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Queensrÿche's superlative Rage for Order has the joy of being chronologically stuck between their metallic debut The Warning, and of course the incredible Operation: Mindcrime. Thus, I feel Rage for Order is somewhat overlooked; criminally overlooked for that matter. Now make no mistake about it, their debut and of course Mindcrime are masterpieces, but if you were to ask me my favorite 'Rÿche album, I'd answer Rage for Order without the slightest hint of hesitation.
Rage for fucking Order, man, a gleaming jewel in the crown of one of 80's premier acts. Sure, the band pictures were as queer as they come, and an ill advised cover of "Gonna Get Close to You" didn't help reinforce the steel. Still, hardly reason to ignore this absolute gem of an album, and for any Queensrÿche fan who might have given this a miss; shame on you. Rage for Order is a collection of driving, intelligent, emotional heavy metal, blending US power metal with Rush style progressive rock. The album is essentially your proto-prog metal album, dream-like keys are subtly intertwined with counter-point guitar riffs, and washed over a dark soundscape, with a ever-so-slight gothic tint.
Everything from the songs to the performances are superb, with the production also being particularly great. Clarity is perfect across the album, although if I wanted to nit-pick I think the guitar tone could have been a little meatier, and also, I have an original pressing which, common of albums from the 80's sounds a little quieter. No biggie, though. Harking back to the performances, Geoff Tate absolutely steals the show as per usual, delivering some of his finest vocal work to date (see "The Killing Words" or even "Walk in the Shadows"). However as much as Mr. Tate takes names, we have the guitar dream team of Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, giving him a run for his money rocking damn hard throughout. Their counterpoint riffs and guitar trade-offs never fail to provide the utmost in entertainment, and of course lets not forget the rhythm section; Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson, say no more.
From the opening salvo of "Walk in the Shadows" to the closing notes of "I Will Remember" Rage for Order is a tour de force in Queensrÿche magic. Not only my favorite Queensrÿche album, but amongst my favorites of all time. The album boasts a feel and atmosphere I believe is completely unique, however I will admit that the album did take a certain amount of time to grow. Time well spent as far as I'm concerned though, a mandatory listen for any fan of progressive music, give this the time it deserves and you'll wonder how you lived without it.