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Queensr˙che The Warning album cover
3.70 | 326 ratings | 30 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Warning (4:43)
2. En Force (5:13)
3. Deliverance (3:17)
4. No Sanctuary (6:02)
5. NM 156 (4:35)
6. Take Hold Of The Flame (4:54)
7. Before The Storm (4:27)
8. Child Of Fire (5:17)
9. Roads To Madness (9:38)

Total Time: 48:06

Bonus tracks on 2003 EMI remaster:
10. Prophecy (4:00)
11. The Lady Wore Black (Live *) (5:23)
12. Take Hold Of The Flame (Live $) (5:04)

* Recorded at The Astoria Theatre, London, England 10/20/94.
$ Recorded 5/10-12/91 at Madison & LaCrosse, WI.

Line-up / Musicians

- Geoff Tate / lead & backing vocals
- Michael Wilton / guitars (lead on 8), backing vocals
- Chris DeGarmo / guitars (lead on 5), backing vocals
- Eddie Jackson / bass, backing vocals
- Scott Rockenfield / drums, percussion

- Michael Kamen / orchestral arranger & conductor

Releases information

Artwork: Matt Bazemore

LP EMI America ‎- ST-17134 (1984, US)

CD EMI-Manhattan Records ‎- CDP 7 46557 2 (1987, US)
CD EMI 72435-80527-2-5 (2003, Europe) 24-bit remaster by Evren Göknar w/ 3 bonus tracks

NOTE: The track running order that the band wanted and wasn't adopted is: 5,2,3,4,6,7,8,1 & 9

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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QUEENSRYCHE The Warning ratings distribution

(326 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

QUEENSRYCHE The Warning reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marc Baum
5 stars And so it came to pass; the full length debut of Queensr˙che. "The Warning" does not disappoint as a debut and wastes no time in kicking off their thoughtful, journeying musical and lyrical ideals which would eventually gain them the status of one of the most respected progressive metal bands around. In a nutshell, this album is somewhat Iron Maiden styled metal with a much darker, more socially aware, and sometimes futuristic twist. There is good twin guitar work with a lot of leads, simple but effective drum playing with a small trace of double bass, and the superb operatic vocals of Geoff Tate, but rather then concentrating on a riff/solo/instrumental splendour kind of approach, Queensr˙che typically aims for overall song melody and atmosphere on The Warning, and usually comes away with excellent results. Lyrically, the album deals with an array of cold, darkly tinted subjects including the dangers of computer technology (a'la Blade Runner or the Terminator movies), futuristic prophecy and war, and madness. The often menacing feeling, and coldly dark vibe of the music - sometimes enhanced by tasteful clean guitar parts within quieter passages - brings out the lyrical ideas perfectly and vice versa, showing that Queensr˙che were masters of the songwriting craft even early on.

Most of the songs here are pretty enthralling and show a real good sense of variation for the most part, though mainly sticking to the band's meat-and-potatoes metal roots. The opening title track jumps out at you with Geoff's melodic half-shout of "Warning!" putting reverb to good use as the band opens up with a mid/slow paced crunch, showcasing creative drumwork and a solid backbone for the vocal and bass drum driven chorus. "En Force" and "Deliverance" are both very good, albeit somewhat generic melodic metal songs - though the R˙chean creativity still shines in the closing soft outro of the latter. It's with the album's lone ballady piece, "No Sanctuary" (an old favorite of Maiden's Steve Harris while on tour with the R˙che, for you trivia buffs) that the album starts getting well above average. The clean guitar and drum work conjures a classy, dark ambience topped by the intense vocals. Tate's voice shows slight non completion in the delivery department on some of The Warning, but not in No Sanctuary, as his flawless combination of dramatic flair and opera-esque technique drive the sad ballad home, especially in the huge chorus, the song serving as an excellent blueprint statement of the band's individual style of songwriting. "NM 156" follows as one of the strongest and also the most progressive song on the album, from Geoff Tate's robotic sounding opening line, "Machines have no conscience.", the frantic, paranoid pace of the song and the unique, mechanical sounding vocal structure is completely gripping from beginning to end. The lyrical idea of man being assimilated into machine by a one-government order is brilliantly conveyed - especially in 1984 when The Warning was released - with lines like "One world government has outlawed war among nations/Now social control requires population termination." and the chorus, "Have we come too far to turn around/Does emotion hold the key/Is logic just a synonym for this savagery/Disguised in forgotten lost memory". Amazing song. "Take Hold of the Flame follows", and is another one of the best the album has to offer, doubling as a live favorite. The opening clean riff is haunting, as is Tate's absolutely flawless singing in the lower to high ranges, which propels the song into an early climax leading into the anthemic, uplifting verses and choruses. "Before the Storm" and "Child of Fire" slow the album down a bit, however, tending to be mixtures of filler and flashes of excellence, before album closer, the monumental, dramatical metal mini opera "Roads to Madness". Roads to Madness is the longest song on The Warning at 9 minutes and deals deeply with Geoff Tate's personal experience with mental illness with well arranged parts such as, "Most of this is memory now/I've gone too far to turn back around/I'm not quite what I thought I was/But then again.. I'm maybe more" and "I'm a fool in search of wisdom/And I'm on the road to madness", the latter being part of the soaring second chorus that paves the way for a series of instrumental breakdowns that are more than competant, but sometimes a bit sloppy. Guest conductor Michael Kamen arranges the strings and orchestral parts on the song, but unfortunately with their minimal use they don't seem to reach their potential or enhance the song by much, which is a bit of a shame.

