Queensrÿche – Condition Hüman

Queensryche-Condition-Human-Cover

Elephants in the room exposed, monkeys off their backs with legal issues cast aside and now sole owners of the rights to the name and catalogue of Queensrÿche, the band who produced the greatest album to originate from Seattle can now leave their manure-filled zoo of shite behind. With Todd La Torre firmly ensconced in their ranks, and contributing fully to the writing of the bands fifteenth album, Condition Hüman (Century Media), the opportunity is there for the real Queensrÿche to stand back up.

Having promised a return to their more progressive metal-tinged leanings, an introductory dual guitar lick references their early traditional metal outputs before we embark on album that displays every element of trademark Queensrÿche that you could wish for. Condition Hüman is a mature album, at times reminiscent of Parallels (Metal Blade) from former tour buddies Fates Warning, happy to reference the foibles and distinctive nodes of yesteryear while still firmly holding its place in where the band is now. There are the expected gallops, ‘All There Was’ and ‘Guardian’ could be out-takes from the Operation Mindcrime (EMI) sessions, but in the main, here lies a series of intelligent rock/metal songs proudly reflecting a band that is once again able to produce the music that people expect from them and are more than happy to oblige.

That’s not to say this is an album without heaviness – ‘Hourglass’ builds from a dark, stabbed beginning to a spiralling (reference intended) epic, while ‘Eye9’ could be the rÿche polish applied to a long-lost jam session for the new Tool album – but it’s used sparingly, intelligently, with progressive and cerebral rock the order of the day. La Torre is the ideal frontman, sounding effortlessly like the ousted Geoff Tate, with hints of Michael Kiske, a flawless voice that is indisputably Queensrÿche, adopting some of the idiosyncrasies of his predecessor for that added touch.

Condition Hüman fits seamlessly into the Queensrÿche canon, a natural evolution from, and improvement on, its’ self-titled predecessor, almost as if their discography actually runs Empire (EMI) to Queensrÿche to Condition Hüman and the intervening twenty-three years be damned. Ignore side-show circuses, ignore the flaccid projects of “formerly of…” members, and ignore the memory of experiments and failures; Condition Hüman is a confident and telling step forward in restoring the legacy of a once great band.

The Queen of the Rÿche has seen off the usurper, and now proudly surveys her domain once more.

 

8.0/10

STEVE TOVEY