Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Album of the Week 01/01/07
Queensryche - Rage For Order

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Suggested by: MH

This is the granddaddy of all albums for MH & MJ. It showed each of them the light to their “Brother In Metaldom”. Therefore, this one deserves some special treatment. Below is a track-by-track analysis, with input from both metallists.

Walk in the Shadows

MH: I recently found out this track was about vampires. I guess it IS obvious, but I was too busy singing along to this instead of focusing on the lyrics. Haha. Out of the GATE and ready to please this track says to me. I still listen to this alot. That means it's a good album. The one that started it all for me and my BOM. Great guitars. Great singalong at the show. Everytime they play this, I sing like I've never sang it before....

MJ: I’m not sure there is a much better opener to any album. God, I love this song. This was the first song I heard from QR, most likely in my high school friend Dan Jachera’s Le Mans. I was weird about QR at the time. Since I wasn’t the one who discovered them, I was a little cold on them at first. Plus, looking at the picture inside the cassette case where they are trying to look all gothic (especially Geoff…), I just didn’t want to like them. But in the end, I came to my senses and was won over. And this song did it…

I Dream In Infrared

MH: Not sure if I would have done a ballad for the second track in a running order sort of way, but this song does have Geoff wailing like a banshee. And that's a good thing. Especially when he is screaming, “I can't feel anymore...." I love how this album has a sort of, 'Technology could be evil' theme that they started in NM156 and continues throughout the album.......

MJ: After that first blistering track, the first part of this song seems like kind of a letdown. Then there is a hint of awesomeness, then it goes back to being mellow. But you know it’s about to build. Then it does, and Geoff’s vocals just soar. It would rank in the bottom half of the album for me, but I do think this showcases GT’s vocals nicely. I was always intrigued by the title of the song, but never really understood what I was supposed to be getting out of it.

The Whisper

MH: A couple of times we saw them live, they opened with this. Not the best opener, and his voice was not as strong as it was on the recording, but oh well. Usually I just look at Mike and say, "Yup, the Whipser again, but maybe they'll play Jet City Woman next....." but at least we're at a Queensryche show and not somewhere else....Probably my 2nd least favorite song on the album...

MJ: Great transition at the beginning from the previous song. I always liked this song. I think the vocals are fantastic (of course). It sounds really evil in the chorus with the whispering lines, and I like how they intersperse with the group backing vocals and GT’s lines. Plus, it ends with a gong. I’m a sucker for gongs.

Gonna Get Close to You

MH: I thought this song was perfect. It builds and changes and rocks and mystifies. I thought that it captured obsessive love so well in its tale. And how the emotion was a very man thing to say. When I found out it was written by a woman, I was kind of shocked. The Ryche made this song their own though. I often sing this when I'm pseudo stalking someone on the train or in a store or something. Just start singing, "If you knew my infinite Charm. Oh-whoa, there'd be no reason to be so alarmed..." Says it all. I always thought that if Roger Clemens knew my infinite charm he would be mine. The guitar sound on this is so piercing and tight. I think this helped me get into them. Plus the image of Geoff Tate brooding in the video was cool, too.

MJ: This is the song that really made me love QR. Funny how they didn’t even write it. It’s got such a great build-up, and creates such a desperate mood. Probably one of if not my favorite vocal performance from GT. He runs the gamut on range, and just blows the doors off in some select parts. I love the part that goes “if you knew my infinite charms…”. It takes its time, and then you get a nice scream from Geoff. A couple years ago I awarded this as my #1 QR song. I still feel pretty good about that pick. One of my favorite mp3s I ever found was the original version of this song. It’s also very cool, and is very interesting how QR didn’t really change it all that much, but at the same it sounds quite different.

The Killing Words

MH: I, the first million times I heard this song, wasn't sure if I liked it. Sometimes I get bored with the introspective ballads that Queensryche tend to do. As I've gotten older, I've grown to love the screaming chorus of, "OVER...OVER. Too late to take a chance again...You're killing me with words." Plus this has some of the best harmonic guitar work on this album. I feel they were experimenting, and I feel they were starting to hit their stride as songwriters with this one. Just kind of practice for Operation Mindcrime, the next studio album........

MJ: Once again, I think Geoff is the highlight of this song. There are great build-ups to get to the chorus, and some nice vocal gymnastics on GT’s part. Pretty darn passionate song. It’s one of those songs that when I look at the song list it doesn’t jump out at me as one of my favorites, but I always enjoy it when I’m listening to it.

