Rock metal bands reviews promotion

'Rage for Order'

(originally dropped in 1986 by EMI records - Capitol Records remastered 2003 CD review)

MARK: 86/100


Founded in Bellevue in 1981 after meeting in a record store, the four musicians had been playing in Mob and Tate in Myth until then. They chose the current monicker and recorded a 4-track demo. Kim and Diana Harris, the owners of that store - called Easy Street Records - established the 206 Records company to release the songs on an EP which sounded like Judas Priest.
Kerrang magazine praised it so much that EMI Records in turn decided to give the 4 tracks an international release.
The wait for the debut album lasted until 1984, and "The Warning" achieved mixed reactions, as many didn't expect producer James Guthrie (already with Pink Floyd) to soften the Metal rhythmic section structures in favor of strings arrangements and ballads so much.
After a tour with Ronnie James Dio and after two rare demotapes that also contain the unreleased tracks "From the Dark Side" and "The Dream" , two years later came the album we've decided to review this time, "Rage For Order", and the reason of this choice is due to the fact that it's the first real Progressive Metal full-length with the exception of two songs closer to the NWOBHM, with the advantages of superb performance, arrangements and accurate timing in a period when technology wasn't able to fix one's faults.

The edition in our hands is the 2003 remastered one with 4 bonus tracks. The enhanced booklet tells us about the recording period thru Paul Suter's prefaction telling anecdotes and feelings during a tour with Iron Maiden and Kiss.
The band became aware of one's means and responsibilities to create unheard music for the first time, thus they knew they had to introduce new elements to keep the interest high together with the traditional ones, balancing saleability and purity.
Renting a park office where to work on Neil Kernon's mobile studio unit brought from Montreal used for Judas Priest, Queen, Thin Lizzy, XYZ, Nile, Nevermore, Britny Fox, Macabre, Flotsam & Jetsam, Shadow Gallery, Labyrinth, Tourniquet, Redemption, Cauldron, Switchblade, Prototype, Gothiminister, Ion Vein, Helix, Devolved, Kansas, Dokken, Peter Gabriel and a pile more, as well as recurring to the additional help of David Ogilvie, responsible for forging the sound of NIN and Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Front Line Assembly, KMFDM, Tool, Marylin Manson Coal Chamber, Spineshank, Motley Crue, Doughboys, All Systems Go!, The Birthday Massacre, and countless more, Queensryche put together the prelude to "Operation Mindcrime", the group's apex. So we can define "Rage For Order" as their second masterpiece, or a fruitful attempt to get to a higher level after "The Warning", or also the sketch before the magnum opus, still that doesn't diminish the value of these songs. Whatever way you view them, the second and third album are pretty connected; for instance "Rage For Order" ends with the composition "I Will Remember", while "Operation Mindcrime" begins with the song "I Remember Now". Moreover, there is also a title track for the comeback album that has never been released, whose main riff has turned into the one in "Anarchy-X" from "Operation Mindcrime".

Neil Kernon's original 1986 all analog mixing and recording was clean, cold, more metallic than Guthrie's, yet a bit shy in the bass section, and that's why it's been remastered in a way that now the drums have massive presence. Sometimes it sounds very 80s, especially tom tom-wise and more in the 1986 version, but in other aspects he utilized all the digital tricks he knew, especially the reverse echo, to make it modern even for current standards. EMI Records was craving for more radio passages after "The Warning", so Queensryche found a decent compromise between marketability and complexity, adding the only cover version they ever recorded, "Gonna Get Close to You", a Synth Pop hit from Lisa Dalbello, who was even invited to take part in the female vocal duties on "Operation Mindcrime" but had to refuse owing to conflicting schedules.

Queensryche bet lots on Gothic-Victorian theatricality (aka, Glam + Gothic Metal look), still some seem not to have appreciated their image back then. Also, they made massive use of synths, keyboards, acoustic guitars, complex arrangements and time changes like never before and this was something that kept many away from them because they looked like 'the thinking man's favorite act'. The truth is that no band had ever played this type of Hi Tech Precision Power Metal that had some old school parts but mostly a great deal of futuristic and avantgarde portions.
Another reason why "Rage For Order" didn't sell much is because in the same year mega albums like "Slippery When Wet", "Turbo", "Somewhere in Time", "Master of Puppets", "Darkness Descends", "Zombie Attack", came out , as well as other top-selling platters such as the following ones:

