Queensryche – Dedicated to Chaos (album review)

Queensryche – Dedicated to Chaos (Roadrunner/Loud & Proud) album review

When it comes to putting out new albums, Queensryche have set the bar pretty high.  Their last three releases have been: a sequel to their extremely popular concept album (2006’s Operation: Mindcrime II), a disc of them doing songs by their heroes (2007’s Take Cover), and an album exploring the hardships of families in the military (2009’s American Soldier).  Now comes Dedicated to Chaos, the first new Queensryche album in a long time not to have some sort of a “concept” surrounding it.

Long time fans looking for some sort of “angle” might feel lost – could this actually be just a collection of songs?  Their 12th studio record opens appropriately enough with “Get Started,” which gives us an idea of what to expect.  With the lyrics “time to change the view / exit same old scene,” the band is obviously out to break the mold here.  So, we find them experimenting with the funky “Higher,” and the carnival-like, and very odd “Wot We Do” – but unfortunately, neither of them actually works.  And then there’s the Eastern-tinged “Got it Bad,” with lyrics like “Oh I’d stay up all night / just to see if you’re the kind of girl that bites” – longtime fans will find themselves scratching their heads; Queensryche have always shied away from the typical “booze and women” subject matter of most metal bands – so why start now?

There are some bright spots here: “Retail Therapy” is the band in top form, pointing out our endless hunger for the latest gadgets, “Hot Spot Junkie” deals with being “addicted to the wifi wave,” while “The Lie” refers to the government’s use of fear to keep us in check.  “Around the World” features the album’s most memorable guitar line and is a plea for us all to just get along because “all you need is love.”  Unfortunately, there’s also “I Take You,” and “Drive” — two more examples of the band writing unspectacular songs about women – not one of their strong points.  Where Dedicated to Chaos fails is in the lack of any cohesive story to hold things together.  When the band is being themselves, as in the paranoid songs about current events, the album works.  But, too much of the disc is either experimental in nature, or downright bland.  Let’s hope the guys come up with a good story line for the next one; their latest sure needs one.  – Tony Peters