Album Review — Queensryche
Queensryche — Digital Noise Alliance
It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since Queensryche split from singer Geoff Tate. “Digital Noise Alliance” is the band’s fourth album with singer Todd LaTorre and first since 2019’s “The Verdict”. It is difficult not to compare the new version of the band with the old but now that the new version is four records in they are starting to form their own sound even if it sounds quite a bit like the original band.
Time for a track by track breakdown…
“In Extremis” — The first thing we hear is a very Queensryche sounding guitar riff. It’s good to remember that Michael Wilton has been in the band since day one and he accounts for much of the band’s sound. This album opener has a nice blend of the heavier, early sound of the band combined with a bit of that “Empire” era feel. A really good start.
“Chapters” — The second track has a similar feel to the opener. A nice mix of heavy and melodic. If there is anything on the record that is familiar it’s the guitar playing, especially the solos. Some parts sound very familiar, almost to the point of being reminded of certain songs.
“Lost In Sorrow” — This one is probably my favorite on the record. It’s very “Empire” sounding to the point that you know it’s Queensryche when you hear it. This one is more mid-tempo, think “Jet City Woman”, and might be one of my favorite tracks that the band has released since LaTorre has joined the band.
“Sicdeth” — Now the album gets heavy. There’s still plenty of melody but the riff is heavy in the verse and LaTorre’s “metal voice” is definitely different than Tate’s. Fans of the heavier Queensryche stuff should like this one.
“Behind The Walls” — The first of two songs that check in at over six minutes, this one takes some time to get going but when it does it’s a heavier, plodding track in the verses. Another one that fans of the earlier sound of the band should embrace.
“Nocturnal Light” — I would describe this one as more of a newer Queensryche sound. Of course it has elements of past versions of the band but this one sounds a little different. There are times during the track where LaTorre doesn’t sound like Tate at all which speaks to the different sound. I like it.
“Out of the Black” — This one is back to the Mindcrime/Empire sound of the band which is my personal favorite era of the band. The chorus takes a bit of an unexpected turn in sound and I like it. A contender for best song on the record.
“Forest” — This is one of two songs that I’m not sure how I feel about. This one is very Pink Floyd-ish. It’s not a copy of “Silent Lucidity” but has quite a few similar elements. LaTorre has a very different deeper voice than Tate so that helps differentiate things. But I’m not sure I like the idea of doing something that’s reminiscent of one of the band’s most unique songs that they did with Tate.
“Realms” — My feelings are clear on this one — I like it. Lots of Queensryche elements here with the dual guitars and driving bass line. A quality track.
“Hold On” — This one has a “Suite Sister Mary” feel to it at the start but kicks in and brightens up in the chorus. It’s an interesting mix with the darker verses and the brighter chorus but it works.
“Tormentum” — I’m not sure if this is actually a word but I do know this is the longest track on the record at seven and a half minutes. As you might expect it has multiple different elements but overall it’s heavy with LaTorre singing in a higher octave. It’s an interesting track and probably should have ended the record.
“Rebel Yell” — This is the second track that I’m not sure how to feel about. It feels like a strange tune to cover especially when the band basically just plays it just like the original. I could maybe understand if they changed it up but it’s almost identical to the original. LaTorre does a good Billy Idol but I’m left scratching my head with the choice.
It’s impossible for the new version of the band to escape their past work and I like that they have embraced it. Many elements of that band are still here and they have just as much right to the sound they created as those that have departed the band. So I appreciate that the band doesn’t sound all that different from their earlier records.
There are some really good songs here that I believe most Queensryche fans will enjoy. They touch on the main eras of the band and bring in a few new elements. I’m not a big fan of a couple of the choices that they made but overall I like this record quite a bit.
In my view the band keeps getting better with each record and that’s what you want to see. Is it as good as “Mindcrime”? No, but very few albums are. But this is a very good record that holds up to the catalogue and is worth the time of any Queensryche fan to check out.
90 out of 100
1. In Extremis *
2. Chapters *
3. Lost in Sorrow *
5. Behind the Walls
6. Nocturnal Light
7. Out of the Black *
10. Hold On *
12. Rebel Yell (Bonus Track)