Queensryche
Rage for Order


4.0
excellent

Review

by TheScriblerian USER (1 Reviews)
June 8th, 2009 | 243 replies


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A dark, edgy slice of goth-metal, Rage for Order saw Queensryche edging towards their Mindcrime peak.

After releasing "The Warning" in 1984, Queensryche definitely shifted musical gears; mostly gone were the orchestral arrangements and Tolkienian lyrical imagery so prevalent in their previous outings. The band even tinkered with their look, largely ditching the leather and studs for pseudo-Victorian finery and heavy makeup (jury’s still out on whether that was a good idea). Vocalist Geoff Tate has mentioned in interviews that the entire band was reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles while this album was being created, and it certainly shows. From the opening "Walk in the Shadows" to the closing ballad "I Will Remember", Queensryche definitely gets their goth on.

Producer Neil Kernon creates a sound very reminiscent of The Sisters of Mercy’s “Floodland” album, or Bahaus’ classic “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”. The drums have a hollow, mechanistic feel (courtesy of Scott Rockenfield’s precise sticksmanship and the fact that the rhythm tracks were recorded in an empty, stone-walled warehouse) and the background synths contribute a wonderfully creepy vibe. When combined with Tate’s otherworldly vocal athletics and the intricate six-string bombast of Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, the entire album creates a sense of paranoia and Gothic grandeur. The one thing largely missing from the mix is Eddie Jackson’s bass, but I’m guessing the treble-happy 80s production values (and second-rate equipment; Queensryche was still largely an unknown act at this time) are probably to blame.

Though half the tracks center in on Gothic romance (“Walk In the Shadows”, “The Killing Words” and “I Will Remember” in particular), the others find the group edging toward themes later fully explored in Operation: Mindcrime; massive, impersonal totalitarian forces moving to crush the human spirit and exterminate free will. The album’s high point (in my opinion) is the bondage-themed rocker “The Whisper”; the riff is absolutely amazing, and Tate’s hackle-raising call-and-response of seductive hissing and bombastic wailing on the chorus creates a perfect combination of sexual urgency and autocratic intensity.

The balance of both subject matter and musical styles is well-struck across the whole album, and unlike almost every other prog-rock/metal band, Queensryche avoided musical masturbation and embraced brevity, keeping the intensity of the music and lyrics intact. For that fact alone, Rage for Order should have won some kind of award.

The album hits a couple of off notes, however. “I Dream in Infrared”, though musically solid, pushes the lyrical weirdness envelope a bit too far. “Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)” plays with Mindcrime-esqe from-the-street preaching but doesn’t quite get there. And “Gonna Get Close to You” is borderline; though the Dalbello cover is an interesting choice and the music is well-played, Tate’s vocal histrionics occasionally get over-intense and just plain screechy. That song’s selection as the video/single release may have contributed to Rage for Order’s relative lack of popular success.

Rage for Order is best described as a "transition album"; the band explores new territory, breaks ground and grows into now-familiar roles. Chris DeGarmo's guitar playing in particular can be heard taking on the haunting quality that would later make Operation: Mindcrime so great. It’s good in its own right, though; listening to it will have you looking over your shoulder, should you choose to do so while walking at night. Anyone who appreciates both metal and 80s goth-rock would probably love this album.


user ratings (320)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
DrJohn (4.5)
…but back in 1986 you had one trait; an inhumanly good voice (That I’ll give you)....

PsychicChris (4.5)
A classic that has earned its black sheep reputation....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
June 8th 2009


15978 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The album does have a few "off" moments, however. "Chemical Youth(We Are Rebellion)" isn't as good as it could be; the band plays with themes of anger and revolution but doesn't quite get there. "I Dream In Infra Red" is yet another strong argument for Queensryche staying away from computer-based lyrical content. And while the song itself is very good, the intro to "Neue Regel" is almost too much; Tate's voice did NOT need the treble-heavy tweaking.
I don't agree with that entire paragraph, but at least someone finally reviewed this.

