Queensryche - 1986 Rage For Order

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986

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ARTIST: Queensryche
ALBUM: Rage For Order
LABEL: EMI America
SERIAL: ST-17197
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2003, Capitol, 72435-81069-2-3

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Geoff Tate - vocals * Chris De Garmo - guitars * Michael Wilton - guitars * Eddie Jackson - bass * Scott Rockenfield - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Walk In The Shadows * 02 I Dream In Infra Red * 03 The Whisper * 04 Gonna Get Close To You * 05 The Killing Words * 06 Surgical Strike * 07 Neue Regel * 08 Chemical Youth * 09 London * 10 Screaming In Digital * 11 I Will Remember

Background

Initially starting life out as Judas Priest wannabees, these Seattle rockers were more than just that. History would show, Queensryche would refine their sound to become a huge rock attraction during the hair-metal era.

However for me, their signature sound was born during the 1983-1990 time frame, this album 'Rage For Order' for me - being the pick of the bunch.

There is some classic melodic metal onboard this album, much of it atmospheric, emotion soaked stuff - that still sounds great today as it did then.

It was a surprise to me that the band would develop in such terms, if we take into account their prior albums 'Queensryche EP' and 'The Warning'. Both good albums admittedly, but 'Rage For Order' moved Queensryche into the big leagues in spades!

The Songs

Is there a weak spot on this album? I don't think so. If there was a reason for the band's sound and direction, I think full-credit should go to ace producer Neil Kernon, who presented a different and more refined aspect to their sound. And as I am a fan of Kernon.. well, needless to say!

'Walk In the Shadows' prowls across the soundscape and upon first listen, I am dragged into their musical world like a captive mouse following the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

Taking the stakes up to another level of intensity is the fantastic 'I Dream In Infra Red' - a part acoustic/electric offering with an incredible depth of melody. Strangely though, the band have never performed this song live (according to WikiPedia). Why I'm unsure.. it's a winner for me!

Geoff Tate powers his vocals beyond anything Rob Halford was capable of on 'The Whisper'. After hearing this, you'd be wondering how the critics similarly compared the two!

'Gonna Get Close To You' is a Lisa Dalbello tune (released two years earlier on her 'WhoFourManSays LP), and a video was released for this - the only one for the album I'm led to believe.

Moving into the lower reaches of melodic depth and atmospherics is 'The Killing Words'. The intensity of the sound matches the lyrics perfectly - something this band does with ease.

'Surgical Strike' is a straight-forward rocker, but it has a solid middle section with fiery guitar solos and double drumming from the ambi-dextrous drummer Scott Rockenfield.

'Neue Regel' is one of two oddball tracks on the album - featuring unusual chord changes and a sinister musical arrangement. The effects and samples are strange, as is Tate's muffled and distorted vocal on the verses.

'Chemical Youth' is a return to the big rock sound from their earlier discography, with galloping guitar lines and chant-a-long vocal bursts all adding up to an energetic workout.

Moving back to the intense mid-tempo dramatics we heard earlier on 'I Dream In Infra Red' is this one - 'London'. The slow and calculated build-up is let loose on the huge chorus outburst.

The other oddball track here is 'Screaming In Digital'. A cacophony of sound including voice effects, and other Kernon induced madness can be heard here. Amid the confusion, we do get a guitar solo to give us a sense of normality.

Finishing the album is the exquisite ballad 'I Will Remember'. It's tender, deeply atmospheric and a great foil to all that has gone before it.

In Summary

The album had it as high as number 47 on the Billboard charts, but did not spawn any great shakers for singles.

Queensryche headed out onto the road with Ratt on their 'Dancing Undercover' tour, but by 1988, it would be QR calling the shots riding on the back of their magnum opus 'Operation Mindcrime' - an essential listening experience for fans of 80's metal.

Though the band peaked with their success during their 'Empire' era, it has been a less than stellar experience for them since then, with a sporadic set of albums being released.

Yes, 'Operation Mindcrime Part II' was released and the band are still in operation, using female singer Pamela Moore as the counterpoint for Geoff Tate's character.
There appears to be continued interest in the band, but a quality studio album akin to 'Rage For Order' seems like a distant possibility.

In an interview years later, Neil Kernon admitted that this album was one of his favourites, so that says something.

For this listener at least, 'Rage For Order' is easily in my top 5 albums for 1986, and pretty high up in the list for the overall 80's decade.


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