Friday, September 08, 2006

Forgotten Treasure

Largely overshadowed by their more successful Operation: Mindcrime and Empire, Queensryche's criminally underrated Rage for Order sounds as fresh today as it did in 1986. There's a near-perfect balance between accessible and experimental. Songs like "Walk in the Shadows" and "The Whisper" are straight-up metal tunes--dark yet catchy. "Screaming in Digital" and "Neue Regel" on the other hand, are like nothing every heard before or since, and the cover of Dalbello's "Gonna Get Close to You" has to be one of the most disturbing cover tunes I've ever encountered. Even the mandatory ballads (Rage has three) are far above and beyond the standard mid-80's hair band power ballads. Although the band changed direction for their phenomenal breakthrough release, Operation Mindcrime, I can't help but regret that the band dropped the direction they were taking with Rage after only one release.

Granted the critics thought it was pretentious, and a lot of metal fans couldn't cope with it, but time has proven it still a classic after 20 years. The fact that the band's tour last year featured several songs from the album, and that Operation: Mindcrime II contains some strong "Rage"-era undertones, suggests that maybe the band might not totally disagree. Although the band has never claimed it to be the case, I've always thought Rage was a very subtle concept album, based around vampires in general, and Anne Rice's vampire novels in particular. The songs, the band image, and the videos all contributed to this, but maybe I'm just reading something into it that ain't there.

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