  • A Kind of Magic - Queen
  • Invisible Touch - Genesis
  • Epicus Doomicus Metallicus - Candlemass
  • The Thin Red Line - Glass Tiger
  • Criminal Tango - Manfred Mann's Earth Band
  • Change of Address - Krokus
  • Every Beat of My Heart - Rod Stewart
  • Solitude/Solitaire - Peter Cetera
  • Time's Incinerator - Soul Asylum
  • Fight for the Rock - Savatage
  • As Close as You Think - Kevin Ayers
  • Back in the High Life - Steve Winwood
  • Daring Adventures - Richard Thompson
  • Emerson, Lake & Powell - Emerson, Lake & Powell
  • Gift - The Sisterhood
  • Intermission - Dio

Its songs were too ahead of their time, too cerebral, too far from Party Metal, Thrash Metal and simple lyrics. Many metalheads missed that those songs served as a link between Iron Maiden and Judas Priest on one side, and Pink Floyd, Rush and Marillion on the other.
Now time has done justice to those songs and almost everybody agrees that they've created and influenced Prog Metal at the same time, they are easy to listen to even if highly technical, they feel meticulously well crafted musically, with the instruments fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle.

This record is not a concept album, even tho the tracks have similarities among them. Written by DeGarmo and not by their vocalist, they are based upon uncertainty and unreality in a dystopian fictional story where the government and artificial intelligence intrude and dominate, technology indoctrinates but a few humans still respond to this attack in an emotional manner. The five musicians were heavily into the reading of "The Vampire Chronicles" in 1985 and 1986, as well as William Gibson's cyberpunk classics.
Love, politics and robotics; here is a brief list describing them in more detail:

  • A love story that continues between a dream and several dangers
  • Tears because two people in a relationship can meet only at night
  • A stalker's chase of a victim. Some people claim these lyrics refer to the Manson Family and the control he had on the girls told by the girls themselves during the trial, accusing him of killing them if they hadn't done what he requested and that he was a cold individual; others say they're referred to a vampire who is in a courtroom indicted for murder; he makes love to a woman who is unsure whether to be with him and become his slave and then a creature like him. The band were also watching the popular soap opera "Dark Shadows" back then.
  • The control of a victim's habits by a stalker who's getting closer and closer
  • The end of a relationship
  • A dehumanized army programmed to strike with accuracy
  • A new world order
  • An invitation to stay united and maintain hope
  • Dear memories from London
  • A human being controlled by machines
  • Memories of a time when knowledge was limited and the world wasn't all digital

Regarding the visual aspect, this enriched booklet shows on the front side a globe on which the band's symbol (a sort of bat) is sitting on, both of them inside a circle with the monicker and the album's title. The background is in marble red in both cases and all that is placed on a map of the world which in turn is surrounded by a qhite square full of symbols, some of which are letters, math symbols or cryptic ones.
The back side features the bat symbol again.
Inside the booklet contains the above-mentioned story of the band and the lyrics. I really appreciate the fact that in this version the background is golden just like the one typical of many luxury books; some flowers were added on.
The band's photos are three with the band together just for the album session, then there are interesting live pics and on the last page of the booklet are 5 separate pics of the members with different environments.
One of the three band photos is with a bust, one with pillars and other mansion items and this is no coincidence at all: the 5 musicians wanted to stress out the connection between the well educated music they composed and philosophy, architecture, literature and math.
The disc repeats the red monicker and background present on the back of the case, this time reproduced bigger. When taken off, it leaves way to a page in the inner card where all Queensryche's album covers are depicted.
The very first vinyl and CD prints had a blue ring on the front cover instead of the black one, and have today reached astronomical prices. Besides the price question, I have to say that aesthetically the second version is decidedly more appealing and is thus my favourite one.



This CD contains 11 songs from the album, and four bonus tracks, all 24-bit digitally remastered.
The first bonus track is the 12" version of "Gonna Get Close to You"; one page of the booklet portraits the 3 different versions of the single with the three very diverse covers, one for the US single, one for the German one and one for the French one; additionally an image of a signed picture disc album is available, too.
The second bonus is "Killing Words" live , then the acoustic version of "I Dream in Infrared" and finally "Walk in the Shadows" live from the 1991 "Jet City Woman" single inspired by Tate's first wife.

