Despite going through the destructive turmoil of parting ways with original vocalist Geoff Tate and a very messy legal battle over use of the name, Queensryche have emerged on the other side a stronger and more cohesive unit because of it all.
The band’s self-titled album from 2013 was a true return to form that alluded to the idea that the band had recaptured the magic and sound that made them famous and their new album Condition Human for Century Media drives that notion home in a way only Queensryche can.
Condition Human was produced by Chris ‘Zeuss’ Harris and plays like a trip down memory lane. In fact, once fans see and hear the revitalized version of the band, the name Geoff Tate will become just that, a distant memory.
A big part of what makes the transition so easy and what fans of vintage Queensryche are going to lock onto most are the powerhouse vocals on tracks like lead single “Arrow of Time” and “All There Was” of new singer Todd La Torre. Who sounds so much like Tate during The Warning & Rage for Order era Queensryche, it will give you goosebumps.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear songs like “Guardian” and “Hellfire” were taken from the Operation Mindcrime sessions and let’s be honest, La Torre sounds more like Tate than Tate himself these days and is hitting notes that Tate had either forgot how to or lost the ability to hit years ago.
Now before everyone loses their ever loving minds, there is no denying the fact that Geoff Tate is one of the greatest vocalists of all time and we are not trying to besmirch his legacy in any way, but there is also no denying that he has lost a step over the recent years.
It’s not just La Torre’s soaring vocal performance that makes Condition Human so damn good it’s the strength of the songs. As always, the musicianship if simply off the charts and cuts such as “Toxic Remedy” are some of the band’s highest caliber material since the early days when then guitarist Chris DeGarmo helped write some of the band’s most melodic and biggest hits.
“Selfish Lives,” “Eye 9” and “Hourglass” would have fit right in on the Empire album, while “Bulletproof” is an epic power ballad in the vein of “The Lady Wore Black” from the band’s eponymous debut EP.
Elsewhere, “Just Us” is the album’s “Silent Lucidity” and closer “Condition Human” is an 8 minute beast with an almost Dream Theater feel to it that mirrors the days of classics like “Roads to Madness” and “Suite Sister Mary.”
Here’s the bottom line. Condition Human is arguably Queensryche’s best album since their monster breakout Empire and is absolutely essential listening.
Rating: 9 out of 10