Queensrÿche - The Warning review
|Release date:||September 1984|
02. En Force
04. No Sanctuary
05. NM 156
06. Take Hold Of The Flame
07. Before The Storm
08. Child Of Fire
09. Roads To Madness
10. Prophecy [2003 remaster bonus]
11. The Lady Wore Black [live] [2003 remaster bonus]
12. Take Hold Of The Flame [live] [2003 remaster bonus]
I'll admit, I'm not that experienced in the genre of Progressive Metal - in fact I had never heard any of Queensrÿche's music before buying this album. However the legacy of this band, review scores around 9/10, and a price tag of $20 (fairly cheap in my country) prove a combination hard for me to resist. Given the factors above, my expectations for this album were quite high and that was probably a mistake on my part, as now when I play this record I can't help feeling disappointed.
The band are obviously able on their respective instruments; I haven't stumbled upon any off-notes or moments noticeably out of time. This being a prog band though, I really wish the solos and riffs, or even drumwork were more spectacular. The production is (on the remastered version, at least) a good job, not outstanding in any way but everything is clear and sounds good. Again regarding this version, the packaging and booklet are great, with full lyrics (for songs on the original release), many pictures of the band and memorabilia of the time, and a small essay on the album and its background.
Now to the music… it sounds as if Iron Maiden's 1980s material with Bruce Dickinson has been collected into one album, but with a colder, darker and slightly less passionate touch. The opener "Warning" seems a lot like Maiden's "Total Eclipse", the track after it has a "Where Eagles Dare" feel and even starts with a bell section reminiscent of "Hallowed Be Thy Name". The middle of "Child of Fire" brings to mind "Children of the Damned" - not just because of the name - and so on and so on. Geoff Tate's vocals here are a bit screechier than Dickinson's, and persist in making my mother complain. The main problem for me though is that Queensrÿche's riffs and chord progressions are not memorable. Not because it's too madly progressive, which I would have liked more, but it's just kind of... generic, uninteresting. The only real prog elements I can identify are a few slightly out-of-the-ordinary time signatures and perhaps the structure of the songs.
As for the structure of the overall album, I've listened through the piece both in the given track order and in the rumoured correct order (5-9 then 1-4), and it seems to me that tracks 5-9 are generally the strongest on the album. This might be why they are placed at the end: to give the listener a positive impression after the record has run its course. Its consistency is comparable to Iced Earth's Dark Saga album with a fair few softer, more atmospheric songs that, like those on The Dark Saga, quickly bore me and make me forget that I'm listening to a metal album. The hardest tracks here are "Deliverance" and my favourites listed below, especially "Prophecy". So, I might recommend this if you like Iron Maiden, Iced Earth and Judas Priest, particularly their more epic material.
The live bonus tracks on this remastered edition are nice to have, but again, nothing incredible. If trying to decide which version to buy, go with whichever you usually would, either the nostalgic original or the more complete re-release (although the former may have a worse sound quality, I am not sure).
Buying this album, I was hoping to find something heavy and complex along the lines of Liquid Tension Experiment's "Acid Rain". Don't make the same mistake I did - this should not be the first thing to pick up if you are looking for an album that will make you bang your head. On the other hand if you want some not-too-aggressive metal to think about, you might really like this.
Favourite tracks: "NM 156", "Before the Storm", "Prophecy" (bonus track)
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