Queensryche
Condition Human


4.0
excellent

Review

by 0GuyMan0 USER (9 Reviews)
October 8th, 2015 | 131 replies


Release Date: 10/02/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Even the most fervent QR supporters have learned to approach new albums with much trepidation, but those who have faithfully remained will be rewarded generously.

Queensryche reminded us in 2013 why long time fans are long time fans with their first album since the split with Geoff Tate. Queensryche was a glorious throwback to the most commercial parts of Empire and Rage for Order with a bit of contemporary flair thrown in, and Todd La Torre's performance excited even the most grizzled of Tate-ers. But now the honeymoon is over. What can the new Queensryche really do, artistically liberated and motivated once again" And should they succeed, will they be able to attract new fans"

The band wastes no time setting the mood with openers " Arrow of Time" and "Guardian", the former being a "Revolution Calling" style opener, with the latter being a major contender for best track on the album. The song (and better part of the album) features La Torre exploring the upper registers even more than his QR debut, often soaring into Rob Halford-like upper-register shrieks. This track is also notable for what can only be described as a bonafide breakdown to bring it to a close. It works, but one has to wonder who they are trying to appeal to, having never utilized one before.

It is at this point that the album takes a very surprising turn, drawing heavily from the often-overlooked and underrated album Promised Land. A sprawling, dark, dreary and dreamy endeavor, especially when compared to the commercial breakthrough Empire, Promised Land tends to be regarded as the beginning of the end for the classic Queensryche rather than an adventurous and unsettling alt-rock departure. The bulk of Condition Human would have fit wonderfully on that album, bridging the gap between Empire and Promised Land that might have satisfied long-time fans a bit more than it did originally. "Hellfire", "Toxic Remedy" and "Eye9" (written entirely by bassist Eddie Jackson) are flawless in their execution, as brooding mid-tempo rockers with big choruses. Each track here, and largely so throughout the album, feels strangely individual yet fits perfectly in the larger picture of the album. "Hellfire" seems to build entirely around an outstanding bridge showcasing the fastest solo founding member Michael Wilton has ever recorded, while "Toxic Remedy" may have secretly been written for the masterpiece album Rage for Order. "Eye9" is another standout - the track begins with a trudging bass groove and swirling vocal effects that lead into a subdued yet building verse, the chorus following being a personal favorite.

"Hourglass" may initially turn listeners away with it's nu-metal romping opening riffs, but persistent listeners will be pulled right back in, and rewarded in the closing moments with powerful drumming from the ever-reliable Scott Rockenfield and a mantra of "spiraling the hourglass" to bring it to a close. "All There Was" serves as this album's "The Needle Lies" (harmonized shredding and all) while closer "Condition Human" draws attention for its substantial length when compared to the rest of the album (7:46). The song begins as a throwback to the criminally ignored "Della Brown" from Empire before transforming into a riff-fest reminiscent of even their earliest album The Warning. They aren't finished taking us on a crash course through the QR catalog, though. The bridge is a clear-cut "Suite Sister Mary" ripoff before regaining pace and closing out the album on a very weak dissonant passage. While intended to be adventurous and progressive the song comes off as derivative, though admittedly pleasantly nostalgic and generally enjoyable.

The ballads "Bulletproof" and "Just Us" end up being weak points, though "Bulletproof" comes off much better as it is carried by a powerful chorus and yet another gorgeous solo from Whip. A tragic figure, in this reviewer's opinion, Michael Wilton finally claims his opportunity to prove that Chris DeGarmo didn't carry him in their glory years, especially on tracks like "Hellfire" and "Guardian". For twenty years this man has had to listen to the fans who support him constantly lamenting the long-departed Chris DeGarmo, chief songwriter of the classic QR era, and the severely degraded quality of their output since. As we've learned over the past five or so years Geoff Tate may have had a larger hand than suspected in subjugating the band's output, and Michael, Eddie, Parker (Lundgren) and Scott have seized the opportunity and will likely reclaim any long-time QR fan who might be on the fence about any new offerings.

Even the most fervent QR supporters have learned to approach new albums with much trepidation, but those who have faithfully remained will be rewarded generously. Condition Human is an immensely pleasurable listen for fans of Queensryche. The question remains though - will new (young) metal fans care" Queensryche is largely regarded a pioneer of progressive metal, and even having put out two masterpiece albums (Rage for Order and Empire) and one legitimate contender for greatest metal album of all time (Operation: Mindcrime), the band never garnered much more than a niche audience save for the commercial crossover Empire. That probably won't change with this album. What it has done, however, is make them relevant again, and it will prove to excite fans for further releases. In fact, there is a fair bit of faith that subsequent releases will also be enjoyable.....and it has been a LONG time since I could say that for the 'Ryche.



