It is a very uncommon thing for a new vocalist to join the ranks of an established and well-regarded metal band and have any kind of lasting success. There have been a few instances over the years, but, usually, replacing the front man does not end up well. However, Queensrÿche are one of the few exceptions. When vocalist Todd La Torre joined the group a few years back, it seems he brought a well-needed change and shot of adrenaline that has propelled the guys to some of their greatest work since the mid to late ‘80s.
This is La Torre’s third offering with the band, and it seems to me he has hit full stride. As a side note, it has also been noted that La Torre laid down all the drum tracks on this record, since original drummer Scott Rockenfield stepped away for personal reasons.
The Verdict is very heavy but still maintains that signature melodic Queensrÿche sound with dual harmony guitar solos and tons of vocal harmonies. While the album does harken back to the band’s roots, it is by no means a rehashing of older materiel. Instead, the group plays with different time signatures and heavier riffs which help it to stand out from the other records in their catalogue.
While the whole record is really good, it does seems to get better as it progresses, with tracks like “Dark Reverie”, “Inner Unrest”, and “Bent” being some of my favourites on the disc. At the end of the day, this is about as good as you can get and it definitely ranks amongst the top releases in the prodigious Queensrÿche catalogue.
“Blood of the Levant”; an anthem for those who resit oppression.
The Verdict Track Listing:
01. Blood of the Levant
02. Man the Machine
04. Inside Out
05. Propaganda Fashion
06. Dark Reverie
08. Inner Unrest
09. Launder the Conscience
Run Time: 44:17 Release Date: March 1, 2019 Record Label: Century Media