Author Topic: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: La Torre-fronted Albums (2013-present)  (Read 29486 times)

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Offline KevShmev

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #175 on: June 21, 2017, 06:36:01 PM »
This is were it’s at, this is the most experimental and most varied QR record. And Rage For Order (and to a slightly lesser degree Operation Mindcrime) is why QR is considered progressive metal.
 

Some will call me crazy, but I have never really thought of this band as metal.  The closest thing to metal about them in the 80s was Tate's voice, which often had that Halford/Dio-esque quality to it, but musically it almost always strikes me as hard rock, not metal.  Sure, you can find a moment here or a moment there that is metal, but they are the exceptions more than the rule with their sound, IMO.

Offline PowerSlave

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #176 on: June 21, 2017, 06:52:55 PM »
This is were it’s at, this is the most experimental and most varied QR record. And Rage For Order (and to a slightly lesser degree Operation Mindcrime) is why QR is considered progressive metal.
 

Some will call me crazy, but I have never really thought of this band as metal.  The closest thing to metal about them in the 80s was Tate's voice, which often had that Halford/Dio-esque quality to it, but musically it almost always strikes me as hard rock, not metal.  Sure, you can find a moment here or a moment there that is metal, but they are the exceptions more than the rule with their sound, IMO.

I hear metal when I listen to the EP and The Warning. After that, I'm on board with you.
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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #177 on: June 21, 2017, 07:05:51 PM »
When I listen to the EP/Warning, I hear AWSOME!!!
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #178 on: June 21, 2017, 08:40:24 PM »
When I listen to Promised Land, I hear AWSOME!!!

 :tup :tup



I hear metal when I listen to the EP and The Warning. After that, I'm on board with you.

See, most of The Warning comes off to me as hard rock, not metal, aside from Tate's vocal style. 

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #179 on: June 21, 2017, 08:42:18 PM »
There are some shenanigans going on in this thread.

 
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline ReaperKK

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #180 on: June 21, 2017, 09:21:24 PM »
It was so highly spoken of everywhere so when I finally gave it a listen a few years back it seemed like a pretty bland album. I'll give it another spin soon when it comes up in this thread.

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #181 on: June 22, 2017, 12:48:18 AM »
It depends how you define metal or hard rock. For me hard rock always has a little bluesy touch like Whitesnake, Van Halen, AC/DC etc. There's nothing like it in Queensryche. But then not every song of theirs is full on metal, so I don't know how to classify it.

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #182 on: June 22, 2017, 02:52:37 AM »
I vividly remember buying Rage for Order after reading an interview(!) with them in a magazine called OOR. Amongst other things they talked about the disapointing soundmix of The Warning, and how they made it a point to remedy this with the new album. And boy, did they.

I coudn'nt believe my ears when I first played it. Everything sounded great. From Walk in the shadows, to I only dream in infrared, to London, to Chemical youth/Neue Regal (or is it Regel ? because if it's supposed to be German for 'New Rules' it should be the latter), to the fantastic songs like The Whisper and Screaming in Digital, this was the band and album I had been looking for.

The cold, machinelike sound, the sonwriting and especially the layered vocal chorusses, i really submerged myself in the lyrics and meanings of the songs. Lyricsheets had never come so handy. This was finally a band that tackled other topics than the usual macho bullshit bla bla bla and talked about political issues and technological progress and all with a grand style and panache, it was beyond belief. The songs took you to places never visited before. The only thing that really confused the hell outta me were the bandmember pics on the back cover. I mean, wtf?!

Tate showed how much he was progressing into THE leading male vocalist of the genre. I loved Scott Rockenfield's playing style even more. The guitarwork was phenomenal.

I could go on and on about this albumn and how much it shaped my taste in music for the coming years, but of the classic albums by them, this one is only topped by O:M.
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Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #183 on: June 22, 2017, 03:06:10 AM »
Neue Regal? I don't have my cd here to check it but I'm pretty sure it's listed as Neue Regel. Everything else wouldn't make sense.

