Queensrÿche - The Warning

Queensrÿche - The Warning

Queensryche - The Warning

(1984, EMI Music)

No, it’s not “Operation: Mindcrime”…not again. The (once a) Metal band from Bellevue, Washington released a stream of not-less-than stellar albums and introduced a whole new audience to the magic temple of ‘thinking’ Heavy Metal music. And you’re a fool if you think this was not shown from the very beginning: such tremendous musicianship, a branch of inspired songwriting and a phenomenal orgy voice would not (and did not) go unnoticed. Sadly, the last decade or so (or more), and especially the rumors and/or facts that saw the light of day recently and resulted in the separation of the ‘head’ (Geoff Tate) from the ‘body’ (the rest of the crew), just confirmed the glory days of such a blessed outfit seem to be a sweet memory and nothing else. Some more fanatical aficionados credit the departure of co-songwriter and godly axeman Chris DeGarmo in the late 90s as the beginning of the end…

So, by-passing the (widely respected as a milestone) 1988 album, we travel back to 1984 and imagine the feedback of the hungry band’s first self-titled EP assault. The Metal scene was boiling in America and QUEENSRŸCHE certainly had already served a first teaser of their magical power with “Queensryche”. EMI America re-released the 1983 EP (the first pressing was on the band’s own 206 Records) and secured a deal with a quintet in order to sit down and work their asses hard for an assassinating full-length debut. And so be it: “The Warning” has only one drawback, in my humble opinion, and this is the production/mix section. I do not know whose fault this was but it certainly lacks the power needed for a Heavy Metal album of the 80s and sounds quite pale in regards to the tracklist served. I have not heard the remastered version so my talking is based on the original vinyl pressing. Yes, that old…

Else, here we have the crosspath for QUEENSRŸCHE, early enough I’m afraid. Would they carry on with all the ingredients US Metal bands took from Britain in the beginnings of their respective careers? Meaning: BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW for example…or even IRON MAIDEN? Weird enough but, no: the first band coming to mind while trying to present “The Warning” as a total product is RUSH’s and QUEEN’s perpetual tension for progression with some (not much) of the so -called US Power Metal standards that were on the making at the time – and to this making of this band surely contributed a lot until the release of “Rage For Order” (which is another story/chapter, on its own). Yes, the melodic yet powerful riffing is here, the dual leads come and go, the vocals of Tate are of such range and equal balance that Bruce Dickinson would be a little envy for, and the rhythm section does not rely on simplified patters but marches on differently in each track without overdoing it. The mix of gloom, lyrical parts and a sci-fi thematology here and there, QUEENSRŸCHE offered a set of songs that equally serve the album’s purpose: here’s an American Metal band that plays Heavy/Power Metal with no limits. Some called it ‘progressive’ back then (they would not even assume what was yet to come the next year) but I’m quite strict this is a Metal album with a progressive way of thinking in writing songs and/or lyrics.

Let the music do the talking, in other words. It’s now nearly three decades since this phenomenal disc was out and if I have to count how many American and European bands were influenced by this specific piece of art I’ll probably lose count 666 times. Think of the most significant and leading albums by German or British Metal legends of the early 80s and then travel to the American continent and run the same code. “The Warning” shall appear, rest assured.


Tracklist

01. Warning
02. En Force
03. Deliverance
04. No Sanctuary
05. NM 156
06. Take Hold Of The Flame
07. Before The Storm
08. Child Of Fire
09. Roads To Madness


Lineup

Geoff Tate - Vocals
Chris DeGarmo - Guitars, Background Vocals
Michael Wilton - Guitars, Background Vocals
Eddie Jackson - Bass, Background Vocals
Scott Rockenfield - Drums