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Condition Hüman

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Album Review

When Queensrÿche issued their self-titled 2013 album they were engaged in a nasty legal battle with fired founding vocalist Geoff Tate over the brand. He lost, leaving the title free and clear. It was their first with new singer Todd La Torre. Queensrÿche were so intent on reestablishing their brand trademark, he ended up sounding too much like Tate. The hastily assembled collection also lacked their usual songwriting precision. Condition Hüman offers fans the opportunity to re-evaluate Queensrÿche on their own terms. With producer Chris "Zeuss" Harris, this band is keen on reestablishing its identity as a prog metal unit with the accent on "metal." Queensrÿche toured together enough to offer proof of their now cemented relationship on the set's two pre-release singles, "Arrow of Time" and "Guardian." Both offer hard edges. The former contains classic (à la Iron Maiden) metal riffing and spiraling dual leads from guitarists Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren. The tune spins and gallops with a fresh burst of energy. "Guardian" is a showcase for La Torre and drummer Scott Rockenfield. La Torre still has Tate in his delivery, but that's because he's a lifelong Queensrÿche fan. Given this tune, he's obviously studied Ian Gillan and Bruce Dickinson too. He soars with clearly annunciated phrasing, highlighting each pass in the music's development. Rockenfield's groove is iconic at this stage, but he is less celebrated for his impeccable syncopation. It's split evenly between snare, cymbals, and double bass drums on this jam. La Torre really soars on "Hellfire," and its fiery guitar and vocal pyrotechnics recall the Operation: Mindcrime period, while "Selfish Lives" with its political lyrics and rousing chorus touches on Empire. Despite this return to harder prog metal, Queensrÿche also resurrect a particular strength on Condition Hüman not once, but twice: the power ballad. "Bulletproof," begun with a soft, liturgical female choir, introduces a swaying, infectious melody. La Torre offers his most passionate delivery on the record before a killer dual guitar break in the bridge, making the tune an arena rock anthem. His approximation of new age Celtic melody in "Just Us," buoyed by strummed 12-strings and popping tom-toms, is the other number that the one and only Queensrÿche could pull off without sounding cloying. Eddie Jackson's nasty, fuzzed-out bassline kicks off "Eye9," a choppier, harder-edged, knottier jam than we've heard from Queensrÿche before — though the chorus is catchy as hell — and it signifies a new musical direction. The title track closer, at just under eight minutes, is almost worth the price tag. It's an epic with four sections featuring a clean-tone, near operatic chorus (complete with chorale), a screaming Wilton solo, and a breathtaking outro (think "Roads to Madness"). Condition Hüman isn't perfect and it's not altogether instantly accessible; it will take a few listens to completely absorb. That said, it's more creative than anything from Queensrÿche in at least a decade and far better than we had any right to expect.

Customer Reviews

Classic Queensryche

The sound I fell in loved with is back. The opening riff, the drums, the bass and the soaring vocals make this one of the best tracks to come from Queensryche since Empire. Nicely done

Queensryche survived extinction!

Having survived years upon years under Tate's dictatorship, Queensryche has rose from their ashes with the 2013 self-titled album.
Now that the battle for the name its behind them they had all the time in the world to create their next chapter in their long standing career.No excuses this time around,fans have demands from them(p.s album time length,mastering) and they deliver.
Condition Human is an album that it has all the elements of the bands core sound,it takes ingredients from their past releases,mixes them together with a modern flavor and you get an album that has everything.Songs like Guardian and Hellfire are the most heavy songs in years if not the heaviest in their career.Instant classics like Eye9 its as close as it gets to the QR of the 80's.
The two atmospheric ballads Bulletproof and Just us.Mid tempo catchy moments like Toxic Remedy,All there was and Hourglass.
But the most stunning moment of the album is the self titled track,which is a really complex tune with lot of time changes reminiscent of their long epic songs such as Roads to Madness,Promised Land,Suit Sister Mary etc.
The musicianship is top notch but Scott Rockefield especially really shines with his performance.La Torre also incorporates more and more personal elements on his delivery,leaving behind him any Tate resemblance and he feels more and more comfortable being behind the mic and the voice of Queensryche.
All in all Condition Human is an album that needs lot of listens to sink in,give it time and you will be amazed.

Filler

How sad is it that the last few albums with Tate set the bar so low that people are thrilled by this release? Yes, the music is reminiscent of the glory days but the songs just aren't there. These tracks sound like filler or bside rejects from the glory days. I guess that's better than nothing for some people but to me it's a shame that what once was such a creative band has been reduced to a shadow of their former selves.

Biography

Formed: 1981 in Bellevue, WA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although they were initially grouped with the legions of pop-metal bands that dominated the American heavy metal scene of the '80s, Queensrÿche were one of the most distinctive bands of the era. Where their contemporaries built on the legacy of Van Halen, Aerosmith, and Kiss, Queensrÿche constructed a progressive form of heavy metal that drew equally from the guitar pyrotechnics of post-Van Halen metal and '70s art rock, most notably Pink Floyd and Queen. After releasing a handful of ignored albums,...
Full Bio
Condition Hüman, Queensrÿche
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Metal, Music, Rock, Arena Rock
  • Released: Oct 02, 2015

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