Queensryche - The Warning

Queensryche - 09 - 'Take Hold of the Flame' live in tokyo 1985

Queensryche - The Warning

\r\nEven though it was released from their own sketchy company, 206 Records, QUEENSRYCHE homonymous debut album sold over 50.000 copies in a really short period of time. EMI America realizing the vein of gold that started glowing, recruited them and sent them immediately at the front line, on a full length american tour along with DIO and TWISTED SISTER. By the end of that tour everyone has realised that this band is ment for great things so their company decides to invest on them and send them to 4 (!!!) different studios, Angel Recording, Audio International, Abbey Road Studios and Mayfair Recording in London, for the recording of their second album released on September 1984, titled The Warning. The production of the album was taken up by the famous James Guthrie, producer of The Wall of PINK FLOYD, while the also famous composer and writer of many Hollywood soundtracks, Michael Kamen helped. The money spent by EMI America were well invested. The Warning was an amazing album, with a production which big bands of that time like IRON MAIDEN wouldn’t dream of, setting new standards in that area, standards that were surrpassed only by QUEENSRYCHE themselves with their next releases.\r\n

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\r\n"Take Hold of the Flame" promo ad \r\n

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\r\nProbably you will think that Guthrie and Kamen, who actually had nothing to do with metal, would push the band towards more commercial and light paths, but truth lies far from it. For sure, The Warning isn’t so "messy" as their first E.P., but also their music was by then more mature and sophisticated while the first progressive elements appeared, elements which would characterise in a great extent their career from that point on. In addition, the whole album is "overflooded" with a supreme epic and pompous feeling, while their even more supreme and much loved by everyone melodies embelish every track and were going to be the trade mark of their music.
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\r\nThen again, some of you, by reading the above, reading the track titles and seeing the artwork, would think that The Warning is a clearly Epic Heavy Metal album, but again you’d be mistaken. It may seem like that at first, but if you look closer you will understand that QUEENSRYCHE, smartly "playing" with their lyrics and using their unrivalled imagination and creativity, turned The Warning into a huge "bell", which loudly rang in alert of the imminent distruction of our (once...) beautiful planet either by the huge ecological "rape" that daily takes place everywhere or by a nuclear disaster. The writers of films such as The Day After Tomorrow would probably be stunned if they read the lyrics of a Heavy Metal album that could as well be the basis for the scenarios of their movies that came out some decades later. In an era where 99,9% of metal bands were talking about "demons and wizards", QUEENSRYCHE set their social issues that would directly concern all of us 30 years later, proving who much ahead of their time this great band was.\r\n

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\r\nMichael Wilton - Chris DeGarmo (1984) \r\n

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\r\nThe first "bell" that rings is the excellent Warning that opens the album. "I can’t believe it’s now happening to me, oh couldn’t it wait a few hundred years?"... "The signs will come as days past by, for those that claim to see. The blind will stay not choosing to die, not believing the visions I’ve seen...WARNING". Unfortunately, even almost 3 decades later, and with all these signs of what the future holds unless we do something, there are still some "people" who don’t see further from their "big, fat, full" wallet and their never-satisfied need for power and authority... I would rather not use the word "people" (not even in quotes) for them but, you see, some "sissy" metalheads were offended by my vulgar, according to them, expressions in some of my writtings, so I’ll leave it up to you to add the appropriate adjective for the first as well as for the last...
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\r\nWe should get back to aur subject though, as I spent too much time for those idiots. And, as you realize, I will stll be using the same language but I thought I could make a little fun of them. So let them read Cosmopolitan that is more appropriate for their "high class". "We plea for the signs of a second chance, in hope it will stifle the fear. The dying remains of a world gone insane, we are near, the end". The bell keeps ringing with the also amazing En Force, the epic intro and outro of which will send shivers down your spine, bringing images to your mind you wouldn’t probably want to see in reality. Deliverance that follows is also pretty good and it’s the only song of the album that was written on the whole by the other guitarist of the band Michael Wilton, while G.Tate and C.DeGarmo attest their huge capabilities with their song and my personal favourite, No Sanctuary. I was blessed to find this particular song in a rare, semi-acoustic live version and tears came to my eyes when I heard G. Tate’s beautiful voice in a really SENSATIONAL performance, full of power and endless passion. This man doesn’t have just a supreme voice, he wasn’t just a gifted singer, this man was BLESSED BY GOD. In an objective point of view, the Great Rob Halford may diachronicly be the greatest Metal singer, but for me, Geoff Tate of those times WAS, STILL IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE BEST METAL SINGER OF ALL TIMES. \r\n

