Queensryche are one of the best-selling and most renown progressive heavy metal bands in history. The group has sold over 20 million albums worldwide and over six million in the U.S. alone. The band’s 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime is widely considered one of the greatest concept albums of all time. The effort features stellar tracks like "Revolution Calling," "Speak," "I Don't Believe in Love," as well as "Suite Sister Mary" and "Eyes of a Stranger."
They followed up Mindcrime with Empire in 1990, which spawned their biggest hit "Silent Lucidity," as well as other now classic songs including "Jet City Woman," "Best I Can" and the epic track "Anybody Listening." The band toured relentlessly behind their breakthough effort, playing arenas around the world before heading back into the studio to record another concept album titled Promised Land, which was released in 1994. In late 1997, guitarist Chris DeGarmo left the group and Queensryche trudged forward recording and performing to their dedicated and intensely loyal fan base.
In 2012, original singer Geoff Tate was fired from the band after a backstage altercation in Rio. Their long legal battle over using the name Queensryche is well documented, but the band carries on today with original members Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton, joined by Parker Lundgren and frontman Todd LaTorre. Meanwhile, Geoff Tate now fronts and outfit called Operation Mindcrime and is reportedly working on a trilogy concept album.
Below, we've compiled the 10 best Queensryche songs featuring the original lineup of Geoff Tate, Chris DeGarmo, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield. It was not an easy task but we have highlighted the best songs written and recorded by Queensryche’s original five.
'Neue Regel'From 1986's 'Rage For Order'
"Neue Regel" is featured on Queensryche’s second album Rage for Order. The 1986 album featured the band stretching its progressive wings compared to its 1984 debut disc, The Warning. "Neue Regel," which is German for "New Rule," is a stand-out track on the 1986 album and opens the door for the band’s ever-present political commentary in their lyrics. It opens with a slick keyboard effect sound before the diminished acoustic guitar intro. The band then launches in with the heavy riff before slowing down for Geoff Tate’s processed vocals on the verse.
‘Jet City Woman’ From 1990's 'Empire'
"Jet City Woman" is one of the band’s signature songs. The track off 1990’s Empire received a lot of radio airplay and the video was on high rotation on MTV that year. "Jet City Woman" begins with Eddie Jackson’s memorable bass line and also features some great vocals from Geoff Tate and stellar guitar work from Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton. The black and white video for the song gives fans a taste of what it was like to see the band at their height when they were selling out arenas in the early '90s.
‘NM 156’ From 1986's 'Rage For Order'
"NM 156" is featured on Queensryche’s 1984 debut album The Warning. The lyrics of this deep cut tells the story of artificial intelligence and computers taking over. It features a lengthy double guitar harmony solo and some amazing vocal aerobics from frontman Geoff Tate.
‘Walk in the Shadows’ From 1986's 'Rage For Order'
"Walk in the Shadows" is featured on the band’s 1986 album Rage for Order. The ode to obsessing over a former lover was written by Geoff Tate, Michael Wilton and Chris DeGarmo. It contains a fist-pumping chorus and shows off the band’s virtuosity with excellent guitar solos from Wilton and DeGarmo before they join up for a mind-shattering double guitar lead. The song was a staple of the band’s live show for years with its anthemic chorus, which got the audience to chant along “Walk With Me!”
‘Promised Land’ From 1994's 'Promised Land'
"Promised Land" is the title track off the band’s 1994 album. The epic seven-plus minute track that is the centerpiece of the concept album, that is all about embracing who you are and going after the proverbial brass ring. The slow-droning track is a departure for the band and features some atmospheric bar sounds as well as a seductive saxophone solo.
‘Take Hold of the Flame’ From 1984's 'The Warning'
"Take Hold of the Flame" is featured on 1984’s The Warning. It begins with a clean guitar intro with some beautiful lyrics and powerhouse singing from Geoff Tate. As the band kicks in with heavy riffage, Tate wows us with an insanely amazing high note, which he holds for a very long time, when he first sings “Take Hold." The song is one of the group’s most definitive tracks.
‘I Am I’ From 1994's 'Promised Land'
"I Am I" is featured on the band’s 1994 album Promised Land. The fast-paced heavy track shows off Queensryche’s metal side with its head-banging riff and superb drumming from Scott Rockenfield. The chorus features Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton laying down a beautiful double harmony Eastern guitar theme with Tate screaming "I am I." The track ends with what sounds like a CD skipping, which had everyone jumping out of their seats to run to the stereo when they first listened to the track.
‘Suite Sister Mary’ From 1988's 'Operation: Mindcrime'
"Suite Sister Mary" is the epic ten-plus minute track off the band’s 1988 concept album Operation: Mindcrime. The progressive track features some serious tempo and key changes and really shows off Queensryche‘s virtuosity, as well as their amazing story telling. It contains some phenomenal lyrics including, “Don’t offer me faith / I’ve got all I need here” and “I see myself in you / Parallel lives / Traveling at light speed through time.”
‘Anybody Listening’ From 1990's 'Empire'
While "Silent Lucidity" is by far the most widely recognized and successful Queensryche song to date, it is not nearly the best song on 1990’s Empire. "Anybody Listening," the final track on the effort, is a beautiful track that trumps "Silent Lucidity." The power ballad begins with an acoustic guitar intro and beautiful vocals from Geoff Tate. Just as the second chorus begins the band kicks in with the heavy chords, while Tate spreads his vocal wings. Scott Rockenfield’s drum sound really stands out in the track with an incredibly powerful snare sound. The album version of the song slowly fades out with sounds of the ocean waves rolling in and seagulls chirping in the distance.
‘Eyes of a Stranger’ From 1988's 'Operation Mindcrime'
"Eyes of a Stranger" is the final song on Queensryche’s 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime. It truly defines everything Queensryche is about from amazing guitar work, including beautiful and technical harmonies, to Geoff Tate’s impeccable lyrics and vocals. Eddie Jackson’s thumping bass and Scott Rockenfield’s powerful drums are the backbone to the song that ties a bow on the band’s concept record and leaves fans wanting more after the character Nikki says, “I remember now.” Listen carefully toward the end of the album version of the song and you’ll hear clips of other tracks on the album including "Operation: Mindcrime" and "Speak."