As it goes with full length debuts, there usually seem to be a fair amount of kinks still to be worked out within the band's music, but Queensr˙che has less then most on The Warning. The band flexes their visionary muscles a decent deal on this solid at worst, chilling, creative and inspiring at best release.

One of the very most important progressive metal albums, since it's not the very first prog metal album (Culprit's Guilty As Charged was released in 1983), it's the first prog metal concept album and it inspired hordes of bands and remains as a early classic of the genre. TW is not perfect, but an album that truely deserves the milestone-bonus. For that reason alone it's essential to any collection of melodic/progressive metal.

album rating: 9.5/10 points = 95 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars QUEENSRYCHE is a metal band who does not sound like those American bands at all. On this record, the compositions are more sophisticated, and this is serious metal, not party metal. There are smoother parts with distortion-free electric guitar and background keyboards. The guitar sound is good, razor enough, but does not sound extremely aggressive. the drums are a bit slow, and the bass could be more present. Tate's good voice is still constantly in the high notes.
Review by Prog-jester
4 stars A hair-metal band (judging from videos on MTV), with obvious genre's cliches and immature musicians, you may think. Stop here, I'll free you from your illusions. Way better than any release from FATES WARNING or even IRON MAIDEN (as for 1980-1985 period), "The Warning" has serious arguments to get named as the First Prog-Metal Album: complex signatures, ever-changing moods, skilful arrangements instead of pompous riffing, etc. With songs like "Take Hold of a Flame", "No Sanctuary" and surely "Roads to Madness", a 9-min long closing epic, QUEENSRYCHE managed to release one of their best albums and one of the grounding stone albums for Progressive Metal Hall of Fame. Highly recommended!
Review by The Crow
4 stars A good album, but it's obvious that the band is still immature. Geoff Tate doesn't has his voice's torrent under control yet, and the songs are very similar between them. Nevertheless, the instrumental work is great... The production is good too, but far from the greatness of "Operation: Mindcrime" or "Empire", their two best works in my opinion.

"The Warning" has a lot of influence by bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. But in songs like No Sanctuary (with a good orchestration by Michael Kamen...), the powerful Before the Storm and the dramatic Roads To Madness (almost ten minutes of innovative metal compositions because we are talking of a 1984's release...) we can hear an example of something wich in a future would be called progressive metal. For that, this album has very importance because its originality and anticipation, clearly surpassing another contemporary groups anchored in the NWOBHM.

A visionary album from one of the most influential bands of all times.

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It's 1984, and the NWOBHM is in it's dying gasps as thrash metal spreads its tentacles around the globe - in the world of metal, at least. Marillion have re-invented Prog Rock, and a flock of worthy followers - including many of the old school - fly the prog flag, albeit underground.

It's into this arena that Queensryche present "The Warning" - an album that completely passed me by as being of no consequence - interesting, but that was about it, compared to the competition.

Now, more than 20 years later, I discover the entire Queensryche back catalogue in the bargain bin in my local vinyl shop, and decide to re-discover them. First impressions were very good, I must say - but then I realised it was almost entirely veneer, and I was led to spin my old NWOBHM albums to satisfy my curiosity - where did those riffs and sounds come from?

It's a bit unfair to label this album as "only heavy metal", because the whole ideology of the NWOBHM was originally based around a mixture of headbanging rockers, anthemic stadium chants, diamond hard ballads and a raft of ideas in between with every chance given to each musician to show off his musical prowess in a kind of "mine's bigger than yours" testosterone-fuelled axe-splintering, skin-pounding and tonsil-twanging competition that has little to do with Prog Rock, but was healthy encouragement to self-improvement and music progression.

"The Warning" fulfils most of the NWOBHM ideals, but overall sacrifices "balls" to a more "intellectual" form of member comparison - the challenge here seems to be in the precision and the added pretentiousness - there is a complete lack of self send-up and experimentation in direction that the NWOBHM bands were so fond of: The direction is set - almost cast in stone before it's begun, and never deviates from the path of straight rock song structures with a baffling array of fills and chops. Hey - if you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance...

The opening "Warning" vocal harmonies lead straight into music that could have come from any one of a large number of NWOBHM bands, with strong Judas Priest and Iron Maiden influences from the chugging riffs to the vocals, which come in somewhere between Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson. For more invention in metal from around this time (almost 4 years earlier, in fact) check out Def Leppard's "Overture" on the album "On Through The Night".

There is a marked difference here, with attention to detail worthy of Diamond Head - although without the sheer originality. The riff changes are pleasing in the extended bridge, but the solo is without direction, boring and noodly. In its defence, it is razor-sharp and perfectly within the harmonic base.

En force has the addition of a tubular bell, re-inforcing the Diamond Head link - and to some extent, Iron Maiden. The riff that follows is almost pure Maiden... and so it goes on.

