(All Album Reviews by ak85lp)
In 1989 Queensr˙che were all over the airwaves with songs like “Jet City Woman” and “Silent Lucidity”. It was a welcome time for most, as projects from grunge bands had practically drove a spike in all bands that were metal or hard rock. This was a continuation of great things from the previous album Operation Mindcrime. While Empire was not a complete concept as Mindcrime was, it clearly let people know these were real musicians who clearly believed in what they did, and they did it well.
“Silent Lucidity” was to Queensr˙che like “Stairway to Heaven” was to Led Zeppelin, complete with a string section by Michael Kamen and the passionate voice of Geoff Tate. It was a lush song that built higher and higher and left you feeling like this was going to be a classic. The band are an awesome set of musicians, just try and follow the outro on “One and Only” by the rhythm section of Scott Rockenfield (drums), and Eddie Jackson (bass).
Queensr˙che never abandoned their sense of melody in return for a great set of musical chops, like Dream Theatre may have done. The twin guitar duties shared by Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton were an important part of the chemistry of this album as well. They were like the Tipton and Downing of Judas Priest who constantly fed off each other and just nudged each other a bit more to gain a great performance.
Queensr˙che have gone on to record a bunch great albums, but this one remains a great part of their discography and which the new listener wanting to see what the band is all about will be the most friendly to their ears.
4 ½ /5