What a glorious day when you are handed The Verdict for an early listen. As a long-devoted fan of Queensrÿche I have seen all the ups and downs unfold over the past few years and like a phoenix from the flames Queensrÿche have risen and spread their wings with spectacular fashion. The Verdict is like nothing the fans have heard for many years, it oozes a heaviness that had gone missing but still stays true to its progressive roots. (more…)

Founding member and guitar maestro Michael Wilton joined Metal Wani on the phone as the band prepares to hit the road in support of the new album. Given that the new album fits so well with the last two albums and even reminds me of early works such as ‘The Warning’ and the first EP, I asked Michael how he feels this album stacks up to them. “I view it as a natural evolution of the band” Michael responds, “I think it is perfect for what we are striving for to continue on as Queensryche”. He added “I think from my perspective its all the touring we have done. I just kind of infiltrated into the writing process. I’m really happy with this album.” (more…)

As “The Verdict” begins with “Blood of the Levant”, it immediately calls to mind a time when QUEENSRYCHE was a true force to be reckoned with. In the late nineties the band was inventive and innovative. A stunning mix of Hair Metal and Prog. Realistically, they served as a bridge between the sub-genres. They sparked an onslaught of bands trying to capture a sliver of that style and magic. No one can deny how influential “Operation Mindcrime” was, and in my mind, “Empire” was just as important. But there was always a part of me that still craved the rawness found on “The Warning”. Somehow, some way they’ve found that magical fountain of youth. “The Verdict” is a thrilling blend of all eras of QUEENSRYCHE.

We all have that relative or close friend we want to see succeeding and finding their place in life. For the longest time, Queensrÿche seemed to occupy this space in the average progressive music fan’s mindset: it’s a band many wanted to see rekindling their past glories and releasing an album with the redeeming quality that say, Scenes from a Memory had for Dream Theater. (more…)

From the opening strains of “The Levant”, all of the classic QR attributes are there – although I can’t help but think the second track “Man The Machine” (first single) would have been an even more powerful opener to the album. The song has hallmarks of the brilliantly fast paced “The Needle Lies” (Operation: Mindcrime), delivering an intensity that has been absent for more than just a few albums. (more…)

Queensryche is set to release ‘The Verdict’ on March 1 on Century Media. This will be the third release with Todd La Torre on vocals after dropping ‘Queensryche’ (2013) and ‘Condition Human’ (2015). Fans never like to see an original member, especially the singer, split from a band. The fallout can be unpredictable and replacing Geoff Tate’s unique vocal sound would have seemed difficult. The music gods shined down onto the band when La Torre was given the microphone. (more…)