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Queensrÿche – Dedicated to Chaos: Review

Dedicated to Chaos is the upcoming release by the iconic progressive metal Queensrÿche. This is to be done through Roadrunner Records on June 28. Sad to say, the apple has fallen quite a ways from the tree; it’s not even metal! But that is not the issue here. Perhaps, I should reword my earlier statement… it’s not even good!

The Music (rating: C)

  1. Get Started
  2. Hot Spot Junkie
  3. Got it Bad
  4. Around the World
  5. Higher
  6. Retail Therapy
  7. At the Edge
  8. Broken
  9. Hard Times
  10. Drive
  11. I Believe
  12. Luvnu

For long time fans of Queensrÿche, this album is likely one to steer clear from. Dedicated to Chaos is hardly metal. In fact, it is on a similar tier with the band’s earlier release, Empire. It has more of an alternative rock feel than anything. Even the progressive element of the band is almost completely unnoticeable. There are highly accessible rock tunes along with the odd ballad (“Broken”). It is a definitive step towards the more popular side of music.

As mentioned earlier, the heaviness level of Dedicated to Chaos is on par with Queensrÿche’s Empire. However, the same unfortunately cannot be said for the quality. The reason is not the mere genre or style of the music. Many, including myself, have much appreciation for the wonderful piece of art that is Empire and are only respectful of its rock persona. With Dedication to Chaos, all of the magic that made the band’s music so special is absent. In fact, much of what was put into the record actually made it worse! The most obviously excruciating aspect is its shallow, shoddy lyrics. The record opens with “Get Started,” a song that dwells on the typical ‘world is your oyster’ type theme. It itches uncomfortably enough when Iron Maiden does it, but this is just bad. The next track, “Hot Spot Junkie,” comes with blundering chants of ‘youtube’ and boy does it ever sound god-awful. My hope that it these shenanigans were done with at this point was unfulfilled. “Got it Bad” comes with the even more repetitive and cringing chants of ‘sunglasses’. There is no way this is the same band that made the musical masterwork known as Operation: Mindcrime. But honestly, it was wrong to have my expectations at a high when the tracklist included titles such as “Luvnu” and “Big Noize (bonus)” – failure is clearly inevitable.

In Dedicated to Chaos, the music portion itself is also at an all-time low for the band. The effort is consistently poor, though there are disguised elements of intelligence. However, encountering them is comparable to finding Waldo. There is surprisingly a decent amount of diversity with the release, but most of it is written to the bare minimum, following the standardized form of verse-chorus-bridge. And the music itself is never outstanding enough to warrant the amount of time they occupy. Even with the shorter, less-than-four-minutes songs, they tend to drag. The guitar riffs are extremely mundane (especially the rhythm of “Hot Spot Junkie”) and the vocals are only average. But with Queensrÿche, the vocals have formerly been known to decide the difference between a good and bad album; here, the vocals are not good. The drums give some neat rhythms and the basslines are groovy at times, but there is not enough with them to salvage any greatness with Dedicated to Chaos. The piano parts are nice too. But again, this album is much too empty for any enjoyment to be embraced by an audience.

Once again, Queensrÿche has crushed my hopes and faith with a sub par release. Dedicated to Chaos in many ways descends beyond mediocrity. From its lyrics to its musical content, it is just an all-around poor effort. With such masterpieces from their earlier career (most particularly Operation: Mindcrime), many will find it difficult to cease clinging to the band’s glory days. Believe me, I am most certainly one of the many. But the saddest and most heart-breaking of truths is that Dedicated to Chaos should be avoided under all circumstances, fan or not.

  1. June 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Spot on. I agree that, musically, the album has some Empire moments, but the lyrics and vocals are embarrassing. It’s a shame, because this could have been Empire 2.0. Instead, it’s jumbled mess of failed pop rock experiments.

  2. June 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    You could not have said it better. I’m just surprised you gave it a C. This album is terrible. I’ve waited since Promised Land to hear something progressive and challenging from this band. I now have come to realize it’s not going to ever happen. I would like to blame it on the departure of Degarmo but Hear In The Now Frontier was really the beginning of the end. I think he may have left just in time, knowing something wasn’t right and went terribly wrong. This band has tried everything from mimes and jugglers to embracing the wars (not that there is anything wrong with supporting the troops), but it just doesn’t work for this once great and mentally stimulating group of talented musicians and artists. I am convinced it is now over. I’m really disappointed at the pre-release interviews with Geoff and Scott about how this was a futuristic throw back to Rage for Order and Empire. My ass!! I really was hopeful when Geoff stated that we would need earphones for this album to get the most out of it….. Maybe he meant earplugs!
    RIP QR

  3. tony
    June 25, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Sorry guys but you live in 1988 and 1990 wanting another O:M or Empire….this is 2011. I’m sure not the same as I was in those years. Queensryche have the balls to keep pushing in new directions and sure not a band like AC/DC who each release is the same.
    Really digging the new release…..lots of cool ideas and different sounds.

  4. EO
    June 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    This review is very poorly written, and that has nothing to do with the reviewer’s opinion of the album. The review “in many ways, descends beyond mediocrity”.

