KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Thirty Year Thursday – QUEENSRŸCHE “RAGE FOR ORDER”

[Welcome to Thirty Year Thursday, the weekly series on my favorite albums of 1986, which now shifts to the releases I didn’t discover until after 1986]

Artist: QUEENSRŸCHE
Album: RAGE FOR ORDER

Queensryche - Rage For OrderNearly a decade before the rise of the grunge scene in Seattle that stalled or ended the careers of many traditional heavy metal bands, Queensrÿche formed in nearby Bellevue, Washington to carry on that area’s proud rock & roll tradition that dated back to the ‘60s with Jimi Hendrix and the ‘70s with Heart. Emerging with a self-titled EP in 1983, it would be 5 years before they really made their mark (with Operation: Mindcrime) and another 2 before they had multi-platinum mainstream success. 1990’s Empire was where I first took notice of them, since I wasn’t really into the metal scene throughout most of the ‘80s, but I soon delved into their back catalog and discovered a lot of great music. The quintet of singer Geoff Tate, guitarists Chris DeGarmo & Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfeld proved early on that they were gifted & ambitious musicians/songwriters. Their second full-length release, Rage For Order, shows a band pushing musical boundaries. They weren’t quite the progressive-metal behemoth that they would soon become, but those progressive elements are on display throughout the album in the form of adventurous arrangements, questing lyrics and impressive instrumental chops. Also noteworthy for a mid-‘80s release, especially one that focuses on modern technology (the atmospheric ballad “I Dream In Infrared” and the pounding, synth-infused “Screaming In Digital” are just two examples), is the fact that it was recorded & mixed in analog, so it doesn’t have the tinny, digital sound that afflicted so many records of that era.

Album opener “Walk In The Shadows” combines the insistent rhythms & high-pitched vocals of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Dio with elements of Twisted Sister, most notably at the group-sung “walk with me.” The only single released from Rage For Order was “Gonna Get Close To You,” a cover of a song by the band Dalbello. It’s somewhat Queensryche band photo 1986atypical for them and far from the most radio-friendly song here, but someone at their record label incorrectly thought the sparse arrangement, stomping beat, synths & sound effects, along with Tate singing in a lower register, were the keys to their success. In “Surgical Strike,” I love how it switches from the tom-tom heavy tribal rhythm to a more driving groove, as well as the thunderous guitar solo section. “London” is another great song with lots of dynamics, veering from quiet, haunting verses with subtle vocals to a more insistent (yet restrained) chorus with Tate’s voice soaring. Like much of the album, DeGarmo and Wilton showcase a melodic & flashy twin-guitar attack here. They close things out with the slow-building ballad “I Will Remember,” a precursor to their 1990 breakthrough, “Silent Lucidity.” There’s been a lot of drama in the world of Queensrÿche the last several years, which followed a steady decline in the quality of their releases (probably after DeGarmo left the band in 1998), all of which has diluted their reputation among fans & critics. However, just listen to the music they produced during their first decade and you’ll remember why they were so exciting…and successful. For the uninitiated, Rage For Order would be a great entry point into their catalog, still sounding fresh 30 years later.

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26 comments on “Thirty Year Thursday – QUEENSRŸCHE “RAGE FOR ORDER”

  1. mikeladano
    November 3, 2016

    Possibly my favorite QR album. You nailed a lot of what I love. Scott’s tribal influence, melding with technology. I love the lyrics and wrote a school paper on some of them.

    I haven’t reviewed this yet, because when I do, I must do it right. Epic. Big and fill of analysis.

    The computer word made flesh…we are one, you and I, we are versions of the same.

    Like

    • I love the fact that you wrote a school paper about this album. I hope you’ll include that whenever you review it. I searched your sight for a review but now I know why I didn’t find one. Of course I would have provided a link.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Heavy Metal Overload
    November 3, 2016

    Great album. Great post. Slightly questionable fashion sense!

    Like

  3. stephen1001
    November 3, 2016

    A group I’m still not terribly familiar with beyond a few tracks – though I’ve always appreciated the lead singer’s name spelling!

