Queensryche - The Verdict
Century Media
Progressive Metal
10 songs (44:18)
Release year: 2019
Queensryche, Century Media
Reviewed by Joel
Album of the month
Less than a week away from seeing them live for my eleventh time, here is Queensryche. A name known throughout the rock and metal world. A band whose sound has evolved over time. I have grown up listening to this band almost my entire life, thanks to my older sister. It is also a band I started to lose faith in over releases, that laid stagnant. Only to realize the band had never really lost their sound. Sure one of their guitarist left(the great Chris Degarmo), then their singer thought he should make all the rules, and we all see how that worked out for him! Ok so I digress on that, because that singer, was one of the voices of the musical landscape of my childhood and through my teenage years. With 2013's self titled release through now, we have three releases all different from one another, yet still sounds like Queensryche. Condition Human took everything from early 'Ryche through Promised Land and mixed in a blender with a modern production. It was my album of the month when I reviewed it. With The Verdict, were they ready to stay in the same zone they were in, or was something about to change?

I had read previous articles about the band saying they wanted this release to be heavier, and the first song, Blood Of The Levant, they definitely did that. First thing is the immediate presence of Todd La Torre's vocals. Whatever comparisons made to who he should not be named, should be erased. This sounds like Todd to me, and he truly comes into his own voice immediately. The songwriting perfectly compliments his dynamic and acrobatic range. Twin guitar harmonies, driving drums(La Torre plays all the drums on this release, as Scott Rockenfield does not perform on this release, and live, Casey Grillo of Kamelot is on tour with them). Man The Machine was the first thing I heard and saw a lyric video on Youtube of.
You can watch the video for Blood Of The Levant, Here
You can also see the lyric video for Man The Machine Here.
After the first two faster songs, comes Light-years. A song with a great groove during the verses, with a melodic chorus the band is known for. This could have been a song written between Empire and Promised Land or appeared on the last two releases. It has everything that has made Queensryche, the band they are. Inside Out follows a similar style, a modern groove-orientated song that changes tempos, and using La Torre's varying vocal deliveries to deliver a song, I would love to hear live. Propaganda Fashion, is a different kind of song, with a driving drum beat. A lot of various sonic effects, both musically and vocally. With a huge chorus that offsets some of the effects. Speaking of the effects they are done right, without overdoing it. The vocal effects remind of a style that they had incorporated in the past, on Operation Mindcrime(without sounding like a rehash of any of those songs).

Dark Reverie is a haunting ballad, much like Open Road was on the first release with La Torre on vocals. I really enjoyed Bulletproof on Condition Human, as it was that epic ballad the band had not done in awhile. This is a different kind of epic, and definitely one of highlights on an entire disc full of them. Bent brings back the intensity of the first two songs on the disc, and is one of the more progressive sounds on the entire disc. Intricate guitar leads weave in and out of the melody, with La Torre up to his solid vocal fireworks. At just two seconds under six minutes, this is the longest song on the entire release. It also contains my favorite guitar solo on the entire disc, I don't know if it is just Michael "Whip" Wilton, but it definitely has his signature feel to it. This one song I could repeat over and over again. Inner Unrest and Launder The Conscience continue the earlier heavier parts of the release. The final song is another darker one called Portrait. Eddie Jackson's bass playing is dominant here(a very underrated bassist in my opinion!). I guess you could call this one a dark ballad. Another song where I don't forget the guitar solo, even though it is short, the selected notes with the arpeggio runs makes it memorable. What I love about the whole forty four plus minutes of the release, is that all ten songs are identifiable from one another. While there a few faster songs, groove oriented songs, a ballad and a few that are darker, they all stand out on their own.

I will not deny the fact that I am a Queensryche fan that has been through their highs and lows, and followed their legal battle to keep their name. I own every release they have put out, a few dvds, and t-shirts. As some might be think, I would be bias, but I am not. As I said earlier I nearly gave up one of my favorite bands cause of their previous singer's lack of giving a damn! Then this Queensryche was reborn, and fans who stuck with the band, have been rewarded with these last three releases. I promised myself I wouldn't write this, but this is the best release among those three. It has everything that came before it, but in a cohesive package with some added welcomed heaviness. If you were ever a fan of this band, and did not know they have two other releases since 2013, please check them out. I have now listened to all three in a row, and my final verdict is, The Verdict wins. Progressive, heavy, and 100% metal that I hope they continue to write. Funny how their most progressive release in a long time, only progressed their sound this decade.
Killing Songs :
Honestly All of Them! But Bent is my favorite!
Joel quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Queensryche that we have reviewed:
Queensryche - Condition Human reviewed by Joel and quoted 92 / 100
Queensryche - Queensryche Live from Waukesha, Wisconsin USA reviewed by Joel and quoted
Queensryche - Queensr├┐che (2013 LP) reviewed by Andy and quoted 89 / 100
Queensryche - Dedicated To Chaos reviewed by Erik and quoted 31 / 100
Queensryche - American Soldier reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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