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Music / Queensr˙che

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A Progressive Metal band from Seattle, Washington, best remembered for their epic Rock Opera Operation: Mindcrime and its follow up, Empire, which contained the Top 10 hit "Silent Lucidity".

Starting out as something of an Iron Maiden-esque Euro-metal band, Queensrÿche 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 '80s, Queensrÿche's popularity waned in The '90s with the rise of grunge (which, ironically, has its roots in Queensrÿche's hometown of Seattle). Nonetheless, Queensrÿche 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, Parker Lundgren on Dedicated to Chaos and Stone again, as of 2021.

In June 2012, Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson 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 guitar. Tate continued to tour under the Queensrÿche name with past Queensrÿche member Kelly Gray. On the 28th of April 2014, a statement was released that confirmed that Tate had lost the Queensrÿche brand to Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson 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. Tate renamed his band to Operation Mindcrime and continued recording separately through 2017.

Rockenfield left the band for a paternity leave in 2017 that turned into a permanent separation and another round of lawsuits, leaving Wilton and Jackson as the remaining founding members.

Current Line-Up:

  • Michael Wilton - guitar, occasional backing vocals (1982-present)
  • Eddie Jackson - bass, backing vocals (1982-present)
  • Todd La Torre - lead vocals (2012-present), drums (2018)
  • Casey Grillo - drums (2017-present)
  • Mike Stone - guitar, backing vocals (2002–2009, 2018, 2021-present)

Former Members:

  • Chris DeGarmo - guitar, keyboards, backing and occasional lead vocals (1982–1997, 2003)
  • Kelly Gray - guitar, backing vocals (1997–2002)
  • Geoff Tate - lead vocals, keyboards, saxophone, occasional rhythm guitar (1982–2012)
  • Scott Rockenfield - drums, keyboards (1982-2017)
  • Parker Lundgren - guitar, backing vocals (2009-2021)


  • 1983: Queensrÿche (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: Queensrÿche (full length album)
  • Additionally, before he lost the rights to the name, Geoff Tate released Frequency Unknown as a Queensrÿche album in 2013.
  • 2015: Condition Hüman
  • 2019: The Verdict
  • 2022: Digital Noise Alliance

Queensrÿche provides examples of:

  • Author Tract: Some segments of both Mindcrime albums can get this way.
  • Buffy Speak: The answering machine message at the beginning of the song "Empire".
    It's starting to hit me like a, um... um... two-ton... heavy thing.
  • 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 Queensrÿche album due to it having nothing in common with what Queensrÿche stood for. Not that most fans would complain too much if it were to be stricken from the band's canon...
  • Calling the Old Man Out: "Bridge" from Promised Land, in which the speaker calls out his estranged father for trying to make up for lost time when he never made that connection in the first place.
    You say, "Son, let's forget the past,
    I want another chance, gonna make it last."
    You're begging me for a brand new start,
    trying to mend a bridge that's been blown apart,
    but you know... you never built it dad.
  • 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. 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 neighborhood, as some songs fade into each other and have similar lyrics.
  • Corrupt Politician: Referenced in "Sign of the Times":
    On the Senate floor they congregate
    Many pockets lined with green,
    From those behind the scenes, yeah they take the bribe (it's on the side)
  • Cover Album: Take Cover.
  • 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!
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Operation: Mindcrime has a much poppier sound than the previous three (especially "Revolution Calling" and the title track), but lyrically it's much darker, dealing with a recovering junkie who is brainwashed into an assassin, as well as prostitution, suicide, and insanity.
    • Promised Land is a very deep, moody, introspective album, dealing with the drawbacks of fame and success.
    • Operation: Mindcrime II returns to the Mindcrime story, and ends with the protagonist committing suicide.
    • American Soldier is a very sad, depressing album about war and experiences of it.
    • Their self-titled 2013 album, actively promoted as being their heaviest album in years, continuing with Condition Hüman.
  • 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.
    Daughter: And I'll be there to shine a light, so you can find your way to me...
  • Dress Rehearsal Video: "Nightrider" and "Breaking the Silence".
  • Drugs Are Bad: It's highly unlikely anyone who listens to the lyrics of Operation: Mindcrime will have any desire to try heroin after that.
  • Epic Rocking: "The Lady Wore Black", "No Sanctuary", "Roads to Madness", "Suite Sister Mary", "Eyes of a Stranger", "Della Brown", "One and Only", "Anybody Listening?", "Promised Land", "The Right Side of My Mind", "A Dead Man's Words", "At the Edge", "Big Noize", "Just Us", "Condition Human".
  • Great Balls of Fire!: The stage set for performing the Mindcrime albums, 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 cannot get over the death of his friend in battle. "A World Without", from the 2013 Queensrÿche, 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.
  • I Am the Band: Geoff Tate tried to do this after Chris DeGarmo left, and during the legal disputes after 2012. The courts did not agree and awarded the other band members the full rights to the Queensryche name.
  • 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?". To put it in context, the song itself fades gently into the soft sounds of waves washing on shore, which plays for about 30 or 40 seconds and then SLAM!
  • 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 criticized 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".
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Empire, a mainstream pop-rock album, with the darker lyrics of Mindcrime giving way to straightforward songs about romance and other lighter themes, though dark songs still appear, like the Title Track.
    • The trilogy of Hear in the Now Frontier, Q 2 K and Tribe, which go for an alt-rock sound
  • Longest Song Goes Last:
    • The Warning closes with "Roads to Madness" (9:54).
    • Empire closes with "Anybody Listening?" (7:41).
    • Q2K closes with "The Right Side of My Mind" (5:52).
    • Operation: Mindcrime II closes with "All the Promises" (5:10).
    • Condition Hüman closes with its Title Track (7:46).
  • Metal Scream: Early in their career, this was a frequent tool (as befitting an Iron Maiden clone); but it pretty much fell off after Operation: Mindcrime.
    • Temporarily regenerated for parts of Operation: Mindcrime II, unsurprisingly.
  • Military Brat: Geoff Tate's father was a career soldier. Talking to his father about his experiences serving in World War II and Korea led to the making of An American Soldier.
  • 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 realized 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.
  • Myspeld Rökband: In addition to the Heävy Mėtal Ümlaut (over the misplaced "y"), 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) whatever 'Dedicated to Chaos is supposed to be, and a return to their '80s sound (Queensryche, Condition Human)
  • 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. It's about a character who's only happy when he's buying new electronic gadgets or apps.
  • Record Producer: They have 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.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Hand On Heart" and "One and Only" from Empire both qualify as this.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "Gonna Get Close to You" and "Walk in the Shadows".
  • Take That!: The lyrics to "Where Dreams Go to Die" and "Vindication" on their 2013 self-titled album could be considered a very thinly veiled "screw you" to Geoff Tate.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: "Screaming in Digital".
  • 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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Scott Rockenfield went on paternity leave from the band in 2017...and, as of August 2019, has not been heard from since. Todd La Torre revealed in an interview in Febuary 2019 that he has not spoke to him since late 2017 and said Scott may not even come back at all. In 2021 Rockenfield filed a lawsuit against the rest of the band, officially making the split permanent.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: "Della Brown" tells the story of a middle-aged homeless woman who was once a great beauty that had the world at her feet and her pick of men. Once her beauty faded, she was cast aside and had to live on the street because she had no other means of supporting herself other than with her looks. The song ends with her hoping for a man to come along and make her happy again.
  • You Are Not Alone: "Beside You", from Q2K, is this from the point of view of a father addressing his daughter.