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Old 10-27-2021, 04:17 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Decided to do a quick tier list of an old favorite, first generation prog-metal innovator Queensryche. If you haven't spent any time with them, this is a good reference point to explore 'em.

S Tier (Essential)

Operation: Mindcrime is their most critically lauded record, considered one of the best concept albums ever made in any genre and something of a milestone in heavy metal in general. Good story too, capped at the end by the awesome 'Eyes Of A Stranger', which is my favorite closing number to any album ever.

Empire (1990) was the follow up to O:MC - really slick and catchy but still heavy at times, an album Charles and I have a mutual appreciation of.

Condition Human (2015), is the best album so far from the Todd La Torre era of the band (current lineup) and synthesizes elements from their 80's and 90's periods into something substantial for more modern metal fans. I think it's the best end-to-end album experience they've put together besides Mindcrime and Empire overall.

A Tier (Nearly Perfect)

The Warning (1984)- Their debut is a cool first-gen prog-metal album with a nebulous, dense sounding production style. There's a distinct influence here from the epic stylings of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden who were at their respective commercial peaks at this point, but The Warning takes those elements and wraps them up in something like a brooding, late 70's Krautrock mystique. Very underrated and could be S-Tier depending on one's preferences.

Rage For Order (1986) - The snazzy sophomore outing, a juicy metal record that also draws in more experimental industrial and dark ambient influences. Has an intriguing theme going on about mankind's relationship with technology and some truly great songwriting to match.

Queensryche (1983 S/T EP) - The legendary EP heard 'round the world. When this thing came out of Seattle, nobody would have believed that a bunch of pre-20 somethings could create an instant classic, but that's what you get with masterful anthems like 'Queen Of The Reich' and the epic 'The Lady Wore Black'. Revisiting it decades later, it's still an astounding release and the ultimate showcase for Geoff Tate's vocal power.

The Verdict (2019) - Their most recent album and the 3rd with Todd La Torre on vocals. A bit heavier than Condition Human but perhaps a tad less diverse in regards to songwriting. Lot of great hooks, especially 'Inner Unrest' and the slammin' 'Light-Years'.

B Tier (Solid)

Promised Land (1994)- The last "classic" album from the founding lineup. Stronger jazz and grunge and even some psychedelic rock influences. The biggest difference quality-wise between this one and previous albums is while there are some monstrously good songs here like the proggy, noir-flavored title track and heavy 'Damaged', there are other songs that don't quite hold up and the album is slightly marred by that inconsistency. Still a great record though.

Queensryche (2013 S/T)- The "rebirth" of the band following Geoff Tate's ousting from Queensryche with new vocalist Todd La Torre. Catchy songs with some of their 80's US Power Metal swagger but let down by a muddy production and a lack of more overtly progressive moments. There are some great songs here, but this is the weakest of the "worth owning" Queensryche albums.

C Tier (Average)
Everything between 1994 and 2006 is represented here. They're all a lot of more alternative rock / grunge focused than classic Queensryche and are mixed bags. Of the three, 2003's Tribe is probably the best of the litter. Mostly unessential with a few gems scattered about.

D Tier (Meh)
Operation Mindcriime II through 2012's release Dedicated To Chaos are all mediocre. Tate's vocals have degenerated into pure meh territory and the songwriting is varied but uninspired or just downright bad. Things would not be good again until Tate was fired and Todd La Torre came in for the 2013 self-titled.
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Last edited by Anteater; 10-27-2021 at 04:23 PM.
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