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Queensrÿche - 1990 Empire

ARTIST: Queensrÿche
ALBUM: Empire
SERIAL: CDP-7-92806-2
YEAR: 1990
CD REISSUE: click for Reissue list..


LINEUP: Geoff Tate - vocals, keyboards * Chris DeGarmo - guitars * Michael Wilton - guitars * Eddie Jackson - bass * Scott Rockenfield - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Best I Can * 02 The Thin Line * 03 Jet City Woman * 04 Della Brown * 05 Another Rainy Night (Without You) * 06 Empire * 07 Resistance * 08 Silent Lucidity * 09 Hand On My Heart * 10 One And Only * 11 Anybody Listening? * 12 Last Time In Paris (Bonus) * 13 Scarborough Fair (Bonus) * 14 Dirty Lil Secret (Bonus)


It's been described as their contribution to the melodic rock scene. That's some call, considering their last two albums were absolute behemoths in the heavy metal genre. Both 'Rage For Order' and 'Operation: Mindcrime' are synonymous with the very best albums of the 80's. So, we're into a new decade, and two years have passed since 1988's '..Mindcrime'. Reading various commentary from so-called experts (some of whom you'll find weren't even born when this album was released, so what would they know?), you'd think this was the worst album the band has released. Not so, and as a testament to its popularity, the album went triple-platinum (that's 6 million copies plus thank you very much!), and the band secured a Grammy nomination in 1992 based on the work and success of this album. So for all those nay-sayers, go take a jump.

The Songs
Just about every Queensrÿche album starts off with a scorcher of a track. And so 'Best I Can' delivers that tradition yet again. Its quite dramatic, and angst-driven, but hits the mark in so many places. 'Jet City Woman' rolls on through in a mild fashion, but the chorus and solo sections are intensified. 'Della Brown' is one of favourite songs here. It's very different to what we expect from the band. Very cool, interspersed, and the soaring solo toward the end is quite killer. 'Another Rainy Night (Without You)' might have a ballad-like title, but there's a lot more energy here than you'd expect. Great chorus too. There's a spoken word intro to the title track 'Empire', but the thing kicks into high-gear soon after. The lyrics attest to the Underworld and drug running, effectively.. the building of Empires! There's so much going in with 'Resistance'. Though the song was written back in 1990, the message is oh so relevant in 2015 as I write this! The big song from the album is the lilting 'Silent Lucidity', a track steeped in Pink Floyd styled progressive rock. Not exactly my pick for singles success, but here we are.. it made #9 on Billboard's Top 100. 'Hand On Heart' and 'One And Only' continue Queensrÿche's run through the melodic rock gamut, while the near 8 minute opus 'Anybody Listening?' meanders in parts, but it is quite hard-hitting through the mid-section, though the last minute and a half is akin to white noise. A waste of space if you ask me.

In Summary
Nonetheless, an intriguing and deep album, that will keep you on your toes. Now, for me personally, I didn't quite buy into this album as everybody else did. I did buy the CD at the time, but hardly ever played it. I'm only picking up on Queensrÿche years after the event, thinking there is a gap in our discographic history on GDM. The band did go through heaps of undulations from this point onward. I see it as creative differences, a point that has played out over time, with two separate faction now in place. Still, there is much to explore in the legacy of 80's era Queesnrÿche that is very fulfilling. the 90's less so.

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#1 | Explorer on December 30 2015 07:38:59
This and 'Mindcrime' are both epic pieces of work. It's a pity the band name has been sullied these past years with the ridiculous shenanigans. Mindcrime ranks as one of the all time best concept albums, seeing them live around this time was a sight (and sound) to behold.
#2 | spawn71 on January 01 2016 18:55:48
I simply love this record! A great concept album, but also a collection of excellent songs, with great rockers and slower pieces: 'Silent Lucidity' is still one of the best ballads of all times!
#3 | reyno-roxx on January 12 2018 19:35:57
It always amused me that whenever Tate sang 'Jet City Woman' at gigs more than a few around me could be seen checking their watches just after the line "watching the time tick tick away".

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