Deliverance shows some glimmerings of originality, if you can get over the uncanny 1976 Judas Priest soundalike riffs and vocals; The bass and drum section are nice and tight, and occasionally do their own thing, and there are some interesting vocal effects and use of riff fragments in a leitmotif manner - but sadly these details tend to be lost in the overall NWOBHM feel.

Let us not forget that NWOBHM as a genre was progressive by nature, early pieces dominated by "showoffmanship" in terms of borrowing from "Classical" music and grandiose lyrical themes combined with the desire to prove that the music was not just about headbanging. Whether this was successful or not is neither here nor there...

"No Sanctuary", then is not such a departure, with its softer, more progressive feel - perhaps due to the somewhat Marillion meets (Dio) Black Sabbath feel that the band seem to be trying to aim at. The Kamen orchestration is sparse, light in nature and somewhat cheesey, and while it certainly lends a more unusual edge, it does not compete with the huge, otherwordly symphonic sound obtained by Diamond Head on tracks like "To The Devil His Due".

"NM156" appears to start with Hawkwind style spacey noises, and Tate adopts a different voice strategy that provides the first real touch of uniqueness for Queensryche as a band. Is the "Punch, punch, punch" an oblique credit to Marillion?

Whatever, the song progresses back in the Judas Priest vein, with razor sharp precision in the twin lead guitar attack, made slightly cloying by the refusal to attempt anything complex in terms of harmony - and sounding a lot like some of the moments in Metallica's "Creeping Death", of the same year, or, perhaps, Iron Maiden's "Running Free".

"Take Hold of the Flame" sounds like a long-forgotten Def Leppard out take, "Before the Storm" shows a more concerted effort to produce off-kilter riffs and rhythmic diversions in what is quite clearly an extension of the Maiden/Priest ethic - with a very interesting chord change towards the end that segues into "Child of Fire", which shows far more Diamond Head style progressiveness before the Maiden riffs kick in.

So "Roads to Madness" - more of the same, or a long-lost 9 and a half minute epic?

There's no doubt that the arrangement details are original - but this is all gravy. The "meat" is another borrowed riff, this time it's Diamond Head's capacious coffers that are plundered. The extensiveness of the details, however, make this a piece of metal that stands out from the crowd - at last, something that feels truly progressive; Progressive enough to make you realise that there's almost nothing new being done in 21st century metal outside soloing speed, thrash techniques and sharp production - in case you hadn't already cottoned on.

If it wasn't for the fact that Priest, Leppard, Maiden, Diamond Head (not to mention Marillion) et all had already blazed the trail, I would be very tempted to say that here is where Prog metal begins. It isn't - but it's the most significant step towards Progressive Metal since the early pioneers - outside of what Metallica were doing.

Progressive with a small "p", and mainly for fans of NWOBHM, but significant in that it clearly carries some of the seeds of Prog Metal. An enjoyable album, but one that wears thin quite quickly because of all the recycled ideas and lack of real melodic invention or anything really memorable.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. The combination of Geoff Tate's vocals, and the twin lead guitar attack of Wilton and DeGarmo is what makes this one of the better Prog-Metal debuts i've heard. These guys from Seattle were always a little different then your typical Metal band. They went outside of the genre they were in to get James Guthrie to produce their first studio album. He had produced PINK FLOYD in the past, and agreed to produce "The Warning". As a side note the band chose Michael Kamen to do the orchestration on the song "Roads To Madness" he did the orchestration on "The Wall" for PINK FLOYD.

So as much as this is pretty much a straight up Metal album with a resemblance to IRON MAIDEN, there was some twists in this one, like on "NM 156" with mechanical-like vocals and staccato guitars, creating a futuristic sound. The title track is a melodic song that is vocal oriented until after 3 minutes when we have a guitar solo. "Deliverance" is an uptempo song with passionate vocals and some scorching guitars."No Sanctuary" is a slow but heavy tune. "Take Hold Of The Flame" is a QUEENSRYCHE anthem, a concert favourite. "Before The Storm" is MAIDEN sounding with some good bass work throughout. "Child Of Fire" opens heavily and has tempo changes and great guitar. "Roads To Madness" may be the best of the lot !

Excellent debut !

Review by 1800iareyay
3 stars Queensr˙che's full length debut (their eponymous EP was already making waves) hit in 1984 and lid the foundations for progressive metal. To me, Geoff Tate is the greatest singer in heavy metal. The man took the Rob Halford screams and gave them emotion besides rage. The Warning is a very solid album, especially for a debut, but it is not the ideal starting point for newcomers.

The album opens with its title track, with reverb-soaked vocals that might be annoying on anyone else's album (see AC/DC's atrocious late 80s output, it sounded like they recorded in a well) but work great with Geoff. It a rather anthemic piece filled with the fantasy lyrics of power metal.

En Force keeps the momentum going with great guitar play from Michael and Chris. The song takes too many cues from Maiden, which isn't a bad thing, it's just not as original as later works.

Deliverance is another track with Geoff's soaring vocals and fantasy lyrics.

