Music: Queensr˙che


A Progressive Metal band from Seattle, Washington, best remembered for their epic Rock Opera Operation Mindcrime and for their Top 10 single "Silent Lucidity". The band's lineup for the majority of its career was:

  • Chris DeGarmo: guitars, keyboards
  • Eddie Jackson: bass
  • Scott Rockenfield: drums
  • Geoff Tate: vocals, keyboards where necessary, saxophone
  • Michael Wilton: guitars

They also frequently worked with the late Michael Kamen.

Starting out as something of an Iron Maiden-esque Euro-metal band, Queensr˙che has experimented with many different sounds and styles over the course of their career. For example, for their second album Rage For Order they utilized highly industrialized orchestrations, various production trickery and ominous synthesizers (dubbed "techno-metal"); and Hear In The Now Frontier featured a raw, stripped-back sound with little to no audio effects other than natural overdrive for the guitars. Albums such as The Warning, Mindcrime, Empire and Promised Land, meanwhile, featured comparatively straightforward Progressive Metal with multiple time signatures, complicated structures, twin guitar solos by Wilton and DeGarmo, plus the aforementioned experimentation with synthesizers and sound effects.

Like most hard rock bands from The Eighties, Queensr˙che's popularity waned in The Nineties with the rise of grunge (which, ironically, has its roots in Queensr˙che's hometown of Seattle). Nonetheless, Queensr˙che continues to record and tour, although founding member Chris DeGarmo left the band in 1998 to pursue personal interests. His place was filled by Kelly Gray on Q2K, Mike Stone on Tribe, Operation: Mindcrime II and Take Cover, and finally Parker Lundgren on Dedicated To Chaos.

In June 2012, Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield kicked Geoff Tate out of the band. Todd La Torre of the band Crimson Glory was chosen as Tate's replacement, and the previously-hired Parker Lundgren was retained on guitars. Geoff Tate continued to tour under the Queensr˙che name with past Queensr˙che member Kelly Gray. On the 28th of April 2014, a statement was released that confirmed that Tate had lost the Queensryche brand to Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield, who will be carrying on as the sole version of the band while Tate was given the rights to perform Operation: Mindcrime and Operation: Mindcrime II in their entirety for unique performances.

Current Line-up:
  • Michael Wilton - Guitar, backing vocals (1982-present)
  • Eddie Jackson - Bass, backing vocals (1982-present)
  • Scott Rockenfield - Drums, keyboard, orchestration (1982-present)
  • Parker Lundgren - Guitar, backing vocals (2009-present)
  • Todd La Torre - Lead Vocals (2012-present)

  • 1983 - Queensr˙che (EP)
  • 1984 - The Warning
  • 1986 - Rage for Order
  • 1988 - Operation: Mindcrime
  • 1990 - Empire
  • 1994 - Promised Land
  • 1997 - Hear in the Now Frontier
  • 1999 - Q2K
  • 2003 - Tribe
  • 2006 - Operation: Mindcrime II
  • 2007 - Take Cover
  • 2009 - American Soldier
  • 2011 - Dedicated to Chaos
  • 2013 - Queensr˙che (full length album)

  • Additionally, before he lost the rights to the name, Geoff Tate released Frequency Unknown as a Queensr˙che album in 2013.

Queensr˙che provides us with examples of:

