First off, the disc sounds wonderful. Remastering the old songsfrom the 80’s was a great idea, and the depth and clarity are topnotch. Standouts have to be “Queen of the Reich” and “Warning.” I never noticed just how powerful they were until I heard the remastered versions. Very nicely done.Unfortunately, the song selection could have been much better. Queensrÿche did not have any say in the songs that were included, as EMI/Virgin released the disc, and QR is now a part of ATLANTIC Records. Clearly, EMI is trying to make some cash off the band, and beef up their catalogue.My gripe with the choices is especially with the selections from RAGE FOR ORDER. “Walk in the Shadows” is great, but WHY did the label select “I Dream in Infrared”? I would have preferred songs that got noticed during the MTV Unplugged sessions – “The Killing Words” and “I Will Remember.”In addition, while “I Don’t Believe in Love” and “Eyes of a Stranger” were big hits on MTV off of the OPERATION: Mindcrime album, one of the biggest hits for the fans is the opener of “Anarchy-X/Revolution Calling.” That too should have been on this compilation.Also, while the two bonus tracks were nice, they could have left them off, and put on two more remastered hits. Quite honestly, “Chasing Blue Sky” and the full band version of “Someone Else” really didn’t have the impact as some of the other released singles did. They are “ok” songs, but I would have taken advantage of the space to remaster some older hits.”Another Rainy Night” from the EMPIRE album was a good song and well known, as was the song “You” from HEAR IN THE NOW FRONTIER. Both got heavy radio airplay, and would have been ideal choices for the disc.Other than that, it is indeed a “history lesson” in the evolution of the band. It was mixed well, each song leading nicely into the next, and as I said before, the sound quality is top notch. Overall, a fitting tribute to one of the most influential bands in the last 20 years.Here’s to another 20 years of groundbreaking hard rock/heavy metal from Queensrÿche!
- Ghost of Perdition
- Under the Weeping Moon
It doesn’t take very many fingers to enumerate the number of American heavy-metal bands who traversed the treacherously shifting musical tastes of the 1980s and ’90s intact and prosperous. And though their multiplatinum days peaked well before contemporaries like Metallica, Queensryche soldiered on, their sound evolving and maturing in remarkably similar fashion; one might argue they lead the way in that regard. Greatest-hits collections are suspect affairs, but this one presents a taut history lesson, documenting the evolution of one of America’s most consistently underrated metal outfits from the Judas Priest-clone days of their self-released debut to the heights of Operation: Mindcrime and Empire, and into their equally rewarding ’90s output. Along the way, the band managed to pick up an often artsy social conscience as well as an impressive musical range (the quiet dynamics of ”Silent Lucidity” being light-years away from singer Geoff Tate’s original Halford-esque howl) and a catchy pop sensibility (”Jet City Woman,” ”Sign of the Times”). Fans will also welcome two bonus tracks, the bluesy ”Chasing Blue Sky” and an alternate, full-band version of ”Someone Else?” –Jerry McCulley
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Let’s face it, Queensryche, like classic Pink Floyd is not a singles band. Any collection of their “best” songs is going to be subject to quibbling from fans. Their best album, “Operation: Mindcrime” really ought to be heard in its entirity to be truly enjoyed. This collection is a good representative overview for the casual fan, but is not a disc for the already committed. Still, these songs showcase what the band does best, heavy metal for eggheads.
THE BAND: Geoff Tate (vocals), Chris DeGarmo (guitar), Michael Wilton (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass), Scott Rockenfield (drums & percussion).
THE DISC: (2000) 16 tracks clocking in at approximately 77 minutes. Included with the disc is a 10-page booklet containing song titles/credits/times, a 3-page intro to the band, 1 band photo, previous album(s) cover art, and what songs came from which albums. All tracks 24-bit digitally remastered. This compilation follows the band from 1983-97. Label – EMI / Virgin Records.
ALBUM REPRESENTATION: Queensryche EP (2 songs), The Warning (2), Rage For Order (2), Operation Mindcrime (2), Empire (3), Promised Land (2), Hear In The Now Frontier (1), bonus tracks taken from Japanese releases only (2).
COMMENTS: This “Greatest Hits” serves as a very warm intro to Seattle’s (technically Bellevue, WA) Queensryche. Full of soaring vocals, ripping guitars, intricate drumming. Not to mention some wonderful gothic costumes, make-up and hair back in the early-to-mid 80’s (some rock band’s felt they needed a gimmick years ago – and early photos of Tate & Co were pure hair & glam metal cheese). Back when Queensryche was starting out, I was sitting on the fence about their music. Then came “Operation Mindcrime” (1988) and I was forever a fan. “Empire” (1990) came next – a great follow-up though leaning to the commercial side of arena rock. “Promised Land” (1994) rounded at the triple threat, though I truly felt this album was a bit sub par (compared to its 2 predecessors) and more importantly it took way too long to come out (4 years). Grunge had moved into the rock scene and rock/metal was taking a back seat for a while… and so the band goes. THE GOOD: Most of the staples are here in glorious 24-bit digitally remastered sound – “Queen Of The Reich”, “The Lady Wore Black”, “Take Hold The Flame”, “I Dream In Infrared”, “Eyes Of A Stranger”, “I Don’t Believe In Love”, “Jet City Woman”, “Silent Lucidity”, “I Am I”, “Bridge”, “Sign Of The Times”, etc. The songs are in chronological order so you can hear the band change/mature over the years. The liner notes could have been more extensive (only 1 band photo – and it’s a bad one at that), but the necessary information is there regarding the songs and catalog. THE NOT SO GOOD: This is an EMI release, so nothing from labels Atlantic, Sanctuary or Rhino are here (all from 1999 – present). No representation from the albums: “Q2K”, “Tribe”, “Operation Mindcrime II”, or any of their live albums. Granted, several of these albums came out after this “Greatest Hits” was released in ‘00. Here’s hoping the “Gold” or “Essential” series will step up to the plate and make an all-inclusive 2-disc edition of the band’s work. Only 2 songs from “Operation Mindcrime” is criminal. Also worth noting are the significant song omissions – “Spreading The Disease” and “Revolution Calling”, as well as other gems – “Suite Sister Mary”, “Best I Can”, “Another Rainy Night”, “I Will Remember”, “Chemical Youth”, “Out Of Mind”, “Damaged”, and “Nightrider”. Get rid of the average (2) bonus tracks, and include 2 or 3 of the abandoned songs, and you’d have a 5-star disc. Looking for a studio album or two – readers must start with “Operation Mindcrime”, followed by “Empire”. Overall – this “Greatest Hits” package is excellent for the novice who wants to discover the band. For the long time fan, it’s nice to have so many classic Queensryche songs all in one place (4+ stars).
