QUEENSRYCHE– “Digital Noise Alliance”

By Colonel Angus

I am a QUEENSRYCHE fan that was there from the beginning of the original E.P.. When I heard “Queen of the Reich” for the first time, it was life changing and I have been a fan ever since. I have also been critical of the band and while I did find something to like with each release (except “Dedicated to Chaos” which shouldn’t even have the QUEENSRYCHE name), I found myself less and less interested when a new record was being released. When their self-titled album came out in 2013, that all changed again and I have been following the band like I used to back before their stylistic change. The band’s music now resembles the early QUEENSRYCHE that I fell in love with and their 2 subsequent releases “Condition Human” and “The Verdict” just strengthened that bond. After those 3 records, I did have a small amount of concern that the band would once again stretch their musical chops into other styles like before and lose any momentum they have achieved in the last decade.

Thankfully, after just one listen, “Digital Noise Alliance” is just what us old QUEENSRYCHE fans wanted and the band has delivered. From the opening riffs of “In Extremis”, the band sounds rejuvenated and plays with all the passion of a newer band but with all the confidence of seasoned group. It’s a faster track and would make a great opener for their concerts. “Chapters” slows down just a touch but captures all those majestic QUEENSRYCHE elements from the olden days. That doesn’t mean that there are spots where the band puts in something that sounds unlike some of their other material. The opening riff in “Lost In Sorrow” sounds odd and almost just basic metal but then the rest of the guitars come in and we are back QUEENSRYCHE territory. “Sicdeth” and “Behind the Walls” also have that classic sound that reminds me of “Rage”-era tunes with the latter especially reminding me of those epic sounds that blasted out of my speakers back in the mid to late 80s.

Todd La Torre really shines on the next track “Nocturnal Light” which sounds like a song that would have easily fit on “Condition Human”. On the second half of the disk, we get “Out of the Black: and “Realms” which rock along with the unmistakable QUEENSRYCHE sound. Both of these are quality tunes that pack the punch of the twin guitar attack along with some catchy, melodic vocals. In between those tracks, we get the second single from “Digital Noise Alliance”, “Forest”. This was pre-released with a video and it is one of those melancholy tracks that reminds me a little of “Silent Lucidity” mixed with a little “Out of Mind” from “Promised Land”. It’s a great ballad that finds a great spot in the track listing giving the listener a bit if a rest after the previous rockin’ tunes. “Hold On’ has an “Empire”/”Promised Land” vibe but still comes off as fresh without sounding like the band is repeating itself. Closing off the album is a proggy piece that thunders along called “Tormentum”. When the band was promoting this release, they were mentioning prog elements and they must have been referencing this song. This track brings also brings in elements from the early QUEENSRYCHE records along with parts reminiscent of the last few releases. It ends the record perfectly and gives it the listener the feeling that they just heard something really special.

The band has made a couple of line-up changes again and I’m sure there will be “fans” that will complain. When I say “fans”, these are the people who won’t accept anything other than the 5 original players. Yes, it is only two-fifths of the original line-up but who cares. That ship has sailed a long time ago and the band still produces quality records, “Digital Noise Alliance” proving that point. They are not a cover band or nostalgia act; they are still a relevant working band that tours and puts out records. Over the last decade, the older fans should be rejoicing as the band adjusted their sound back to that of the original records that we all fell in love with. Todd La Torre has more than proven that he can faithfully represent the older material while still stamping his own voice on the new material. If you listen closely, he sounds similar to Geoff Tate but he most certainly is not a clone. The best advice I can give you is to purchase “Digital Noise Alliance” and forget about the credits and just listen to the music. I can guarantee that you will hear a band that still has plenty to say musically and you will like what you hear. Since 2013, I have been excited about new QUEENSRYCHE music and “Digital Noise Alliance” continues that trend.