  • Author Tract: Some segments of both Mindcrime albums can get this way. Of course, Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
  • Black Sheep Hit: Their one and only Top 40 single, "Silent Lucidity", is a Pink Floyd-esque orchestral ballad with no traces of the band's trademark prog-metal.
  • Broken Base: A pretty noticeable one developed during the two Queensryches period between June 2012 and April 2014 between fans of Geoff's version of the band and the other version of the band. It's too early to tell whether the news that Tate has lost the right to perform under the Queensryche name will cause this to fade away, however.
  • Buffy Speak: The answering machine message at the beginning of the song "Empire."
  • Canon Discontinuity: May happen to Frequency Unknown: it was released by Tate's version of the band prior to him losing the band name and comments from the now-official line up at the time indicate that they would not have considered it a Queensryche album due to it having nothing in common with what Queensryche stood for. Not that most fans would complain too much if it were to be stricken from the band's canon...
  • Concept Album: Promised Land (1994) is a song cycle dealing with a man's life in general, and the theme of "be careful what you wish for" in particular. American Soldier (2009) is a collection of songs written from the point of view of U.S. military veterans and their experiences. Of course, there's also the Mindcrime saga.
    • Concepts can also be interpreted in The Warning (1984) about a mad prophet's ramblings, Rage for Order (1986) about a stalker and an underground revolution, and Empire (1990) about scenes possibly connected in the same neighbourhood, as some songs fade into each other and have similar lyrics.
  • Cover Version: Lisa Dalbello's "Gonna Get Close to You" (Rage for Order) and Simon & Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair" (bonus track on the reissue of Empire).
  • Dare to Be Badass: "Sliver", the opening track of "American Soldier", is about this.
    "It's time to sack up and let go of your mothers!"
  • Determinator: The protagonist of "A Dead Man's Words", a soldier stranded in the desert (presumably in Iraq) hoping against hope that he will be rescued. He is.
    "I will not die!"
  • Disappeared Dad: A temporary disappearance in "Home Again", a duet in which Geoff and his daughter Emily play the role of a soldier away on duty and his daughter respectively.
  • Dress Rehearsal Video: "Nightrider" and "Breaking The Silence".
  • Epic Rocking: "Roads To Madness", "Suite Sister Mary", "Della Brown", "Anybody Listening?", "Promised Land", "The Right Side Of My Mind", "A Dead Man's Words".
  • Executive Meddling: EMI America forced the band to adopt a more Hair Metal image for Rage for Order due to the style's popularity at the time, but otherwise didn't interfere with the recording. The album's booklet shows publicity stills of the band wearing trenchcoats, heavy make-up and perms despite the album itself containing experimental Progressive Metal.
    • EMI America also meddled directly for the only time with The Warning, where the band went $300.000 overbudget during the recording and the label took the recordings away from them and handed them to Val Garay for final mixing. As described by Geoff Tate, Garay had "no clue what Queensr˙che was. He never listened to hard rock music and didn't take input from anyone in the band. He just mixed it according to how he thought it should sound. No one in the band could listen to that record. We all hated it."
  • Great Balls of Fire: the stage set for performing the Mindcrime shows, including twin wall-sized TV screens.
  • Green Aesop: "Resistance", from the Empire album, is about the evils of industrial pollution and deforestation. Complete with corny 80s-style gang vocals.
  • Grief Song: "I Don't Believe In Love" from the original "Mindcrime" is about the protagonist, Nikki, mourning the death of his lover Mary. "If I Were King", from "American Soldier", is about a Marine who can't get over the death of his friend in battle. "A World Without", from the 2013 "Queensryche" album, is about a man whose wife dies in childbirth, leaving him alone with their newborn baby.
  • Heavy Mithril: Their first full-length album, The Warning, is music to play RPGs to.
  • Intercourse with You: "Sacred Ground", "Anytime/Anywhere", "Got It Bad".
  • Jump Scare: A couple standouts that can also qualify as a Big Word Shout:
    • REVOLUTION!!!! (Eyes Of A Stranger - Much of Mindcrime has this)
    • ON YOUR FEET! ("Sliver," American Soldier)
    • WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY AM I?! ("Promised Land," Promised Land)
    • The sudden door slam at the end of "Anybody Listening?"
  • Kids Rock: Geoff Tate's daughter Emily performs additional vocals on "Home Again", from American Soldier. During the lawsuits surrounding Tate's ejection from the band, Wilton criticised her performance in his testimony, describing it as off-key and stating that even after producer Kelly Gray time-stretched and Auto Tuned it, "you can tell that it is definitely in its own key".
  • Metal Scream: Early in their career, this was a frequent tool (as befitting an Iron Maiden clone); but it pretty much fell off after Empire.
    • Temporarily regenerated for parts of Operation: Mindcrime II, unsuprisingly.
  • Miniscule Rocking: Most of the songs on their self-titled 2013 album are very short. The album itself finishes at 35 minutes and 3 seconds. Wilton stated that the band was surprised when they realised this at the mastering sessions, comparing its length to an old Van Halen record, but that it wasn't possible to do more because the album was recorded in a hectic situation due to a combination of the band's touring, producer James Barton's busy schedule, and the record company's insistence on the album being finished by a strict deadline.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: 6 to 7. Or at least usually.
  • Myspeld Rökband: In addition to the Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut, the band is named for one of its earliest songs, "Queen Of The Reich".
  • New Sound Album: Rage for Order perhaps most obviously, Hear In The Now Frontier as a shift to a more "alternative" sound, and Dedicated To Chaos, later, but not in a good way. Frankly, it could be argued that they pulled this every few albums or so: power metal (EP, "The Warning") to progressive ("Rage For Order" and "Mindcrime I") to mainstream pop-metal ("Empire") to conceptual hard rock ("Promised Land") to an alternative rock sound ("Hear", "Q2K", "Tribe") and finally back to progressive sounds ("Mindcrime II" and "American Soldier") and...well, whatever "Dedicated to Chaos" is supposed to be.
  • Old Shame: The band excluded the video for "Queen Of The Reich" from their video compilation Building Empires. To quote their commentary: "After that is when we grew our hair long... so no one would recognize us!"
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: They do it often.
    • Take! Hold! (Take Hold Of The Flame from The Warning)
    • I! Can! Hear! The! Chimes!/ I! Can! See! Your! Eyes!/I! Can! Feel! It's! Time! (Neue Regel from Rage For Order)
    • We! Are! Rebellion! (Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion) from Rage For Order)
    • Don't! Ever! Trust! (The Needle Lies from Operation: Mindcrime)
    • And a few more...
  • Retail Therapy: Invoked in their song of the same name, about a character who's only happy when he's buying new electronic gadgets or apps.
  • Record Producer: They've self-produced or co-produced a few of their albums (the self-titled EP and album, Q2K, Tribe), and worked with James Guthrie (The Warning), Neil Kernon (Rage for Order), Peter Collins (Mindcrime, Empire, Hear in the Now Frontier) James Barton (Promised Land, the Self-Titled Album), and Jason Slater (Mindcrime II, Take Cover, American Soldier, Dedicated to Chaos - possibly the most disliked of all their producers), among others.
  • Rock Opera: Operation Mindcrime, and its sequel.
  • Significant Monogram: After the split, Geoff Tate's version of the band released "Frequency Unknown" - with the initials featured prominently on the cover.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "Gonna Get Close To You" and "Walk in the Shadows".
  • War Is Hell: A few songs on "American Soldier" address this. The most poignant is "The Killer", about a Vietnam War veteran who hangs on for dear life in the battlefield, only to be spat on and greeted with shouts of "baby killer" when he returns home.
  • You Are Not Alone: "Beside You", from Q2K, is this from the point of view of a father addressing his daughter.

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