Queensryche
Empire


4.0
excellent


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Queensrÿche's Empire is the first of it's kind, representing a commercial ace in the hole and an immense achievement for the progressive metal genre.

It always was ironic that Queensryche released Empire at the peak of their career. Rage for Order had placed them on the Billboard, but it wasOperation: Mindcrime that took progressive metal and shaped it into their image, placing Queensrÿche at the throats of mainstream rock and metal with accessible songwriting and creative musicality. The attention of countless casual listeners and mass pop culture through Entertainment Weekly was unheard of for progressive metal. They dominated conventional radio with nearly half an album and their reputation suffered as a result of it's commercial success, and compared to the consistently growing success of Operation: Mindcrime, Empire was no more than a regime cursed to exist in the shadow of it's predecessor, and yet it still stands as one of Queensrÿche’s most impressive achievements.

While fans immediately expected Operation: Mindcrime Part II, Empire was only a silhouette of a concept album. To this day, the love interest tearing between the hit songs ‘Jet City Woman’ and ‘The Thin Line’ remaims an easy method for those looking to start exploring the band's music, but the underlying features drive the true momentum. The consecutive ‘empire’ theme starts up with the operatic blues inclined experiments on ‘Della Brown,’ the operatic rocker "Resistance," and the centerpiece title track where the band calls for justice in a dishonest society. While they question and denigrate the effectiveness of American law enforcement, they aren't wrong in their contemplations. Think of the commonplace story where a man broke into a house through a kitchen's ceiling window and falls onto a knife, cuts his leg, sues the house owner and won. Whether the accuracy of the actual original event is valid, numerous accounts of unfathomable police activities and unusual verdicts renders the same question where the band leaves the song at: “Can't someone here stop it?!” Sadly Empire doesn't attempt to form a solution to the problem and instead avoids a storyline with characters, morals and a heartbroken love story. Rather than pushing forth their boundaries obtained from their previous albums, Queensrÿche finally succumbs to shrugging off the progressive metal influence of their unmistakable logo in lieu of melodic and commercial accessibility.

As an off-note topic, I find it strange how few have mentioned the album art. The ‘tri-ryche’ pierces the pillar appearing to form ‘EMI,’ their record label. Whether or not this was intentional or a fluke due to the pronunciation of “em-pire,” it is amusing and worth noting as a jab at their own label.

Empire's direction gets repetitive if viewed in terms of it's hits, but it represents a successful effort for Queensrÿche. Geoff Tate’s vocals personalize the unmentioned moments like "Anybody Listening?" and "One and Only" with unrivaled clarity, boasting his powerful four-octave range without any painful effort. The track ‘Resistance’ acts as a vehicle for his progressive aspects alongside the building vocals of 'Silent Lucidity.' The beauty of Empire is that it grows with every listen, and it distinctively grows with increased definition. Two decades later, Geoff Tate’s marriage to band manager and ex-dancer Mrs. Tate will prove difficult to holding the charade that ‘Jet City Woman’ was written about her and not his previous wife who was actually a flight attendant from The Jet City. For that matter: it's not hard to respect Empire, it's just easier to criticize it.

3.9/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
lostforwords
September 1st 2011


446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really good review, will pos. This record seems to have gained recognition over the years, fans respect it much more now than they did one decade ago. Personal favorites here "Anybody Listening?", "Another rainy Night" and the title track, but I can't even stand "Resistence" and 'Hand on Heart". The record is uneven indeed, but I feel this is its only problem (not the fact that it takes a commercial route)

Ire
September 1st 2011


41820 Comments


hmmmm

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2011


6273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent album, but not even close to Operation: Mindcrime, Rage for Order or Promised Land

My physical copy is the recent re-issue CD, which doesn't have a booklet with the lyrics. Bummer...

Good review, pos.

Digging: Varathron - Untrodden Corridors of Hades

TheNotrap
September 1st 2011


8121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Good review

This album features some great songs like Best I Can, Jet City Woman, Silent Lucidity, Hand on Heart and specially Empire and Anybody Listening?

One of their best records IMO.

Digging: Pink Floyd - The Endless River

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 1st 2011


21406 Comments


Love this album, nowhere near as good as Operation: Mindcrime though.

Great review, pos'd.

scissorlocked
September 1st 2011


3511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album's huge

good review man

Digging: Distance - Outer Limits

BigHans
September 1st 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ITS ANOTHER RAINY NIGHTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

WITHOUT YOU

Xenorazr
September 1st 2011


460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It really is a good album that still gets a bit too much criticism. I see it used for $5 literally all the time at my hometown FYE (someone will buy it, not even a week later there's another used copy). Good review, too.

Parallels
September 1st 2011


6643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks guys, this is the first Queensryche record I'm able to fully enjoy so I had to celebrate. To be honest I still can't get into Operation: Mindcrime.

TheNotrap
September 1st 2011


8121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Give it a chance. Their best album IMO

lostforwords
September 1st 2011


446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Give it a chance. Their best album IMO"

One of the best metal albums ever, IMO


TheNotrap
September 1st 2011


8121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Agreed

Sound
September 1st 2011


3904 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice read and good review. On this album one might notice the altering of Tate's voice, mainly in the timbre and choice of lower notes. Still great performance.

Sonicspeed, I know you mentioned The Warning and Rage but have you actually heard one of these? You might very well enjoy them more than Mindcrime also.



Parallels
September 1st 2011


6643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Edit: Okay, Operation: Mindcrime rules.

OmairSh
September 14th 2013


11917 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bump, after 2 years dam

Digging: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Mustt Mustt

NeroCorleone80
September 14th 2013


29882 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

About time



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