No Sanctuary shows the band pulling loose from its influences. A great ballad, it shows how well the band can craft beautiful songs (see Silent Lucidity)

NM 156 continues the band's venture into originality with its proto-industrial musings on the threat of machines. It's a testament to the band that they could pull that ludicrous subject matter off without a hitch.

Take Hold of the Flame is Geoff Tate's finest vocal performance. Ever. The song starts with a his mid tempo semi-whisper over a clean guitar. The song builds to a crescendo and the band comes in with a bang The song takes Geoff's soaring vocals to another level.

Before the Storm features another one of Geoff's best performances with its addictive chorus that rises with each repeat. After you listen to this song I can almost guarantee you be singing "Before the storm, before the storm, before the storm, oh oh oh"

Child of Fire combines Diamond Head with Maiden and shows the band slipping back into the shadow of its forefathers.

Roads to Madness is the most progressive track on this disc and it is a great way to close the album. One of Geoff's top 5 performances, he adds a sense of agony and despair to his vocals. The song is a nine minute journey with sudden time changes, incredible vocals, and a fine display from each member of the band.

The Warning is an assured debut but shoddy production (which has since been rectified) hampered the album. The band had yet to become the creative force they now are and they never strayed too far from Iron maiden and Diamond Head, which I believe keeps this from being a perfect album. Queensr˙che are a prog metal band, but they had not yet embraced this. Rage For Order showed them delving deeper into prog, but it would take a band from Connecticut called Fates Warning to truly establish prog metal and to raise the bar for Queensr˙che, who mastered prog with their magnum opus Operation Mindcrime. For beginners, pick up Operation Mindcrime, Promised Land, Rage For Order, and Empire. If you like what you hear, give this a spin.

Grade: C+

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "The Warning" is the debut full-length studio by US power/heavy metal act Queensr˙che. The album was released through EMI Records in September 1984. Queensr˙che was formed in 1981 as The Mob, but changed their name to Queensr˙che in 1983, which is also the monicker which was used when releasing the "Queensr˙che" EP in 1983 (the band´s first label release).

Stylistically the music on the album is US power metal/heavy metal with a slight progressive edge, which is more or less a continuation of the sound introduced on the "Queensr˙che (1983)" EP. At this point in time the term "Progressive Metal" had not yet been coined, so while Queensr˙che are often labelled a progressive metal act it´s actually only half the truth. The music style on "The Warning" is closer to the music of Iron Maiden than it is to the music of Dream Theater and their ilk.

Queensr˙che are an exceptionally well playing act and with a distinct sounding and incredibly skilled vocalist like Geoff Tate in front you have a winning formula. The reverb laded sound production may sound a bit dated today, but back then this was pretty surely perceived as a really well produced album. The material on the 9 track, 48:38 minutes long album is also both powerful and well written and already this early on, Queensr˙che had quite a unique sound.

So the tracks are generally quality material ranging from powerful heavy/power metal tracks to more epic material like the 9:40 minutes long album closer "Roads to Madness". In terms of progressive structures and playing, that particular track, is the track on the album which best represents that part of Queensr˙che´s sound. It´s not representative for the overall style of the album though. In addition to "Roads to Madness" other highlights include "Take Hold Of The Flame", and "En Force", but as mentioned above all material on the album is of a high quality.

Upon conclusion "The Warning" is a high quality release and a great start to Queensr˙che career. The songwriting is still a bit immature and not all tracks stand out equally much although all tracks are of a good quality, but the high level musicianship and the relatively well sounding production pull in a positive direction. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is warranted.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If you were a Heavy Metal fan in 1984 the arrival of the debut album by Queensrhyche would have certainly have made you sit up and pay attention if you had the opportunity to hear it. Drawing inspiration from the Metal giants of the day, they had certainly listened to the likes of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, yet there was more to Queensrhyche than most of their contemporise. The Metal riffs were there, though with a darker sound but they were augmented with light and shade making the Guitar riffs really hit home harder when they came in, despite a less than perfect production in the Guitar department. Lyrically Queensrhyche also have a darker edge and more intelligenty written than most other Metal bands then and now.

Singer Geoff Tate has a similar Vocal style to Rob Halford reaching equally high notes as the histrionic Judas Priest frontman. Musically, as already mentioned they shared much of the same ground as Priest and Maiden but with more complex arrangements and were not afraid to stray out of the restrictions of a 4/4 time signature. Without picking out individual songs they are reasonably strong throughout closing with the excellent almost 10 minute long Roads to Madness.

It's generally regarded that the roots of what has become to be known as Progressive Metal began with Queensrhyche (and Fates Warning) and the proof of that can be found here in places though at the time of release it was more regarded as thinking mans Power Metal yet it laid the foundations for what was to follow, not only from Queensrhyche but the likes of Dream Theater too who were to become arguably the most successful exponents of the genre.

Review by 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".

Review by ProgBagel
3 stars Queensryche - 'The Warning' 3 stars

Warning: The progressive metal begins here.

