Queensryche
Empire


3.5
great

Review

by Adri/Reverse Perpendiculars USER (20 Reviews)
September 1st, 2011 | 16 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

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

It always was ironic that Queensryche released Empire at the peak of their career. Rage for Order may have placed them on the Billboard, but it wasOperation: Mindcrime that gave progressive metal an accessible musicality with strong songwriting. Entertainment Weekly was and still is unarguably unheard of for progressive metal to be featured on, and Queensryche dominated conventional radio with nearly half the album to a point that their reputation changed with the result of commercial success.

Despite what may be expected, Empire is only a silhouette of a concept album and not much of a coherent story at all. There's a love interest between the hit songs ‘Jet City Woman’ and ‘The Thin Line,’ arguably standouts for the band, and the latter being an easy method for those looking to start exploring the band's hard hitting blurred line between rock and metal influences, but the underlying features don't carry very much progression. The consecutive ‘empire’ theme starts up with the well constructed city-themed operatic blues piece ‘Della Brown,’ and on to the straightforward rocker "Resistance," and a centerpiece title track that is very pointed and politically direct for the 80's, making a statement about the levels of crime in America at the time. Empire doesn't attempt to form a solution to the problem and avoids a storyline with characters, morals and a heartbroken love story, and it prefers to leave itself ambiguous. It's easy to digest, rather than pushing forth their boundaries obtained from their previous albums. They succumbed to shrugging off the progressive metal influence of their unmistakable logo in lieu of melodic and commercial accessibility. The band's voice is still there however, as their ‘tri-ryche’ on the album cover pierces the pillar appearing to form ‘EMI,’ as a jab at their own label.

Geoff Tate’s vocals personalize moments like "Anybody Listening?" and "One and Only" with unrivaled clarity, and you can tell he enjoys boasting his powerful four-octave range. Elsewhere, the track ‘Resistance’ acts as a vehicle for his progressive aspects alongside the building vocals of 'Silent Lucidity.' Empire might grow with every listen, but 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 the songwriting in Empire, it's just easier to criticize it.



Recent reviews by this author
Ghost Culture Ghost CultureCrystal Castles Crystal Castles II
Dream Theater AwakeDream Theater Octavarium
Primus Green NaugahydePlacebo Black Market Music
user ratings (543)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (4.5)
Queensryche's fourth studio album opts for a more accessible sound while still keeping a good head o...

AeroZeppelin1 (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
lostforwords
September 1st 2011


447 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


41948 Comments


hmmmm

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2011


7089 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: Thenighttimeproject - Thenighttimeproject

TheNotrap
September 1st 2011


8412 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: Flotsam and Jetsam - Flotsam and Jetsam

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 1st 2011


25242 Comments


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

Great review, pos'd.

scissorlocked
September 1st 2011


3524 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album's huge



good review man

BigHans
September 1st 2011


27927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ITS ANOTHER RAINY NIGHTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT



WITHOUT YOU

Xenorazr
September 1st 2011


547 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


8686 Comments


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


8412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Give it a chance. Their best album IMO

lostforwords
September 1st 2011


447 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


8412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Agreed

Dis_Con_Nec_Ted
September 1st 2011


4539 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


8686 Comments


Edit: Okay, Operation: Mindcrime rules.

OmairSh
September 14th 2013


13352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bump, after 2 years dam

Digging: Fates Warning - Theories of Flight

NeroCorleone80
September 14th 2013


33582 Comments


About time

Digging: The Mountain Goats - Sweden



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2016 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy