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4 stars this one can be related as their MTV album since all the hits are here... the songs are much melower helped by a very clean production... very nice songs (one or two fillers though), very polished arrangements (with special collaboration of Kamen's trings on Silent Lucidity)... I really like this album maybe because i feel the band has really grown up and finally found his real personnality by being more a melodic rock band with metal and progressive touches than a band you can easily identify as part of a musical chapel... freedom at last !!!
Report this review (#23591)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars The magic of Operation Mindcrime was gone in this album. Quite commercial and AOR oriented, it fails completely to mantain the high level and spirits of Operation Mindcrime. After this album, Queensryche has been a hit and miss band, I progressively lose my interest on it... Nowadays we have ARk and Mastermind to listen...
Report this review (#23592)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars When you listen to Empire, you will hardly understand why people calling Queensryche as a progressive rock band. Yup, Empire is "simply" a hard rock album. But the evolution of each track and how different each track to each other in approach, then you are entitled to say that Queensryche is a progressive rock band. Wide variety of lyrical themes from a handicap man on a wheel chair (Best I Can), long-distance relationship (Jet City Woman), homeless people (Della Brown), gun control (Empire), to the dark side of love (The Thin Line). This album made a very good choice for any Queensryche fans or for anyone who would try to start listening to the band. Needless to say how good this album was and still is. It was the Queen of the Ryche on their brightest days, huge support from MTV. What made it a 5 star album, they were able to combine great quality of songs and commercial touch into one. One EMPIRE [Davidewata; Indonesia]
Report this review (#23598)
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars I want my MTV

"Empire" is something of a controversial album for those who appreciate the music of Queensryche. There's no denying it contains some of their most successful work in commercial terms, but it also has some of the least challenging music the band have recorded. Released in 1990, "Empire" was the follow up to the widely acclaimed "Operation : Mindcrime" album, and as such much was expected of it. Chris DeGarmo took on the lead role for this album, as he did for the band's other contoversial album, "Hear in the now frontier".

For DeGarmo, the lure of the MTV dollar proved irresistible, and "Empire" can be largely summarised as little more than a polished melodic rock album. The opening track, "Best I can" sets the hairspray heaven scene, sounding for all the world like something from a Kiss or Def Leppard album. The Kiss similarities tend to carry through the set, with tracks such as "Another rainy night" ("Crazy crazy nights" ?!), "Resistance", and "One and only" all sounding entirely familiar.

The guitar work is excellent as usual, if rather under-exposed. "The thin line", and the bluesy "Delia Brown" both have notable guitar parts, and the opening section of "Resistance" is striking and melodic.

The title track is a bit darker and heavier, with hints of psych, and a hypnotically repetitive closing section. The best track is "Silent lucidity", a softer piece with an acoustic intro and orchestration. There are definite similarities on this track with the Roger Waters dominated Pink Floyd output. The album closes with the longer "Anybody listening?", which appears to be a soft ballad until the powerful melodic rock choruses come in. There are some progressive hints in the track, but only hints.

Taken at face value, "Empire" is a highly enjoyable is unchallenging collection of melodic rock songs, with occasional hints of something more. The prog metal of other Queensryche albums has been set aside in favour of an emphasis on MTV friendly music. This sanitising of the music tends to remove any distinguishing features, leaving a well performed album generally lacking its own identity.

The version I have is a nicely packaged double vinyl collection. The album was clearly planned with CD in mind, so the sides are relatively short This does however permit a superior pressing quality throughout.

Report this review (#23599)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars While many may not see Queensrÿche as prog rock or metal, they are still a band worthy of a spot in most anyone's music collection. Empire is the album that introduced many to Queenrÿche, back in the day when rock and metal were at the top of the musical mountain before grunge stormed to the top angrily, only to be toppled by rap and hip-hop, and the music it engulfed as its own.

Certainly, Empire was a commercially friendly album, but that isn't neccessarily a bad thing or a sign of "selling out". The band recieved some heavy rotation on MTV and the radio, which kind of burned a couple of the songs out. Still, Empire is a great album, though not without its flaws.

"Empire" is certainly a highlight from the album, and got a few nods for "heaviest song". Take note: loud, fast and brutal doesn't neccesarily mean "heavy". "Best I Can", "Jet City Woman" and "another Rainy Night" round out the best portions of the album. Myself, I couldn't stand "Silent Lucidty" from the start, and when it became a single, then an overplayed single, I decied to play only the first side of the album for a while. But of course, it was common practice to go with a ballad (or the lightest song) as a single in support of an album then, usually released second.

It's not a perfect album, but still a fairly good effort from a band that went unnoticed by most for years. It's commercial success helped the band, and turned many on to their earlier outings, gaining fans along the way.

Report this review (#35219)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars having recorded the 2 best albums ( rage for order and operation mindcrime) of the 80s queensryche were in a difficult position. should they continue withn another concept which will surely attract more fans or write an album that comes straight from their heart? that's what they did. yes i know empire is quite catchy and it has sold million of copies. so what? who said that good albums don't sell? the album includes great songs ( another rainy night, is there anybody listening, best i can, silent lucidity, jet city woman, the thin line, empire) and just one weak monent ( resistance). i agree that is not a masterpiece but is a great album that kept their name high , compared to their lasttwo albums which were disasterpieces.
Report this review (#36030)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yes, I knew the band from their groundbreaking concept album "Operation: Mindcrime" which I really like musically as well as lyrically. But, when I bought "Empire" I did not expect that this would repeat the success of its predecessor. It's because basically I believe that once a certain group created such a masterpiece concept album the band was subsequently very tight with touring schedule to support the album and they usually write the next album during the tour and coming back to studio once the tour is completed. So, my expectation was not really high with this album which was released two years after Mindcrime. So I was not expecting something fabulous coming out from this album. However, I consider this album as a very good sweet and melodic rock album. Yes, a very good one.

The Album

From its energetic opening track "Best I Can" (5:34) with a powerful singing style of Geoff Tate accompanied with nice music, the album brings us to the next track "The Thin Line" with the same energetic style but it has more accentuation compared to first track. The guitar solo is reminiscent of eighties hair band music: nice'n'cool. "Jet City Woman" (5:22) reminds me to the style of Mindcrime music with good composition, excellent guitar riffs and vocal harmonies followed with a blues-based music featuring stunning solo guitar in "Della Brown" (7:04). Yes, Della Brown is one of my favorite Queensryche songs that I keep repeating whenever I listen to this album. It starts off beautifully with solid bass lines and guitar sound effects followed with low register notes voice line with Tate's accentuated singing style. It has some prog elements especially through the sounds of guitar effects. "Another Rainy Night" (4:29) starts with excellent harmonies resulting from the double guitar work between DeGarmo and Wilton. The title track "Empire" (5:24) begins with people conversation followed with excellent harmonies of double guitar work. This time, vocals are performed in sort of dialogue with low register voice notes vocal. A wonderful track. "Resistance" (4:51) is an excellent melodic rock music in dynamic drumming and good guitar riffs, high register notes vocal line. "Silent Lucidity" (5:48) has now been a legendary track as it combines great acoustic guitar work with powerful singing by Tate augmented with soft keyboard sound - all are performed in mellow style. It's really a nice track with great orchestration.

"Hand On Heart" (5:33) starts with an excellent combination of guitar work and dazzling drums by Rockenfield and solid bass lines by Jackson. Vocal harmony is also excellent. "One And Only" (5:54) begins with guitar riffs followed with the blast of metal music featuring dynamic drumming and excellent guitar solo that brings the vocal line to enter the music. Another energetic track with good composition. The final track "Anybody Listening?" (7:41) is an excellent track with blues-based style featuring long sustain guitar solo, accentuated singing style, inventive bass lines augmented with percussive. Guitar is split into two roles: one to provide fills that serve as rhythm section while the other one playing in a howling style like those played by Steve Hackett (Genesis). The music moves slowly and it contains wonderful / catchy segments. I personally enjoy the electric guitar solo during interlude. It's a great one! This song really stirs my emotion in an uplifting mood even though it's overall a mellow track.


Overall, this is a straight forward sweet melodic rock music with excellent guitar riffs, stunning guitar solo, dazzling drum work and .. powerful vocal by Geoff Tate whom I consider one of the best rock lead singer. For those of you who love progressive metal can easily accept this album. And for those of you who love symphonic prog kind of music, use this album as a change. The music is accessible to many rock music buffs, I think. It's a recommended collection. The production quality (including the sonic quality of the CD) is truly excellent! You cam play it LOUD without having problems with your ears - provided that you play it with a decent stereo set with great loudspeaker (European made). This album is produced by Peter Collins for Jill Music Ltd. Keep on rockin', keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild: GW.

Report this review (#41800)
Posted Saturday, August 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favourite Queensryche album. Why? It simply is joy from the first song to last. The doom laden Mindcrime while brilliant just gets on my nerves with its oppressive feel. Hear the band srretch out and play some of their finest work. This is surely a friendly beast at times but the production is astounding. That bass sound and Tates vocals are superb. I have some conceits when giving this a five star rating. You just had to be there I guess. An outstanding release. I have not listened to anything they have released since with much seriousness. A brilliant exanple of when metal meets AOR and comes out sounding like Boston needed some introspection. Great stuff.
Report this review (#44983)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Operation Mindcrime gets the plaudits,but in my opinion THIS is a better album. The powerful Best I Can is an excellent opener. Geoff Tates vocals are superb and the drumming should have you tapping along on your imaginary kit (air drums?). Jet City Woman is a track that builds as its goes,the catchy chorus is memorable and the whole band demonstrate their trademark tightness. Della Brown is a haunting track of epic dimensions. The title track Empire is another great track,with hooks strong enough to draw you in. Silent Lucidity is the gem in the crown,a rock ballad classic,and one of the bands most popular tracks. Overall,this album just about nudges into first place in my eyes.
Report this review (#49600)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Queensryche-Empire. An essential prog album. One of the reasons Queensryche doesn't get so highly rated in the Prog rock scene is because they really weren't prog rock until about Empire or promised Land. they were an 80's metal band with a taste of prog. This album shows a little more prog though. Every song on this album except maybe the first two is amazing. I listen to this album everyday. It's not their best, but it's damn near close.
Report this review (#50133)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I gotta say...this is a damn good album. It's prog, but accessible, tuneful and with plenty of pop melodicism along the way so as not to bore the listener. When it came out, I wasn't expecting it to be as good as OPERATION: MINDCRIME or RAGE FOR ORDER. And it's not...IMO, it's just as good. I think it can stand with any one of their previous releases. Tate flaunts his vocal ability here and shows us why he's considered one of hte best vocalists of any genre. His keyboards, while sparse, add to the overall atomsphere of bleakness and despair. DeGarmo and Wilton join in with a guitar onslaught that, if caught in the right mood, can bring me to tears, such as the held, sustained note at the end of the last pre-chorus of ANOTHER RAINY NIGHT. I also dig the harmonies at the end. EMPIRE is a bleak, angry song, with a midsection that comprises a spoken-word vocal before an explosive guitar solo. I also ADORE "Silent Lucidity". For a band as progressive as Queensryche to come along with an acoustic ballad as lush as that might have been seen as a sell-out by others. HOWEVER...despite the genre-pigeonholing (Mind you; they don't fit neatly into merely one genre), it's amazing. The strings add a sweetness that is rounded out by a tangy vocal and some sweet acoustic and electric guitars. I tip my hat to QUEENSRYCHE for coming up with something neat, clean, concise and most of all, progressive. BRAVO! 5 Stars.
Report this review (#57310)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I don't find this album to much interesting. Back in 1990 I think Queensryche sounded more or less like any of the most popular metal band on the scene. They where no different from e.g. EXTREME, and not so very progressive in my ears. Straightforward guitar rock with some ballads now and then. Not much to attack or challenge you as a listener. Geoff Tate has a clear and strong voice (as always) but that is not enough to make it an addition to any prog music collection. I can go for 3 stars but that is an absolute maximum.
Report this review (#60228)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the first album I bought from QUEENSRYCHE, and the most commercial they ever made (how many singles did come out of that album? 6? 7?). The songs are more equal in quality, and softer than on past albums.

