You never forget your first great musical love, and for me that was Queensrÿche. Beginning with Operation: Mindcrime (their smash concept album) and continuing with Empire (their brief flirtation with mainstream success) and Promised Land (a disappointing followup, and sharp turn away from commercial appeal), my fandom burned strong.
(I saw them twice in concert, fully one-half of my concert-going career, the others being an open-air performance by the Indigo Girls and the Violent Femmes concert at Gencon, in 1997. (What could be geekier than that?))
Unfortunately, 1997’s Hear in the Now Frontier began their sharp descent into forgettable mediocrity, culminating in the painful Operation: Mindcrime II. Though I can’t listen to the post-Promised Land output, still I count myself a fan of the band.
Bands, I should say, because as of late last month, there will be two Queensrÿches. A sharp split between the band and legendary frontman Geoff Tate (who formed his own group under the same name) lead to a bitter court case, the outcome of which allows both bands to tour under the ‘Rÿche banner.
My take? This is the death of Queensrÿche. No band can survive a split like this, much less the strange dual-act arrangement. It’s as bizarre as when two different producers released two different James Bond films in the same year.
‘Rÿche has been dying for a long time, this split is just the end. They will never recapture their glory days.
Which is hard for me to say, because the band was my first great musical love.