Surgical Strike

MH: Good start off for the second side of the tape. Remember tapes? They had to be flipped? Of course you do. I always had to flip this and rewind a bit so I could get every note off this album ingested. I couldn't get this song out of my head when we invaded Iraq. They kept saying, 'surgical strike' on the news, and I would drift away on a sea of charging drum riffs and killer fast guitars. Man, when the Ryche go fast, I am paying attention and LOVING it.

MJ: This was never one of my faves off this album, but musically it is quite solid. It’s a good one to clear out the cobwebs, you know. Good one to air drum to…

Neue Regal

MH: I always liked this song, but sometimes forget about it when talking about the Ryche. I love how he screams Neue Regal is here at the end. He is such a good singer, and this album was his. He stepped up to the plate and OWNS this album. I still don't know what it's about.

MJ: Great vibe going on this song. There’s a lot going on sonically – weird muted vocals, sound effects, creepy sounds – the Geoff just soars over everything and churns out some sassy vocals. I love the back and forth on the chorus between main and backing vocals. It’s solid and very Rychean, if you will…

Chemical Youth (We are Rebellion)

MH: Not my favorite. Good try, though. The wave of Eighties is No. 3. (?) I also have a problem with the word Anarchy in songs. Seems like a buzzword that you throw in to make you sound tough. Ah, well....

MJ: There are parts of this song that I dig, but for the most part it just sounds sort of dumbed-down compared to the rest of the album. Especially the part when they sings “if we don’t stand together, we stand to lose the future” and on and on. But then right after that there’s some cool weird vocals and good chaotic riffs to close out the song, so it ends nicely…


MH: This song is probably one of my favorite ballads that these geniuses have put out. I can't explain it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they name check my BOM's birthday in this song in the first line. That's certainly awesome. I think this has one of the greatest guitar solos in Ryche history. The dual axe attack of Chris and Michael needs to be respected (and missed since Chris left the band). Geoff's voice soars like an eagle on this one. A London Eagle.

MJ: This song has really nice structure. It takes it’s time to get to the rocking part (hey, I’m in no hurry…). I love the build-up and culmination of the chorus – man, that is just fantastic! Great guitar breaks as well. I probably have never thrown this on any of my QR Top 20 lists, but now I’m starting to wonder why. The vocals after the guitar solos after the first chorus are pure ecstasy! This one will leave you with a big ole glop of cream in your jeans. It’s funny, when I think about this song, I remember the “London! London!” chorus, which isn’t the best part of the song at all. It’s also very cool that the song starts out mentioning my birthday…

Screaming In Digital

MH: This song used to scare me a bit. I think the word 'screaming' always alarmed me. And to be screaming in digital, well, that's just insane. But, this is the song I always play on this album. I think it has the best chorus ever. When they get into "Hush, Now...I'm not your slave." I celebrate Rock music. This is why I was put on this planet. To jam with my boys. It is so melodic and beautiful underneath such aggressive topics. Which I think might have been the point. That is such an advanced age, that music gives grace and beauty even though the subject might be oppressive and difficult. Bottom line, one of the greatest tunes by this band. Well done. When I saw them do this song when we first saw the Ryche together, me and QM, I thought I was gonna pee. I was giddy as a heavy metal school boy. They played it after they opened with NM156. Come ON!!!! They rule.

MJ: What a transition from London into this beauty. Insane vocals throughout! God, I love this song. For how great the beginning of this album is, I think I forgot how much of a bang it ends on! This song and “London” really bring it home. This song just sounds like they gave it a lot of thought and made sure they nailed it down. No fluff, everything that’s there is needed, necessary, and very much APPRECIATED. Wow.

I Will Remember

MH: I always thought this had a great feel... The acoustic guitars kind of wind down the album. It did, however, introduce, the strange whistling sensation that Geoff tries to put on each album. Of course, when he does his speaksinging and whistling and all that moody stuff, it's gotta be Geoff's idea. He's a big personalitied guy and I'm sure he has a ton of weight when it comes to artistic decisions on the albums. Oh well. I think it closes off the album nicely, and I usually just flip the tape and start the whole thing over at this point......

MJ: The first part of this song sounds like a bit of a letdown, and I’m not a big fan of the whistling that comes in from time to time. But after a couple minutes it starts to pick up speed and starts to show that it wants to start rocking again. Acoustic guitars all around. I guess it’s a fine way to bring things down a bit and the album to a close. There just a point towards the end that I think they could have pushed it over the top for a little bit, then came back down and wrapped it up. But, hey, I’m not complaining. By this point, I have been thoroughly rocked...

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