Highlights would be "Della Brown" (very soft song), "Another Rainy Night (Without You)" and "Hand On Heart" (both very heavy, but not aggressive), the arch- ballad "Silent Lucidity" and "Anybody Listening ?", the real weak songs on the album being "Resistance" (really poor melody) and "One And Only" (sounds really flat).

Rating: 80/100

Report this review (#66313)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A bit of a disappointment at the time.

After Rage for Order and Operation: Mindcrime, this album was a bit of a disappointment for me. Keeping in mind that I was a bit of a 'metalhead' at the time, the fact that this album is more rock than metal likely was the main reason for this. Over time, I've become a bit more open minded, and I did start playing Empire a bit more often. Not a lot more though, because I still prefer Operation: Mindcrime or Ayreon's The Final Experiment if I really have to choose.

Looking at the songs, I notice that songs like Best I Can, Resistance and Another Rainy night are quite 'catchy' (if that is the proper word to use). Best I Can somehow even reminds me of some of the better tracks by - heaven help me - Survivor, luckily the song is just a bit more complicated than the usual track by those guys.

Silent Lucidity is a nice song to listen to, but the fact that it's the only Queensryche song I ever heard play on Dutch radio also tells me it's probably not that progressive. I have the same problem with Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall pt 2...

Della Brown and Empire are the stronger tracks on the album for me, while Hand On Heart could have been left out on my part. All in all though, this album caused me to take a very good listen before buying another Queensryche album, and the only two I bought since are Operation:LiveCrime, and Operation:Mindcrime II (I am still not sure what to think of that last one, but that's for another time). Empire is not bad, but also not an album that I would recommend to someone getting into Queensryche - there's too little Mindcrime and too little Rage For Order in there.

One final note here on the credits for the songs: The fact that Chris DeGarmo took the lead on this album is not the real reason it's 'just a rock album'. Chris' mindset at the time is what was really wrong - after all, he's still the (co-)composer of some of Queensryche's best tracks, like Anarchy-X, Eyes of a Stranger and Neue Regel. Not to mention that some of the best metal tracks ever (including Queen of the Reich) were his work. None of them main stream MTV material, so I wonder how he feels about Empire after 15 years...

Report this review (#79525)
Posted Saturday, May 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars There's no doubt about it in my eyes - Queensryche are at their finest in Empire. DeGarmo shines with maybe his best song ever written (Silent Lucidity) and most of these tracks are hits in their own right. After the success of Operation Mindcrime, I didnt see how Empire could outdo it, and though IMO it lacks the inspiration and passion of Mindcrime, it is definately a great release and brought Queensryche great success.

The songs on Empire are quite commercial, polished and with a sound that seems to last with me for a long time. One notable point is the echoing of Rockenfield's drums which seem to give you a "heartbeat" type feel much like in Mindcrime. Tate also shines with his singing and Wilton, DeGarmo and Jackson never have seemed to fail.

There are some forgettable tracks on Empire, though, Della Brown and Anybody Listening? don't strike me as great, but that's Queensryche. They try something new at least.

Songs of note are Silent Lucidty, the title track Empire, Jet City Woman, The Thing Line, Hand on Heart, Best I Can and Another Rainy Night.. >_> thats a lot.. hmm shows how much form Queensryche are in on this release.

I definately recommend this to even fans of conventional rock, but definately to those of Progressive Metal, to hear the masters of their age at work.

Report this review (#80092)
Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Empire when it was released was Queensryche's softest and most commercial work. Degarmo was the main driving force behind this creation and it became their highest selling album. The fact that Queensryche gained millions of fans with this release was a double- edged sword. The band were forced to continue touring for much longer than they wished to, reducing morale. On top of this Queensryche went back to softer more commercial work for Hear In The Now Frontier two albums later. This album was the first major dissapointment for a band who seemingly had ditched their classic sound of the Mindcrime era. That being said, Empire is a very accessible and highly enjoyable record.

1. Best I Can: Excellent vocals and a lovely interwoven keyboard / guitar melody. (9/10)

2. The Thin Line: Lots of vocal harmony along with soft melodic guitars make this a good track. (8/10)

3. Jet City Woman: A very simple structure but an excellent rhythm section and a catchy chorus make up for it. (9/10)

4. Della Brown: Clocking in at over 7 minutes it would have been nice to see some Prog from the band, excellent in places but dull in others. (7.5/10)

5. Another Rainy Night: An excellent catchy rock song with great vocals from Geoff (8.5/10)

6. Empire: Classic Queensryche sound, dual guitars, backing keys, Progressive elements. (9.5/10)

7. Resistance: A fast paced rocker but a basic structure limits and otherwise great track (8.5/10)

8. Silent Lucidity: Queensryche's highest selling song, an excellent ballad with good use of strings (9.5/10)

9. Hand On Heart: More melodic rock with top draw vocals, great song. (9/10)

10. One And Only: Staccato guitars and a good punchy bass fuel this track. (8.5/10)

11. Anybody Listening: A beautiful track, soaring vocals and excellent guitar work. (9/10)

Overall: 86/100

A highly enjoyable release from a brilliant band. In my opinion this doesnt rate up there with the Mindcrimes or Rage For Order but is an excellent addition to any Queensryche or Rock fans discography. Empire really put Queensryche on the musical map.

Report this review (#82922)
Posted Thursday, July 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Labor Day, September 3, 1990. I've spent the holiday weekend in New York city, my first visit to the Big Apple. While I visited the Twin Towers, dined in some wonderful restaurants and tried (unsuccessfully) to sneak into the U.S. Open tennis tournament, the highlight of the weekend was the knowledge that on Monday, Queensryche's latest effort would be released. Thus it was that in some small town off the New Jersey turnpike I stopped to purchase the tape version of Empire. I loaded that puppy into the car stereo and the ride home was blissful.

