(Century Media Records)
When improbably long-running Progressive Heavy Metal pioneers Queensrÿche announced the addition of ex-Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre following the disastrous and prolonged public dismissal of original frontman Geoff Tate, it seemed as if the group was destined to return to obscurity or, at the very least, be permanently relegated to 'c-tier' or 'has-been' status. However, following the release of the woefully-underrated Queensrÿche (2013), my opinions--and thus those of countless other devotees worldwide--were forever changed for the better. Armed with the blistering “Fallout” and the delightfully incendiary tirade “Redemption” as well as an unprecedented focus on recapturing their classic sound (i.e. anything released between the Queensrÿche EP and Operation: Mindcrime), the group appeared destined for a full-fledged career rejuvenation. Now, with the release of the highly-anticipated Condition Hüman, they once again appear destined for long-term successes.
On the brilliant Condition Hüman (2015), an expertly assembled fifteen song collection of Progressive-Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the maddeningly infectious first single “Arrow Of Time” and the relentlessly pummeling “Guardian”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most hopelessly jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Undoubtedly attempting to capitalize upon the tidal wave of momentum initiated with the release of the previously mentioned Queensrÿche (2013) and the incredibly well-received supportive tours that followed in it's ever-widening wake, the Bellevue, Washington-born group fires on all cylinders early and often. Deftly--and perhaps permanently--silencing those still doubtful of their abilities to fully persevere without the presence of original frontman Geoff Tate, the group flexes it's considerable creative muscles, resulting in a series of fist-pumping, mosh-inducing 'audio adventures'.
Continuing with the semi-autobiographical bewail “Toxic Remedy” and the melancholic, acoustic-tinged “Hourglass”, the steadfast--to say the very least--combination of ex-Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre, guitarists Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren (formerly of the ingenious Gábor Szakácsi-fueled Punk Rock icons Sledgeback), bassist Eddie 'EdBass/One Take' Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield steamroll ahead like the well-oiled machine they so obviously have become. Driving home each key focal point via a seamless, multi-dimensional barrage of soaring vocals, razor-sharp fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms, the group appears intent on further re-establishing themselves as a bona fide creative force not to be ignored. Wisely offering a refreshingly forthright update of their earliest 'classic' sonic trademarks, the group showcases what can only be described as exponential growth without alienating their countless oft-sanguinary constituents.
Produced and Mixed by the acclaimed Chris 'Zeuss' Harris (All That Remains, Hatebreed, Throwdown) after an inexplicable falling out with James 'Jimbo' Barton (Fates Warning, Gary Moore, Ian Gillan) who had previously helmed Promised Land (1996) and Mixed Operation Mindcrime (1988), other standouts, including the impossibly hook-laden “All There Was” and the uncharacteristically somber--albeit highly-effective--closer “Condition Hüman”, effectively serve as a much-welcomed reminder of the improbably long-running group's groundbreaking legacies. With the group now having now effectively laid the framework for a long-overdue career reboot (and, for the most part, entirely abandoned the justifiably maligned Take Cover, American Soldier and Dedicated To Chaos eras) the resulting sonic onslaught boldly showcases their already well-documented lyrical and compositional prowess, yielding what should be considered as a 'definitive' Queensrÿche experience.
But is it really that good? Absolutely! Undoubtedly the group's most dynamic post-Empire (1990) release (easily surpassing American Soldier, Dedicated To Chaos and the Tate-led audio-visual abomination Frequency Unknown), the majority--if not all--of the decidedly memorable wares contained herein are seemingly guaranteed to leave both die-hard completists and the uninitiated alike only wanting for more. Even if you still somehow find yourself less than enthralled with the group's decision to forge ahead without the undeniable talents of their departed leaders, one must, at the very least, sincerely admire their ceaseless dedication to returning to their proverbial roots. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a classic Heavy Metal fix that doesn't involve embracing an embarrassing expanse of spandex-clad Velveeta, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane 'cure-all' from whatever ails you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
Condition Hüman (2015)
Dedicated To Chaos (2011)
Empire: 20th Anniversary Edition (2010)
American Soldier (2009)
Mindcrime At The Moore (DVD) (2007)
Sign Of The Times: The Best Of Queensrÿche (2007)
Take Cover (2007)
Operation: Mindcrime II (2006)
The Art Of Live (2004)
Live Evolution (2001)
Operation: Livecrime (2001)
Here In The Now Frontier (1997)
Promised Land (1994)
Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
Rage For Order (1986)
The Warning (1984)
Queensrÿche (EP) (1983)
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