@planetmosh reviews Condition Hüman by .@Queensryche on .@centurymedia
Over the course of their career Queensrÿche, like the rest of us, have had their ups and downs. Some of the well publicised downs have been long, drawn out and no doubt painful for those involved. However, with their issues resolved they have been able to get back to doing what they have done for decades, which is producing quality music. Condition Hüman, released October 2nd, is certainly that, produced in their native Washington with producer Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed).
In case anyone has lost track, the current Queensrÿche line up is founding members Michael Wilton (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums) along with vocalist Todd la Torre and guitarist Parker Lundgren. Having sold over 30 million albums worldwide over a thirty year career the easy thing to do would be to rest on their laurels and stick out a hits album, but Queensrÿche are going in the opposite direction, enjoying a creative resurgence and producing music that nods to their past but is also optimistic and forward-thinking. Switching between elements of melodic metal and classic rock, Condition Hüman has many standout tracks. It opens with Arrow of Time, a track with elements of speed metal, particularly in Rockenfield’s drums. It goes at a furious pace, but if you listen hard the lyrics set the theme for the album. “Now is the time to make up your mind and find out what is real.” Condition Hüman is very much an intellectual study of humanity and all its intrigues. Next up is Guardian, which again has a very metal sound. Hellfire is where the rock starts to come in, it’s slightly slower paced and the guitar has a toned down groove to it. My favourite track is Selfish Lives. Again the lyrics are well worth concentrating on. “Do you want to be a slave to the system?” It’s a tirade against the Big Brother society we live in, questioning whether we’re actually any better off for all the supposed advancements we’ve made. It features another brilliant rock guitar solo which will sound amazing live. Bulletproof is a straight-up power ballad with a lighters in the air chorus and a solo that will inspire many an air guitarist. La Torre is in the rare position of having a voice than can do pretty much anything so the multi-genre vocals here always sound authentic. Some of these songs really push the vocal to it’s absolute limits but he has the voice to carry it off. The album closes with the title track, Condition Hüman. At nearly eight minutes it’s the longest track on the album, and it’s an absolute epic. Where the rest of the album has questioned elements of what it is to be human, using rock and metal, this brings the whole lot together into a track that is something of a magnum opus. “Welcome to our generation, we are all Condition Hüman.” Like I said at the beginning, Queensrÿche have been on the go in one form or another for over thirty years and many of their peers have fallen by the wayside, but this band, having buried their demons is completely resurgent.
Arrow of Time
All there Was