My first reaction, admittedly, was not real positive. This was not the band I had expected to hear. But then again, I had learned to expect the unexpected from QR. Each album had been a brave departure from the previous effort and even though the band had developed a signature sound, none of the albums really sounded like any of the other albums. So, while the pop sound of Empire was a bit of a turnoff, I knew to give the disc (tape, whatever) enough listens to really get an idea of what they were trying to achieve. There was one thing VERY different about this release that previous QR albums had not enjoyed: promotion, radio airplay and video support. So even if I hadn't been popping Empire into the tape deck at least once a day I wouldn't have been able to escape it's Big Record Company presence. Within days of the release, Silent Lucidity was on the radio seemingly everywhere. I caught the video at a friend's house and knew this had Big Hit all over it. Suddenly this "cult" band had become popular overnight. After six years of slugging it out and growing a small but dedicated group of hardcore fans Queensryche had hit the bigtime..

Didn't matter to me. I loved them before and this album grew on me. But this was not the ambitious, daring release I had expected. It certainly wasn't Operation:Mindcrime II (which would have been a major mistake). Instead it was a collection of 11 well-crafted, fairly unique, pop-tinged, metal songs. Nice in and of itself but not quite the revolution Rage For Order had been and not the sprawling, outspoken musical masterpiece of Operation:Mindcrime. This was a nice album, a safe album but not the greatness I had come to expect of the band.

Della Brown is the only song that really stands out with the unique QR signature originality. While it has a light sound to it, it doesn't suffer from the syrupy pop sound like Jet City, Rainy Night and Hand on Heart. The song really shines with the middle guitar solo and the even better concluding solo...very subtle work that perfectly fits the tone of the song. One consistency to be found on Empire is, like previous QR releases, the album concludes with a classic signature song, Anybody Listening. The song encourages listeners to question what the media is feeding, "read between the lines, criticize the words their selling." Kind of ironic when this was the first QR release to really benefit from the Music Biz machine which propelled Empire to highest-selling 'Ryche release ever.

Other highlights to the album are Best I Can, The Thin Line and the title track. All have classic QR melodies, guitar work and the usual stellar vocals from Geoff Tate. Empire and Best I can join Della Brown, Resistance and Anybody Listening as songs commenting on society. Empire deals with drug usage in America, Best I Can tells of a paraplegic overcoming his disability, Della Brown addresses homelessness. It seems to me these more serious themes resulted in more intense music. The traditional "love" songs (Jet City, Rainy, Hand on Heart, One and Only) all have a very pop sound to them with repeating chorus, guitar hooks....all very accessible and comparatively shallow to the heavier songs.

On RFO, QR addressed a lot of things that concerned them and created a revolutionary album. On O:M QR was PISSED and created a masterpiece. On Empire, the band had grown and perhaps lost some of that youthful energy. While they still sing of questioning authority and anger at government and media they also sing of more personal issues like love and relationships. While The Thin Line has the dark tones of previous love songs like I Dream in Infrared and Gonna Get Close to You, Hand on Heart and One and Only sound like typical radio songs.

Warning, RFO and O:M have all fared well over time and so too has Empire. Basically, the songs I liked when the disc first came out are songs I still like and those that left me a little wanting still don't do much for me. Not the band's greatest effort but still a damn good album.

Report this review (#85143)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars the only reason i feel for this album is that it gave the band a tremendous success and money and fame that Empire may not worth it but Queensryche do... plus, with the money they gained they managed to put on the stage show for performing Operation : Mindcrime like a real play...can you imagine that? the band was on "Empire" tour and they were performing O:M instead...

only 3 (another rainy night, silent lucidity and anybody listening) out of 11 tracks barely verge the band's former releases grandeur... and that's poor...

sure, Geoff proves, once more, why he is among the best metal singers ever, sure, Chris reminds us how great his loss was, sure Rockenfield is still one of the strongest drummers (you should see him performing live, he stole thunder many times, during the show..) but the essence of "Empire" which is the songs themselves are less than mediocre...

Report this review (#85880)
Posted Sunday, August 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The better of the two Queensyche albums that most people concern themselves with(the other being Mindcrime), but for me, that's not saying much. Maybe it's because it's not my generation, but I never understood the fascination with this band. Tate has a unique voice, yes, but there has to be more there for me.

The music is well, watered down and really bland. Most of it will automatically be compared to 80's hair metal, and while there's a definite sense of that, this band does have more to offer. Silent Lucidity, as famous as it is, is still a prog track in 15/16. However, too many of these songs make me cringe, like Jet City Woman for example. I guess the best way to put it is that there is not enough "art" here for me, and I'm obliged to go and stick in something more intellectually stimulating.

Report this review (#92128)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Empire is an album with a lot of good songs, and a very entertaining style. Queensryche is a band that I've always considered to be exceptional in this age of their releases (Rage for Order - Promised Land) before they went down hill. If your interested in giving Queensryche a try then go ahead and jump into this album, it has some classic songs such as Jet City Woman, Best I Can, Empire, Another Rainy Night (Without You), The Thin Line, Hand on Heart, Silent Lucidity, and Anybody Listening?. They have musical, lyrical, and vocal talent and their producers did a good job at releasing and organizing the album. 4/5 stars, excellent addition.
Report this review (#92497)
Posted Thursday, September 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is the landmark of their real international recognition, as far as popularity is concerned. It can as well be considered as a little revolution, so elaborated are the vocal and instrumental techniques. 'Empire' is also characterized by a more important use of clean guitars, unusual tempos and a clearer sound for the electric guitars. The perfect illustation of this new state of mind is the ballad 'Silent Lucidity', in which the atmosperic vocals have the biggest importance, and give more power to this astounding track.

