Queensryche- S/T (Century Media)
It’s an interesting time to be a Queensryche fan for sure. It’s also a confusing time with two competing lineups touring and releasing new music within a short span of time, both awaiting some sort of resolution to the corporate dispute over use of their name. It’s not very rock and roll to talk business so the release of actual music does a LOT to massage the strained fanbase. I will cut to the chase, the Geoff Tate led, all-star “Queensryche” album, “Frequency Unknown” (Cleopatra) isn’t nearly as bad as some people say, although it does sound painfully rushed and with Tate the only remaining member it certainly doesn’t feel like a Queensryche album. Despite the strangely inflated Facebook “like” numbers for Tateryche the actual fanbase has overwhelmingly supported the Queensryche featuring original members Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson who have just finished this self-titled release for Century Media.
Rejoice Queensryche fans, your band is back! Despite many good songs and glimmers of hope over the last 20 years, I have not truly enjoyed a Queensryche LP this much since 1990’s “Empire”. This appropriately self-titled rebirth album is everything the Tateryche album is not, in that it doesn’t sound forced, rushed and it definitely sounds like Queensryche. The highlights are many, including “Where Dreams Go To Die” a track which gets better with each listen. Its reflective lyrics and expert composition is even more amazing since it was brought to the band by Parker Lundgren, the former son in law of Tate and the guitarist who took over for Chris DeGarmo (no small feat). Queensryche sounds more focused than ever before on this album, tracks like “Spore”, “Redemption” and “Don’t Look Back” are a return to the band’s metal roots, a return I honestly thought I would never live to hear. It’s not a coincidence that Lundgren and new vocalist Todd LaTorre have injected a spirit of youth and fun that has rubbed off on the original guys, it’s in the grooves of this record (Yes, it will be available on my beloved vinyl format). Still, what’s so friggin amazing about this record is how much it takes you back to the feelings of why you fell in love with the Washington, “thinking man’s metal band” to begin with. Todd’s vocal tracks represent the perfect balance of respect to tradition and evolution of delivery and even the couple of tracks on here which take a few more spins to get into your grey matter are worth the replay. My absolute favorite moments are the creepy segue “Midnight Lullaby” and its counterpart “A World Without” which is one of the best songs the group has ever penned. Lush orchestrations, gorgeous guitar interplay and a very subtle cameo from Pamela Moore (a.k.a. Suite Sister Mary) make this one of the most memorable tracks on the album, a true nod to their ethereal Mindcrime past. Buy this album, you won’t be sorry. * * * * (Four out of 5 stars)
Preorder Queensryche’s NEW album here on Amazon Here
Pamela Moore, “Resurrect Me” (Rat Pak Records)
It has been some time since Pamela Moore first made her mark in the hard rock world as “Suite Sister Mary” on Queensryche’s legendary “Operation Mindcrime” album. Her duets with longtime vocalist Geoff Tate, both on the album and in the live shows over the years have truly given Pamela a completely new lease on life as an artist. Having said that, that was a long time ago, Pamela has created in many other styles over the years and this crushingly heavy album, is a long time coming. The old cliche “good things come to those who wait” certainly holds true on “Resurrect Me’ an album that is basically Pamela delivering overwhelmingly on all the promise she has ever shown as an artist. It has to be noted that her musical partner and guitarist/bassist Michael Posch ( a Midwest boy and former guitarist for Radakka) provided amazing input and output on this album and is a crucial part of why it is so unflinchingly good for the most part. Michael’s brutal riffs and insane technical mastery are only rivaled by his sense of melody, which is in turn only rivaled by Pamela’s. Ms. Moore has never sounded better than her performances on tracks like “The Sky is Falling”, “Paranoia” and “Breaking Down” (possibly the only honest to god ballad on the album and a definite highlight). Her control and vocal range is ridiculous and her lyrics manage to be both intimately personal and universal. The material is excellent and there are at least five potential singles or radio tracks here, including the epic title track which is almost a power-metal “Kashmir”. I can’t stop listening to “Resurrect Me” because it is so well sequenced and the vast majority of the songs will not stay out of my head, begging me to push play again.
* * * * (four out of five stars)
Order Pamela’s album “Resurrect Me” on Amazon Here