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #184 on: June 22, 2017, 05:40:57 AM »
Tate showed how much he was progressing into THE leading male vocalist of the genre. I loved Scott Rockenfield's playing style even more. The guitarwork was phenomenal.

You can feel the fun in Scott's playing.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #185 on: June 22, 2017, 07:45:47 AM »
Neue Regal? I don't have my cd here to check it but I'm pretty sure it's listed as Neue Regel. Everything else wouldn't make sense.

Well I've seen it misspelled here so many times..  just askin...  :biggrin:
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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #186 on: June 22, 2017, 08:12:36 AM »
Argh!  Somebody needs to do a better job updating the Discography Tracker thread.  I had no idea that this had started.

Offline Samsara

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #187 on: June 22, 2017, 09:07:54 AM »
In regard to Queensryche being "metal," I think they absolutely were in the early years. I identify them as a "metal" band from the EP through Mindcrime.

Starting with Empire and moving forward, i think of them as hard rock with some metal moments. Tate was blessed with a golden voice for heavy metal songs, but his interest was elsewhere. If you listen to his early stuff with MYTH, and especially with Babylon before that, he's totally a prog rock guy. But when The Mob asked him to do their set, the reaction to Tate singing and fronting those metal songs they played was obviously a turning point. That's where Tate's voice best fit at the time, and the EP is evidence of that.

But while Mike, Ed, and Scott were very much into Priest, Van Halen, Rush, Scorpions, Maiden, Zeppelin etc. (all at the time considered metal), DeGarmo was a bit more open. He was heavily into Floyd, The Beatles, etc., which really connected with Tate's more art rock leanings.

So they balanced all of that extremely well, keeping the metal for a few records before evolving away from that being their base. The evolution can easily be seen in the writing credits. The less you see Michael Wilton, the less "metal" the records became. It was usually Michael's heavy, more traditional-metal style riffs that gave Queensryche that metal sound. DeGarmo had crunchy metal riffs too, but he was bigger into creating flow parts and arranging to make a dynamic song. And so he really evolved as a songwriter and that's why he connected with Tate, artistically, all those years. DeGarmo would take his riffs and Michael's, turn them something into Tate would get inspired by, and then work with Tate smooth out a cool vocal melody. And after Empire, you see Mike's contributions start to tail off. But we'll get to that later.

Bottom line, at least for me, Queensryche was a metal band through Mindcrime, and then took a very obvious turn toward hard rock with some heavier leanings at times, and stayed there.

re: Neue Regel

I thought it was Neue Regel, which meant, new rule or new order, right?


The cold, machinelike sound, the sonwriting and especially the layered vocal chorusses, i really submerged myself in the lyrics and meanings of the songs. Lyricsheets had never come so handy. This was finally a band that tackled other topics than the usual macho bullshit bla bla bla and talked about political issues and technological progress and all with a grand style and panache, it was beyond belief. The songs took you to places never visited before. The only thing that really confused the hell outta me were the bandmember pics on the back cover. I mean, wtf?!

Tate showed how much he was progressing into THE leading male vocalist of the genre. I loved Scott Rockenfield's playing style even more. The guitarwork was phenomenal.

I could go on and on about this albumn and how much it shaped my taste in music for the coming years, but of the classic albums by them, this one is only topped by O:M.

Yeah, Rage was my first exposure to Queensryche as well, and the lyrics of the band really drew me to them as well. Fully agreed that it was a breath of fresh air to have bands like Queensryche (and for me, Fifth Angel) talk about serious, interesting stuff that made you think a bit. I mean, I loved (and still love) the hair metal party bands. They have their place. But when I was 11 and heard Rage, it really helped me turn a corner into getting into music that was...MORE. And Rage was the record that made me lean in that more cerebral and thoughtful direction.

Offline ReaperKK

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #188 on: June 22, 2017, 10:56:41 AM »
Almost done listening to rage and it's pretty solid. Not sure if I'd rank it higher than the warning but it's good nonetheless.

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #189 on: June 22, 2017, 03:58:29 PM »
Way too late to this thread, but here's my "How I discovered Queensr˙che" story.

