Rage For Order

Queensryche

EMI America Records, 1986

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/31/1998

So far in this New Year's Eve monstrosity, we've taken a look at a lot of albums that were the last efforts before a particular band broke into the big time in a big way. Let's take a look at yet another such case: Queensryche.

Led by operatically-trained vocalist Geoff Tate, Queensryche proved themselves to be a more melodic type of hard rock/heavy metal - a band that was concerned with the overall sound as well as the energy level. Their 1986 effort Rage For Order showed considerable growth since their debut, but more growth, especially in the songwriting department, was needed. (Of course, it goes without saying that their next release, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Operation: MindCrime, would prove the band learned all their lessons.)

Musically, Queensryche constantly proved their talents. The two-guitar attack of Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton was as solid a rhythm section as one could ask for - taking nothing away from bassist Eddie Jackson or drummer Scott Rockenfield. Even on this, their third effort together, Queensryche proved themselves to be a very cohesive unit.

And the album starts out in a strong enough vein with "Walk In The Shadows", as powerful a lead single as one could want. You could even hear whispers of what was to come in songs like "I Dream In Infra Red," a song which I thought sounded better in an acoustic version (a b-side of one of Empire's singles).

But not everything that was crafted for Rage For Order was of the highest caliber. "Surgical Strike" was an attempt at a faster-tempoed number that went wrong from the start; it is the closest to cornball that Queensryche sounds. "Gonna Get Close To You" is a challenging attempt to expand the boundaries of what hard rock was in 1986, but it just falls short of the mark. And many other tracks, like "I Will Remember" and "The Killing Words," just are average fare.

This is not to say that the majority of Rage For Order is forgettable. Tracks like "London" and "Screaming In Digital" show the promise that this band had at the time, and restores one's faith in a form of metal that challenges the listener to be on their toes instead of just listening passively.

And, perhaps, this was Queensryche's Achilles's heel at the time; they were very much a cerebral band in their style of songwriting. True, later efforts challenged the listner to think, but not as much as Rage For Order did. Some bands, like Rush, can get away with this. For some reason, it doesn't work as well with Queensryche.

Rage For Order was still one of the albums that helped define the shape that heavy metal took in the mid- to late-'80s, and is worth giving a spin occasionally in the Pierce Archives. But if you pick this one up expecting to hear the same magic as Empire, you may be disappointed.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of EMI America Records, and is used for informational purposes only.