I used to absolutely love Queensryche.
In fact someone very dear to me recently celebrated her birthday and asked me to gift her an album that was special to me. I bought her “Operation: Mindcrime” – still the best metal concept album ever made, fight me!
But I write this review from the point of view of a Queensryche fan that hasn’t bought anything by the band since “Empire” back in 1990. Oh hang on…. I did buy “Promised Land” on cassette back in 1994 but dismissed it as the “wafty wankery” it was and didn’t bother much with the band after that. I mean, how could they follow the ground-breaking “Mindcrime” & the radio hit machine that was “Empire” with something as lacklustre as “Promised Land”? Anyway, if it means anything then Queensryche’s fifteenth album “The Verdict” is more than worthy to stand alongside the bands earlier back catalogue and is a cracking album in its own right.
Kicking off with the storming “Blood Of The Levant” – this is proper Queensryche with hypnotic riffing and (ex- Crimson Glory singer) Todd LaTorre’s amazing soaring vocals. Honestly this bloke is an aural powerhouse & I’d put his vocals up there with Halford at his finest, seriously! Fun Fact – Todd also handled drum duties on this album as Scott Rockenfeld was tucked up with personal commitments.
This song is a hookfest and totally sucks you in to the album.
“Man And Machine” is next and instantly reminded me of “The Needle Lies” from Mindcrime and every bit as good as that track.
“Light Years” is a soulful track, pure glossy arena rock but with plenty of odd tempo changes and some beautiful lead work.
“Inside Out” has a really cool middle-east vibe to it before hitting the gas and delivering some primo Quality ‘Ryche metal.
The rest of the album follows suit. No filler, just cracking songs. Sure some are better than others but there’s not a duff track among the ten on offer.
In the promo material accompanying my copy is the following line
“Queensryche’s 15th studio album sounds like a young, hungry band just hitting its
And I couldn’t agree more. If, like me, you tuned out after “Empire” then please check this out. If you’ve been a more loyal fan of the band then you definitely don’t need me to tell you how good “The Verdict” is.
(8.5/10 Mark Eve)