ALBUM REVIEW: Metal Temple (The Verdict)

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.

Musically, “Light-Years” stood out, predominantly thanks to the fantastic bass runs of Eddie Jackson. The song is heavy and melodic, which is quite the duality. Yet, I for one was drawn to the underlying hint of a Middle Eastern influence throughout the song. A few tracks later, “Dark Reverie” grabbed onto me and left its mark. Perhaps the closest to a ballad, the song is highlighted by some memorable fretwork from Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren. There’s a darkness here that resonated with me. Those same heavy, dark moments of reflection were discovered in “Launder the Conciense” as well. In regard to the guitar work, I found “Bent” fascinating. The guitar harmonies twisting back and forth via Wilton and Lundgren are hypnotic as are the chord progressions and tempo changes.

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