Queensryche – Condition Human (Century Media)

Genre: Progressive Metal

Purposefully timed to go head to head with Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime or pure coincidence? Only Queensryche know the answer but the decision to release Condition Human days after their former frontman revealed his latest opus to the world is brave, bordering on the foolhardy.

Critics and fans alike require no motivation to compare the two disparate parts of the one-time progressive metal masters and it’s inevitable that the proximity of release dates will somewhat overshadow the new music.

But just as Tate’s album proved to be a modern masterpiece, so Condition Human is a cracking addition to the Queensryche canon. The Lizzy-meets-Maiden bombast of opener Arrow Of Time allows Todd La Torre to flex his vocal cords and deliver an eerily powerful impression of his feted predecessor.

That Queensryche have found a more than capable Tate clone is to their credit. When La Torre screams ‘Revolution Calling’ on Guardian it’s uncannily like 1988 all over again: how the band’s ex-singer will feel about his successor pinching one of Operation: Mindcrime’s defining lines remains to be seen but it works a treat on Condition Human’s standout track.

The title track’s Leppard-esque layered guitars and ballad Just Us add to the sense that this record is something special. And after all of the hurt, the bitter recriminations and petty legal wranglings it’s clear Queensryche fans are getting two for the price of one as their favourite band and favourite singer enjoy a new era of creative freedom.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Human Touch