Queensryche have never done what was expected of them. They pioneered progressive metal with the legendary concept album Operation: Mindcrime but followed it up with the pop-metal blockbuster Empire. Then they followed Empire with the dark, moody Promised Land. They finally released a sequel to Operation: Mindcrime in 2006, and followed that up with American Soldier, a heavy, intense journey into to horrors of war, both physical and emotional, culled from interviews with actual returned servicemen. New album Dedicated To Chaos (Roadrunner) is a complete about-face from American Soldier, a rhythm-driven, kaleidoscopic examination of modern attention spans (or the lack thereof).
Drummer Scott Rockenfield and bass player Eddie Jackson kickstarted the direction of the album when they turned in a series of riffs and jams that were a world away from the guitar-driven darkness of American Soldier. “That’s what makes it interesting and keeps us coming back for more as musicians,” says singer Geoff Tate, down the line at 2am Melbourne time. “In fact, one of the things that drew us together years ago when we first started out was the ability for almost everyone in the band to really communicate their thoughts on music, and to share their musical influences, which are pretty vast. I think if you look at all of our record collections we probably own every record ever made! I personally own seven or eight thousand records!”
After the pervasive darkness of Operation: Mindcrime II and American Soldier, it’s understandable that Queensryche would feel like exploring a lighter vibe on Dedicated To Chaos. Whereas the previous two releases were particularly guitar-driven, Chaos is built around riffs turned in by drummer Scott Rockenfield and bass player Eddie Jackson, and adorned with layers of sound that only seem to reveal themselves on repeated listens.
“Get Started” is a suitably uptempo opener which recalls some of the vibe of 2000′s Q2K, with bright overdriven rhythm guitars and up-front drums, and the quiet verse/loud chorus dynamic is not entirely removed from the structures of Empire. But before long the album moves more into groove-heavy territory. At times sounding like a heavier version of singer Geoff Tate’s 2002 solo album
Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Geoff Tate, vocalist for Queensryche (who just happen to be one of my favourite bands). Queensryche is about to release a bold new album called Dedicated To Chaos (via Roadrunner), and the ever-eloquent Mr. Tate took some time out to talk about the album’s unique direction and the changing way that listeners consume music.
Here’s a snippet.
Queensrÿche have an extremely varied back catalog – it all sounds like Queensrÿche but no two albums sound like each other.
In our stuff, we’re kind of a difficult band for a lot of people. We try really hard to stay out of categories and genres, and we don’t think of ourselves as anything other than Queensrÿche. We don’t attach ourselves or our thinking or identity to any genre. But the industry is kinda built around selling a genre. So record companies have a difficult time with us because we don’t fit neatly into a little package that they can market. We’re always experimenting with our music and pushing it in different ways, adding our musical influences into our writing. A lot of times people find that frustrating. They don’t see the art in it, which is beyond me, because that’s what I always look for in music. I see music as being strictly art. It’s not a competitive sport.
You can read the full interview here. Dedicated To Chaos is out on June 24 or 28 depending on which territory you’re in.
Queensryche’s new album, Dedicated To Chaos, will be released through Roadrunner/Loud & Proud on June 28. Here’s the cover and tracklisting.
01. Get Started
02. Hot Spot Junkie
03. Got It Bad
04. Around The World
06. Retail Therapy
07. At The Edge
09. Hard Times
11. I Believe
13. Wot We Do
14. I Take You
15. The Lie
16. Big Noize