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\r\n NM 156 that follows I would describe it as a picture of the not so far away future of mankind but also of the close future of the group, since because of its Progressive sound it could as well be listed in their next album, Rage For Order. The next song is also a picture of their huge quality and endless creativity of those 5 excellent musicians. Take Hold Of The Flame is one of the best songs they ever written, an INCREDIBLE, MEGA-SAGA, where the "Blessed" makes one of his ever greatest performances. Since I mentioned the musicians, it would be an omission not to mention Eddie Jackson on the bass and my favourite Scott Rockenfield on the drums, who in all QUEENSRYCHE albums of that period impressed everyone with his breazy drumming, his accurate timing and his impressive technics but unfortunately he never got the right credit, staying in the shadows of the undisputable stars, Tate and DeGarmo.\r\n

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\r\n After Take Hold Of The Flame, whichever song you hear will sound like bull...it, so the fate of the really good Before The Storm is exactly that one, and the fate of the supreme Child Of Fire is to enjoy it, whisper its lyrics into rapture but at the same time into worry... "Look around, is this the end you’ve foreseen? The pain, the misery in us all? What was it that you knew? Will we one day learn it too? And together build another way, to the morning...or will it ever come again? You’ve poisoned all our hopes, we have nothing now. And what of the children, what has this done to them? Damn you for the pain that they must feel..." Enjoy once more this "blessed" man, in an other excellent performance. I should also say something about the 9minute Road To Madness that closes the album and then I will hold my piece because I already think that I hear not the bell of The Warning but the curses of the poor one who will translate this monument. Although the song in general is pretty nice, you might find it a bit boring due to its long duration while me personally I would prefer it a little bit less atmospheric than it is, as it always has been giving me the impression that the band intented to do something else but came out differently. Fortunately, towards the end there is a great heavy outburst, because it would be a pitty for such an amazing album to leave a bittersweet taste in the end.\r\n

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\r\nLive in Tokyo (Collectors Edition) \r\n

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\r\nNo matter what taste Road To Madness leaves you with, the undoubtfull fact is that QUEENSRYCHE, taking full advantage of hei huge progress in all areas and also the exemplary guidance of the right people, they created one of the best albums of that decade, which also was their first gold one, reaching No 61 on Billboard. Also, in 1985 the band released the superb live VHS "Live In Tokyo", from their first tour in the land of the rising sun, and unfortunately then I made the huge mistake not to buy it as today doesn’t exist, even though it came out also in DVD. I’m thinking of asking Kostas "I’ve got everything" Kyriakakis if he has it, but knowing his dislike of videos I don’t hope for much... I should also note that the official site of the band says that this video came out in 1983, just before the release of The Warning, but the one who wrote that was either drunk or ignorant. And I might be getting older but not senile, I attach the DVD cover so that they don’t say I don’t remember corrctly and to prove that if you look up on the internet you always find the truth.(In your face, Kyriakakis...!)
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\r\nAnd this is how the first, and also the heavier, period of QUEENSRYCHE ended. A year later this great group from Seattle would again amaze everyone... contrary to Barbie’s cries, whom I hear screaming in my brain and is giving me a headache...
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\r\nTo be Continued...
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\r\nAntonis "The NIghtrider" Alexandropoulos\r\n

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\r\nHeroic Translation: Barbara Karpodini \r\n

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\r\n"Kerrang" article (1984) \r\n

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