This album, in my opinion, is definitively the start of progressive metal. Their main competitor, Fates Warning, grew into a progressive metal band. Queensryche had it going from the start, albeit they needed a little bit of work done, that aside I consider this progressive metal. The important signs were already in place, with some nice drumming, an artistic form the so many metal bands lacked. Geoff Tate is also a reference point for a progressive metal vocalist, his job on here is very exceptional, but he got even better later in the Queensryche career. Chris DeGarmo is one of my favorite guitarists. He really jump started the idea of creating riffs that were unpredictable and sounded all in all.excellent.

This album still surprised me after all the progressive metal albums I have listened to in the past few years. It is definitely dated, which is too big of a deal as most albums do, but it wasn't merely a fossil, there was still fresh idea, cool chops and riffs. There is also plenty of time signature changes and examples of great technicality. I wouldn't pass off this band as being obsolete, as far as the old catalogue goes. Three stars for being a good album, even to this day.

Review by Gooner
5 stars Well, here it is! The grandaddy of PROG-METAL. Many will argue about the very first progressive rock album, whether it be by Julian's Treatment, THE MOODY BLUES _Days Of Future Past_, Soft Machine - SOFT MACHINE or King Crimson's IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING. To my ears, there is no question that this is the very first PROGRESSIVE METAL album that spawned a generation of followers and pioneers such as Fates Warning, Dream Theater, My Dying Bride and Opeth. There's definitely a Rush and Iron Maiden influence here, especially in the rhythm section department of Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfeld. A sort of Thin Lizzy twin guitar attack on Rush sedatives. Queensryche created a no brainer in fusing the best parts of Rush and Iron Maiden while creating a genre. Geoff Tate's vocals are rather unusual and unheard of at the time(the same sort of feeling one gets upon hearing Jon Anderson, Geddy Lee or David Surkamp) As with most Queensryche albums(except post PROMISED LAND), it must be listened to from beginning to end. I've searched and searched for anything sounding even remotely like THE WARNING and always come up short. Fates Warning's NO EXIT...sounds like THE WARNING with their own little twist. Dream Theater's IMAGES AND WORDS...sounds like THE WARNING with some Gentle Giant time sigs. All sounds like THE WARNING to me. While I've moved on to other genres of music like Jazz and Classical in my later years(now in my late 30s), there's no question this album deserves 5 stars for its influence alone. Highlights are _En Force_, _NM156_(very powerful! Still don't understand it to this day), _Before The Storm_(the imagery created of dark cumulonimbus is quite profound) and _Roads To Madness_(could be their _Natural Science_ re: Rush's Permanent Waves). In other news, Michael Kamen (of Pink Floyd's THE FINAL CUT) does some minor orchestration on THE WARNING.
Review by Negoba
3 stars Take Hold..... Classic Queensryche with Glimpses of Glory

This is Queensryche's first full length album, produced after their very successful EP. Where the EP had been written by the band members and singer Geoff Tate recruited to sing, this album includes Tate's hand in the songwriting. This introduces more theatrics, more experimentation, but also replaces balls- to-the-wall riffing with more mid-tempo darkness. Tate had been working in progressive rock bands and reportedly had not wanted to do straight metal, but agreed after the success of the EP. The resulting sound begins here and climaxes with the iconic Mindcrime. I have been extremely impressed with how good the early albums sound when I go back to review them.

First of all, the items that are not debated. Queensryche's sound is firmly based in 80's NWOBHM, most notably Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Geoff Tate's voice reminds of Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, and occasionally Ronnie James Dio, and easily matches or perhaps eclipses all of his influences. Most of all, this is VERY good 80's metal, standing up with Powerslave, Screaming for Vengeance, and or any work by Dio. The biggest lack on this particular album is the loss of a driving, ahead of the beat rocker like their namesake track.

Take Hold of the Flame, however, is an anthem of immense power that just smokes live. It's straightforward metal, but anyone who listens to that song and doesn't want to pump their fist, well, maybe they don't really get metal. NM 156 is the most progressive track, a mechanical vision of futuristic dystopia. Before the Storm also foresees progressiveness to come. But those looking for complex time signatures, rapid-fire mood changes or other prog-metal elements will be disappointed. The band does utilize many different 6/8 and other feels of 3 along with standard 4. The lyrical themes extend beyond most metal to a degree, but certainly aren't out of place in the genre.

All in all, this is a very good metal album by a young band that will improve on their next release (Rage for Order) and hit pure magic on the subsequent album. Warning is essential for Queensryche fans and recommended for metal fans in general.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Like their self-titled EP, Queensryche's debut album finds them mainly influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, though with a few more of their more progressive instincts beginning to shine through than on the EP. Geoff Tate's vocals are uncannily like a mix between Bruce Dickinson's and Rob Halford's, and that's a good a shorthand for the musical style as any - a mingling of the then-current approach of Iron Maiden with the classic sound of Judas Priest's Sad Wings of Destiny or Sin After Sin. The group would move in a proggier direction on subsequent albums, but this album is still a decent listen for fans of classic NWOBHM groups.
Review by Isa
4 stars |B| If you think that there is no progressive composition in this album, please read on.

