Queensryche is a name not common in today’s sphere of music. Even when looking in retrospect at the saviors of hard rock and metal back in the 80’s, the prevalent names include (to name a few) Metallica, Judas Priest, and of course Iron Maiden (rightfully so). Where is Queensryche’s place in metal history? It’s pretty much nonexistent beyond the average metal head’s distant memory of hearing of the band at one point in their life. For those of you who actually do listen to Queensryche, you know very well that this is one of the most underrated bands of metal history and quite an undiscovered gem that shines just as bright as any diamond in the world of music.
Why is Queensryche so great? This album explains it all just as easily as an open book. I may even go as far to say that some songs on this Greatest Hits album are as impressive as many of Iron Maiden’s best works *GASP*. Nah, nothing like Hallowed Be Thy Name
or Fear of the Dark
, those are just too phenomenal. Though, I warn you, if you are an Iron Maiden fan you will get hooked to this album, as was my fate after blindly buying this out of a skate shop.
The opening track, Queen of the Reich
, is the quintessence of the perfect
80’s heavy metal song, and I say that more strongly than I would say about anything off of Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast
or Metallica’s Master of Puppets
. This song is dark, fast, intense, and melodic. Epic screams you thought were only conceivable by Bruce Dickinson and incredible dueling guitars fight their way into your head, leaving an inerasable mark. I spend time talking about this song specifically because I believe it is the best of this album, though it does not by any means outshine the brilliance of the rest of this album. Walk in the Shadow
is another song that I am so grateful for finally opening myself to by purchasing this album, I don’t think I’ve gone a second of listening to this song without banging my head. I Don’t Believe in Love
, off of Queensryche’s controversially best release, Operation: Mindcrime
, is another song you will never get bored of listening to. Eyes of a Stranger
and Someone Else?
feature that impressive dual guitar harmonizing that we all have a soft spot for, and nothing is held back in those songs.
Many of Queensryche’s songs off of this album have a similar effect on the listener, and that is addiction. About half the album is the fast paced heavy metal with screaming (yet beautiful) vocals, and guitar work that in my opinion isn’t even quite surpassed by the dual force of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden. The guitar solos wail and unforgivably twist your mind, leaving you asking for more. The other half of the album is quite different, though just as enjoyable and with the same effect of addiction on the listener. The difference I speak of is the slower, friendlier songs. I speak of the ballads and less heavy songs of this album.
Sign of the Time
might be my second favorite song on here, next to Queen of the Reich
. It involves some slow, repeated series of electric guitar riffs that break into many acoustic interludes and catchy vocals. Bridge
is of the same caliber of Sign of the Time
. The Lady Wore Black
is an incredible song; it’s quite the ballad that fuses clean and electric guitar to the point of perfection. Now, I know every one of you has heard at least 2 seconds of this song: Silent Lucidity
has been featured on that “Monster Ballads” album that has been on TV, showing a couple second clip of singer Geoff Tate. I must say, this song is incredible. There is a fine difference between a song being catchy, and a song being epic, and though this album offers both, this is much more on the epic side and is a definite highlight of the album. It’s not quite like Metallica’s Fade to Black
, but it holds the same wealth that enraptures the listener in its sheer beauty.
For the sake of those of you who have been reading this, I haven’t included all the songs on this album in this review because it would just be too long and quite honestly, too much praise. 16 songs is a lot, and they are all great. It pains me not to include tracks like Chasing Blue Sky
, Jet City Woman
, I Dream in Infrared
, and Warning
, but I just don’t want to bore the audience here. Undoubtedly, Queensryche has horrible songs, but since this is a Greatest Hits album they have the luxury of choosing 16 awesome ones. In conclusion, this album has put Queensryche high up in my view of heavy metal. It is a rarity that one finds an album that showcases musical achievement as high as this one, and this is a heavy recommendation for anyone into 80’s metal or who would like to get into it. I was astounded upon buying this, and can promise similar reactions to anyone who gives this a listen.
Queen of the Reich
Walk in the Shadow
Eyes of a Stranger
The Lady Wore Black