Digging: Necropoli - I

TheScriblerian
June 8th 2009


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, this could use some editing. Not that I think you're right (my opinion of "Chemical Youth", "I Dream In Infra Red" and such is an opinion, I don't expect everyone to share it) but I did kind of toss this off and I could have done better.

Willie
Moderator
June 8th 2009


15978 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, I'm not disputing your opinion (that's why I didn't say you were wrong or anything). It did seem rushed though.

Bfhurricane
June 8th 2009


6197 Comments


Yes, this does seem rushed. You might want to talk more about the aspects of goth rock and how Queensryche performed in that respect. Anyways, I don't actually own this album, but I've heard a few tracks off this. Walk In The Shadows is a favorite of mine.

Willie
Moderator
June 8th 2009


15978 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is my favorite Queensryche album of all time.

Gyromania
June 8th 2009


15716 Comments


Eh Willie, you might not remember me but I am dude who wrote a 2/5 review for Cynic, and I wrote my second review. I just remember you said you wanted to see my second review from the cynic thread.

TheScriblerian
June 9th 2009


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok, I edited the review. I think this one's much better; I went back and listened to Rage again and realized how much I actually liked it. Still not fond of Chemical Youth though.

Willie
Moderator
June 9th 2009


15978 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Much better now; pos'd.

The one thing largely missing from the mix is Eddie Jackson’s bass, but I’m guessing the treble-happy 80s production values (and second-rate equipment; Queensryche was still largely an unknown act at this time) are probably to blame.
It's there and it's actually pretty solid, but you have to have some good speakers to hear it.

TheScriblerian
June 9th 2009


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, never owned a good enough stereo. It's there in places, but when the songs get epic the bass is the first thing to get drowned out. Oh well, bass playing is usually noticed not actually "heard" on 80s metal albums.

Great disc though; better than The Warning.

Willie
Moderator
June 9th 2009


15978 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, The Warning is good but kind of lacking compared to later releases (and even compared to the first EP).

What exactly is it about Chemical Youth that you don't like?

TheScriblerian
June 10th 2009


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It always sounded repetitive and thudding to me...not as intricate or interesting as most of QR's stuff. It's not bad, it's just not good in my opinion.

Also, I've done reviews in other venues and I always try to find some criticism for things I like, as well as something positive about things I don't like. "Chemical Youth" was the only song on the album that I didn't really dig.

Sound
April 10th 2011


3901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Solid album. The Whisper and Neue Regel are awesome.


scissorlocked
April 10th 2011


3510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album is basically awesome

Sound
April 15th 2011


3901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Geoff Tate is incredible on this. Has to be among the top vocalists in metal. Ever.


beefshoes
April 15th 2011


3894 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is better than Mindcrime in my opinion.
This was my favorite album back in my freshman year.

Digging: CHVRCHES - The Bones of What You Believe

Sound
April 15th 2011


3901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I dunno Mindcrime just feels more complete.. May be the concept but it just has that classic feel. But yeah this is close.

I've come to really dig the cover song on this too.



Willie
Moderator
April 15th 2011


15978 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love this album. Blows the rest of their discography away. The drummer says their next album is a modern version of this with more electronics. I don't want to be, but I'm kind of excited.

Sound
April 24th 2011


3901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^Sounds good to me. But I've heard their releases post-Promised Land kinda suck. The cover for the new album looks promising though. Hope Geoff's voice has improved/recovered and he's once again belting some highs. Maybe he even pulled an Axl Rose.. Hmm probably not, but we'll see..



Willie
Moderator
April 24th 2011


15978 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The post Promised Land albums are hit and miss (mostly miss), but American Soldier was a huge step back in the right direction. Also, the new album cover is interesting. Hopefully it's not the best thing about the album.

Sound
April 24th 2011


3901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

We certainly hope not.

So I guess I should look into American Soldier at some point then. Promised Land is next though. Expecting more midregister from Tate on that one but as long as it's good, it doesn't really matter.




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