Like many, I first heard of them when "Silent Lucidity" was all over the air back in the 90's.  I was teaching high school at the time, and heard some of my students talking about what a great album Empire was.  I knew these guys to be rockers, so I was a bit concerned.  They told me that "Silent Lucidity" was not Queensr˙che's normal sound.  They're really heavy, almost metal, and even kind of progressive.  This is before "Progressive Metal" had really caught on as a term or a genre.

One of them lent me their copy of Empire on cassette (remember those?)  My car stereo could play tapes or CDs, and of course I had both at home as well.  I listened, and was blown away.  This would have been right around the time I got into Dream Theater, who also blew me away.  I never gave him to the tape back.  After intending to bring it back in for weeks, but forgetting, I finally remembered one day, and he told me he'd gotten tired of waiting and got the CD, so I could keep the tape.  I still have it.  But this was the 90's (new baby + unemployed wife + teacher's salary = no money) so I never explored Queensr˙che any further.

A few years later, I'm a programmer sitting in a cubicle listening to tapes on my boombox.  "A Change of Seasons" (the song) was playing when some analyst named Dave stopped in to ask me a question.  I turn my tunes down and he goes "Wait... what was that?"  I told him it was a band called Dream Theater.  He goes "Dream Theater?!  Those guys are awesome!"  First and only time a co-worker has ever even heard of them.  We talked about Dream Theater for a while, then prog metal, and music in general.  He asked me if I ever listened to Queensr˙che.  I told him I had Empire, but that's it.  Never really got a chance to dig into them.

A couple days later, he comes in with his collection of Queensr˙che CDs.  Everything from the EP to Promised Land (the latest at the time).  Tells me to borrow them as long as I want.  He has them ripped to his iPod and his PC at home.

I thought the EP sounded very interesting.  A young, hungry band shooting their load and seeing what sprouted.  The Warning didn't thrill me, but wasn't bad.  Rage for Order was where things started to get good.  Starting to push things a bit, and I'm definitely more of a proghead than a metalhead, so the prog side grabbed me.

And that's where I'll stop, since Rage for Order is where we are in the discography now.

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #190 on: June 22, 2017, 05:02:31 PM »
I'm noticing a trend of some of the forum members with more of a prog background prefer Rage while the metal guys seem to like Warning better. Interesting.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #191 on: June 22, 2017, 05:44:33 PM »
Way too late to this thread, but here's my "How I discovered Queensr˙che" story.

Like many, I first heard of them when "Silent Lucidity" was all over the air back in the 90's.  I was teaching high school at the time, and heard some of my students talking about what a great album Empire was.  I knew these guys to be rockers, so I was a bit concerned.  They told me that "Silent Lucidity" was not Queensr˙che's normal sound.  They're really heavy, almost metal, and even kind of progressive.  This is before "Progressive Metal" had really caught on as a term or a genre.

One of them lent me their copy of Empire on cassette (remember those?)  My car stereo could play tapes or CDs, and of course I had both at home as well.  I listened, and was blown away.  This would have been right around the time I got into Dream Theater, who also blew me away.  I never gave him to the tape back.  After intending to bring it back in for weeks, but forgetting, I finally remembered one day, and he told me he'd gotten tired of waiting and got the CD, so I could keep the tape.  I still have it.  But this was the 90's (new baby + unemployed wife + teacher's salary = no money) so I never explored Queensr˙che any further.

A few years later, I'm a programmer sitting in a cubicle listening to tapes on my boombox.  "A Change of Seasons" (the song) was playing when some analyst named Dave stopped in to ask me a question.  I turn my tunes down and he goes "Wait... what was that?"  I told him it was a band called Dream Theater.  He goes "Dream Theater?!  Those guys are awesome!"  First and only time a co-worker has ever even heard of them.  We talked about Dream Theater for a while, then prog metal, and music in general.  He asked me if I ever listened to Queensr˙che.  I told him I had Empire, but that's it.  Never really got a chance to dig into them.