Opened by "Walk in the Shadows", matched by an official video shot live with the band at their prime in 1991 during the Building Empires tour for the "Operation Livecrime video" (, it proves the 5-piece decided to play its best card immediately: Tate's awesome vocals doing acrobacies on falsettos and his best in the refrain and back-up vocals together with solid drumming and guitar licks making the song more qualitative than its peers, all completed by an irresistible axe solo, contribute it in making it the first highlight.
"I Dream in Infrared" contains captivating bass lines, acoustic guitars duetting with the distorted ones; there's another perfect refrain but in general all the mid and superhigh operatic vocals touch our souls leading to a taste of heaven. When the guitar solo comes you understand from the beginning it's very inspired even if concise.
Commencing without a pause after the synth touches of the previous composition, "The Whisper" appears strongly influenced by "Powerslave"-era Iron Maiden vocally and musically and also in the final words after the closing gong beat reminding the words at the start of "The Number of the Beast", even tho for the Washington State act the keys undoubtely have more weight within every song, this included. It almost seems that Queensryche wanted to prove people who didn't know them or simply underestimated them that they could play like the British combo with a more majestic and elegant touch, without falling into the trap of dropping a mere carbon copy track. And besides that, Geoff Tate used to have a wider vocal range than Bruce's over those years.
Released as the only official video to support the album on the same year (""), "Gonna Get Close to You" is a dark, vampiric, stalkerish song cover where the bass reigns supreme, deign transformation of an originally Peter Gabriellesque Sythn Pop with Gothic Duran Duran hints number released in 1984. The German singer also utilizes mid-pitch vocals besides the usual screams in order to emphasize the contrast between waiting preparation parts and Prog Metal structures, while the guitar solo is probably one of the best included on this platter. The single wasn't received well at the time by fans, but it has been reevaluated in the following decades first by critics and afterwards by fans themselves.
Progressive Metal enriched by an arena chorus, lots of passion, atmospherical vaguely Industrial synths is what you'll find in "The Killing Words". The delicate portions are pure poetry made Metal, a genre where it's hard to make up new things nowadays, altho back then it was an almost virgin territory. Once again we can't but appreciate the successful intercation of guitars, vocals and keyboards.
"Surgical Strike", another track close to Iron Maiden, yet here Tate isn't trying to imitate Bruce Dickinson. Real noteworthy is the acceleration when it arrives the time for an abrupt time variation, and massive is the use of synths in various points of the central part of the song.
Rich in effected vocals and glacial, oppressive, martial synths so as to accentuate the repetition, desperation and cynicism within all world's societies that they foresaw, "Neue Regel" also consists of Bon Jovian guitars earlier and Heavy Metal ones later, all arranged in a personal way and embellished by tasty guitar harmonies used as string percussions.
In "Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)" an incisive refrain and synth touches turn out to be protagonists in the finalé, whereas the guitar is there especially for piercing insertions, the remaining vocals are whispers or just accompaniment, and the bass makes dynamic work during the few moments it's allowed in.
"London" has a slow and ethereal outset, then the composition develops into a mid-paced piece with an effective refrain; pay attention to the twin solo with the two guitars hard panned separately in a crescendo closed by a thick keyboard intervention before the initial strophe and refrain come back, this time with Scott Rockenfield reinforcing the song with a harder drum frame.
Without any interruption robotic vocals, spacial synths and isolated licks kick off "Screaming in Digital", until the track starts in its fullness with an intense rhtyhmic section and stinging keys. Several layers of reverberated and disquieting vocals prelude to the magic guitar and keys solos. This is definitely the most lively, dynamic, and complete composition and a precursor to Pain Of Salvation's "The Perfect Element", with Tate managing theatrics far more proficiently and also playing the keyboards in a way that leaves a deeper footprint in the listener's heads.
The closing track, "I Will Remember" is a ballad with dark synths in the background, catchy reverberated vocals, a distant whistle repeated twice, basic drumming and bass penning, an acoustic guitar riffing and soloing. Simple and marvellous at the same time.

As to the bonus tracks, "Gonna Get Close to You (12" version)" is a rendition around 70 seconds longer, in which more synths and keys are used. It was released on a 12" came out in 3 variants for 3 distinct markets.
"The Killing Words (live)" is a fantastic version recorded at the Astoria Theatre in London in 1994; here drums and bass make an excellent work that was partially hidden on the album.
"I Dream in Infrared 1991 acoustic version" may likely be even better than the first version.
The last bonus track is "Walk in the Shadows (live)", an excerpt of two gigs played in Wisconsin in 1991, probably fused as if they were one. The sounds are compact and overproduced, whilst Tate's voice is still very good even if not as magic as 5 years before. Now it has deteriorated beyond repair and so this is still valid evidence of Queensryche's best period, notwithstanding I would've preferred demo tracks not included in the album instead of this because I love unreleased/unheard/rare material.

