The first eleven songs on this re-hashed best of compilation from the once veritable QUEENSRYCHE shows just why, in their heyday of the 80’s and early 90’s, that these Americans where a consistent, impressive and influential Metal and Hard Rock band. The remaining five tracks allude to a band utterly lost; on a road to madness.
Few bands have fallen as hard as QUEENSRYCHE and in 2007 they seem more focused than ever to re-cover old glories, milking what’s left of a rich heritage. After all this best of collection is remarkably similar to the one that was released seven years ago and in that time only two studio albums have the seen the light of day 2003’s ‘’The Tribe’’ and 2006’s ‘’Operation Mindcrime II’’ both have struggled to maintain the momentum from the earlier years. However since 2000 we have been treated to a myriad of Mindcrime related products all reflecting the past and stubbornly refusing to ignore the big flashing sign saying give it up!
Of course when it comes to pseudo Prog Metal meanderings QUEENSRYCHE are right up there with the mighty IRON MAIDEN. It’s not hard to hear the twin guitar, riff heavy guitars and ever-so-slightly operatic vocal influence from Britain’s finest but from the outset QUEENSRYCHE quickly developed an original sound that garnered the term ‘’thinking man’s Metal’’ True their music was highly technical but sourced with a rich vein of Melody that gave the band a head start. Both ‘’’Walk In The Shadows’’ and ‘’Take Hold Of The Flame’’ from ‘’Rage To Order’’ and ‘’The Warning’’ albums are so infectious they could lead to hospitalisation. ‘’Queen Of The Reich’’ and ‘’The Lady Wore Black’’ are the embryonic sounds of a strong Heavy Metal band thriving on confidence, finding there feet and sitting somewhere between MAIDEN and RUSH. Naturally that album is represented by it’s strongest cuts the driving riff of ‘’I Don’t Believe In Love’’ and the gargantuan Melodic popularity of the immense ‘’Eyes Of A Stranger’’ The follow up to ‘’ Operation Mindcrime’’ the multi-platinum ‘’Empire’’ is represented by the choice Melodic infusion of ‘’Jet City Women’’ and ‘’Another Rainy Night (Without You)’’ and the guilty pleasure of ‘’Silent Lucidity’’ the omission of ‘’Empire’’ is incredulous but this was the sound of a new, polished up market QUEENSRYCHE who had shed the Prog and Metal tag in one swoop and where fast becoming a straight laced Melodic Rock band. The last album before the fall 1994’s ‘’Promised Land’’ continues the Hard Rock vision and even though the band where on the wane the acoustic reverie of the excellent ‘’Bridge’’ and the laid back catchiness of ‘’I Am I’’ gave the band one last stand in the limelight.
I’m afraid after that I lost interest and QUEENSRYCHE lost focus. They’ve yet to regain it. But if you want to hear why such a fuss was made of this unique band then this CD could well unlock an interest just don’t expect the same quality from latter records.
(Online October 28, 2007)