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user ratings (163)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (4)
It falls a bit short of their classics and even the self-titled album but it’s a hell of a lot bet...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Ebola
October 7th 2015


3631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Ayy, now I don't have to write this. Great review, spot-on. pos

Insurrection
October 7th 2015


24733 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

surprised willie hasnt reviewed this yet

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
October 8th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Willie/Trey has been super busy irl of late... But yeah, I'm keen to know what he thinks of this, since the couple of songs I heard last week impressed me.

piroga84
October 8th 2015


361 Comments


actually i am hyped about this
very good review and a long one, seems you are dedicated to Ryche
did you like the Key by Tate?
cause it seems i can't stop spinning it
oh pos'd


0GuyMan0
October 8th 2015


2420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. I had a lot I wanted to say and had to trim the fat quite a bit. Probably should have gone a bit further.

CusmanX1
October 8th 2015


375 Comments


Nice review, pos'd.
I listened to half of this, and seems great, much like the self titled of 2013, but with more echoes from the sound they had in past.

JesseMechanix
October 8th 2015


88 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pos'd. Good album, will have to listen more before I grade it, but it sounds very promising so far. Better than I expected.

Sabrutin
October 8th 2015


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was thinking of writing a review, but I really like yours and I completely agree on the rating, even though there are a few little things we disagree (I really love the t/t for example and I like "Just Us"). Have a big pos from me. I may be alone in this but I feel this album will be good for winter and Christmas period.



La Torre seems interested in writing longer songs, songs that "make you go on a journey". Loving today's album and hyped for the next one... great!



SPIRALING THE HOURGLASS

SirDrumsalot
October 8th 2015


1832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Still need to listen a few more times before I get some final thoughts and give it a rating.

I will say now that Guardian and Eye9 kick some balls hard.

Sabrutin
October 8th 2015


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As the wise man waits

The widow prays

Searching remnants of yesterday

And the shadows cry

When darkness fades

We try to understand

Under moonlit skies

0GuyMan0
October 8th 2015


2420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like I said, to me this feels a lot like the darker edge and brooding choruses of Promised Land mixed with Rage for Order.



One issue I sort of had with this album but didn't comment on in the review (because I don't know for sure who wrote most of the lyrics) is that lyrically this seems to try to stick with the whole thinking man's metal / socially conscious themes thing that DeGarmo and Tate used to push. Unless the rest of the band pushed him in that direction (to maintain that classic QR identity I guess?) I'd have liked La Torre to explore different themes on his own. He's done a great job on this album of establishing his own identity, and I'd love to see that continue. The less we hear about Geoff Tate and Chris DeGarmo when talking about Queensryche the better. They're long gone.

Sabrutin
October 8th 2015


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Only real issue with this album for me is the frequence of those overly big choruses. There are just too many in too little time. It ironically made it harder to get into songs like "Toxic Remedy" (which I now really dig) because at first it felt like a big neverending chorus.



I'm satisfied by how I can't pick a real top 3 of favorite tracks. I can tell what are the weaker ones though. My least favorite is by far "Bulletproof". It tries so hard to be "The Killing Words" but it just comes off as a bit of a lazy attempt, even though I don't consider it bad by any means. On the contrary, I see "Just Us" as a well done modern day "Silent Lucidity".

Tunaboy45
October 8th 2015


16779 Comments


this is queensryche

Titan
October 8th 2015


19571 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

willie roofied all your asses

KILL
October 9th 2015


81232 Comments


spose i'll check

0GuyMan0
October 9th 2015


2420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sabrutin - I just can't get into Just us. Bulletproof has a gorgeous solo and a nice chorus, otherwise I wouldn't like it much either. But I'm with you about not being able to pick a top 3. At first I thought Toxic Remedy, Eye9 and hellfire were the three, but every time I hear Guardian I get way into it and think omg this is the best song they've written in twenty years. I'm just loving this so much.



As for the Key - I've given it a listen. I want to hate it because Geoff broke my heart for years, but it ain't bad. I just think Geoff's style now is straight up bad and I will never understand how the guy who recorded Operation Mindcrime fell all the way to this.

Snowdog808
October 9th 2015


2930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is the first year a Queensryche album has been high on my favorites list for the year since Operation: Livecrime, which is certainly saying something. It's hard to believe the same band made Dedicated to Chaos just four years prior to this, and I'm glad they are now back to writing their own material.

SirDrumsalot
October 9th 2015


1832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Well thats stupid, does it not show my sound off here anymore?



I've been gone from here for months!

ExplosiveOranges
October 9th 2015


4408 Comments


you might wanna fix that summary

Sabrutin
October 9th 2015


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"It's hard to believe the same band made Dedicated to Chaos"

It's actually not since our three heroes (SRock, Whip and EdBass) got barely any involvment. Dedicated to Chaos should have been a riff driven album in the mind of the guys, just saying how Tate changed everything with his "I don't like being in a metal band" policy.



"I'm with you about not being able to pick a top 3. At first I thought Toxic Remedy, Eye9 and hellfire were the three, but every time I hear Guardian I get way into it and think omg this is the best song they've written in twenty years. I'm just loving this so much."

Not being able to pick a few favorites is always a good thing when speaking of a good album. "Toxic Remedy" has such a powerful pre-chorus, gets me everytime. Hellfire is definitely up with my faves.



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