07-31 Geoff Tate becomes Mindcrime
04-29 Queensryche case resolved
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Although they were initially grouped with the legions of pop-metal bands that dominated the American heavy metal scene ofthe '80s,Queensrÿche were one of the most distinctive bands of the era. Where their contemporaries built on the legacy ofVan Halen, Aerosmith, and Kiss,Queensrÿche constructed a progressive form of heavy metal that drew equally from the guitarpyrotechnics of post-Van Halen metal and '70s artrock, most notably Pink Floyd and Queen. After releasing a handful ofignored albums, the band began to break into the mainstream with theacclaimed 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime. Its f ...read more
Although they were initially grouped with the legions of pop-metal bands that dominated the American heavy metal scene ofthe '80s,Queensrÿche were one of the most distinctive bands of the era. Where their contemporaries built on the legacy ofVan Halen, Aerosmith, and Kiss,Queensrÿche constructed a progressive form of heavy metal that drew equally from the guitarpyrotechnics of post-Van Halen metal and '70s artrock, most notably Pink Floyd and Queen. After releasing a handful ofignored albums, the band began to break into the mainstream with theacclaimed 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime. Its follow-up, Empire, was the group's biggest success, selling over two million copies due to the hitsingle "Silent Lucidity." Queensrÿchenever sustained that widespread popularity -- like most late-'80s metal bands, their audience disappearedafter theemergence of grunge. Nevertheless, they retained a large cult following well into the ensuing decades.
Guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton formed Queensrÿche in 1981 in the Seattle, WA, suburb of Bellevue. Bothguitarists had been playingin heavy metal cover bands and had decided to form a group that would play original material. Theduo recruited high school friends Geoff Tate(vocals) and bassist Eddie Jackson (bass), as well as drummer Scott Rockenfield.Instead of hitting the club circuit, the group rehearsed for twoyears, eventually recording and releasing a four-song demotape. The cassette came to the attention of local record store owners Kim and DianaHarris, who offered to manageQueensrÿche. With the help of the Harrises, the tape circulated throughout the Northwest. In May of 1983,Queensrÿchereleased the EP Queen of the Reich on their own record label, 206 Records. Queen of the Reich sold 20,000 copies and, intheprocess, earned the band major-label attention. By the end of the year, the band signed to EMI, which released anexpanded version of the EP asthe Queensrÿche LP later in the year; the record peaked at number 81.
At this stage, Queensrÿche sounded closer to British metal bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Over the next few years,the group continuedto refine its sound, opening for hard rock acts as diverse as Bon Jovi and Metallica. Their next two albums-- 1984's The Warning and 1986's Ragefor Order -- sold respectably, with the latter reaching number 47 on the U.S. charts.Rage for Order also demonstrated a flowering of progressiverock influences, an idea that would reach its fruition with 1988'sOperation: Mindcrime. Boasting orchestral arrangements from Michael Kamen, thealbum was Queensrÿche's most ambitiousand focused effort to date, earning both positive reviews and strong sales. Operation: Mindcrime stayedon the Americancharts for a year, selling over a million copies during its run.
Queensrÿche returned in the fall of 1990 with the equally ambitious Empire. The album proved to be their commercial highwatermark, peaking atnumber seven on the U.S. charts and going double platinum in America; in the U.K., the album alsocracked the Top Ten. Empire's success wasinstigated by the stately art rock ballad "Silent Lucidity," which received heavyairplay from MTV and album rock radio. All the exposure eventuallysent "Silent Lucidity" to number five on the U.S. singlescharts. Following the long Empire tour -- which included a spot on the 1991 Monsters ofRock tour -- Queensrÿche releasedthe live Operation: LIVEcrime in the fall of 1991. Recorded on the Operation: Mindcrime tour, the albumreplicated the group'slive performance of the rock opera that comprised their 1988 artistic breakthrough; the package also included a video andathick book.
In the three years following the release of Operation: LIVEcrime, the band rested and leisurely worked on the follow-up toEmpire. Occasionally,they contributed a song to a soundtrack, such as "Real World" for Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1993 movieLast Action Hero. Queensrÿche finallydelivered their sixth studio album, Promised Land, in 1994. Though the heavy metalaudience had changed drastically since Empire, with many fair-weather metal fans switching their allegiance to grunge andalternative rock, the group retained a strong following, as evidenced by Promised Landdebuting at number three on the U.S.charts. Promised Land would eventually go platinum and spawn two album rock hits, "I Am I" and "Bridge..
With 1997's Hear in the New Frontier, Queensrÿche stripped back their sound to the bare bones, leaving behind the prog rockinfluences that madethem distinctive. Although the album debuted at 19, it received mixed reviews and quickly fell down thecharts, leading shortly thereafter tofounding guitarist Chris DeGarmo's exit from the band. (DeGarmo would soon resurface aspart of former Alice in Chains' guitarist Jerry Cantrell'stouring band.) Q2k followed in 1999, as new guitarist Kelly Gray tookDeGarmo's place. Queensrÿche's first best-of set, Greatest Hits, was releasedin 2000; the band supported the CD with anopening slot on one of the year's hottest metal concert tickets -- Iron Maiden's Brave New Worldreunion tour, which alsoincluded former Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford.
In 2001, the band issued a double CD/DVD package titled Live Evolution. Meanwhile, former member DeGarmo began gearingup to form a newband, which was purported to include former Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Inez;although he appeared on Jerry Cantrell'sDegradation Trip in 2002, no solo material materialized. DeGarmo then rejoined forceswith Queensrÿche for a brief spell, appearing on the band'ssubsequent album, 2003's Tribe, but never officially joining thelineup. Three years later, Queensrÿche (sans DeGarmo, who had become aprofessional charter pilot) released Operation:Mindcrime II, the long-awaited sequel to their 1988 conceptual smash. 2007 saw the dual release ofSign of the Times: TheBest of Queensrÿche and Take Cover, the latter of which featured cover versions of songs by U2, Buffalo Springfield,andAndrew Lloyd Webber. During the following two years, Geoff Tate launched a series of one-on-one interviews with variousmilitary vets; he thenfunneled what he'd learned into the band's next project, a concept album about war named AmericanSoldier. Produced by Jason Slater (who hadalso helmed Operation: Mindcrime II), the album was released in March 2009. Afterthe release of the album, the band set out on the conceptualQueensryche Cabaret tour, mering the bands prog sound with awild, cabaret aesthetic. The band also went overseas to Iraq to play the music oftheir American Soldier album for the troopsthat it was written for. While over there, they found themselves the victims of a bomb attack butcame out of the ordealunscathed. Later that year, Queensryche announced that they were working on new material, and in 2011 released theireleventh studio album, Dedicated to Chaos.
In 2012, after 30 years with the band, Tate announced he was leaving the band after disputes with the other members, anddecided to form his his own version of Queensryche with Kelly Gray (guitar; ex-Queensryche), Randy Gane (keyboard), RudySarzo (bass; ex-Ozzy, ex-Quiet Riot, ex-Whitesnake, etc.), Robert Sarzo (guitar), and Simon Wright (drums; ex-AC/DC, ex-Dio). The remaining members of Queensryche recruited ex-Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre. Tate's Queensryche releasedtheir first album, Frequency Unknown, in April 2013, and Todd La Torre's Queensryche will release an eponymous album inJune 2013. « hide
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