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Queensryche - Digital Noise Alliance Award winner

Digital Noise Alliance
by Kevin Lewis at 24 October 2022, 3:18 PM

QUEENSRYCHE, the legendary Progressive Metal band from Bellevue, Washington, is back with the sixteenth installment to their incredible discography. This is the third disc with producer, Zeuss, and the fourth with vocalist Todd La Torre. As a long-time fan of this band, I am ecstatic with the outcome of this record. Digital Noise Alliance was released on October 7, 2022, via Century Media

I first saw QUEENSRYCHE live in 1984 opening for KISS in Dallas, TX. The Tri-Ryche logo from “Rage for Order” was my first tattoo at 18. I’ve seen them open for METALLICA (twice) and SCORPIONS, as well as headlining a few times as well. I even had Operation: Mindcrime on vinyl picture disc, though that was unfortunately stolen. I say all that to say this, the new album is, in my opinion, the most accurate representation of their illustrious career they’ve made yet, and I hope this is what we get as they continue forward.

The album opens with “In Extremis,” a heavier track, similar to much of the new era music. This new era is a return to the harder edge QUEENSRYCHE had in some of their earlier works. The guitars give us some nice pulsating riffs that shift into heavy melodic tones before the solos. The drums are pounding, and the bass is that ever-present thunder hovering under the riff, driving and pacing the track perfectly.

Chapters” has a bit more of the Progressive feel while retaining all of the heaviness of “In Extremis.” The vocals get more layering here, broadening the sound and even the feel of the song. This track feels like it is about aging and how the “Chapters” in our lives unfold, then fade into memory, which then fades into the twilight of life. There is some melancholy within the composition, but it’s not a truly sad song.

Lost in Sorrow” almost seems like the continuation of the previous story, or the next “Chapter” if you will. This is the twilight of life, crossing into someone else’s memories, hoping your legacy is worthy of remembering. It sounds like the object of this song is going to miss being here.

The song that really has me hooked right now is “Behind the Walls.” That guitar riff is so quintessentially QUEENSRYCHE that it may just be the one that most completely defines their sound. The pacing, the phrasing, and the tone all perfectly encapsulate their history. It could be from any album in their sixteen-part discography. This song is how I would describe this band from any era of their illustrious career. Even the layered keyboards with their weirdly ominous tones fit beautifully anywhere from “Rage for Order” to Digital Noise Alliance.

I’ve already read online comments that “Forest” is equal to or better than “Silent Lucidity.” I will not make that comparison. Both songs stand on their own merit. “Forest” is one of the most poetic ways to describe loss and love that I’ve heard in a long time. The guitars are plaintive and melancholy, the bass is dark and a bit dreary, even the drums manage to give a sense of loss. The strings provide another layer of sound that really elevate this song to another level. This is one of the best ballads I’ve ever heard.

Realms” and “Hold On” both get back to the heaviness of the earlier section of this album, though “Hold On” has that beautiful melodic shift through the verses, going heavier on the chorus. Both have an anthemic sound, built to support the huge vocal performances they contain.

The album wraps with “Tormentum,” a seven-and-a-half-minute epic track that shows some of the pioneering Progressive Metal sound QUEENSRYCHE is famous for. The rhythm is catchy, the vocals get to more of the gritty goodness Todd can offer. Casey’s drumming here is some of the best on the album, though all of it is really good. Eddie, Michael and Mike are some of the best in the business at playing with, around, over, under and through each other. They are always exactly on point, right where they need to be.

Just for fun, they added a bonus track to this disc. Yes, QUEENSRYCHE covered BILLY IDOL’s “Rebel Yell.” They stayed true to the tone and tempo, and the voice even stays fairly close to the original. It is a really good version, honoring the past without trying to be an exact copy or going so far afield the song is almost unrecognizable. It’s a well-done cover that deserves praise for being a great mix of original and new tones.

QUEENSRYCHE is four decades into one of the most storied careers in music. They have helped define the Progressive Metal genre, they’ve issued one of the greatest concept albums of all time, and they continue to create amazing music to this very day. Todd has one of the most distinct voices in the business, echoing tones from their original singer, but also going into completely new territory, allowing the band to push the boundaries even further than they ever have.

Digital Noise Alliance is a beautiful time capsule of everything QUEENSRYCHE was, is, and likely will be going forward. I know my thoughts on this will never change a “purists” mind about what is “truly” QUEENSRYCHE, but that’s okay. They can go try to gatekeep on their own time. I love this album and think the band is as good now as they ever have been. I guess you could say it’s in their DNA… (last pun, I promise).

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  10
Production:  10

5 Star Rating

1. In Extremis
2. Chapters
3. Lost in Sorrow
4. Sicdeth
5. Behind the Walls
6. Nocturnal Light
7. Out of The Black
8. Forest
9. Realms
10. Hold On
11. Tormentum
12. Rebel Yell
Todd La Torre – Vocals
Eddie Jackson – Bass
Casey Grillo – Drums
Michael Wilton – Guitar
Mike Stone – Guitar
Record Label: Century Media


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