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Queensr˙che - The Warning CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.70 | 254 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Maid-in 1984

"The warning" was Queensryche's first full album, although their first release had been a self titled EP (now available in extended format, with tracks taken from an early tour of Japan, as a full album on CD). The band took their name from an early song of theirs called "Queen of the Reich" the name being chosen to reflect the "discipline of the band". The success of that EP led to EMI picking them up on a worldwide recording contract, and despatching them from their home in Seattle to London to record this album. Pink Floyd producer James Guthrie was brought in as producer; his experience however lay outside metal, and the album was remixed later in Los Angeles with little band involvement.

Although not a concept album, "The warning" was broadly inspired by George Orwell's novel 1984 (the year the album was released). Musically, the sounds are rooted in the metal arena of bands such as Iron Maiden and Saxon. There is perhaps overall a greater level of sophistication and refinement, the driving rhythm section being generally less intrusive here than in metal in its purest form.

The emphasis is very much on the vocals of Geoff Tate, the guitar solos being kept brief and functional. Successive tracks such as "Warning" and "En force" are etched from the same template without any real attempt at originality. "Deliverance" hints at something a bit different at the outset, but quickly falls into line.

"No sanctuary" does break the mould though, being a metal ballad with big screams and anthem like chorales. "N.M.156" also has some interesting touches, utilising electronic effects and distorted vocals to paint a Big brother type picture. From a prog perspective, the final track "Roads to madness" is probably the most interesting. OK, in reality it is not really anything other than an extended (9½ minute) version of what has gone before, but it does show ambitions which would be fulfilled on later albums.

Many of us coming to the album now will be doing so retrospectively, and judging it in the context of what followed from the band. It would however be much fairer to assess it for what it is, a debut album. On that basis, this is a decent first outing for a band who would go on to greater things. Incidentally, they must surely cringe when they see their photo in the CD booklet!

The 2003 re-release has three bonus tracks. Two of these are 1990's recordings of live versions songs from the period. The third is "Prophecy", a song written during the sessions for this album, but recorded during those for "Rage for order".

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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