The importance of this full length is huge not only because it's the first true Prog Metal album, but also owing to Geoff Tate's voice being at his peak together with the huge help of Degarmo's background vocals. The unique magical musical interaction between the two has been so important to Metal music that I even daresay the couple Tate/Degarmo could be described as the Plant/Page of the 80s!
Tate here contemporarily has power, technic, versatility, standing presence, a clean 5-octave range, control, a wide vibrato (just like Bruce Dickinson); he can sing light, immediately after heavy and then light again, he can hold long notes; he uses lots of head voice as well as enough chest voice, and also the early bridging technique, that over time damages your voice. To be honest his voice gradually deteriorated not only because of this special skill abuse due to the many shows he performed, but also to the age, and thirdly due to alcohol ans smoke. As a matter of fact when he quit these two vices his voice became better but he cannot have that extension that made him legendary anymore.
In order to achieve these results one has to start with a high quality voice and that depends on one's DNA, then it is needed a long training that can only in the end lead to understand how to use one's gift. Tate was a pupil for singing maestro and polyinstrumentist David Paul Kyle, the same who had Chris Cornell, Layne Staley and Ann Wilson as students. This explains why he wasn't afraid of high notes that only some women can reach, altho he is fundamentally a singer naturally fit in his baritonal range.
True, many others can touch and hold high nites like Tate, yet he does it in such a natural way in realms that even pro opera singers find hard to interpret. He's also able to touch the soul because he's living out what his singing just like an opera singer who believes in their own character. So he's more than just a vocalist, because that's just the basics, the automatic task to him. He goes beyond that, he adds drama, theatrics. so as to increase the depth of every live or studio performance of his. And while it's confirmed that Latorre can sustain those high notes, it's also true that he can't replicate Tate since he cannot deliver the same level of emotion. A similar comparison can be drawn between a newly made violin against a classic Stradivari.
Therefore, it's a pity that Tate is virtually unknown within non-Rock audiences.

The style of composition matters here because it differs from most Metal combos, in that the riffs did not come first, with vocals added later. The multiple portions of the song clearly evolved together, with melodic themes, lead guitars and rhythmic interplay in mind at the same time. While the European falvored two-guitar approach creating innovative unique chords in minor keys never requires complex time signatures, the members set up frequent staccato polyrhythms between their parts that are the core the way Progressive was intended to sound. The identical thing happened once on the EP, a little more on "The Warning", but here is when the style blossoms.
While Dream Theater's Petrucci was prone to be affected by the then-famous shredding vogue led by Malmsteen, Vai, Van Halen, Satriani, Friedman, Skolnick, Hammett, etc., DeGarmo and Wilton incorporated Progressive Rock into their genre, based upon vertical harmonies (that is simultaneous layers of notes) rather than horizontal melodies (that is notes played from left to right) such as Dream Theater and the likes.
"The Warning", "Operation Mindcrime" and "The Empire" had more success, still "Rage For Order" remains the band's most underrated album, since it has so many elements appearing one after another in each song that you can understand them all only from the second or third listen, so vividly contouring the full length and making it a challenge to those who've never listened to that.

  MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 12th January, 2021


01. Walk in the Shadows
02. I Dream in Infrared
03. The Whisper
04. Gonna Get Close to You (Dalbello cover)
05. The Killing Words
06. Surgical Strike
07. Neue Regel
08. Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)
09. London
10. Screaming in Digital
11. I Will Remember
Bonus tracks:
12. Gonna Get Close to You (12" version)
13. The Killing Words (live)
14. I Dream in Infrared (1991 acoustic remix)
15. Walk in the Shadows (live)