The song 'Empire' also proves that the band follows his tradition of fighting against social injustices. This theme of the fight can be found again in the catchy 'Resistance', while some other songs like 'Best I Can' , while emphasizing the heavier bass-playing on a faster tempo, also enlightenthe need of a personal commitment in life, under whichever form it can take. Some other tracks are breathtakingly deep and emotional like 'Jet City Woman' or the excellent 'Another Rainy Night Without You'.

In a nutshell, maybe more than anything else, 'Empire' is a ticket to professionalism. This album has a soul, a style that the previous one didn't have. With its flawless production, 'Empire' is a real goldmine, a kind of bridge between heavy metal and classic hard rock. In its genre, this album has long been an exception that everyone now needs to rediscover.

Report this review (#96901)
Posted Thursday, November 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This was Chris DeGarmo's project really, and he decided that the last thing he wanted to do was another concept album or even the hint of a concept album. So there would be no theme to this record either. This is simply a collection of great to good songs that standup well on their own. This would be their biggest selling release thanks mostly to MTV who aired their videos repeatedly. I didn't have MTV back then but I certainly heard some of these songs on the radio. I admit i'm a sucker for melodic, guitar driven metal. Tate especially shines on this recording.

"Best I Can" is a song about overcoming handicaps. The song opens with samples and a keyboard line before a full blown sound arrives. This is an uptempo rocker ! The synths work well and the guitar is killer after 3 minutes. "The Thin Line" is a let down after such a great start. I like the chorus but not so much the verses. "Jet City Woman" is much maligned, but I like it. The vocals on the chorus are really good. The bass is also good throughout while we are treated to a blistering guitar solo late. "Della Brown" is a song about poverty and regret. The bass is very prominant while the guitar melodies sound like they are bouncing around everywhere, very atmospheric. They sound amazing! "Another Rainy Night" is a commercial sounding tune all the way.

"Empire" is about the age that we live in, that is all about instant gratification. This is the heaviest track, a powerful song with screaming guitar 4 minutes in. "Resistance" is about the damage we are doing to our planet, but musically this is my least favourite song on the album. "Silent Lucidity" starts off lyrically with the bad dreams that children sometimes have and developes from there.This is head and shoulders the best song on the record. Acoustic guitar, strings and gentle vocals as the song builds to an emotional and uplifting high. Simply beautiful ! Back in February of 1991 I was at work when I received a call from my mom telling me that my dad had just died. I got my coat and got into my truck to drive home, I was numb. About ten minutes into the drive I turned on the radio and this song was just starting to play. The words were so meaningful to me at the time, and this song has always brought my dad to my mind. It's always been a good feeling when this song comes on, despite the circumstances that it reminds me of. Words like "I-will be watching over you" and "I-am smiling next to you..." can't help but make me feel good about my dad.

"Hand On My Heart" is saved by the late heroics of DeGarmo and Wilton. "One And Only" features more tremendous guitar from those two guys and the bass is quite heavy late. "Anybody Listening ?" is the longest song on the album and one of the better ones too. The contrasts between the heavy and mellow passages are great. I really like the mellow sections.The song seems to smolder for a while until it breaks out into a raging fire of guitar. One of the bonus tracks "Scarborough Fair" is so well done ! I really like when they step it up a notch 1 1/2 minutes in. I'm sure Simon and Garfunkel would be proud. Haha.

For me this is one of their top four records. And it does have sentimental value to me as well. Sure there are some songs(3 or 4) I could do without,but this is a strong release, and a worthy addition to your metal collection. Barely 4 stars.

Report this review (#131760)
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the best albums from the '90

Again Queensryche did a great job with this album. More hard rock combined with AOR, but with a touch of prog, made Queensryche to sold millions worlwide, maybe and for sure because of the hit single Silent lucidity. To me is a damn good album, not only Silent lucidity but all of the tracks are super, specialy Della Brown and Anybody listning?, amazing. In the end so what if Empire is a little more mainstream, I still found it to be a very enjoyable listen. I think its one of Queensryche's better releases and I would definitely consider it essential for anyone interested in Queensryche, and not only. Recommended without any hesitation. 4 stars.

Report this review (#137955)
Posted Thursday, September 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars What a letdown this was after the fabulous Operation Mindcrime. Empire is not a bad album but it lacks some balls if you ask me. Some of the songs even had a hardrock feeling to them ( which Queensryche would pursue even further on later releases), which I don´t find suiting.

The production is godly and everything sounds clear. The guitar sound which wasn´t the best on Operation Mindcrime is really good here too bad the riffs are not.

The album sold very well because of the Hit single Silent Lucidity which is to my surprise one of the songs on the album I actually like along with numbers like Best I can and The Thin Line.

I don´t find this album to be essential in any way, but objectively seen this deserves 4 stars for being well produced, incredibly professional sounding and well composed. Subjectively this is one of my least favoured Queensryche albums and I only think it deserves 3 stars.

Report this review (#148034)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Queensryche - 'Empire' 3.5 stars

When a band reaches a landmark album album, such as Queensryche's 'Operation Mindcrime', makes it very hard to create a follow-up. 'Empire' was a far different album, for good, they decided not to try the same sound. The negative to that, was Queensryche weren't really Queensryche anymore.

One of the reasons this album wasn't another masterpiece was because of the change in Geoff Tate's vocals. His energy was essential to the band's sound, without his over the top vocals and broad range, it felt like things just weren't the same. Complimentary to this, Chris DeGarmo's guitar work wasn't over the top either; there was more of a simple hard rock sound rather than metal, or an artistic metal at that. Those two criteria resulted in a mostly watered down and bland work. The band was able to touch up a bit on some old classics with songs like 'Best I Can' and 'Another Rainy Night'. This album also contains Queenryche's best known song called 'Silent Lucidity'. I'll admit it is a good song and had the potential to be big on the radio, which it did, but it really sounded like a Queenryche plays Floyd song. Regardless, they did do a nice job arranging a song with a lot of radio potential and succeed.

This album holds some good numbers, so it is still worthy of 3 stars. If you already heard Mindcrime, look backwards from there before you go forward, otherwise it will be a big disappointment.

