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Queensr˙che Empire album cover
3.81 | 464 ratings | 40 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Best I Can (5:34)
2. The Thin Line (5:43)
3. Jet City Woman (5:22)
4. Della Brown (7:04)
5. Another Rainy Night (4:29)
6. Empire (5:24)
7. Resistance (4:51)
8. Silent Lucidity (5:48)
9. Hand On Heart (5:33)
10. One And Only (5:54)
11. Anybody Listening? (7:41)

Total Time: 63:23

Bonus tracks on 2003 Capitol remaster:
12. Last Time In Paris (3:57)
13. Scarborough Fair (3:50)
14. Dirty Lil Secret (4:09)

Line-up / Musicians

- Geoff Tate / vocals, keyboards
- Chris DeGarmo / 6- & 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards & backing vocals (1)
- Michael Wilton / 6- & 12-string acoustic and electric guitars
- Eddie Jackson / fretted & fretless basses, backing vocals
- Scott Rockenfield / drums, percussion

- Michael Kamen / strings orchestration (8)
- B.O.B. / (gang-) voices

Releases information

Artwork: Rainer Design Consultants

2xLP EMI America ‎- 7950711 (1990, US)

CD EMI America ‎- CDP 7 95069 2 (1990, US)
CD Capitol Records ‎- 72435-81070-2-9 (2003, US) 24-bit remaster by Robert Vosgien w/ 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy QUEENSRYCHE Empire Music

QUEENSRYCHE Empire ratings distribution

(464 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

QUEENSRYCHE Empire reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by horza
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.
Review by Angelo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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...

Review by OpethGuitarist
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.

Review by 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.

Review by b_olariu
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.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Empire" is the 4th full-length studio album by US power/heavy/progressive metal act Queensr˙che. The album was released through EMI Records in August 1990. It´s Queensr˙che´s most commercially successful release selling 3 million copies (triple Platinum status in those days) and spawning a top 10 Billboard charts hit in "Silent Lucidity". While "Operation: Mindcrime (1988)" was the band´s big breakthrough on the heavy metal scene, "Empire" was their mainstream breakthrough...

...and listening to the album it´s obvious why that is. "Silent Lucidity" is a Pink Floyd influenced power ballad, which resonated well with hard rock audiences in the early 90s, but the rest of the material on the album are also predominantly mainstream oriented heavy rock/metal tracks, which could easily have been played on the radio. Tracks like "Jet City Woman", "Another Rainy Night (Without You)", and "Hand On Heart", are almost ridiculously catchy and obviously aimed at the most heavy rock loving AOR audience. Queensr˙che flirt a little with progressive ideas on "Best I Can" and on "Anybody Listening?", but it´s only an influence and not a dominant trait on the album. Compared to the slightly more hard edged and dark themed predecessor, "Empire" is generally a more light-hearted release, and the only track on the album with a really dark atmosphere and heavy riffs is the title track. Not that tracks like "The Thin Line" and "Della Brown" doesn´t feature serious lyrical subjects and darker moods, but overall "Empire" is a fairly accessible release with a focus on "regular" vers/chorus structures and quite a few lyrics dealing with love and romance.

It´s a polished release with a pretty sterile and clear sounding production, courtesy of Peter Collins, who also produced "Operation: Mindcrime (1988)". The album could have prospered from just a slight organic touch, but it is still arguably a well produced release. As always the musicianship are on a high level on all posts. A tight playing rhythm section, plenty of great guitar work, and a well singing Geoff Tate in front.

Featuring 11 tracks and a full playing time of 63:23 minutes, "Empire" ends up feeling a bit too long for its own good. Many of the tracks feature similar structures and compositional ideas, and not enough of them stand out as particularly remarkable although there of course are some standout tracks like "Silent Lucidity", the title track, "Della Brown", "Best I Can", and "Jet City Woman" (damn that is one catchy chorus). So upon conclusion af 3.5 star (70%) rating isn´t all wrong.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by ProgBagel
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.

Review by Negoba
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.

Review by 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.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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 Queensr˙che'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 Queensr˙che'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

Review by CCVP
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 Queensr˙che 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.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Gooner
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.
Review by siLLy puPPy
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.

Latest members reviews

3 stars My cousin introduced me to Queensryce with Operation Mindcrime. By then I believe it was already triple platinum and I guess I also had heard songs from this album without realizing it was the same band. Anyway I ended up buying Empire which was my first Prog Metal album. I really didn't think o ... (read more)

Report this review (#2896862) | Posted by altered_beast | Sunday, March 5, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Listening diary 1st October 2021: Queensr˙che - Empire (heavy metal, 1990) Although glam metal wasn't exactly the most aesthetically interesting movement, it's interesting to observe that right towards its end, there did seem to be a tiny bit of artistic development - right before grunge came a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2598398) | Posted by Gallifrey | Saturday, October 2, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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 v ... (read more)

Report this review (#560868) | Posted by Avtokrat | Tuesday, November 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 suppos ... (read more)

Report this review (#291772) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 arguab ... (read more)

Report this review (#259038) | Posted by dalekvilla | Sunday, January 3, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#215656) | Posted by LSDisease | Thursday, May 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#208763) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 tem ... (read more)

Report this review (#96901) | Posted by #1floydfan | Thursday, November 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#92497) | Posted by Xeroth | Thursday, September 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#85880) | Posted by toolis | Sunday, August 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 knowl ... (read more)

Report this review (#85143) | Posted by MrMan2000 | Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 forc ... (read more)

Report this review (#82922) | Posted by Jon_Mc | Thursday, July 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 th ... (read more)

Report this review (#80092) | Posted by Sacrilege | Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#66313) | Posted by zaxx | Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#60228) | Posted by | Tuesday, December 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#57310) | Posted by sbrushfan | Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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 thou ... (read more)

Report this review (#50133) | Posted by | Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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 prod ... (read more)

Report this review (#44983) | Posted by blunt | Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#36030) | Posted by | Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars While many may not see Queensr˙che 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 Queenr˙che, back in the day when rock and metal were at the top of the musical mountain before grunge stormed to the ... (read more)

Report this review (#35219) | Posted by Revelation 23 | Saturday, June 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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