Queen of the Reich (single - 1983)
Queensryche (EP - 1983)
Live in Tokyo (video - 1984)
Take Hold of the Flame (single - 1984)
The Warning (CD - 1984)
Warning (single - 1984)
Gonna Get Close to You (single - 1986)
Rage for Order (CD - 1986)
Eyes of A Stranger (single - 1988)
Revolution Calling (single - 1988)
The Sounds Machine EP 2 (EP - 1988)
Operation: Mindcrime (CD - 1988)
I Don't Believe in Love (single - 1989)
Overseeing the Operation (EP - 1989)
Video: Mindcrime (Video - 1989)
Empire (single - 1990)
Silent Lucidity (single - 1990)
Empire (CD - 1990)
Another Rainy Night (Without You) (single - 1991)
Jet City Woman (single - 1991)
Operation: Livecrime (Live album - 1991)
Best I Can (single - 1992)
Anybody Listening (single - 1992)
Real World (single - 1993)
Building Empires (Video - 1993)
Bridge (single - 1994)
I Am I (single - 1994)
The Story So Far (compilation - 1994)
Promised Land (CD - 1994)
Someone Else (single - 1995)
Hear in the Now Frontier (CD - 1997)
Sign of the Times (single - 1997)
spOOl (single promotion CD - 1997)
Axe Killer Collection (compilation - 1999)
Q2K (CD - 1999)
Beside You (single - 2000)
Greatest Hits (compilation - 2000)
Live Evolution (Live album - 2001)
Live Evolution (Video - 2001)
Rhythm of Hope (single - 2003)
Classic Masters (compilation - 2003)
Revolution Calling (Boxed set - 2003)
Tribe (CD - 2003)
The Art of Live (Video - 2004)
The Art of Live (Live album - 2004)
Anybody There? (EP - 2005)
Operation: Mindcrime II (CD - 2006)
Face to Face (split - 2006)
Sign of the Times: The Best of Queensryche (compilation - 2007)
Extended Versions (Live album - 2007)
Mindcrime at the Moore (Video - 2007)
MIndcrime at the Moore (Live album - 2007)
Welcome to the Machine (single - 2007)
Take Cover (CD - 2007)
The Collection (compilation - 2008)
If I Were King (single - 2009)
American Soldier (CD - 2009)
Get Started (single - 2011)
Dedicated to Chaos (CD - 2011)
Fallout (single - 2013)
Queensryche (CD - 2013)
Condition Human (CD - 2015)
Man the Machine (single - 2018)
Dark Reverie (single - 2019)
Blood of the Levant (single - 2019)
The Verdict (CD - 2019)

Compilation appearances:
- "Queen of the Reich" on Hot Metal (EMI, 1984).
- "Before the Storm" on Los Duros Del Rock (Sono-Rodven, 1984).
- "Warning" on Hard Attack (EMI, 1985).
- "Deliverance" on Power, Rage And Burning Angels - The Best Of Heavy Metal (JCI, 1985).
- "Deliverance" on Crazed - An All Out Metal Assault (JCI, 1985).
- "Queen of the Reich" on Metal Wars (K-tel, 1985).
- "Warning" and "Queen of the Reich" on Metal Wars (Capitol, 1985).
- "The Lady Wore Black" on Slave to the Metal (Priority, 1986).
- "Walk in the Shadows" on Heavy Metal Inferno (EMI, 1986).
- "Revolution Calling" on The Sounds Machine EP 2 (Sounds, 1988).
- "Prophecy" on The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (Capitol, 1988)
- "Last Time in Paris" on Hard Hitters Vol. 8 (The Hard Report, 1990).
- "Real World" on Last Action Hero soundtrack (Columbia, 1993).
- "Eyes of a Stranger" on '80s Metal Gold (Hip-O, 2007).

"Rebellion: A Tribute to Queensrÿche" (Dwell Records) and "Warning: Minds of Raging Empires... A Tribute to Queensrÿche" (Adrenaline Records/Siegen Records) were both released in 2000.

Line-up on this record:

Eddie Jackson - b., backing v. (ex-The Mob, guest in Dream Theater)
Geoff Tate - v., keyboards (Also in Geoff Tate, Operation: Mindcrime, Sweet Oblivion, ex-Babylon, ex-Hear 'n' Aid, ex-Myth, ex-The Mob, ex-Trinity, ex-Tyrant)
Michael Wilton - g. (also in Wratchet Head, ex-The Mob, ex-Cross + Fire, ex-Soulbender)
Scott Rockenfield - d. (ex-The Mob, ex-Cross + Fire, ex-Slave To The System, ex-Geoff Tate (live))
Chris DeGarmo - g., backing v. (also in The Rue, ex-Cross + Fire, ex-HDW, ex-Spys4Darwin, ex-The Mob, ex-Tempest)


Bellevue, WA - USA

Official sites:

Watch the VIDEO review in English here:

E la video recensione in italiano è qua/And the Italian version here:

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