Oh yes, this album certainly belongs between the all time classics! Maybe we should split up our topic here in the US Metal classics and the all time Metal releases but to be honest it is a hard job to label this one because it belongs in both. Yes, Queensryche’s first full album was and still is a memorable US Metal album but it was so god damn good it deserves its place amongst the best Metal releases ever. This release deserves its place between the best albums of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath, AC/DC,…. With pain in the heart I am giving it another spin… Why pain? Well, first of all because of the memories it brings back and secondly because I realize Geoff Tate will never sound like this again… 

It was on a Wednesday afternoon, I will never forget and it was somewhere back in 1984. I was in my room, supposed to study but instead I was listening to a Metal show on the official Belgian Radio. For the very first time I’ve heard a song from this masterpiece and it was love at first sight. It was “Before the storm” I’ve heard and the chemistry still works after all those years. I worked as a disc-jockey in a Metal pub in those days and so I was fortunate enough buying vinyl; I suppose I don’t have to explain how fast I made the trip to the record store to purchase this Goldie. I turned it ‘grey’, as we say in Dutch and meanwhile I’ve bought the CD. I assure you even nowadays it is often in my CD-player. I also adore watching the clips of this album (“Take Hold Of The Flame”) on youtube.com and the darkness of the eighties can be tasted in those particular video clips. 

Queensryche wasn’t totally unknown at this point because they released before the everlasting EP, containing one of the best Metal songs ever written; “Queen Of The Reich”. What Queensryche did for the Metal community was important because they started, at least filled an important page in the book of Heavy Metal. No doubts that Queensryche, with this specific album, embodied what we call Progressive Metal nowadays! Fates Warning was another pioneer but they never received the same charisma Queensryche did. 

The strength of Queensryche was that they were able to write beautiful tracks that nevertheless took you by the throat. Queensryche was – and still is – a very intellectual band and the political items in their lyrics were rare in these days. Even after all these years the lyrics didn’t lose their intensity. Chris DeMargo was the main songwriter in those days and his departure, a few years later, was a great loss for the band! This man was able to combine beauty, power, emotions, and melancholy in his music; Heavy Metal as charming as it can be! Add the fantastic voice Geoff Tate had in those days; clear – sensitive – able to express a ton of emotions and foreseen with those incredible high screams! Yes, Geoff Tate belongs in the top five of the best Metal singers ever and it’s a pity we can’t turn back the hands of time to give him back his golden voice… 

This CD is full of highlights; “Warning”, “No Sanctuary”, “Take Hold Of The Flame”, “Before The Storm”, “Child Of Fire”… Wow; after all these years this album still sounds overwhelming! I still get the cold shivers while I am listening to this one! No words can explain how I worship this record; one of the most precious ones in my collection! Maybe I sound old when I say this, but they don’t make albums like this anymore and that’s such a pity! New bands shouldn’t always try to re-invent Metal because the secrets of writing first class Heavy Metal often lies in the past and “The warning” is a perfect example of my statement… 

Every musician on this release can be considered as being perfect and if you will ever have the chance seeing Queenrsyche’s concert in Japan – recorded in those days on this specific world tour – you should check it out and you will understand what I am talking about. I suppose you can find pieces of it on youtube.com.

In those days not everybody was convinced about Queensryche; especially for Thrashers this music was often too soft, for traditional Metal and Hard Rock fans it was often too difficult and sophisticated. At least it didn’t stop Queensryche from becoming a mainstream band! This album influenced plenty of Metal bands in different genres. This kind of music became the brand for the band although they cleaned up – too much in my opinion - their sound later on, especially after “Operation: Mindcrime”. When Chris DeMargo left the band the musical career of the band waned somewhat and Queensryche was never able again to produce a sound like this one ever again, therefore Geoff Tate’s voice lost too much of its strength. It became even impossible for the band to perform these songs live on stage nowadays but I was fortunate to witness the band in the eighties.  

If you’re a Metal head, pure at heart and mind than this release must be in your collection! Even more; it deserves a special place and its spin once and a while! This is the perfect example of what we call ‘a classic one’, a masterpiece, an important page in the Book of Heavy Metal! 

My Points: 100 / 100