Queensrÿche review: seamlessly blend their modern, almost European-tinged metal within a set of classics
- Credit: Judith Palmer
American heavy metal band Queensrÿche headlined The Waterfront in Norwich on Tuesday [13 August}.
Opening proceedings were German metallers Mirrorplain, who have been on the road with Queensrÿche throughout Europe this summer. Clearly taking some influence from the headliners, Mirrorplain launch straight into a set of melodic, vocally-driven hard-rock/heavy metal. However, where their peers developed an early penchant for extremely hooky guitar runs and operatic pomp, Mirrorplain seem to rely purely on Christian Döring's gravelly vocals for both catchiness and stage presence. The openers are not aided by a slightly weaker back-line sound, which fails to add much meat to the band's mid-paced delivery. However, the band know how to craft a few big choruses and the crowd clearly warmed to Mirrorplain throughout their 30-minute set.
Three albums deep into the Renaissance of their career with 'new' singer Todd La Torre, Queensrÿche barely need to Speak to draw a delighted response from a busy mid-week Norwich crowd. Sounding as exciting and bombastic as ever, the veteran band brought out the big guns from new album The Verdict from the off. The Verdict's Blood Of The Levant hits the nail squarely on the head with its Iron Maiden-like opening guitar runs, the expertly stomping drive of bassist Eddie Jackson and touring drummer Casey Grillo, making Queensrÿche sound surprisingly modern and heavy. The soaring chorus of the song introduces the vocal prowess of La Torre, who raises eyebrows with his intensity and pitch-perfect delivery.
Perhaps the most impressive part of this incarnation of Queensrÿche is their ability to seamlessly blend their modern, almost European-tinged metal within a set of classics. It is a testament to La Torre that I Am I (Promised Land, 1994) sounds so vital, with its Middle Eastern, grunge-tinged melodies melding perfectly into the futuristic synth of The Warning (1984) classic NM156. The sprawling, moody, modern-classic Condition Hüman (Condition Hüman, 2015) gives way to the speed metal punishing of Queen Of The Rÿche (Queensrÿche EP, 1983) effortlessly, and both received a warm welcome. Again, the modern heaviness of the newer single Man The Machine managed to raise the power of Rage For Order's (1986) staple 'Walk In The Shadows' with veteran shredder Michael Wilton still clearly taking delight in moving centre-stage for his solo work-outs. Particularly impressive on the night was Operation Mindcrime, taken from the band's magnum opus of the same name (1988), specifically due to Jackson's pounding staccato bass hits and expert backing vocals. One of two remaining original members alongside Michael Wilton, Jackson was perhaps the unsung hero of the Rÿche.
With chants for more, Queensrÿche finished their audio assault on the genteel Norwich crowd with a combination of new and old. Light Years short, catchy choruses lead into to a final display of the bands phenomenal back-catalogue with two cuts from 1990's Empire. The title track sounded as persuasive and urgent as any performance with former-singer Geoff Tate.
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The Waterfront has been levelled, and Queensrÿche fans are again content in the knowledge that their favourite band is in safe in the hands of La Torre, Wilton, Jackson, and Parker Lundgren. And not a saxophone in sight.
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