Queensryche – Dedicated To Chaos (2011)

Posted: June 21, 2011 in Music

Queensryche was known back in the late 80s and early 90s as one of the most complex, progressive heavy metal bands around. With the albums Operation: Mindcrime and Empire, the band enjoyed huge sold-out tours and great success. The funny thing was, they were a heavy metal band by accident. Original frontman Geoff Tate never really liked heavy metal, and despite the record sales and critical rave the band received, it’s easy to understand why the band has evolved away from the “heavy metal” style over the years. They have, over the course of their career, dabbled in many different styles, from near grunge to progressive rock.

These shifts have alienated their original fan base over time. Outside of the pressured Mindcrime: II, Queensryche has continued to distance itself from the sound that made them one of the most popular bands of their time. Many have the fans have just tolerated it, knowing in the back of their minds that they would return to their metal roots. Others, myself included, gave up on the band after four straight disastrous releases.

Yet here we are in mid-2011, and Queensryche is back with one last hope for the die-hard metal fans that they would finally get their shit together. Sorry, guys – not this time, either…

Dedication To Chaos (maybe the most misleading album title of the decade) is neither chaotic or distinctly dedicated. It tries to intrigue, but only confuses. It tries to appeal with a simpler, more stripped-down sound, but only comes off as uninspired.

I’d be okay with the fact the the ‘Ryche wasn’t metal anymore if they gave us a good reason to follow them through unchartered territory. Many bands have changed styles over their careers. If it’s done with energy and integrity, it has a chance to work – but in the case of Queensryche, it just comes across as confusing.

Not to say the album is ALL bad. For a simple hard rock album, it has its strong points. The album opener “Get Started” is musically sound, and Tate still has his chops as he chimes about it being “time to change the view, it’s the same old scene.” We already know that, though, after listening to the band over the last ten years. “Hot Spot Junkie” even hits a little harder and moves the listener a little closer to the edge of the seat with the dim hope of a good metal track. Again, good music – but absolutely tiresome lyrics about the age of the internet.

“Around The World” (available as a free download on the band’s Facebook page) is digestable. It’s more of an arena-rocker with a “Collective Soul” type of feel, while “Higher” presents a decent groove, a fair amount of energy, and a solid 90s rock vibe.

The closest thing we get to “old” Queensryche comes in the form of “At The Edge” – a progressive, catchy, complex track that rocks steady while layering different sounds throughout. For me, this was the highlight of the album and Tate would be wise to follow this sound for future endeavors.

So in the new world of Queensryche, those five tracks actually are worth a listen. The rest of the album, though, is as disappointing as it is just bewildering.

“Retail Therapy”, “Broken”, “Drive”, and “Luvnu” all had a promise to be good, but were destroyed by – surprisingly – uninspired vocals and lyrics from Tate that ranged from remedial to outright awful. For someone that used to be considered one of the better songwriters in rock, he sure seemed off this album.

The album’s remaining tracks experimented with Prince-like funk, straight-up pop, and sitar-laced confusion – none of which had any sense of cohesion or inspiration. They were just – well – bad.

I usually don’t talk about “bonus tracks,” but if you are dead set on buying this album – get the deluxe edition that has four extra tracks. Three of them are forgettable, but the track “The Lie” has enough salvation to make it worth the few extra bucks. In fact, I’m perplexed as to why this track wasn’t in the main lineup, as it is easily one of the best songs this album has to offer. With a “Def Leppard”-ish feel and psychedelic vibe, the song builds itself a nice wall of sound and is as hard as anything else on the disc.

But for me, it’s just not enough. The negatives far outweigh the positives here, and we may just be witnessing the end of the road for one of heavy metal/hard rock’s brightest icons. I do credit the band for at least making music that they wanted to make. This way, Tate knows he’s going out on his terms, without forcing himself through another metal album that he wasn’t interested in making. The unfortunate part of that, though, is he just made an album that very few will be interested in hearing…

4.5/10

Tracklist:
01. Get Started
02. Hot Spot Junkie
03. Got it Bad
04. Around the World
05. Higher
06. Retail Therapy
07. At the Edge
08. Broken
09. Hard Times
10. Drive
11. I Believe
12. Luvnu

Bonus Tracks:
13. Wot We Do
14. I Take You
15. The Lie
16 Big Noize

http://www.amazon.com/Dedicated-Chaos-Special-Queensryche/dp/B004Z188BI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308695255&sr=8-1

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link

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Comments
  1. Frankie says:

    I agree with every single word and punctuation mark.

  2. tc says:

    Funny how any idiot can write a review.

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