This is one of those packages that make me suspect it was done without the blessing of the band, or at least without its involvement. Piss-poor liner notes that don’t offer squat in terms of musical or historical insight, somewhat arbitrary track selection, and two incredibly inept bonus tracks — as a greatest-hits set goes this is pretty pathetic, though strictly as a collection of songs, the music holds up.Though many of Queensryche’s best songs are on here (“Silent Lucidity”, “Eyes of a Stranger”, “The Lady Wore Black”, “I Dream in Infrared”), I would have liked to see more. The band’s more ambitious and less “hit”-oriented material is often the equal of the songs released as videos or singles. Missing in action: The gorgeous ballad “The Killing Words” and ethereal “I Will Remember” from Rage for Order; pivotal Operation: Mindcrime tracks “Revolution Calling” and “The Mission”, the latter being one of Chris DeGarmo’s crowning glories as a songwriter and guitarist, with a killer Michael Kamen string section; “Another Rainy Night (Without You)” and “Anybody Listening?” from Empire; and most significantly, no live material. Queensryche’s decision in 1991-1992 to perform Operation: Mindcrime in its entirety on the Building Empires tour was possibly the most important artistic decision in its career, but none of the tracks (which were released in the boxed set Operation: LIVEcrime) are included here. And there are no worthy rarities whatsoever: The two bonus tracks, “Somebody Else?” and the toothless mellow trip “Chasing Blue Sky”, both catch Queensryche at possibly its lowest points in songwriting clarity, unfocused and underarranged, lacking in edge and dynamics. I for one would’ve liked to see included tracks from Queensryche’s superlative performance on MTV Unplugged, which showcased the band’s prowess with acoustic arrangements; two of the songs from the show, “I Will Remember” and “Della Brown”, were found in the band’s Building Empires home video. These would’ve been prime fodder for bonus tracks — which, again, leads me to suspect that EMI slapped together this greatest-hits set without the band’s involvement and just swept the vaults for B-sides that the label has rights to (Queensryche having released the Q2K album with WEA/Atlantic last year). Even as far as B-sides go, the acoustic mix of “I Dream in Infrared” (the B-side to “Best I Can”) is far superior than either of the bonus tracks, as are the live Mindcrime tracks that were found on the B-side of some versions of the “Silent Lucidity” single.I don’t think there’s any buying incentive for the die-hard Queensryche fan, with such scant bonus material and, again, terrible liner notes. But if you just want to own only the most well-known songs because you don’t have the original albums, this collection will satisfy your want.
In August of 2004, I bought this CD out of sheer curiosity. I had a craving for new music, and had heard good things about the music of Queensryche and the vocals of Geoff Tate. Buying this CD has started me on a new journey which I am greatly enjoying.
Most of their classic hits are here. Opening with the amazing “Queen Of The Reich” followed by “The Lady Wore Black,” one cannot help but be amazed that these two songs were part of a demo(?!). In particular, “The Lady Wore Black” is sure to amaze.
But the amazement doesn’t stop there. Tons of great tracks follow, including rockers such as “The Warning,” “Jet City Woman,” and “Walk In The Shadows.” Also great ballads, such as “Silent Lucidity” and in particular “I Dream In Infared.” “Eyes Of A Stranger” made my jaw drop in amazement. “I Don’t Believe In Love” at first sounds like a corny song title, but it’s lyrics reflect something completely different (I’ll let you find out when you buy the CD), and the song itself rocks. “Take Hold Of The Flame” has one vocal passage starting right around the 1:00 mark that made me spazz out, it was so good.
My love for “Eyes Of A Stranger” and amazement for “I Don’t Believe In Love” made me research the concept album from which they were lifted (Operation: Mindcrime). After hearing the album through a friend, I ran out and bought myself a copy (the remastered one with bonus tracks). At that moment I knew I was hooked. Up to the present day, I have acquired copies Q2K and the remastered editions of EP, The Warning, Rage For Order, and Empire, and also managed to score tickets to see them live (performing all of the Mindcrime album).
Though there are a lot of great songs missing (I only know now after hearing the albums), this disc serves as a great, quick intro to a truly amazing band. I am quickly becoming a raving Queensryche fanatic because of this album. There is no better intro to the band, so this is a great place to start. Recommended to anyone who loves metal, progressive rock, and amazing, high-tenor vocals. This will start you on a journey that will take you beyond your wildest musical dreams.