Reading many of the other reviews about this album on this site set me up with expectations that the content of this work would be no more than straight-up NWBHM music with a couple meager prog-references here and there, as was the case with debuts of other proto-prog metal counterparts. I couldn't have been more wrong; in fact, this album is a pretty fair balance of overtly progressive composition techniques and their heavy metal, particularly NWBHM influences. The thing is, the progressive composition is much more subtly done and easy to miss by the casual listener, which might be the reason for the general view of lacking any at all.

Creativity and musicality hits metal music hard with this album. In general, this is probably the most creative metal album that had come out that decade by 1984, and certainly has more links to progressive rock than any other metal that had been created at the time (that we know about anyway). It was 1984 after all, just a few years after Rush's most progressive albums as well as Iron Maiden's first few releases. Queensryche was already melding NWBHM with progressive techniques and incredible musicality, whether you're talking about asymmetric meter, use of other genre or instruments on in rock music, or creativity with expressing text musically. I have made a thorough analysis of the tracks to prove my point:

The first track is the album title track, starting off with a-Capella harmonized vocals singing a single word: "Warning." Not exactly a conventional start for an eighties metal album, though this is without a doubt the most straightforward track on the album. The main riff comes in and continues the NWBHM style riffing, though I think a higher quality of music composition than with their predecessors. The 7/8 time signature interruption under the solo is unusually appropriate, and the drummer really shows off his creativity and abilities with dynamics and occasionally his more unconventional patterns.

En Force has an incredible intro, with orchestral bells and asymmetric 9/4 time signature. The drummer's snare hits are well-placed and have a great tone. This leads into the verse, very NWBHM, with very effective and well-composed vocal overdubbing for really the whole song. It's very creative, especially for its time. Fantastic riffs, and the overall feel of the song reminds me of Savatage a bit. The intro section is introduced to end the song (on a minor 7th note I might add), transitioning into a hidden track with marching-style, no doubt to express the lyrics about the "enforcers take hold of us all." I really like the synth (or maybe its a quiet guitar) drone.

Deliverance is one of the more straight-forward songs on the album, though the intro is a riff that alternates from asymmetric 9/8 to 4/4 to 9/8 to 4/8 to 7/8 to 2/8 to compound 12/8 (and there are people say that there's no prog composition in this album whatsoever....) leading into the verse. The overalls sound of the song is very characteristic of the bands general output, no other band really sounds just like the distinctiveness this band has. I love the vocal harmonies in the chorus. They do a lot of creative stuff in the second verse, random key hits and stuff, and drummer primarily plays the cymbals this time, sounding more mellow and leaving room for that other creative stuff. This includes the vocal part, breaking off the previous one at "the law" and what not. The lyrics imply a theme of the Last Judgment in Christian theology, ironic considering the lower opinion of religion the lyrics would imply in later work. "Deliver us right from wrong."

No Sanctuary is probably my favorite track on the album. The first few seconds is is a very gradual crescendo into the chorused acoustic guitar theme. The intro, particularly with the reverse fade guitar, is quite reminiscent of classic prog to me. The quite vocal overdub at "around me" is so subtle yet adds so much. Then a section of choir "ah" comes in at first higher at the tonic, and then a voicing is added on the dominant, creating what in classical composition analysis is called a "standing dominant" and is used in the same way as in classical music: to maintain a slight sense of tension leading into the next section. Then we have a transition into the chorus section, which is filled with vocal overdubs on "now you cry" and Jeff Tate himself does such a splendid job expressing the emotion of the text, in the 2nd verse especially. I love the echo of "distance" at the end of both versus, left all by itself, creating an actual sense of open distance as the text describes. Another section is features with choir "oh-ah" which is quite well harmonized. One section of the song is jam-packed with proggy sounding stuff, particular the whistled vocal melody from the chorus, guitar improvisations, and orchestra parts. The chorus is repeated and soloed over for the fade- out of this stunning, beautiful track.

N M 165 is another very progressive track, and probably the most innovative of any track released in heavy metal that year (and one of the most in the whole decade). The general theme is that of futuristic technological oppression (robots-take-over-the-world sort of bit). The intro is atonal, keyboard generated atmospheric sounds (not too unlike those at the beginning of Witch Hunt by Rush which was also about oppression) and mechanical sounds of typing and paper printing (I think). The repeated keyboard triplet-sixteenths on a single note starts, with a soft high-hat from the drummer (or it might be another keyboard- generated sound...) to establish that compound meter. This meter is disrupted by the guitar riffs, which actually comes in at a very (difficult to count) asymmetric 10/8. An end-of-Rush's- 2112-sounding voice says, "machines have no conscience." Clearly, keyboard drone, mechanical sounds, and technically hard-to-count guitar riff are all used to convey the theme of the song, and so effectively that it's stunning. There is one measure of 12/8 that marks end of the intro into the verse, which has the vocalist singing jarringly, monotonously, lyrics such as "uniform print-out reads: end of line." His style of singing is, once again, to artistically convey the theme and text of the song. The voice comes back again "social control requires: population termination." The chorus is very heavy metal, with an effective vocal overdub two octaves lower than the main vocalist (talk about unconventional...). They pretty much change up the way the vocals are overdubbed whenever the chorus repeats too. When the vocalist says "punch, punch, punch" he really does punch out the words, with a heavy mechanical sound adding to the harsh feel of the text, so incredibly musical! The high-strings over the low-speaking voice again, everything about this song is so incredible and so creative, so musical. The solo is quite NWBNHM sounding and just great. The vocal over-dubs in the last chorus so very cool. So mechanical, so oppressive, so futuristic, so... brilliant.