A couple days later, he comes in with his collection of Queensr˙che CDs.  Everything from the EP to Promised Land (the latest at the time).  Tells me to borrow them as long as I want.  He has them ripped to his iPod and his PC at home.

I thought the EP sounded very interesting.  A young, hungry band shooting their load and seeing what sprouted.  The Warning didn't thrill me, but wasn't bad.  Rage for Order was where things started to get good.  Starting to push things a bit, and I'm definitely more of a proghead than a metalhead, so the prog side grabbed me.

And that's where I'll stop, since Rage for Order is where we are in the discography now.

 :tup :tup

I'm noticing a trend of some of the forum members with more of a prog background prefer Rage while the metal guys seem to like Warning better. Interesting.

Perhaps, but Rage for Order sounds better, has better songwriting, is more diverse, and is far more creative and adventurous.  To me, The Warning is a solid record, but one that was left far behind in the rearview mirror by what they accomplished on Rage for Order.

Offline PowerSlave

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #192 on: June 23, 2017, 12:57:23 AM »


I hear metal when I listen to the EP and The Warning. After that, I'm on board with you.

See, most of The Warning comes off to me as hard rock, not metal, aside from Tate's vocal style.

I've always imagined The EP (to a lesser extent) and The Warning (to a greater extent) to be heavily influenced by Judas Priest albums like Sad Wings of Destiny, and Sin after Sin. I'm not exactly sure why I draw parallels between those albums and the early QR work. It's probably the vocal delivery that you mentioned. To me those early JP albums are integral building blocks to establishing metal, so I place the early QR stuff into the same category in my mind.

I've never heard anyone else come to that conclusion, so I do accept the fact that I might be completely full of shit on the matter as well  :lol
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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #193 on: June 23, 2017, 01:16:48 AM »
I'm noticing a trend of some of the forum members with more of a prog background prefer Rage while the metal guys seem to like Warning better. Interesting.

I'm definitively more a metalhead than a progster but I always preferred Rage over Warning. Not that the albums are that apart in quality to have a clear "winner" anyway.
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Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #194 on: June 23, 2017, 02:45:29 AM »
I'm noticing a trend of some of the forum members with more of a prog background prefer Rage while the metal guys seem to like Warning better. Interesting.

Perhaps, but Rage for Order sounds better, has better songwriting, is more diverse, and is far more creative and adventurous.  To me, The Warning is a solid record, but one that was left far behind in the rearview mirror by what they accomplished on Rage for Order.

I'm equally metalhead and proghead but that doesn't matter because it's the above mentioned reasons why I think Rage is far superior.

Offline LudwigVan

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #195 on: June 23, 2017, 10:04:23 AM »
I'm also pretty much equal parts metalhead and proghead, and I love Warning and RFO equally   :biggrin: 

Objectively, I can say that RFO is the superior record for all the reasons that Kev has stated.  I just have a sentimental soft spot for The Warning because I lived through that album from the time it was released.  And from a purely metal standpoint, The Warning certainly stood out from the rest of the crowd at the time.  The only other metal that had my ears back then was Metallica, Maiden and Mercyful Fate.
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Offline Mister Gold

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #196 on: June 23, 2017, 10:40:01 AM »
Rage for Order is quite a mindblowing album imo. I can't say in good conscious that it's as solid an album from start-to-finish as Operation: Mindcrime is, but its flaws aside, RfO has a mood and complexity to it that the band's never managed to recreate since. Its highs are insanely high for me and showcase a band that was far ahead of its time.
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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #197 on: June 23, 2017, 12:10:21 PM »
Also, a metal band finally made synths and keyboards WORK in the sound!
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Offline Lowdz

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #198 on: June 23, 2017, 02:01:30 PM »
Also, a metal band finally made synths and keyboards WORK in the sound!

It all sounded so cool. And weird.

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #199 on: June 23, 2017, 02:03:15 PM »
I read somewhere that they sampled the orchestra they recorded for The Warning and used it on RFO.

