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Queensr˙che - Empire CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.81 | 464 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
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 controversial 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.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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