Flip over the orginal vinyl, and you have the other more straightforward track start it off, Take Hold of the Flame. A very musical introduction with subtle sounds in the background. This track is pretty Scorpions sounding to me, particularly that guitar work (especially that solo..., very much like those of Mattias Jabs), and some very catchy riffs. I what they do at the words "run!" "reach!" "see!" with the other voices, suddenly breaking from the line and thus very stressed. Not much else to say, other than that the strings at the end are a nice addition.

Before the Storm has a really interesting and awesome intro, in general. This track is also one of the more easily processed ones, though in less conventional compound meter for metal bands at the time I think. The solo section is particularly interesting, with some random effects added in the middle. The chorus is a bit awkward, "before the storm" being very fast and adding a sort of clashing hemeola effect, which is also kind of cool in a way. The track leads directly into...

Child of Fire has a heavier, kind of slower and atmosphere-oriented sound to me. This leads into the more NWBHM sound, with a cool reverse-fade-out technique. The vocal- harmonies are very high and powerful. This metal power gradually decrescendos into a contrasting soft, chorused-guitar section that sounds a bit like Santuary, especially with the vocalists very convincing expression of the lyrics, very emotional and powerful. This leads into a mid-energy guitar solo section, and a great one here, as usual. The snare comes in with some hits to transition back into the NWBHM style, which leads to the ending the song.

Roads to Madness is the closing song of the album, clocking in at almost ten minutes (by metal standards at the time, a near epic, though track isn't presented with a "suite"-like feel as with Fates Warning's Epitaph, released withing a year or two of this album). This song more than any other features the use of the orchestra, which is quite beautiful. The intro is pretty creative, particular the effects on the guitar and the added harmony over the main riff. The verse section has acoustic guitar, with the vocalist singing expressively and very well, as usual. The chorus has choir "ah"s like in Sanctuary, with a really beautiful vocal melody. I love the orchestra in this track, the strings have a part where they screech out, so awesome. The choir ahs and orchestra combine in the repeat of the chorus, which is accompanied by reverse-reverberation vocals underlying the word "madness." The guitar solo happens over the verse chord-progression, with quite a bit of variation from previous verse material in the accompaniment parts. The guitar is very heavily chorused in some parts of this song. The piece has a very prominent triplet feel about two-thirds of the way through the song, and is very majestic and cerebral with the arrangement of all of parts, particularly the orchestra. This leads back into a NWBHM sounding section, very awesome and effective. I like the held out vocal part over the effects and great use of cymbals.

It is clear to me that this debut by Queensryche was quintessential to the evolution and development of prog-metal as we know it today. In this album is demonstrated much knowledge of musical pedagogy and music theory, and clean, developed musicianship by the members themselves. The production is stunning, everything very refined and thought- over very thoroughly. Considering this release was 1984, it pretty much blows the work of any other kind of proto-prog metal (even Fates Warning and Savatage) in the mid-80s completely out of the water. With the heavy use of orchestra, advanced and creative composition techniques creating great contrast in the album and within individual tracks themselves, it is safe to conclude that these musicians were more than serious and good at what they were doing. There is also a general theme that rears its head of imminent doomsday, oppression it might bring, and a transition into what might come after the end of the world, in general all of the tracks, making it almost a concept album in a way, though maybe not enough recurrence of the themes to technically label it as such.

All in all the composition is great, and I really think this an excellent addition to any prog collection, particularly for its historical significance in the development of a style as huge as prog-metal. If you like prog-metal, this is a must-have in your collection.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars THE WARNING is the first full album by QUEENSRYCHE following the self-titled debut EP that was released the year before. This is very much NWOBHM with few progressive elements that would start to really take off on the following album, however at a time clocking in at 9:40, the final track "Road To Madness," is the band's first dip into the prog territory that they would later become known for.

I actually find this album a little disappointing. After the dynamic debut EP where every song was a catchy metal powerhouse, I just don't seem to be able to connect to the songs on this one as much. It starts off with the first track "Warning" that I just find a little weak and that continues throughout the album. It seems to me that the fury of the first album has waned a bit and at the same time I can hear the proto-sounds of the proto-prog metal that the next album would be. It's an OK listen and some of the tracks like "Deliverance" really do it for me. Just turns out to be one of my least favorite early albums.

Review by Modrigue
4 stars Maidensr˙che

First studio album but second release by QUEENSR?CHE, "The Warning" is pretty much in the style of their self-titled debut EP: heavy metal in the vein of MAIDEN, with elegance, melodies and only slight progressive touches. Partially inspired by George Orwell's 1984, the compositions, were quite elaborated and refined compared to other metal bands, and deliver an impression of grace carried by Geoff Tate's incredible vocal range.