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #200 on: June 26, 2017, 12:17:23 PM »
Sorry for my belated commentary to RFO - absolutely *love* this album. Funny that 1986 was the year of Maiden's Somewhere in Time, RFO and Master of Puppets. A very good year indeed.

While I had gotten into QR courtesy of hearing Eyes of a Stranger on the radio and borrowing a cassette of O:M which got me into the band, RFO really sealed the deal for me. But it took another year before I got to hear it. At the time (1989) I was working at a dealership and one of the mechanics I befriended was your typical long-hair who had quite the collection of rock and metal cassettes. He lended me RFO and the EP. While the EP was good (especially the first and last tracks), what really grabbed my attention was RFO. I couldn't explain what it was, but the album just clicked with me instantly. Only a couple of songs didn't do much for me (Surgical Strike and Screaming in Digital, the latter which I would appreciate more seeing live in 1995). OTOH, the song was chock full of great tunes like Walk in the Shadows, I Dream in Infrared, The Killing Words, London, I Will Remember and especially Neue Regel. To this day, that track is my favorite QR track of all time, which I'm listening to as I type this. Would love to see DT cover this song, but that won't happen. Would love to see them (DT) incorporate some of the more experimental nature of RFO in their next album. Great stuff.
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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #201 on: June 26, 2017, 09:22:04 PM »
Absolutely agree, Scotty.  While I have really liked the last three DT albums, and the last one even took a big chance thematically....they havent really taken a lot of chances musically speaking. 

I would like to see them experiment more. 
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Offline Cruithne

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #202 on: June 27, 2017, 03:16:20 AM »
Ah, Rage For Order... now we're talking!

It took me a long time to get around to buying R4O - I came to QR through Livecrime and Empire, then a friend at University gave me his copy of The Warning (which was underwhelming) and Promised Land was initially a big let down (teenage expectations FTW). I think I bought R4O between HiTNF (which I loved... lowered expectations FTW) and was floored by how good it was.

Everything about it is a big step up from The Warning. How they got there I don't know - cross pollination of tastes; responding to what did and didn't work about The Warning; some quality drug taking; Tate dialling it in a little; whatever - but this time round Tate's melodramatic delivery sits perfectly with the rest of the music and it's the sound of a band stepping away from the overt influences into their own little musical bubble.

Offline Samsara

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #203 on: June 27, 2017, 08:28:47 AM »

Everything about it is a big step up from The Warning. How they got there I don't know - cross pollination of tastes; responding to what did and didn't work about The Warning; some quality drug taking; Tate dialling it in a little; whatever - but this time round Tate's melodramatic delivery sits perfectly with the rest of the music and it's the sound of a band stepping away from the overt influences into their own little musical bubble.

That's pretty much it. In my opinion, Rage expanded on NM 156 (which was one of the last songs done for The Warning), which Tate has said numerous times is where the band really found its creative legs. Rage really set the stage for Queensryche to have its own distinct sound. As Chris DeGarmo once said, "nobody's original. everyone is uniquely derivative." That's true, but Queensryche got as close as it could to an original sound on Rage for Order, which really influenced a ton of other artists down the line.

Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #204 on: June 27, 2017, 05:32:34 PM »
Rage for order is a decent album in its own right, but its sandwhiched between 2 albums I like a whole lot more. That being said, The Killing words is my favorite QR song  :metal
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Offline DragonAttack

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #205 on: June 28, 2017, 07:23:52 AM »
A friend had O:M soon after it was out, and he insisted we sit and give it a listen.  Became a fan then.  I tried out the previous releases later, and RFO was the only one that received occasional play afterwards.  A definite advancement and growth from 'The Warning'.

I haven't seen this mentioned:  the tossed aside title track certainly grew into something quite special

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #206 on: June 28, 2017, 07:45:02 AM »

I haven't seen this mentioned:  the tossed aside title track certainly grew into something quite special

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuNtjy9Cl-w

It sure was!  ;)



There were a few leftover songs that were demoed by Queensryche for Rage for Order that have never seen a public release: The title track, “The Dream” and “From the Darkside.” The title track featured a very pre-Queensryche-like Geoff Tate vocal delivery. Geoff showed his penchant for rap/spoken type of vocal here. The tune was scrapped, but pretty much everything except the verses and chorus were resurrected as an instrumental (“Anarchy-X”) on Queensr˙che's next album, Operation: Mindcrime.