  5. spinrvltn
    June 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    This album feels like “Hear in the Now Frontier 2”. If you remember the original album it had about the same variety of songs but we’re mostly part of the grunge sound Ryche would adopt for much of the next 14 years plus some filler type ballad/adult contempo songs like “All I Want” which sounded completely out of place. A bit of self indulgence from the former primary songwriter Chris DeGarmo, who now takes its place with Geoff Tate being the “director” or (cough dictator) who doesn’t write a note of music while contributing insipid lyrics.

    And there are songs on Dedicated.. that harken back to the Now Frontier days. “The Lie” is basically “Sign of the Times” and the same background harmony vocals (now being done by Jason Ames or bassist Eddie Jackson”. While “Hot Spot Junkie” conjures memories of “Hit the Black”, a song that still plays a major part in the band’s live repertoire today. At least we get the most songs written by just original band members with no input from the producers since 2003’s Tribe. A whooping TWO! Hot Spot Junkie (Eddie Jackson, Geoff Tate) and At The Edge (Scott Rockenfield, Geoff Tate).

  6. July 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    People are really jumping to conclusions. Yes we are all a bit frustrated that this band can’t recreate the magic of QR’s first few albums but very, very few can. This album requires multiple listens to gain any real appreciation of what they are doing here. I think this is great new ground uncovered for this band. No they are not Queeensryche. That band ended in 1995. I don’t think any of the haters I see on the web are quite over that yet. Yes QR was better, but this is what Geoff and the boys are puttin out so take it or STFU.

  7. John V.
    July 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I certainly don’t expect Queensryche to recreate or duplicate past great albums such as Operation:Mindcrime. I appreciate that they try to move forward. However, they lost me as a fan with Empire. Although a good rock album with some good tracks, I considered Empire to be a “sell out” moment, and as a result, the band that was responsible for some very innovative and different music, lost their way, especially when grunge became popular. In addition, with DeGarmo gone, Geoff Tate’s taste and sensibility has mostly served to further derail the band. I think I remember him saying that he was embarrassed by Queensryche’s earlier works and had revealed that he is not a fan of metal. We can see this often in the post-DeGarmo releases in which Tate rambles on with lyrics and vocals that most often seem self-indulgent and most satisfying to him, and him alone. Despite this, the band won me back as a fan with Operation:Mindcrime II and American Soldier, which I thought were quite good. However, Dedicated to Chaos seems to be a Geoff Tate solo album. It’s not quite awful, it is God Awful. It’s a shame and I think an extremely serious career killing move, especially in terms of timing this release with the 30th anniversary of the band and their supporting Judas Priest on their farewell tour. This is what they come up with? It’s self-sabotage. The album design, the song titles, the lyrics, the vocals, and the music are consistently disappointing and cringe worthy. I wish it wasn’t so. I was so hoping that they were going to come out with another quality release with something enjoyable to listen to. Unfortunately, I am so disappointed I want my money for the cd refunded and am tempted to use it as a coaster for my morning coffee. So, in summary, no…the band doesn’t have to recreate old glories, but how about creating new ones that are worthy of listening. Did the band actually listen to these songs and say, “Yeah, that sounds great!” Somehow I don’t think so.

  8. Malcolm
    August 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    HORRID! This is possibly the worst recording Queensryche has ever done, bar none! I had to keep stopping through the songs and wondering who this band is at all? We can all be upbeat and positive about their supposed direction, the only direction this album is going is the recycle bin! Totally forgettable and absolutely ridiculous rambling lyrically. The guitars sound like their being played through a Peavey Bandit buried in moose diarrhea! Did Scott Rockenfield take drum lessons from Lar Ulrich “Hey let’s slow the beat down some and keep it simple eh Scott?” I can hear Eddie Jackson grooving away but the rest of this pile of shongs ( S H I T T Y S O N G S) should be erased and rewritten. I don’t expect a great album from them, but I do expect Queensryche to be Queensryche!

    Here’s a thought, hire some musicians who aren’t afraid to turn their amps up to 11 make Geoff Tate live in the woods for a month, starving and cold so he might get some sort of inspiration to write something that means ANYTHING and not spouting “Youtube” through an entire song!

    Have I given up on Queensryche? When I heard Hear I knew it was over!

  9. Nathan T
    September 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    they said it themselves, they are dedicated to choas. The lyrics are crap, is not 1 album but a few crappy songs put together. Ther suck instrumental. The orginal members are one drums and bass, so they now how to play. If they hire some good songwriters, and put some heavy solo’s in it, Queensrÿche would be good as old. Maybe they can ask some help from Man Raze, (since 2004) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TE2Y8_nGqgs (2011). And 1 thing left, Empire: Best I Can, Empire Della Brown, Jet City Woman, The Thin Line, Another rainy night (without you), are good songs, dedicated to choas is nothing with it. Operation: Mindcrime is indeed better, but dont hate Empire. (Even I wasn’t born yet)

  10. Malcolm
    November 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Nathan you sound dumb, is it true?

  11. Nathan T
    November 2, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Yes sorry, I just hate it that al the new matrial sucks so hard. Tate’s voice is really good but the songs… And I can’t speak english so well.

    • Malcolm
      November 2, 2011 at 6:37 am

      AHA! OK, yes I have been a fan of Queensryche since I first heard their debut EP in 1983! Now they’re recording absolute garbage… Queensryche has managed to alienate their fan base in hopes of finding some new fans I think, but with this recording good luck I say!

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