Against the formidable obstacles of an ever-changing cultural landscape, the rise and fall of various musical trends, and the near collapse of the record industry itself, QUEENSRŸCHE secured a triumphant legacy as one of hard rock’s most respected and celebrated acts, selling 30 million albums around the world across a 30-plus-year career.
The band’s name is uttered in the same breath as many of the groups they looked to as influences and others who arose as peers. Queensrÿche built a dedicated legion of fans traveling the globe on tour with fellow rock giants like Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Judas Priest, and Def Leppard. In recent years, they’ve consistently delivered high-octane live shows combining the hungry fire of a new band with the tempered experience of master showmen. Even with eleven gold and platinum plaques and a several Top 10 hard rock anthems woven into the very fiber of the genre, Queensrÿche won’t relent. In fact, they’re in the throes of a jaw-dropping creative resurgence.
Condition Hüman tracks like “Guardian,” “Hellfire,” and “Bulletproof” are destined to take their place among Queensrÿche’s most beloved songs. Produced by Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Sanctuary) in the band’s native Washington, Condition Hüman is a new mountain towering over many of the peaks and valleys of the hard rock landscape.
Among the great strengths of Queensrÿche is the band’s diversity, from the classic metal majesty of early demo banger “Queen of the Reich” to the soaring and orchestral-backed balladry of #1 smash “Silent Lucidity.” Condition Hüman is the massive, densely layered, unflinchingly driving and consistently memorable Queensrÿche album the world demanded. Cofounders Michael Wilton (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass), and Scott Rockenfield (drums) with Todd La Torre (vocals) and Parker Lundgren (guitar) draw power from stunning collective synergy, a renewed sense of urgency, and an overall life-affirming optimism. Reverent to the band’s iconic past while forging fearlessly into the future, Condition Hüman is a definitive statement of purpose from a hard rock institution.
The seminal bursts of the Queensrÿche EP, stone cold classic debut full-length The Warning, and badass monster Rage for Order reignited the flames of heavy, progressive, melodic hard rock and metal. Operation: Mindcrime single-handedly redefined the concept album and charged into the Top 40 with timeless Queensrÿche anthems “I Don’t Believe in Love” and “Eyes of a Stranger.” A precision collection of near-perfect songs pushed landmark masterpiece Empire to triple platinum. “Silent Lucidity” earned the band their second and third Grammy nominations, plus five nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards, where Queensrÿche picked up the Viewer’s Choice Award and cemented their status as a true band of the people. The signature sound defined in this era wove its way into the hearts and minds of millions.
Queensrÿche’s dominance at rock radio continued into the ‘90s with a string of hits including “Jet City Woman,” “Another Rainy Night (Without You),” “Real World,” “I Am I,” “Bridge,” and “Sign of the Times.” Promised Land entered the charts at #3 and became another platinum seller. Even with the advent of grunge, shrinking radio formats, MTV’s new reliance on reality television, and the bankruptcy of their longtime major label, the band continued to craft impressive collections and remained a mainstay on the charts. The richly exploratory Hear in the Now Frontier, Q2K, and Tribe precipitated the release of Operation: Mindcrime II, which boasted guest vocals from the late Ronnie James Dio. Unmistakably powerful, hypnotic, and melodic, the definitive sound established by the first five Queensrÿche releases found new life with La Torre, whose mastery of the classic material, inspired enthusiasm, and introduction of traditional metal grit invigorated hardcore fans around the world. Metalholic put the band’s first record with La Torre and Lundgren at #5 (!) in an editorial ranking Queensrÿche’s sizable collection of studio albums. Standout track “Don’t Look Back” set the stage for the new era. Queensrÿche established they would honor the band’s legacy but never surrender to pure nostalgia. True to the promise of the album prior, Condition Hüman injects the immediacy of right now into a potent distillation of what’s come before. “Guardian” boasts perhaps the most anthemic chorus of the band’s career. “Hellfire” is balls-to-the-wall and in the pocket, a la “The Mission,” with a dirty groove. “Bulletproof” is a power ballad bigger than anything of the contemporary era while “Just Us” has an almost ‘70s era singer/songwriter vibe. At over seven minutes, the epic title track that closes the album is both visceral gut punch and passionate journey, like “Roads to Madness” meets “Suite Sister Mary.”
Dark, melodic, dynamic, diverse, instantly memorable, with an intellectual slant to the songwriting and lyrics that are always inviting on the surface while rewarding deeper listening, Queensrÿche continuously replenishes themselves, more than three decades into their body of work. Brave, adventurous, never less than authentic, Queensrÿche captured the rare lightning-in-a-bottle status of being both legendary and contemporary.