Queensryche are back! Dedicated to Chaos is a deep album, a rich listening experience. It is not a metal album, and riffs are not the core -- but that doesn't mean it is lacking. It will excite fans just like Promised Land excited them 17 long years ago.
If you are expecting a Dream Theater album, then skip Dedicated To Chaos. Queensryche are not, and never have been Dream Theater. In fact, as Geoff Tate said in a recent interview, "I don't like Dream Theater, for example. I don't get that band at all and I've listened to a lot of their stuff. It's just not something that connects with me at all musically, but I appreciate the fact that they're really into it and there are a lot of people that like what they do and that's cool." So there you go. Queensryche fans, real Queensryche fans that are eager to see what twists and turns they will reveal this time, will love Dedicated To Chaos.
Is it progressive rock? Who cares. It is good, it is deep, and it will reveal more and more as you listen to it. What is progressive rock anyway? Is it Dream Theater? Marillion? Gentle Giant? Spock's Beard? Jethro Tull? I hope you get my meaning here. Queensryche have never considered themselves "progressive".
At one point around Mindcrime, I certainly considered Queensryche to be one of my favourite bands. As great as Mindcrime was and is, Rage For Order was a life-changer for me. So was Promised Land in the 90's. As far as I was concerned Queensryche could do no wrong! But man...Hear In The Now Frontier...Tribe...Take Cover...those albums sucked. I hated those albums so much that I never even bought American Soldier. (But, I did like Q2K quite a bit.)
So here we are with Dedicated To Chaos, a rebirth of sorts, and easily my favourite album since Promised Land. Gone is Mike Stone on guitar, and in are new directions. Kind of like Rage was experimental for the Queensryche in the 80's, Chaos is experimental for Queensryche in the now. The guitar patterns are more drony than riffy. There are electronic effects, but tastefully done. There is a huge emphasis on rhythm, but not necessarily groove. A lot of these songs swing as much as they groove. Much like Promised Land and Rage, there are unfamiliar sounds coming from everywhere. Some are percussive, others are more musical, but this is another true headphones album from Queensryche.
My biggest complaint with Queensryche of late has been Geoff Tate's voice. It seems to have lost so much range and power over the years to the point where I can barely listen to Take Cover at all. The voice isn't getting any better, that's not how the aging process works, but the material on this album is more suited to Tate's singing now. His voice is also recorded much better than Take Cover. He's using more voices too. This is done particularly well on "Got It Bad".
I'm quite liking this record at the moment. Melodies are strong, such as "Around The World" which also has a nice positive message. You'll hear more of Tate's sax on "Higher" which is a really cool modern sounding song with just a pinch of funk, yet with dual guitar solos. Scott Rockenfield somehow navigates this albums's field of sound with a steady hand behind the drums. Lyrically, we're all over the map. "Retail Therapy" is just pissed off at the world. "Around The World" has a kum-bay-a peace and love message, so we're all over the map. We've even got some civil disobedience and the hint of a conspiracy theory in "At The Edge": "Time to look at what's behind closed doors, Got gasoline, ammunition, like 911, a controlled demolition." It also happens to be one of the best and longest songs on the album.
This has too much depth to discuss in just a simple review, so I'm going to leave it at that. Get the version with the bonus tracks. Most are mellow and atmospheric, but they're worth having.
If you like albums such as Promised Land, Empire, or Rage For Order then this is the Queensryche album that you have very patiently been waiting for. If you only like Warning and Mindcrime, then avoid this album!
Good album. Good comeback. 4 stars. Headphones are a plus!
on August 2, 2011
I've been a Queensryche fan since I picked up the E.P. in 1983 and consider them to be my all-time favourite band. I always had little regard for the Q2K and Hear in the Now Frontier albums, and sadly Dedicated to Chaos is destined to join those two albums as one of the weaker Queensryche releases, which is a shame as their last album American Soldier was impressive.
Dedicated to Chaos benefits from an excellent production, everything is crisp and clear, but this is an odd collection of songs that don't mesh with one another. There are some good songs here, specifically At The Edge, I Take You, Big Noize, and Retail Therapy, all which contain classic Queensryche elements. Drive is also a good rhythm-based song with a nice groove. The remainder of the songs are either okay or are sub-par. Hard Times, for example, sounds like it could have been lifted from Geoff Tate's 2002 solo release and has no place being on a Queensryche album. The worst of the bunch has to be Got It Bad, which is dragged down by its dreadful lyrics. Indeed, the lyrics on Dedicated to Chaos are mystifying. Tate has always been known for his thought-provoking lyrics, but some of the lyrics here are completely sophmoric.
Edit: I initially gave Dedicated to Chaos a three star rating and commented that perhaps I was being overly generous. Having lived with the album for another month since first posting this review, I've downgraded this from a three-star to a two star-rating. Unfortunately,the handful of good songs on offer just can't overcome the mediocrity of the rest the bunch.
on July 9, 2011
I have listened to this new cd five times now. I didn't want to review it on the first listen as I have been a fan since the beginning of QR. I was hoping it would grow on me, but it hasn't. It's not because I expect them to sound like they did back in the day, I know better. There are about four pretty good songs on this cd. The rest, not so good. The first time I listened I thought 2 stars, but I knew I needed to give it a chance. Ever since Q2K I have had to let their music grow on me. I ended up liking that one after about three trys. I admit its very different than much of their other stuff. There is nothing wrong with breaking new ground. This outing is like Geoff Tates solo cd. It sounds like alot of the songs were castoffs from that era. I can't get into this outing no matter how hard I try. Geoff Tate is an intelligent guy but if he thinks this is acceptable he needs to dig deeper.I do have to say that in spots the musical talent of the band is still there but some areas it is pretty uncomplicated and boring. A turd is a turd is a turd...no matter how you slice it. Unless you get this cd for free it is not worth the money or the time listening to it. Try Redemption or Dream Theater if you want quality progressive music. This is more for am radio and panders to kiddies with their ipods and "You Tube, You Tube" like Geoff Tate says.