Released: Octo, Century Media
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
This month Queensryche return with what is their 14th album, "Condition Human". Having had a mostly stellar career over the 30+ years they've been releasing albums, they've recently been rebuilding the brand due to albums that some fans found to be off-center. When Queensryche reemerged on the last album with a new vocalist, Todd LaTorre, and hit it out of the park, I'm sure there were lots of folks thinking "well, they probably had leftover songs to use" and chalked it up to that fact. I can assure you that on this new album, nothing has changed and the incredible return to form is here again for everyone to hear.
The opening track "Arrow of Time" is a definite highlight to kick off the set. In fact, it's one of the new tracks that's already in the live set list on many nights. There's no mistaking the signature Queensryche guitar tone on this one and that feeling of familiar comfort sets right in for the long time fans. Moving into "Guardian" there is a "Rage for Order" feel, particularly on the vocals. As you progress further and further into the track list, I think the listener will happily find that Queensryche is touching on all the eras of the band in terms of sound but that it gels together very cohesively from front to back. "Selfish Lives" for example sounds like it could drop right onto "Empire" with its sound. "Eye9" falls into the "Hear in the Now Frontier" category which may or may not be good depending on where you stand. "Bulletproof" is a slow-tempo song that has a very strong hook and may, in fact, be one of the catchiest songs on the entire album. It's certainly not like your typical Queensryche song with its tempo but it's one that will stick in your brain. "Just Us" takes a stab at a "Silent Lucidity" type of song but comes up short compared to the classic. "All There Was" is a noticeably "Mindcrime" style track and fits that bill nicely.
Sadly, this strong album ends on a rather dull note with "The Aftermath" and "Condition Human" but it's not enough to scrap the entire thing. Overall, it feels like the band is serving notice that all eras of its sound are on the table from here on out. They touch on each album in terms of sound but they never feel derivative in approach.
Cynics will continue to say that LaTorre is a Tate clone. Well, he sure does sound like Tate but frankly I find myself not caring because I'm so damn happy to hear these types of songs from Queensryche again. Overall, this album sounds like a perfect follow up to "Empire" in terms of style and tone. Melody is everywhere. That instantly recognizable guitar tone permeates the album. And my god does this guy sound like Tate. I know I'm the millionth guy to say that but Queensryche now offer no reason at all to miss their former singer. They came back strong and now they're back again just as strong. If you liked Queensryche from 1983-1991, grab this album immediately.