    Like

    • “Geoffs of the world, unite!” Haha. Depending on your tolerance for melodic ’80s metal with progressive elements, you might find a lot to enjoy in their discography.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. deKE
    November 3, 2016

    Nice Throwback Album Review Rich…
    I still remember buying this at the time of it’s release and basically realizing that these guys were gonna change from album to album in other words gone was the sound of the E.P(Queen Of The Riech hooked us all at the time of its’ release and we all snapped up copies of the 5 song album!) The Warning was so different to the EP. We had a Highschool Cafeteria Discussion about this way back(86) and someone said ‘these guys are like Rush. Not in sound but in terms of no two albums sounding alike” Fair call i suppose…we also discussed the recently released Boston Third Stage album at the time and the whereabouts of Def Lep….
    I miss those simpler times but thanks for bringing some of this stuff back Rich!

    Like

    • I love that this post triggered some fun teenage memories for you, Derek. I would not have cared about this album in ’86 but thanks to their later albums I was able to go back in time & discover this wonderful record. Good call about them not repeating themselves. However, they should have repeated some of their more successful releases when they started losing the plot.

      Like

      • deKE
        November 3, 2016

        I kinda passed on pretty much everything after Empire (I did dabble a bit with Hear In The Now) but i dunno why that was but it is what it is I suppose….
        Plus the whole Lead Singer Drama Deal..gets real tiring after a while…Good band had a pretty decent run….

        Like

      • Much like Metallica’s “Black Album,” I think longtime fans abandoned Queensrÿche after their most commercially successful album, feeling like they had sold out. Not sure if that’s why you lost interest or if you sensed a dip in quality. Since I discovered them via Empire I stuck around for a few more albums. I think my most recent purchase was Mindcrime II, but it’s been a long time since I really liked…or cared about…one of their albums. I’ve heard the new singer is very good, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • deKE
        November 3, 2016

        Don’t know why I lost interest Rich. I borrowed a copy of Promised Land when It was first released and it didn’t really do anything sonically for me. I always went back to Empire and stuff before. The Warning had that one tune called N M 156. Remember hearing for the first time when it came out and going …’Whut!” Hahaha…..Great song…They made you think about what was going on ….

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      • I need to revisit Promised Land, Hear In The Now Frontier and Q2K. I remember liking all of them when they came out but I quickly stopped listening to them. I wonder if I’ll fall in love with any of them. I’ve revisited Empire and everything that came before it multiple times so those have all held up really well. I don’t remember “N M 156” so I’ll have to give it a listen soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • deKE
        November 3, 2016

        Meant to add Rich is that I love the album cover with the different colours and logo. Nice and Bright ..almost like a anti 80s metal album cover!

        Like

      • I hadn’t considered the cover of this album but that’s a great point about it being an anti 80s metal album cover. Then again, didn’t Judas Priest release Turbo the same year? Maybe it was a trend throughout the genre.

        Liked by 1 person

      • deKE
        November 4, 2016

        Your right! Priest was another one that deviated from the Norm! The Ryche cover is one of my fav’s…

        Like

      • I think anti-’80s-metal-album-covers would be a good idea for a blog post. Not mine, of course. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • deKE
        November 5, 2016

        Great idea Rich!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. galley99
    November 3, 2016

    “Rage For Order” is my favorite metal album of all time!

    Like

  6. Murphy's Law
    November 4, 2016

    The Warning through Operation: Mindcrime was a great run of albums. I liked Empire although it was clear they were changing their sound. I couldn’t get into Promised Land and I haven’t heard any after that. But we spent a lot of time talking about Mindcrime – arguing about whether the narrator was crazy or actually part of a conspiracy…

    Like

    • Although I’ve played Mindcrime numerous times I’m far from an expert, and I never really paid attention to the story. Had I been a fan at the time I’m sure I would have obsessed over it with my friends. I’m guessing if you didn’t like them changing their sound with Empire and Promised Land you probably won’t like much after that.

      Like

  7. J.
    November 4, 2016

    Great post, Rich… a band that I definitely need to investigate further… and you put forward a good argument for making this priority listening.

    Like

  8. Music According To...ME!
    March 22, 2017

    Fantastic album, and one that I’d argue was a LITTLE ahead of its time. ‘Rage For Order’ was THE album of 1986 without question for me. A cult classic! The tour was top-notch as well.

    Like

    • I’m glad we agree about Rage For Order. I certainly can’t argue that it was at least a little ahead of its time, even if it now sounds like a product of its time. The songs are still great, and I can only imagine how good they were on stage.

      Like

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