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Queensr˙che - Live Evolution CD (album) cover

LIVE EVOLUTION

Queensr˙che

 

Progressive Metal

3.73 | 25 ratings

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SteveG
3 stars Look how the mighty have fallen.

Live Evolution is a terrific overview of the band that I consider to be THE Progressive Metal rock band. It also chronicles the band's quick decline in the late nineties and is an indicator of why the band are the way they are today. Fragmented.

First off, the sound on this live album is too good to be true. However, I was informed by a friend that this live outing was taken from a DVD of the concert, so let's assume that Queensryche were having an exceptionally good night.

This 2001 concert is chronological and starts off with great tracks from their debut EP and Warning album. These songs, such as London and Screaming In Digital, already have signs of progginess to them, even if they are very dependent on bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden for their inspiration. What makes these songs attractive is that they are smartly pulled out from the lesser tracks of those two albums while possessing great hooks and Geoff Tate's immediately likable and dynamic vocals. In fact, the backing vocals from Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson (guitar and bass, respectively) are stellar as well and add tremendously to the songs.

And adding is a key word with Queensryche. This live set admirably showcases just how effective Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield were as a rhythm section. Their incredible skills add to the music and never distract from it as overplayers like Portnoy and Myung from Dream Theater are apt to do times.

Another added dimension is the twin lead guitar work that was such a part of the eighties metal sound and has now been transferred to Queensryche courtesy of Wilton and new man Kelly Gray, who replaced long time member Chris DeGamo.

The concert deftly captures the band doing the best songs (and hits) from albums Operation Mindcrime, Empire and The Promised Land before the band inevitably run out of steam by the time the concert winds down with the dull material from Hear In The Now Frontier and Q2K.

What is immediately apparent is the band jumping back and forth from slick production and hooks to moody atmosphere and more bluesy playing, while losing their way. Permanently. Even the best songs from these two later albums sound subpar compared to the Mindcrime and Empire set.

Live Evolution may not be an essential album if you have Queensryche's key studio albums, but it does show exactly where the band went down hill and possibly why. 3 stars.

SteveG | 3/5 |

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