Queensryche - Empire
On August 20, 1990, "Queensryche's" fourth studio album "Empire" was released.
This is the band's breakthrough album to mainstream success, which is also their best-selling album.
5 successful singles were released from this double album, led by "Silent Lucidity", which even earned the band two Grammy nominations.
The album was produced by Peter Collins who was responsible for the production of four albums by "Rush" during the 1980s and 1990s.
Although Collins also produced the band's previous album "Operation: Mindcrime", this time it was a completely different story. Collins and the band members disassembled the DNA of the previous album into tiny elements, separated the "Progressive" from the "Metal", added pinch of "Soft" to the "Rock" and divided the "Queen" from "Reich".
For those of you who were fans of the band in real time and accompanied its musical development since the early 1980s, this album was surely received with astonishment. If there is any focus for comparison, then this album represents for "Queensryche" what The Black Album was for "Metallica". On the one hand, a breakthrough album that exposed them to a large audience, on the other hand, a loss of the musical line that characterized the band in the previous album and also the abandonment of some of the old fans in favor of new ones who came under the breakthrough sponsorship.
Don't get us wrong, "Queensryche" always knew how to experiment with different styles, they were not born as a Prog Metal band and among others "Rage for Order" that was released in 1984 will prove it. But on this album "Queensryche" made their bravest move, took it as far as possible, and released under their hands an album that the word "commercial" screams from every note of it.
The change can already be heard in the opening song "Best I Can". The keyboard intro, the synthesizer "carpets" played by guitarist Chris DeGarmo underneath the guitar riff and the choral in the background leaves no room for doubt about the change in the musical style. The song written about people with disabilities and their determination in achieving goals was also the third single released from the album.
And yet, it's one of the band's favorite albums for us. There is no doubt that "Queensryche" is at its peak here, in terms of writing and performance ability, even if these are not complex in comparison to the previous album "Operation: Mindcrime". The synchronization between all the band members is perfect, especially between the two guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, who complement each other and share guitar solos, with a slight advantage to the amazing Chris DeGarmo.
Songs like "Jet City Woman" written by singer Geoff Tate for his then-stewardess partner, "Della Brown" with Eddie Jackson's funky bass stretching for more than 7 minutes about a woman who has it all, but ends up at the bottom, "Another Rainy Night (Without You)" written by Tate and inspired by Seattle, the band's hometown, the theme song "Empire" with the sweeping riff, the melting "Anybody Listening?" and of course, the perfect "Silent Lucidity" with the strings arrangements of Michael Kamen, which for some reason reminds us of "Pink Floyd", all these and more leave no room for doubt. This is a good album that is definitely worth investing in.
So if you still did not listen to it or just want to remember this pure beauty, click on one of the links and enjoy: Spotify, Apple Music