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Queensr˙che - The Warning CD (album) cover

THE WARNING

Queensr˙che

 

Progressive Metal

3.62 | 203 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

MrMan2000
4 stars Early September, 1984. I'm sitting at my wooden desk in an unconditioned cinderblock of a dorm-room in sweltering San Marcos, Texas...my first semester at Southwest Texas State University. The radio is blaring KISS-99FM out of San Antonio. Helluva station....they play REAL hardcore music, not the wimpy pop-metal of Quiet Riot, Ratt and the like. A song I've never heard before comes on...standard heavy metal of the era (big drums, power chords) and then THAT VOICE comes through. There's NO DOUBT in my mind this is what I've eagerly been anticipating for months and months....the newest effort from Queensryche. I stop what I'm doing and give all attention to the music coming through the speakers, soaking it all in. Hafta admit I was NOT overwhelmed and found the song to be a surprising departure from what I expected. No soaring guitars, lacking melodies....hmmmph. Still, I listened as the DJ told me the LP was available NOW! Holy sheeet! I scooted down to Sundance Records at the San Marcos Square (cool indy place) and got my greedy paws on the baby fast as I could. The cover was totally cool.....a tarot-like card with an evil looking dude shootin green beams outta his eyes. The back cover was somethin' else, though....a picture of five weird guys trying to look cool and tough at the same time and doing neither. Never mind, gotta get home and LISTEN to this slab o'plastic. Funny how deja vu works all over again. Sitting in that concrete box of a dorm room, listening to The Warning, took me right back to the previous Spring. It was then that I first heard QR, listening to their debut EP and finding it amazing. The EXACT same thing happened on my first listen of The Warning.

Not that the music was the same....no, this was definitely a different offering than QR's first. There were a few songs that wouldn't have been out of place on the EP (Deliverance, En Force, Before the Storm) but there were several songs that were COMPLETELY unique and different from ANYTHING I'd ever heard from anyone! There was one dead-certain radio/FM/stadium anthem that sure sounded like a hit song to me (Take Hold of the Flame). It seems like my entire first semester was spent listening to the Warning, spreading the word of this incredible band. Because my dorm was un-air conditioned doors and windows were left open, meaning when I listened to The Warning my neighbors did as well. Soon they were asking "who is that with the voice?" and I happily told them. Soon there were several QR converts on my floor.

And all of us were freaking out over this meisterpiece of an album. With the exception of the title song (which still doesn't do much for me) all the songs are original high-quality offerings. But what really makes this album rock are the songs that move beyond heavy metal or hard rock or ANY type of categorization.

NM 156 is industrial music that was created years before the word "industrial" and "music" were ever put together. Machine-like drums and guitar, computerized voice effects...all the elements of industrial music were there in 1984 in NM 156. Making the song one of my all-time QR favorites is the mind-boggling, speed-of-light guitar solo....48 seconds of mind-bending ear candy....one of the BEST solos EVER!

No Sanctuary was unlike any song I'd heard before....trippy, moody, hypnotic tones backing powerful, EMOTIONAL almost spoken lyrics from front-man Geoff Tate. This was the first time QR revealed their ability to capture emotions on record, setting moods from pain and anger to confusion or curiosity and pride and happiness. QR would perfect this ability on later discs but No Sanctuary represents their first foray into this arena and a damn good effort it is.

Finally, we come to what is, to this day, my all time favorite song ever....EVER!!! Roads to Madness is a 10 minute opus that combines power and grace, urgency and calm, self-doubt and unbridled enthusiasm. It is a masterpiece....a musical journey down a road no other band dared tread. I could talk about the brilliant arrangement, the unusual rhythms, the theatrical bridge. I could go over the exhilarating finish, the symphonic fills or the mad chorus. But none of it would do justice. You have to hear it to understand....like much of QR's music. Admittedly, after 16 years the production doesn't meet today's standards (and is most lacking in the records most ambitious portions - in fact I'd LOVE for QR to revisit this song and create a RTMadness 2000). But the song is so great that relatively poor production takes little away from a completely, totally awesome song. Finally, RTMadness, along with The Lady Wore Black from the debut EP set a trend that was continued on later releases: ending the record with the best song and a song that would withstand the test of time.

MrMan2000 | 4/5 |

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