The NEW Queensryche?

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for months, and now that there are two new albums to talk about, it seems like a good time.

Most people who know me know that I’m a huge fan of Queensryche.  I discovered them in the 90s with their awesome Empire album.  Then I backtracked and obtained all of their older stuff, and fell even more in love than before.  Their music is not only kick-ass, but it says something, you know?  It’s not just mindless fuzzy crap. 

However, after Promised Land released in 1994, their musical quality took a downturn.  Something went horrendously wrong, and they put out album after album of crap.  Now, there are a few exceptions.  American Soldier, released in 2009, was pretty good and a neat concept album.  Operation: Mindcrime II, released in 2007, was pretty good, too — there was no way they’d ever be able to do another Operation: Mindcrime again.  It just wasn’t possible.  Obviously, there is something lacking from OM: II but on the whole, it was a decent attempt at a sequel to what is a legendary album. 

So apparently there were creative differences.  And last year, vocalist Geoff Tate was fired from the band after allegedly spitting on two of his bandmates.  He also apparently was controlling the musical direction which accounted for the hideous drop in quality of their more recent albums.

I’ve always loved Geoff Tate.  He has one of the most amazing and unique voices of anyone.  I saw QR in concert for the first time in 2009 and was blown away.  There’s no doubt that he’s talented.  He’s been dubbed “the voice of Queensryche.”  Well, when the news broke, I was heartbroken.  My favorite band was basically no more.  They split into two versions: Geoff Tate’s version with all new musicians, and the original musicians plus singer Todd La Torre.  I wanted to keep an open mind about both — who says a fan needs to take sides, right?

That was before Tateryche released their album Frequency Unknown. Well, let’s just say this.  It is painfully obvious that he rushed it to get an album out before Torreryche.  Even the title screams revenge.  The cover has two hands with rings with the initials “F.U.”  Really?  Can you be so immature?

I gave the album a chance, though.  I listened to it on Spotify and tried to like it, I really did.  But, damn.  It was another Dedicated to Chaos, which to me is one of the worst QR albums ever.  And the remakes of the four hit songs?  Painful. I can’t even believe that this is Queensryche.  And it isn’t.  It’s Geoff Tate with new musicians trying to recapture his former glory and failing.

I had high hopes when I learned that Torreryche was releasing an album.  I heard some samples and was impressed.  On June 25th, release day, I bought it off iTunes and settled in to see what they came up with.

And they fucking nailed it.  Everything about QR that I love was there.  Their signature sound was back.  The heavy metal was back.  Even LaTorre’s voice was reminiscent of Tate, but not a true copy which is good.  I wouldn’t want a Tate copy.  La Torre brings new things to the table and it’s so clear that the whole band has been renewed and inspired.  Apparently they are all involved in the songwriting and music, as it wasn’t with Tate.  It’s like they’re risen up like the phoenix from their own ashes and came out bigger and better and more amazing than ever.

So, yeah, my allegiance is with Torreryche.  They went to court and were both allowed to use the QR name until the hearing this November.  I expect that someone will lose rights to the name, and I’m hoping it’s not Torreryche.  Because these guys have been true to the QR sound and lyrics and I’d hate to see them start all over again with a new name.  (They were very briefly performing as Rising West until that first hearing, and had a good reception from the fans). 

A lot of people are saying that Tate is irreplaceable, and it will be the death of the band (or quite possibly has been the death of the band).  Yeah, Tate was amazing in his time.  And I respect him as a vocalist.  But there’s nothing wrong with new blood.  And if they can’t work out their differences, it’s better they split.  I’m just happy that the band didn’t break up over this.  It’s been 30 years.  How many bands have been around that long?  Not many.

So, that’s what I’m thinking.  I’m so looking forward to more from Torreryche.  And I will continue to follow both, but my heart’s with Torreryche.  They’re the new Queensryche.  Look out Tate.  I think they are here to stay.  

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