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Rage for Order

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★★★★½
(43 Reviews)

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  • While I was a big fan of “Queen of the Reich”, this one was an amazingly incredible suprise in the summer of 1986, when bubble-gum hair-bands were in full force. Unlike the somewhat inaccessible ‘The Warning’ (1984), this one combined all of the previous narrative elements of Queensryche’s music in a collection of relatively short, catchy, and brilliantly-produced tunes. There was both sci-fi imagry and psychological distres right alongside edgy love songs – it was an utter crime that some of these songs were not released and promoted as singles. Quite simply, ‘Rage for Order’ is the perfect Queensyrche record:1. Walk in the Shadows. Short and sweet, with a dark and catchy melody and one of Geoff Tate’s most amazing vocal performances EVER (matched only by their debut, “Queen of the Reich” (1983) and “Neue Regel” from this record), this is the only song that has retained a place in the live sets since 1986. (Note: A nice live version is included on this remaster.)2. I Dream in Infared. It was clear that Queensyrche made an attempt at commercializing their music with this record, and as such, many fans fault them for the introduction of love songs. Nonetheless, as with many of their love songs, this one has an edginess that keeps it real. (NOTE: There is an all acoustic version, orignally included as a b-side to a 1991 single, included with the ‘Empire’ remasters.)3. The Whisper. The guitar runs on this tune, along with the vocal performance, makes this one of the best and most underrated Queensryche tunes ever. (Why has this not retained a place in the live set.)4. Gonna Get Close to You. The fact that this atmospheric, psychological piece about a stalker was released as a single and sole video from the record may explain why it never took off. Still, I would hardly call it a weak song. (NOTE: The 12″ version here on the remaster is not particularly interesting.)5. The Killing Words. This is another great, catchy ballad with excellent production, although the keyboard intro does sound a bit 80s.(NOTE: an updated semi-acoustic live version is included on this remaster and an MTV-unplugged version is included on the ‘Hear in the Now Frontier” remaster.) That said, it is one of their best ballads and should have been released a single.6. Surgical Strike. This is the straight-ahead rocker of the record and a political statement about soldiering. That said, it is definitely the weak point and sounds a bit out of place.7. Neue Regel. This is a piece of pure power and simply one of the best vocal performances by Geoff Tate ever. Lyrically, it establishes the thematic narrative characterisit of the “second side” of the record.8. Chemical Youth. This is the musical and lyrical predecessor to “Revolution Calling” on the much-lauded, and perhaps over-appreciated, ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ (1988).9. London. Is this a ballad? If so, it is certainly NOT Bon Jovi, Poison, or the like. I cannot say more about Geoff Tate’s vocal performances on this record – dare I say, over the top on this tune.10. Screaming in Digital. For fans of ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ and “NM156″ from ‘The Warning’ left off, this wonderfully manic rocker about a cyborg is, when combined with the next tune, a concept-record within a record.11. I Will Remember. The record ends with a mellow tune that has frequently found a place in the live shows (NOTE: a version from MTV unplugged in 1991 is included on the ‘Hear in the Now Frontier’ remaster), which is curious considering its required connection to the previous tune (“And we wonder how machines can steal each other’s dreams”).

    Posted on November 14, 2009