torre’s vocals are top-notch on these tracks. His voice consistently hits the high notes without sounding strained. It has a bit of attitude and aggression. The songs may not be as exciting as the previous ones on the album, but they are musically something that might have been on an Empire Part Two.
Bulletproof and Just Us are ballads. Bulletproof opens with a verse that sounds just like a young Tate, it’s layered with slow and haunting sounds that fans have come to expect from Queensrÿche, but the song doesn’t go all the way. Just Us flows much better with acoustic guitar work and deep yet operatic vocals fans have grown to love.
Hourglass is the worst song on the album. It’s a heavier song with a mix of acoustic elements, but the watered-down choruses are a deal-breaker.
The album picks up again with All There Was, which has more in common with Arrow of Time than the rest of the album. It sounds like Queensrÿche, but has a modern flair that makes it timeless. The song drifts into the creepy outro titled The Aftermath, preparing the listener for the crowning moment.
The title track begins with a few notes that sound right out of the ‘70s, featuring elements of Pink Floyd, but it quickly morphs into the easily recognizable Queensrÿche trademark sound. It’s more traditional than the rest of the album because La Torre takes what Tate did best and makes them his own. The song is like a ride through Queensrÿche’s past. It has the Rage for Order-era vocals, the Operation: MindCrime-era chanting like on Suite Sister Mary and the Empire-era guitar solos. It’s an absolute classic.
The new album pleases the ears and won’t leave fans disappointed.
I give it: 5/5
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Other than being involved in journalism I write epic/high fantasy novels (book one is sitting at 230 pages), continuously add to my growing collection of 500 vinyl records and make videos on YouTube. I am planning to transfer to University of Washington -Tacoma to earn my Bachelor’s of Science in IT, but my dream is to one day publish my novels.