 :D

Offline DragonAttack

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Rage for Order (1986)
« Reply #207 on: June 28, 2017, 09:01:30 AM »
Yup, ....read the thread too fast.  :sad:
(I did at least provide the link for it ;))
Queen music is a passion.  Golf is an obsession.

Offline Samsara

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
« Reply #208 on: June 29, 2017, 08:32:10 AM »
Operation: Mindcrime (1988)



Lead vocals/keyboards: Geoff Tate
Guitars/vocals: Chris DeGarmo
Guitars/vocals: Michael Wilton
Bass/vocals: Eddie Jackson
Drums/percussion: Scott Rockenfield

Overview

If you're reading this, you're no doubt already familiar with Operation: Mindcrime. Lauded by both fans and critics, the album broke Queensr˙che through to the mainstream, and is put on a pedestal as one of the best rock/metal concept albums of all-time.

In fact, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden told Maiden leader Steve Harris that Operation: Mindcrime was better than Iron Maiden's concept record Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (Harris disagreed, obviously). See http://teamrock.com/feature/2015-09-04/iron-maiden-album-by-album-in-their-own-words.

Drawing influence from Pink Floyd's The Wall and The Who's Tommy, Operation: Mindcrime is approximately an hour long, and showcases Queensryche's maturity as songwriters. Released in May 1988, the record expertly combines elements of prog, hard rock, metal to support the varying emotions found in a tale about revolution, manipulation, addiction and relationships. The idea behind the concept was Geoff Tate's. The singer spent time after the Rage for Order tour cycle in Montreal, overhearing various tidbits about revolutionary plots from seedier characters at bars. According to Tate, he was walking home one night, and found himself drawn to enter a church, and the basis for the story that would become Operation: Mindcrime came to him in a flood of imagery and ideas.

After sketching out a rough outline, including the creation of the character “Sister Mary” (who is based on a woman who was dressed as a nun at a club Tate and DeGarmo visited while on tour in Europe for Rage for Order), Tate brought the idea to the band, who were dead set against doing it. Tate eventually won over DeGarmo, however, who immersed himself into the concept, and then convinced the band to give it a shot. The idea finally clicked with all of them, and Queensr˙che started work on the project in earnest.

The Concept

Note: I'm not going to go track-by-track here. This is more or less just a loose summary of what happens in the story. By now, I would think most reading this know the characters and how the story unfolds.

Operation: Mindcrime is the tale of three central characters – Nikki, Sister Mary, and Dr. X. Nikki, a bit of drifter, hears rumblings on the street about a revolution and gets roped into becoming a hit man for Dr. X, the leader of the revolutionary movement. As the story unfolds, Nikki gets involved with Mary, a prostitute that has “reformed” and become a nun. Mary isn't nearly as “reformed,” however, as she “services” the priest over her, before becoming involved with Nikki.

To test Nikki's loyalty, and growing addiction to drugs that Dr. X provides, X tasks Nikki with killing Mary, along with the priest. Nikki meets Mary, but finds himself unable to kill her. The priest is shot, and Nikki ends up finding Mary dead afterward. Nikki then finds himself on the run from the police, who have targeted Nikki as the killer of both, even though the whole operation was orchestrated by Dr. X.

As the story concludes, Nikki finds himself depressed, heartbroken over Mary, and firmly painted as a murderer, all while Dr. X continues with his life. The record ends with Nikki trying to come to grips with who he is. At the end, the listener notes that Nikki is still in a mental hospital. This leads to the inevitable questions of whether the story really happened, or was it just a drug-induced dream from an insane person?

Note: The record is also circular (much as how The Warning was supposed to be) in that the end fades into the introduction of the first track.