Report this review (#190681)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Queensryche was perhaps my favorite band when this album came out and I bought it at midnight when it was released. I listened to it too many times to count and even liked it to a certain degree. To be sure it was not the brilliance of Mindcrime, but it was much more coherent and listenable in its entirety than some of its progenitors like the Warning. It has the very derivative and huge hit Silent Lucidity which everyone and his brothier (including me) learned to play on guitar, it has Della Brown which harkened back, weakly, to the drama of previous rainy slow burners like Lady Wore Black or even Suite Sister Mary. It was not the best of Queensryche's work, but it was the breakthrough album that allowed a headlining tour that included Mindcrime in its entirety.

Despite that, it is probably the weakest of the albums that are worth owning (s/t EP through Promised Land). Tate's vocals are strong, the guitar work is good, but there's very little risk or adventure. The follow up album, Promised Land continues with the polish, but takes more chances and offers more rewards.

All that said, this is an enjoyable album to listen to. All of the songs are good, the production and sound are strong. Perfect example of a 3-star album.

Report this review (#198387)
Posted Saturday, January 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Empire' - Queensryche (7/10)

First off, this is a good album. Secondly however, it's nothing like the Queensryche seen on earlier material such as 'Rage For Order' and 'Operation: Mindcrime.' Despite being labelled as a progressive metal band, Queensryche has released an album that is much better described as hard rock as opposed to full out metal, and only has a faint smattering of progressive influences. However, if you look past the seemingly commercial feeling this album has for the most part, you'll find an album with an absolutely smashing first side, and a compilation of some great rockers.

Like most commercial albums, there is little focus on the album as a whole, but instead a plight to squeeze out a few really memorable songs. In that respect, 'Empire' certainly acheives it's initial goal. 'Silent Lucidity' is the song that the world outside of progressive music knows Queensryche for. It's one of the most beautiful songs in modern rock, and everything fits in perfectly. Each note is accounted for, and blends in heart melting harmony.

The only real prog-song on here is 'Della Brown' which is a great song, although I'd rather listen to a dose of 'Mindcrime' anyday. Despite the album's feeling of only being a 'group of songs,' there seems to be a common lyrical theme of sorts, about the state of the streets (homelessness, crime, drugs) which is quite profound for hard rock music.

As far as song quality goes, the songs are all very good and memorable, with the exception of 'Resistance,' 'Hand On Heart,' and 'One And Only' which aren't necessarily bad songs persay, but they're utterly forgettable and kiss any chance goodbye this album might have had in terms of 'flow.' The first half of 'Empire' is pristine, though.

'Empire' is not an album for a hardcore metal-roots fan; and some may be very dissapointed by the route Queensryche chose to take with this, but while it's essentially nothing more than hard rock, it's honestly better than 95% of the hard rock that's out there to begin with. Four stars.

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Posted Sunday, March 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Game Point, nobody wins.

Queensryche's follow up to Their masterpiece Operation: Mindcrime. Some people even say that THIS is their masterpiece. I will have to kindly disagree, even though this is a very solid effort. One thing I noticed was the general gutting of most of the songs, in favor of a catchy mid tempo melodic metal sound. I also seem to have noticed how this has been the Queensryche staple for years afterward. Most of the songs are average melodic metal, and don't seem to challenge, but the highlights of the album make up for some of the samey mid tempo rock songs (like Best I can, one and only, hand on heart...etc.) The title track is a furious metal piece with hypnotic riff effects and politically inspired audio clips. The lyrics to the album aren't amazing, but in the albums standouts seem to be excellent. Then you have the ballad Silent Lucidity with excellent lyrics, hypnotic orchestration, and a very Pink Floyd feel. It is a shame that most of the album (Empire, Anybody Listening?, Silent Lucidity, Jet City Woman, Thin Line, Della Brown, Another Rainy Night) Has to be some of the best music Queensryche have recorded, while it is let down by One and Only, hand on heart, best I can, and resistance which are just mediocre MTV mid tempo melodic metal. (tongue Twister?) If it weren't for these few songs, I'd have no problem whatsoever in giving this album 5 stars...

As it stands, this is another excellent but not quite essential release from Queensryche, and the start of a road that seems littered with the brand of weak melodic metal... Four out of Five Stars.

Report this review (#208763)
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Empire was my first approach with Queensryche and I was a huge fan of death metal at the time. But I still could appreciate softer metal work if it was really good. So Empire IS good. I listened to this album a lot in early 90's but I discovered it again full decade later. And you know what? It was totally different album then. It makes me feel that Empire is good enough for kids and good enough for adults. Before I mention some songs I must say that production of this record is very clear. It's much clearer than on band's previous release and it's hard to believe the same producer was involved in that. Of course it's not a bad thing. It just fits for these tracks because they sound more optimistic even though most of these songs talk about lost love. Best I Can is very optimistic tune with lyrics about guy on wheelchair who tries to live his life like he was fit. But Jet City Woman, The Thin Line, Another Rainy Night or Hand On Heart talk about love and missing. I simply love these songs cos they are very emotional. They are not over-complicated but still not mellow. It's just perfect. Vocals in The Thin Line amazes me because Geoff shows how deep his voice is. I think he's much better singer than Bruce Dickinson and easily can reach 4 octaves. He's vocal god I swear. Almost every song on Empire is masterpiece and the album ends with gloomy ballad Anybody Listening? which is something like showing direction for the next release fans had to wait 4 years for. Empire spawned few hit singles and hit Billboard 200 reaching position 7. Good album to start adventure with Queensryche. Masterpiece.
Report this review (#215656)
Posted Thursday, May 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars After the success of Operation: Mindcrime the band decided to go in a direction of a more commercial sound which was supposed to please both the critics and fans.

Empire is probably the most accessible release to date in Queensrÿche's catalog with song highlights like Best I Can, Empire, Another Rainy Night and Silent Lucidity. Personally I've always considered it an easy was out of writing a strong follow-up album to Operation: Mindcrime but I really can't blame this album for the lack of material. Having said that I still don't see the greatness of Jet City Woman and it really made no sense seeing the band perform it as the final track during their Operation : Mindcrime II-tour.