The powerful and epic opener "Warning" is just great! "En Force" is also nice with its galloping riff, whereas "Deliverance" is a little more original with its melody changes. More complex and melancholic, "No Sanctuary" calms down the pace, while the cool "N M 156" sounds a bit futuristic. More personal and in the style of QUEENSR?CHE's next opuses, the aerial "Take Hold The Flame" is touching, due to Tate's particular plaintive and piercing singing.

On the contrary, "Before The Storm" and "Child Of Fire" are neither very original nor remarkable, but remain however pleasant. More interesting is the 10 minutes mini-epic "Roads To Madness", the only genuine progressive track of the disc. On a dark and haunting ambiance, this evolving suite alternates slow, thrilling and hazy atmospheres, as well as heroic passages. One of QUEENSR?CHE's best tracks from the 80's.

With "The Warning", the Americans have not fully emancipated from their British metallic elder brothers yet. Not as complex and sophisticated as, say, FATES WARNING, the music is still very influenced by IRON MAIDEN. Nonetheless, although lacking originality and personality, the quality and inspiration are already present and the compositions display discrete melodic and progressive elements that will developed in their further records.

A promising and convincing first studio album anyway. I'm warning you: If you're looking for challenging songs, do not pick this one, but if you just want powerful and elegant 80's heavy metal, "The Warning" is exactly what you need!

Latest members reviews

4 stars On this day September 7, the band released their first full album, so I decided to write a few words about it. In my opinion, the best turn in the history of music happened when Queensryche left those metal song cliches behind them and started to deal with topics like a dystopian future, deep state, ... (read more)

Report this review (#2949932) | Posted by Lesanderd | Thursday, September 7, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 1984's The Warning is the debut studio album by the Seattle Based Progressive Metal band Queensr˙che. It was recorded in London and produced by James Guthrie who is notable for his work with Judas Priest, Pink Floyd and also Pink Floyd members' solo albums. Compared to all other Queensr˙che alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#755291) | Posted by Gentlegiantprog | Saturday, May 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Queensryche's debut album lives up to expectations following their promising self-titled debut EP. The Warning maintains the solid riffage and expands upon the progressive metal aspect that would set the band apart from the other groups of the time. There's no escaping the hair metal taste of ... (read more)

Report this review (#259093) | Posted by dalekvilla | Sunday, January 3, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Queensr˙che's first EP made big waves in the metal community, mainly because it was a dynamic, energetic, powerful little piece, an authentic heavy metal classic. Songs like "Queen of the Reich" or "Blinded" were fast, catchy, addictive and most of all, straight forward. I bet that all the Qu ... (read more)

Report this review (#176672) | Posted by Nhorf | Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Early September, 1984. I'm sitting at my wooden desk in an unconditioned cinderblock of a dorm-room in sweltering San Marcos, 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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#85151) | Posted by MrMan2000 | Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Warning is Queensryche's first full length release. Inspired by George Orwells book "1984" as well as the computers and robotics development of the "information age". Queensrche display some Progressive elements notably in N M 156 and the epic Roads To Madness but the majority of the mat ... (read more)

Report this review (#82783) | Posted by Jon_Mc | Wednesday, July 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not a very imaginative album. I was expecting more, especially with Michael Kamen as guest for orchestration. Most of the songs are classic heavy metal, with only a touch of prog. The highlights of the album are "No Sanctuary", a classic QUEENSRYCHE power ballad, "Before The Storm" with its r ... (read more)

Report this review (#66277) | Posted by zaxx | Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After the metal sound on the debut EP, the band adopted a different tack for the first full album. This album gives a clue as to the direction that would ultimately end-up with the classic Mindcrime. 'Roads to Madness' is a sublime epic track that never fails to move me. The rest of the album ... (read more)

Report this review (#45922) | Posted by Wasp | Wednesday, September 7, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars this album and fates warning's awaken the guardian are the fathers of us power metal. although i prefer awaken better than warning i believe that warning is a great album. many bands tried to folllow that style of music ( crimson glory/lethal/heir apparent-in their 1st album) but noone did it so ... (read more)

Report this review (#36181) | Posted by | Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Some rock acts ,produce a debut album that is a hard act to follow ,this recording falls into that category.Queensryche have never been able to reproduce anything that comes close The Warning,if there ever is a list of the greatest debut albums this would be right up there.Roads To Madness ,is ... (read more)

Report this review (#23522) | Posted by Heidi | Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first official studio album by Queensryche! For a band that delivered quite so much of metal elements in their previous EP, this album proved that the band had grown up. The album opener is a mid-tempo track which would leave you wonder because it's quite different than the content in the ... (read more)

Report this review (#23520) | Posted by | Wednesday, November 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars debut album. it's getting better than the ep but it's still plain classic heavy metal with no real originality... the boys improved their songwriting but still seem caged in their heavy metal universe... too bad, some of the songs would have been real killers if arranged 2 ou 3 years later... ... (read more)

Report this review (#23518) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Here borns the style of great bands of Melodic and Progressive metal, as Kamelot, Dream Theater and even Iced Earth (Since Jon Schaffer said, he was a great Ryche fan). Not so original, they're too young and didn't got yet their own style, (Happened in Operation) but some great songs can't be forgo ... (read more)

Report this review (#23517) | Posted by | Saturday, February 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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