Empire (20th Anniversary Edition) Original recording remastered, Extra tracks, Deluxe Edition
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Digitally remastered and expanded two CD 20th Anniversary edition of the Metal band's triple platinum breakout album including 10 bonus live tracks. This edition of Empire is presented in a lift-top box with five postcards, a fold-out poster and a booklet featuring rare photos from the band's personal archive.
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Now with the benefit of hindsight, you can really hear a band coming into their own identity. Empire is kind of the end of the old "heavy metal" Queensryche and the beginning of the newer more diverse Queensryche. The next album Promised Land was a another stride in that direction.
This box set, very nice looking and all, would have been better released as an individual live album, because disc one is identical to the previous Queensryche remaster version. The bonus tracks are the same. ("Last Time In Paris" from the Ford Fairlaine soundtrack, "Scarborough Fair" from the Anybody Listening single, and "Dirty L'il Secret" from the much later I Am I single.)
The live album is from the same tour (but not the same show) as the Operation: Livecrime album. Think of this as representative of Queensryche's non-Mindcrime live set, so if you have both albums you kind of have one complete show. It's a good live album, although without the Mindcrime material to balance it, it is way too Empire-heavy. 7 of the 10 tracks are from Empire. That's not me complaining really, just an observation of the feel of the set, as an album. For non-Empire material, you get the awesome "Walk In The Shadows," "Roads to Madness", and "Take Hold Of The Flame", representing each of the first three Queensryche releases.
(As an added note, the Operation: Livecrime album also had one additional song not on this, which was "The Lady Wore Black".Read more ›
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That being said, this is the same album with a second disc of live performances and a few posters / postcards of the band. If you don't already have the remastered version of Empire and feel like spending twice the price, by all means. I just don't feel the additions they made to this release of the album warranted another release at all.
Here's an idea: Why not combine both Mindcrime albums, remaster them (as long as it's done properly and not just turning the volume up full blast) and release a booklet including illustrations and the full story / concept. Throw in a few b-sides, if there are any. Now THAT would be something I would be willing to shell out a few clams for.
In conclusion, I love Queensrÿche, but for the casual listener, you're better off getting the 2003 remastered edition without all of the unnecessary trimmings.
So, I started with this one since I know I already like Empire. I had it on cassette years ago. Also had Promised Land back when it came out, but nothing else by Queensryche. I have talked about sound quality in some of the forum discussions and while I don't consider myself an audiophile nor do I consider sound quality the most important part of any album, let me assure anyone, the sound quality of this remaster is pristine. I'm not playing it with any super high end equipment either, just a set of Bose Companion speakers at the PC, basic Infinity component set in the car. The sound quality is going to keep me listening to this more than I probably would have. There's an excellent balance of highs/lows and a full, rich sound to it. I normally wouldn't focus that much on just the sound quality, but this may be the best sounding cd I've got and I have around 5,000. I originally had fell in love with the sound on Anthrax's new album, but this remaster tops even it. Whoever remastered this should be applauded though I know the original was used as a test source, so it had to be pretty good to begin with.
I knew these songs from having the cassette, but would guess most people are checking it out for Silent Lucidity. I'll probably sound like a Queensryche diehard when I say please don't buy this album just for that song. There really is so much more here than it. Tate's vocals have always been a selling point for me--check out Matt Barlow's vocals with Iced Earth if you also are a Tate fan--and he really raised the bar with this album. When he whispers he whispers and when he soars he seriously soars. There is a short list I would compare to him starting and mostly ending with Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson.
This music is quite empowering. You can even mix it up in a playlist to sync with a workout by moving the slower songs towards the end. After having a chance to revisit this old favorite in its new format, I ended up deciding against the boxset and going with just buying 3 others in the remaster/re-release series, most of you can guess which three. I do want to say I don't know if I like this one any better than Promised Land, but that's a good thing, because they were two of my favorites back in the 90s and look like they're heading right back into my favorites section here in 2012. These remasters should be used as the standard by which all remasters are made. Also really enjoyed the second live disc with this version which the boxset doesn't include. I would be beating a dead horse if I said they are one of the most underrated bands of all-time though I may not be since I'm going to turn a blind eye to their newer albums. Who knows, if the other two impress me as much as Empire and Promised Land have, I might try out some of those newer ones.