Queensryche - Dedicated to Chaos (Roadrunner)

The Seattle veterans return with an album that contains little or none of what probably made you love them in the first place...
Release Date: 
4 Jul 2011 - 11:30pm

Look, let’s get one thing straight – I love Queensryche, OK? I love the fact that they’ve always followed their instincts and done whatever the hell they’ve wanted to do, even if that course of action has harmed their viability as a mainstream metal act, as it surely did when they veered firmly away from the treadmill of success they’d landed themselves on with albums like Operation:Mindcrime and Empire. Christ on a bike, I even loved the way they pushed back the boundaries of ‘trad’ metal on Rage for Order with their fruity makeup and silk trenchcoats. And so, accepting all that, I should love Dedicated to Chaos, their new album and first under Roadrunner’s aegis. Because Dedicated to Chaos is undoubtedly the sound of a band doing whatever the hell it wants and hanging the consequences. Vocalist Geoff Tate admitted as much in the interviews that formed the album’s early promo blurb. He said it himself – this is an album we made to please ourselves.

And please themselves they clearly have. But will DtC please anyone else? It’s hard really to see who will truly warm to this album outside of the Queensryche inner circle and that doughty bunch of die hards who would pay money to hear Tate reciting the periodic table of elements whilst accompanying himself on saxophone. As for the rest of us, well, we’ve paid our money (actually I haven’t, obviously, parted with any cash for this album, but there you go – I’m listening to it so you don’t have to, if that’s the choice you make) and so we take our chance.

Opener Getting Started is spritely enough, it sets the tone for what is essentially a claustrophobic trip through the band’s hopes, fears and collective neuroses as fully paid up members of a society that to them appears to be heading lemming-like into the abyss, but it kinda gets your hopes up as far as what is to come is concerned. What does come, it has to be said, does not really merit space in an online magazine reveling in the title Metal as Fuck. This is Queensryche, so there are standards here being upheld that are quite brilliant in terms of musicianship and songwriting – but the likes of Around the World, a superannuated dance track fleshed out of a guitar figure that sounds like it was left behind from the sessions for something like Zoe’s second summer of love rave anthem Sunshine on a Rainy Day, whilst pleasing enough to the ear once or twice, really struggle to make a home for themselves amongst a canon that contains the likes of Queen of the Reich or Best I can.

So there you have it; if you are a metal fan first and a Queensryche fan second you’ll not be needing this. But if you like thought provoking rock music that takes as many chances with you the listeners’ patience as it does musical twists and turns, then you’ll probably find enough moments of grittily inspired obscurantism here to warrant an investment..