I'm sure that fans of Queensrÿche's other albums will find at least a few good tracks on Empire but that's pretty much it. The final product is a good, but non-essential release.

***** star songs: Another Rainy Night (Without You) (4:29)

**** star songs: Best I Can (5:34) The Thin Line (5:43) Empire (5:24) Resistance (4:51) Silent Lucidity (5:48) Hand On Heart (5:33) One And Only (5:54) Anybody Listening? (7:41)

*** star songs: Jet City Woman (5:22) Della Brown (7:04)

Total rating: 3,88

Report this review (#255722)
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Following their highly praised Operation: Mindcrime, all eyes were on Queensryche to deliver another masterful conceptual journey that could build upon what they had done before. Granted, it would be hard for any band to deliver under the pressure from fans and the media after releasing arguably their masterwork to the world, what creative juices are left that weren't forced into their greatest effort to date?

So here we have Empire and straight from the off there are some clear observations made; one: it's not a concept album, and, two: it's not really all that progressive. On the first note, it has been thought to have been conceptual, or at least partly conceptual with the presence of sound effects and voice-over acting during the opening tracks, however Geoff Tate himself corrected these claims in a recent interview with Metal Hammer, so it isn't. And as for the musical aspect, is it prog? Well, slightly.

Let's begin with the opening track, Best I Can. It's by far one of the finest Queensryche songs to date, an upbeat punch-the-air anthem that gets the album off to a flying start and hints on some form of concept with the choir intro and strange voices creating a mysterious atmosphere. However, down to the bone it's really a melodic rock anthem, with the majority of the record following suit. Indeed it appears that Queensryche have gone commercial with Empire, it contains all the ingredients of a mainstream multi-platinum record, but with something else thrown in. It isn't all as predictable as it may sound; for instance, tracks such as Della Brown and Anybody listening have the classic Queensryche element of experimentation, well, albeit slightly akin to the previous epics such as The Warning's Roads to Madness. So it's a relief that they aren't afraid to stretch tracks to over seven minutes with mid song changes and the like, it's this that keeps Empire's head bobbing above the water and from becoming consumed with the trademark mainstream sound that, unfortunately, later albums would fall victim to.

The heart of the record is in their hit single Silent Lucidity in where lies a truly magical ballad that sounds as though it has been taken straight from Pink Floyd's The Final Cut. It's got the brass orchestration and the tinge of bleak atmospherics combined with an element of elevation come the chorus. It almost feels slightly out of place with the rest of the album, especially when compared with the rather dismal Another Rainy Night (Without You) which sounds remarkably like Rick Astley's infamous Never Gonna Give You Up, truly bizarre.

Yet, within Empire is a fine collection of song, including some rather strong ones as well. Jet City Woman seems to have taken quite a liking to by fans, but it's not as good as Best I Can, the title track full-blown hair anthems, Hand on Hear and Resistance. Tracks such as The Thin Line and One and Only are enjoyable, yet lack the same punch and heaviness found elsewhere. So it's a mixed goody bag of an album, you'll find Floyd-esque ballads and hair anthems, an interesting and enjoyable listen.

Top Three Tracks:

1) Silent Lucidity 2) Best I Can 3) Empire

Report this review (#259038)
Posted Sunday, January 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Inventing clinchés

The early history of this fantastic band from Seattle confuses itself very much with the history of progressive metal itself. It is undeniable that much of Queensrÿche output (if not all of it) from 1983 to 1994 (roughly ten years) helped to define what progressive metal really is and how it should sound like and this particuar album, in some aspects in more ways than Operation: Mindcrime, is the leader on that matter.

Empire was the first commercially successful progressive metal album and had a huge imparct in the whole genre. With a considerably more radio friendly sound the album reached most of the people that did progressive metal back in the early 90's and as a result, even 20 years after the release of Empire, echoes of this album can still be heard from many artists (if not most). But that is not only it: due to the considerably less complex songs, much of the album's style was mimed or used as a blueprint for the music of other bands, resulting in a very large amount of songs from many different artists that sound closely to what this album sounds like, meaning that much of Empire became clichés of progressive metal.

Regarding the songs, musicianship and related features

Fortunately, unlike some other albums influeced by it, Empire is not tiresome nor sounds like that same old thing, maily because it brougt to light the kind of styles that were later known as a being a commonplace to the genre, meaning that the diversity of what is in the album helpes to supplement the deficiency in song development.

Another interesting thing that many people pointed as a negative feature (if not here in ProgArchives, in other places throughout the internet), is that this albums sounds way too much as something from the 90's, that it is way too dated. As true as that statement is, I cannot deceive: I really like this kind of sound and, in my opinion, it is a very positive feature of this album.

The highlights go to: Best I Can, Della Brown, Empire, Silent Lucidity, Hand On Heart and Anybody Listening?.

Grade and final thoughts

It is impossible not to note Empire's importance for progressive metal. However, I would like to, in my review, to consider more the music heavily. The music by itself isn't very special, as long as prog is concerned, but its cachyness and the balance of the album as a whole compensate that lack very well.

Because of its importance and the good music it contains, 4 stars for Empire.

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Posted Sunday, January 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars "Empire" is a solid Queensryche album with some of their best material. The metal is subdued and not as aggressive as other albums but Tate's vocals are up to scratch and powerful at times, and he knows how to belt out a soft metal ballad such as Another Rainy Night (Without You). The Band are united on this and some great killer riffs are present such as Best I Can and Jet City Woman. Silent Lucidity is quite a popular Queensryche song and has an infectious hook in the chorus. The lead breaks are soaring and well executed. One and Only is a powerful track with great lyrics and Anybody Listening? Is emotionally driven and melodic choruses drive the album to a close. This is not the best QR album of course as that honour belongs to "Operation Mindcrime" but I like "Empire" as a relaxing way to spend an evening with some metal edge and powerful vocals. 3 stars.
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Posted Sunday, June 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Queensryche was touring the European rock and metal festivals in July 2010. They got slots around the middle of the bills. They were not headliners, but not on the bottom of bills either. How times has changed since 1990.

