[colored_box color=”grey”]Rating: 8
Label: Century Media Records
Website: Link
Author: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras [/colored_box]

After the release of Geoff Tate‘s version of Queensrӱche (with a very disappointing result), we have the effort of the rest of the members who simply gave the band’s name as the title of their new twelvth album. Until the issue is solved in court, we must see if the rest of the ‘Ryches did something better than Geoff. First things first: This album reminds of music and is generally an album rather enjoyable to listen, with fresh sound and compositions. Todd La Torre may sound a lot like a younger edition of Geoff Tate but manages to give a very good performance in his first album with the rest of the team and he proves to be a wise move for the rest to have in the band.

Parker Lundgren serves as a second guitarist and though he may not have helped so much in the compositions, he helps Michael Wilton create a heavier sound, the heaviest the band has had the last twenty years (no kidding). The rhythm section of bassist Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield was always the shining point of the band, even in the medicre albums after the mid ’90s until the previous one ”Dedicated To Chaos”. When ”Where Dreams Go To Die” enters, you soon realise that this time you will listen something that you should have listened somewhere in 1996. It is a good question why they play this music now and not much more years before, was Tate taking over the decisions so much in the end?

Spore” and the duo of ”Redemption” alongside ”Vindication” will make you wonder why the ‘Ryches didn’t make such an honest effort in the past. Maybe it was the motive to show Geoff Tate that they are the real Queensrӱche, but they still should have been more daring in the past. On the other hand, it sounds as a safe move to play a post-”Empire” style that could fit with the sound and the approach of their first self-titled EP and ”The Warning” album. Queensrӱche was always a band that was experimenting despite the fans’ opinion and though I like the album, I can’t help but stating that they went the easy way (I still prefer it from creating something ‘different’ with a drama of an outcome).

The album closes great with the trio of the up tempo ”Don’t Look Back”, the Conception-like ”Fallout” (which is also the first video the band did for the album) and the closing ”Open Road” which keeps the tradition of the last song in a ‘Ryche album being really unique and emotional. It’s nice to see they still have something to give and it seems like La Torre gave them a great kick in the ass and the essential push to remember their former selves and write material that may not be a masterpiece but is on the good road for the continuation.

This is a much more convincing version of Queensrӱche and they should go on this way (a little renewal on the sound wouldn’t mind me that much though). I must say that I prefer these guys to take over the rights of the name in the court, but it doesn’t matter what I think but what you’ll believe for the album. I think it is what I’ve been expecting to listen for years, on the other hand it’s been so many years since the last time I’ve heard something good from them, that I’d like something more. The small duration of the album will help you listen to it carefully, the rest is yours to find. With a smile on my face, I welcome back the ‘Ryche I once knew and I cross my fingers for much better to come.

Track List Line Up
01. X2
02. Where Dreams Go To Die
03. Spore
04. In This Light
05. Redemption
06. Vindication
07. Midnight Lullaby
08. A World Without
09. Don’t Look Back
10. Fallout
11. Open Road
Eddie Jackson – Bass, Vocals (Backing)
Todd La Torre – Vocals
Parker Lundgren – Guitars, Vocals (Backing)
Michael Wilton – Guitars
Scott Rockenfield – Drums, Percussion, Keyboards