Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2014
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Decent, but somwhat inconsistent. - 81%

hells_unicorn, November 29th, 2006

During the 80s there was a sort of rivalry between Queensryche and Fates Warning that was 100% created by the critical field and bore no connection with reality. Although they share a common influence in that of Rush, the directions in which they took were quite different, as John Arch’s lyrics were more in the vain of the arcane teller of tales and lore, while Geoff Tate and the others of Seattle based Prog. Metal outfit were interested in emulating George Orwell. The 2 albums that most accurately depict the complete myth that these two bands were comparable by any standard were the ones that came about in 1986, of which this album is clearly the weaker of the two.

Although this album features some rather intricate songwriting at times, as well as some inspired riffs and solos, it has some inconsistencies that need to be addressed. The most obvious one being the cover “Gonna Get Close to You”, which is a bit out of place amongst the other songs on here. Geoff Tate gives a dramatic vocal performance, but beyond this there isn’t really much to the song, mostly due to the dry musical lines that were penned by the one who originally wrote it.

Another issue on here is the over-emphasis on sound effects over the necessary meat and potatoes, the guitar lines. Tracks such as “The Killing Words”, “Neue Regel” and “I will remember” are a bit too keyboard drenched at times and some of the acoustic lines seem to supplant the metal edge that is otherwise present. Although these songs don’t really qualify as being lackluster, they sound a bit confused amongst other tracks that have a more traditional NWOBHM tinge to them.

Amongst the more metal driven tracks on here are the straight-forward rocker “Walk in the Shadows”, the agitated quasi-electronic cooker “Screaming in Digital” and the angst ridden anthem “Chemical Youth (We are Rebellion)”. These songs are a bit more reminiscent of better moments on the original EP and the full length debut “Warning”. Other solid rockers that have a bit more progressive overtones include “London” and “The Whisper”.

My picks for the highlights on this album are the two remaining tracks, both of which carry some elements that would later appear on their 3rd effort “Operation: Mindcrime”. “Surgical Strike” is a slightly more progressive version of “The Needle Lies”, carrying a similar set of minimalist riffs, an up tempo beat, and a solid vocal delivery. “I Dream in Infra Red” carries the melancholy spirit in the lyrics that defines the characters of the next album, while musically it bears some comparison with “Breaking the Silence”, “Waiting for 22” and a couple other tracks from Mindcrime.

In conclusion, this is a mixed bag, it’s a good album but at times it tries a bit too hard to vary itself and comes off as somewhat forced. There is a solid collection of songs on here that fans of Queensryche’s follow up “Mindcrime” can enjoy, but nothing that is quite spectacular. I can recommend this album to fans of Dream Theatre and other bands that have a more Prog. in their sound and a tad bit less metal. It’s decent, but it doesn’t shack up to The Warning or Mindcrime.