CD Review of Sign of the Times / Take Cover by Queensryche
Queensryche:
Sign of the Times:
The Best Of Queensryche / Take Cover

Reviewed by R. David Smola

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Queensryche:
Sign of the Times:
The Best Of Queensryche

starstarstarstarhalf star
Label: Capitol
Released: 2007
Buy from Amazon.com
Buy your copy from
Amazon.com
 


Queensryche:
Take Cover

starstarno starno starno star
Label: Rhino
Released: 2007
Buy from Amazon.com
Buy your copy from
Amazon.com
 

Q
ueensryche is a rock band with intelligence. From their self-titled EP, released in 1983, through 2006’s Operation: Mindcrime II, they have consistently released music that can rattle your teeth as much as provoke you to think. Their records are concept-heavy, usually exploring common themes throughout the entire album. Queensryche records are created to be listened to in their entirety, so I was pleasantly surprised, when listening to The Best Of, by how well the individual material holds up. “Jet City Woman,” “Eyes of A Stranger,” and “Empire” are big, hooky metal anthems that require maximum volume – not to mention every last throat muscle of any listener who wants to try and accompany Geoff Tate as he reaches places very few can visit vocally.

Sign is a 17-track retrospective that summarizes the band’s material succinctly. The collection clearly documents their evolution from a unit strongly influenced by the British wave of heavy metal (“Lady Wore Black”) to a band carving out their own brand (“Another Rainy Night”) of tasty hard rock this. The collection grabs songs from the group’s entire history and emphasizes the early work. Sadly, 2003’s Tribe (Tribe Review) is completely ignored, and only one song from (II Review) is included on this collection. “The Chase,” the duet between Tate and Ronnie James Dio, is a glaring omission. Those are two records which deserve a bit more representation on this album, even though they were produced after the bands commercial apex. With that said, this is an excellent introduction to the band for the uninitiated and a good selection of the more popular material for the collector.

The results for Take Cover are not as positive. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this collection of covers isn’t horrible, but it isn’t good either. After a live record and the sequel to Operation Mindcrime, the boys decided to pay tribute to those they admire. Making a covers record is all the rage these days; Tesla (Real to Reel Vol. I), and Shaw/Blades (Influence) are two of the most recent acts to take a slap at it. The Queensryche sound doesn’t necessarily mesh with the material selected here. Tate has a powerful and distinctive voice, and as interesting as it might seem for him to sing Italian Opera, that doesn’t mean the reality (“Odissea”) is going to be worth the effort. “Red Rain” and “Synchronicity II” are just not up to snuff, and bad fits for the band besides. They sound strongest on the Dio-era Sabbath cover of “Neon Nights” and the edgy live version of “Bullet From the Sky.” In fact, I liked that a lot and would recommend you purchase that from an MP3 download service. The rest of it you can skip.

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