Music & Vocals

Musically, Operation: Mindcrime is firmly rooted in the twin heavy metal guitar attack of Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton. The band is arguably at the height of its technical prowess here, as DeGarmo and Wilton play off one another not only in trade-off and harmonized leads, but to create huge chords as well.

“One area where DeGarmo and Wilton particularly distinguish themselves is in the orchestration of their rhythm parts,” said John Walker of Dinosaur Rock Guitar. “Their approach is closest to Tipton and Downing's: two players using dissimilar tones and different chord inversions to separate themselves in the mix. But DeGarmo and Wilton take this approach further by combining two different chords to create one complex chord. When they do this, DeGarmo normally takes the lower part, and Wilton stacks a higher part over the top of it. This is hard to do without creating sonic mud. But by separating their sounds spatially and using different timbres, they achieve definition.”

See http://www.dinosaurrockguitar.com/node/17.

To help further that definition between the two players, the guitars of DeGarmo and Wilton are at times separated in the mix, with DeGarmo appearing in one channel, and Wilton the other (specifically on trade-off solos). Each play to their collective and individual strengths on Operation: Mindcrime, with Wilton handling some of the more aggressive leads (“Speak,” “Revolution Calling,” “The Needle Lies,” etc.), while DeGarmo's solos enhance the more emotive songs (“The Mission,” “Suite Sister Mary”). The two harmonize or trade-off on most of the others.

Don't forget the contributions of Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums) on Operation: Mindcrime, however. Both are playing arguably the most aggressive rhythms of their careers on the album, providing a steady, yet complex backdrop for the story to be told. Guitarists are often noted for helping drive the emotion of a song, but on Operation: Mindcrime, the rhythm section holds significant responsibility in this regard.

Geoff Tate gives arguably the most storied performance of his professional life on Operation: Mindcrime, both as a singer and a lyricist. Tate showcases all areas of his operatic range and a penchant for taking on character roles and delivering them with conviction. Pamela Moore lends her sultry vocals on “Suite Sister Mary,” breathing life into a character that fans would praise for decades to come. Tate and Moore unite on the track, providing a captivating climax to the Operation: Mindcrime story.

Moore at the time was working in a local music store and doing commercials for radio and TV. DeGarmo heard her voice on a commercial, and sought her out specifically for the role of Sister Mary. Moore didn't actually sing with Geoff in the studio, however. DeGarmo and Tate explained the story to her, and handed her a tape upon arrival in Montreal. She tracked her vocals the next day. See http://anybodylistening.net/4.html for more on that.

Recording

Originally, Neil Kernon was going to produce Queensr˙che again, after the band was so happy with his work on Rage for Order. He got tied up with Dokken, however, and the band turned to Peter Collins, and a team of Paul Northfield and James “Jimbo” Barton to handle the production, engineering, and mixing, respectively, on Operation: Mindcrime. Michael Kamen, who did orchestration on The Warning, handled orchestration on Operation: Mindcrime as well. The record was recorded in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, and in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The choir vocals were handled by the “Moronic Monks of Morin Heights,” who doubled, in their spare time, as the staff of Le Studio in Montreal. ;-) Anthony Valentine played Dr. X, Debbie Wheeler was the hospital nurse, Mike Snyder's voice was used as the TV anchorman, and the late Scott Mateer played Father William.

Album Factoids

The ending of “Eyes of a Stranger” on the album differs from how the band used to end it live. During live shows, Queensryche came up with a way (after they were done recording the album) to reprise “Anarchy-X” to close “Eyes of a Stranger” before the sonic montage and of “REVOLUTION” and "I REMEMBER NOW" lines concluded the story. Fans dubbed this added section “Anarchy-xtra.” The reprise was consistently played from 1988-1997, and heightened the dramatic ending of Operation: Mindcrime, and usually, the main set of the band's shows. It was changed somewhat once DeGarmo left the group in 1997, and the current version of Queensr˙che typically does not play it.

Credit-wise, some may not know it was actually Michael Wilton that came up with the chorus to “Speak" -- "Speak the word. The word is all of us.”

