ALBUM REVIEW: Queensryche – Digital Noise Alliance

ALBUM REVIEW: Queensryche - Digital Noise Alliance


In April 2022, QUEENSRŸCHE finished a five-week North American tour supporting metal gods Judas Priest. That tour wasn’t merely a fiery return to the stage for QUEENSRŸCHE after a two-year pandemic: it was a rejuvenation. The sound of a band locked-in and firing on all cylinders. “The Priest tour was a great springboard for us to get back onstage in what’s essentially a new world,” says founding guitarist Michael Wilton. “We had so much momentum going off of our last record [2019’s The Verdict] and then, the world, our business, came to a grinding halt. We had to survive, pick ourselves up and get back to being QUEENSRŸCHE.” Now, their legacy has coalesced into another career milestone for the Bellevue, Washington borne band with the release of their 16th studio album, Digital Noise Alliance.” so says the press release.

So here it is – Queensryche’s first post pandemic album produced and mixed again by Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed) who handled their last two outings. Sonically it has all the hallmarks of its predecessors and yet there’s even more nods to the past than you might imagine without exactly replicating that sound. It’s also been a long process – with ‘in the same room’ writing sessions spanning a year and tracking starting in January this year. The band also sought to capture a vintage vibe by “using Michael’s collection of old Marshalls, The amp from The Warning and the amp from Rage for Order or Mindcrime or Empire. Each song has different amps and different guitars that reach back to that era. Some of these amps that hadn’t been turned on in years and had markings on them
that dated back to those records. It brought a lot of great vibes to the album.

Indeed opener ‘In Extremis’ strikes you as ‘Vintage Ryche’, full of drive, energy and dynamics and a dab of Dio and Maiden. Queensryche always had that ability to unite Metal, Rock and Prog fans and I see that prismic appeal here on tracks like the mid-tempo ‘Chapters’, or the wonderful ‘Lost in Sorrow’ that keeps that tempo and brings it on home!

In truth even on first play this is sounding rather strong –  The ‘Ryche’ trademark lush melodies, passion and drive are all there and whilst tracks like ‘Sicdeth’ might not blow you away first time, they’re all growers. As you might expect there’s plenty of light and shade here – the ominous and brooding ‘Behind The Walls’ even comes across like spic Lillian Axe which is wonderful! As is the Proggier ‘Out of the Black’.

With its current lineup of LaTorre, Wilton, Jackson, guitarist Mike Stone and drummer Casey Grillo, and recent albums like ‘Queensryche’ (2013), ‘Condition Human’ (2015) and ‘The Verdict’ (2019) there’s definitely a kind of post-Tate resurgence, and this could be the best so far. Saying that the longer time goes by the more I realize how much I do miss the writing of Chris DeGarmo, and as much as both Queensryche and Geoff Tate manage to capture the feel of ‘Classic Ryche’ albums like Mindcrime and Empire and those that proceeded it on occasions, it makes you realize how much he gave to the band. That comes most on tracks like ‘The Forest’, which even the press release likens to the DeGarmo-penned ‘Silent Lucidity’. That’s not to criticize anything here because ‘Digital Noise Alliance’ really is well worth your attention.

We close strongly too. ‘Realms’ has a nice gritty rock edge, whilst ‘Hold On’ the penultimate track gives LaTorre’s a real shining moment to flex his vocal might. It’s closer ‘Tormentum’ though that underlines that good feeling you got when you hit play – the power and the passion and gunfire riffs are all present and corect and just like we started there’s a wonderful infusion of old school metal flowing in this one. It’s great stuff.

Another one for the discerning fan’s collection!




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