(8/10) The announcement of a new Queensryche album leads to anticipation, esp. since the band step by step returns to being a powerful metal band that leaves all the legal fights behind.
‘Queensryche’ and ‘Condition Human’ where the first records with Todd La Torre. His voice added and still add so much to Queensryche’s sound and it feels like it was him joining, being an energizer for the entire band.
Based on all this, expectations on ‘The Verdict’, Queensryche’s 15th studio album, are quite high. After having listened to the record a few times I can conclude that it’s a really good album, although it can’t entirely reach the greatness of the previous two longplayers. This might has to do with the fact that Queenryche’s original drummer Scott Rockenfeld couldn’t join the recording of ‘The Verdict’. It was no less than frontman Todd La Torres who took over. The charismatic singer can refer to three decades of drumming experience which he re-activated for this longplayer.
The first thing that stands out while listening to ‘The Verdict’ is the excellent sound, provided by producer Chris ‘Zeuss’ Harris. Already the start of the new longplayer is a statement of power. There’s not such a thing as an intro or acoustic start. It’s ‘plug in and play’. ‘Blood of the Levant’ kicks in with a powerful riff that pushes the listener right into the album. The song, that addresses the Syrian war and how it began, is a good starting point of a 44 minutes metal journey.
‘The Verdict’ is an album that growth over time and unveils its beauty after a few times spinning it on your record player. The dark ‘Light-Years’, the powerful ‘Bent’ and the complex ‘Propaganda Fashion’ are all 100% Queensryche songs and live-up to expectation.
The real highlights though are ‘Dark Reverie’ and ‘Portrait’. The first tune starts acoustic and brings La Torre’s great voice to forefront. Slowly but steady the song gains heaviness and it’s the emotional intensity that acts like the glue keeping things together. The tune is a real smasher on ‘The Verdict’. The second anthemic highlight comes at the end of the album. ‘Portrait’ is its name, an atmospheric song that shows the width of Queensryche’s range. The song isn’t a loud and heavy one, but it shows that the band’s still capably of writing great songs.
‘The Verdict’ is a well-crafted album that reflects all the Queensryche trademarks. It might not deliver the great musical fireworks as it was in the heydays, but it still features great songs that are better than what you get offered by a lot of other bands these days. As being a Queensryche fan from day one I like ‘The Verdict’, but of course you need to deliver your own verdict. However, I can recommend this release.
- Blood of the Levant (03:27)
- Man the Machine (03:50)
- Light-years (04:09)
- Inside Out (04:31)
- Propaganda Fashion (03:36)
- Dark Reverie (04:23)
- Bent (05:59)
- Inner Unrest (03:50)
- Launder the Conscience (05:15)
- Portrait (05:16)
Label: Century Media
Genre: US Metal
Release Date EU: March 1st, 2019