• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Queensryche Returns With The Verdict, Their New Record!

The Verdict, released March 1, 2019, is the sixteenth studio album from Queensryche.

In the early 2010s, Geoff Tate and Queensryche went their separate ways, with his own band eventually rebranding themselves as Operation: Mindcrime. Meanwhile, the classic lineup sans Tate, fronted by ex-Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre, released two studio albums; a self-titled effort and 2015’s Condition Human. Following the departure of longtime drummer Scott Rockenfield, the La Torre-fronted band returned to the studio, with the frontman taking the drum stool for the duration of the recording sessions, and session drummers accompanying the band for tour dates.

The Verdict is the third album from the La Torre-fronted Queensryche, who’s continued to impress despite the lack of classic vocalist Geoff Tate (although he’s keeping busy with his own band these days). Each release from this incarnation of the group has continued to impress, with each step better than the last. How does album number three fare?

I’d be lying if I thought Queensryche without Geoff Tate would be a thing, let alone a thing capable of making solid, well-written music. Todd La Torre has shattered my doubts, with the new albums from the La Torre-fronted core band constantly outclassing those from Tate’s incarnation. At this point, La Torre is as much a part of the Ryche Family as his vocal predecessor, and I can see him as the voice of these progressive hard rock/metal giants for years to come. The Verdict not only cements his position as the band’s golden voice; it may very well be the best of the three albums to feature him fronting the band.

At just 44 minutes and 10 tracks, The Verdict is concise, straightforward, and one of the best releases from the band in years. The chemistry of these musicians is undeniable, and Rockenfield’s absence isn’t even noticeable, though it will be interesting to see what the next year or so holds for the band, and if they do decide to hire a permanent replacement. It’s good to be the band members still at the top of their game, with no plans to throw in the towel anytime soon. The record rocks harder than its (still impressive) predecessors, with La Torre hitting the high notes in many places and dominating these recordings with his vocal prowess.

One thing which has especially impressed me about Queensryche recent output has been their ability to modernize without sacrificing their classic sound or the elements that made them the band they are. The band is as hard and heavy as ever, and while I’d argue the record is a little less progressive than its immediate predecessors, the group manage to infuse modern elements in their sound without selling out and alienating the classic fans. It’s the best of both worlds, and I doubt long-time followers of the Ryche will be disappointed. What we have here is a diverse record with some of the hardest and heaviest guitar riffs the band has served up in years, but doesn’t shy away from more melodic elements as well.

The verdict on The Verdict is that it’s a kick-ass record, and a likely early candidate for Best Rock/Metal Album of 2019. If you’re a Queensryche fan, you’ll be pleased on what the band has delivered in what could very well be their best album featuring La Torre fronting the band. Very highly recommended!

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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