[Century Media]

It’s taken Seattle prog-metal stalwarts Queensrÿche more than 30 years to release a self-titled album, but with original singer Geoff Tate absent, this marks the debut of a new lineup. Today’s group comprises three co-founders (bassist Eddie Jackson, rhythm guitarist Michael Wilton and drummer Scott Rockenfield), latter-day guitarist Parker Lundgren, and rookie singer Todd La Torre. Instrumental opener “X2” launches the album with the ominous sound of a clanging bell and pouring rain, and what follows is classic ’80s-style twin-guitar metal. Unfortunately, the band’s reliance on formula—melodramatic verse, anthemic chorus, spiraling guitars and either a limp pulse or rhythmic pummel—makes for an album lacking in Queensrÿche’s typical texture and sophistication. And that’s not all that’s missing. Whereas Tate once “raged for order” on songs about social concerns, La Torre fails to match his indignation. “When did it all go wrong? / When will it all go right?” he asks on “In This Light,” more annoyed than anguished. –Linda Laban


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