The album was remastered and re-released with some live bonus tracks in 2003, and then released as a 25th Anniversary box set in 2013 (see below for the image).

Singles



Reception and Touring

Despite its popularity in heavy metal now, Operation: Mindcrime had a rough start on the charts when it was released. It went over peoples' heads at first. After completing a tour cycle opening for Def Leppard and Metallica, EMI was about to pull the plug on things and send Queensr˙che back to the studio. After the band kept pushing to stay out on the road and work the record, EMI took a chance and and released a video for “Eyes of a Stranger” to MTV. The video exploded up the charts, giving Operation: Mindcrime, and Queensryche, a needed shot in the arm.

Thanks in large part to the MTV exposure,  in a few short months, Queensryche went from opening for Metallica, to headlining their own run of shows in Europe, Japan and the west coast of the United States. The headline gigs showcased Queensr˙che at its heaviest. The band would perform most of Operation: Mindcrime, a good chunk of Rage for Order, and a smattering of songs from The Warning and the EP in a two-hour metal fest. See www.anybodylistening.net/tourdates.html (scroll down) for an example of a typical 1989 headline gig.

However, despite Operation: Mindcrime being a concept record, the band never performed it in its entirety on the support tour for the record, leaving out “Suite Sister Mary” and a few of the segue pieces, such as “My Empty Room” and “Electric Requiem.” But by May 1989, Queensryche had certainly arrived, and would make the record the centerpiece for its next world tour (1990-1992 for Empire), and its first as genuine headliners.

In the interim, Queensryche released Video: Mindcrime on Sept. 26, 1989. The VHS contained a series of inter-linked videos shot for Operation: Mindcrime, including, after the credits, how Sister Mary ultimately met her demise. (It blinks on the screen during an alternate video take for “I Don't Believe in Love.”)

After the success of the “Eyes of a Stranger” video (which was a standalone done before the other videos), the band was told by EMI it could either release one more video and have a promotional campaign for it, or shoot a series of videos connecting the Operation: Mindcrime story and release it. The band chose the latter. It was released on VHS, and also on Laser disc in Japan. Video: Mindcrime was finally put on DVD in 2013, as a part of the deluxe box set edition of Operation: Mindcrime.



Post-2005 statements on Operation: Mindcrime

For the record, there were no plans for a sequel to the original Operation: Mindcrime, despite what you may have read/heard from 2005-present. It was a self-contained story and has a beginning and end. If you read/watch/listen to interviews done by the band from 1988-2004 where they are asked about a sequel, the band continually states the story is complete and no sequel is needed/planned.

In order to make it more dramatic and push sales up, their public statements regarding Operation: Mindcrime changed when the band decided to do the sequel in 2005. As to why they changed their minds and Tate put forth some revisionist history (alternative facts, anyone?), there is a fairly simple  reason. We'll get to it when we cover Operation: Mindcrime II later.

Samsara's top-three from Operation: Mindcrime: Eyes of a Stranger, The Mission, Revolution Calling. (This is ridiculously unfair. The whole record should be listened to from front-to-back. Ha ha ha).

Next up: EMPIRE...

« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 09:08:47 AM by Samsara »

Offline MirrorMask

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
« Reply #209 on: June 29, 2017, 08:48:20 AM »
Well, here it comes: the ultimate masterpiece of Queensryche. I don't remember if it's the first thing I heard from them, but it's surely the reason why I even bothered to listen to the other stuff of the band in the first place.

It's one of those perfect albums, where all the stars align and everything on it is great. One of those records that get universal praise, you listen to understand what the fuzz's all about... and you immediately get it. A complete masterpiece, filled to the brink with awesome, gorgeous and memorable songs, it's almost a sacrilege to not listen to it from start to bottom, and it's very difficult to select songs to be left out in an imaginary playlist.

Favorite songs? mostly everything! Revolution Calling, Suite Sister Mary, Breaking the Silence and I Don't Believe in Love are maybe my favorites, but really, it's hard to find anything wrong on this album. One of the best records that have graced, or will ever grace, the metal scene.
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