Queensryche's stocks is though rising with a new album which is supposed to be a massive improvement on the mediocre albums they released at the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the nougtsies. I sincerely hope their stock is rising because a band who once released an album like Empire has proven that they are a truly great band.

Empire is one of these albums where almost everything is right. Yes, it has some naffness from the 1980s too. Yes, it also have too much AOR leanings to my liking. And I really detest AOR like I detest pest & plague. But the songs here also has this great Queensryche trademark stamp all over it too. Good guitar solos, fantastic vocals, twisted melody lines and this wonderful blend of heavy metal and symphonic prog nobody else has ever manage to copy.

Empire from 1990 is one of their two truly great albums. Maybe it is their best album too. Their other great album is Operation Mindcrime. An album with some fantastic songs and some not so fantastic songs. The follow up album Empire, the one I am supposed to review here, is a more balanced album with no fillers, but no fantastic tracks too. The quality is great throughout though. Silent Lucidity is close to be a fantastic song though and one of the best power ballads ever written. Other highlights here is the title track, Jet City Woman and the hypnotic Della Brown. The rest of the songs here is great too.

I rate this album very highly and I have no problems giving out a four star to it.

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Posted Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
2 stars I'm not fluent in German but is this band's name supposed to mean a feminine version of Reich? If so, is it supposed to have an umlaut over the 'y'? Just wondering. This is my favourite Queensryche album. It was the band's most commercially successful album. I never could get into Operation: Mindcrime. Never understood why that album was so popular. This one had some great singles on it. The only pre-Empire song I really liked was their cover of Dalbello's "Gonna Get Close To You". I know they have way proggier albums than this, but Empire is where I get on and off the cruise ship Queensryche.

First off, a lot of the music on here sounds like '80s Rush meets Hair Metal. Everything screams: "This Was Made In The Late Nineteen Eighties!!!". The vocal samples are pretty cool. Choice of keyboard and guitar sounds not so much. "Silent Lucidity" is a ripoff of "Comfortably Numb". It's still a good song. My favourite song was always the title track. Love the middle section. The most interesting musical moment happens at the end of "The Thin Line". Nice guitar and keyboard there. At the beginning of "Della Brown" you hear a sample I know I've heard elsewhere. You hear some guy say in New Yorkese: "Ya f_in' bum". That exact same sample is in Anthrax's 1991 remake of their own song "I'm The Man". I wonder where it comes from.

"Jet City Woman" and "Another Rainy Night(Without You)" are great pop-metal singles. "Resistance" really sounds like '80s Rush. I always liked the first half better than the second half(I still have this on cassette). Never did hear the follow up Promised Land. By the time it came out I was listening to NIN, Smashing Pumpkins and Dr.Dre. Not much prog here. 2 stars.

Report this review (#306067)
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Queensryche never sounded better on "Empire". From beginning to end, this is a great album helped along with the production of Peter Collins. From prog.metal to progressive rock came "Empire". I could care less if this was on MTV or it sold the world over; this is the "ryche" at their peak. Highly melodic and effortless. "Della Brown" is an atmospheric beauty with deep bass. A great tester for a new stereo system. "Resistance" is very Rush-like and would not sound out of place on Rush's "Hold Your Fire" from 3 years prior. The ending for "One And Only" reminds me of the direction King Crimson would take in the '00s whether intentional or not; it's a little ahead of its time. Somewhat like Rush's "Moving Pictures", I could not listen to this album for the longest time after playing it to death. It's hard to believe that this album is over 20 years old at the time of my writing this review. It stands up well along with "Promised Land" as its dark companion. A masterpiece of '90s rock music with progressive overtones. Just because it's accessible does not make it any less important in your prog.rock collection. Don't resist, just take the ride and enjoy.
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Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Empire represents undoubtedly a very good mix between hard rock, pop and prog; a work that was able to capture a wide audience at the time and also succeeded in withstanding the test of time quite well. I also have very pleasant memories regarding this album which formed the soundtrack of a very "hot" and crazy summer in 1991 on a beach in Tuscany (where I live). Among all the tracks in the album, all of good quality, the one I still listen with deep longing is "Silent Lucidity" that I consider being one of the (if not the) most beautiful rock ballads ever written. I strongly recommend this album that represents the greatest achievement of the band together with "Operation Mindcrime", two excellent hits that the band unfortunately was no longer able to match afterwards. My final rating is: 4 stars.

Report this review (#560868)
Posted Tuesday, November 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars Gaining huge popularity with the success of OPERATION: MINDCRIME that actually spawned a few MTV hits, I guess it was inevitable that the scope of that project burned them out and QUEENSRYCHE decided to make a light and less complex follow-up to their intense rock opera. Overall it's less impressive on every level. There is no unified theme or concept. Geoff Tate's vocals have less range and passion. The songs are a mixed bag with some being much more interesting than others. Chris DeGarmo was the man behind this album and he steered the mighty musical vessel firmly into the Billboard charts with catchy less progressive tunes that MTV played to death. They even scored a top 10 hit with 'Silent Lucidity.'

This is one of those albums that I don't love but have to admit that I do like many tracks. If some of the filler was trimmed off it might actually be an excellent album albeit inferior to the previous releases. I'm particularly fond of 'The Thin Line,' 'Resistance,' 'Hand On Heart,' 'Anybody Listening?' and the title track. The rest is actually ok but pretty weak if you think of QUEENSRYCHE as even remotely progressive metal. I haven't listened to this in quite some and it brings back memories of the 90s and all and serves that purpose but if I have to rate this on the music alone and trying to judge its merit on a timeless basis then I just don't think this release qualifies to be overly praised, however they do succeed in keeping this album just interesting enough that I wouldn't want to throw it out of my collection either.

Report this review (#1146604)
Posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | Review Permalink

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