There’s no denying that Queensryche’s 2013 album was a strong comeback for a band in serious need of revival. However, subsequent listens and knowing the outcome of their infamous legal drama makes one wonder if it set a high standard for future efforts or if it should’ve been a swansong signaling the debut of a brand new enterprise. Condition Human is certainly worthy of the Queensryche name but it has a different feel compared to everything before it.
Certain songs on here recall Rage For Order and Promised Land, but Condition Human sounds like a band influenced by Queensryche rather than the actual ensemble is performing it. The songwriting isn’t dramatically different but the quirks that made them unique such as Scott Rockenfield’s intricate drumming and the guitars’ melodic interplay aren’t as prominent. On the flip side, this can only mean good things for Todd LaTorre as the already talented singer comes into his own after experiencing pressure to live up to his successor.
Those who hoped for a speedy power metal album after hearing the energetic “Arrow of Time” and the triumphant “Guardian” may also be in for a shock. A burst of speed comes up toward the end with “All There Was,” but the bulk of the album consists of ballads and other mid-tempo tracks. Fortunately, these tracks never feel too monotonous with "Selfish Lives" offering a memorable hook, the bass heavy “Eye9” showing Tool influence and the Eastern flavors of “Just Us” channeling mid-era Zeppelin.
As a Queensryche album, Condition Human may rank towards the middle of their discography. It falls a bit short of their classics and even the self-titled album but it’s a hell of a lot better than anything they released after the mid-90s. Much like Promised Land, the style is worthy with adjusted expectations and the songs have a lot of growing potential. Personally, I don’t care what group calls itself as long as the music stays this solid.
“Arrow Of Time”