Queensrÿche – Empire (20th Anniversary Edition)

This classic album gets remastered with 13 bonus tracks. This is the 20th Anniversary Edition of the band’s breakout album which went on to establish them as one of the world’s best progressive metal bands. Empire went triple platinum and spawned such hits as “Silent Lucidity,” “Jet City Woman” and “Another Rainy Night (Without You.) The album has been digitally remasterd as a 2 CD package presented in a lift-top box with five postcards, a fold-out poster and a booklet featuring rare photos from the band’s personal archive.

What more can you say about Empire? If you love it already, then you’ll love the 20th Anniversary Edition. Production-wise, the high end is a little bit more clearer, but as far as I can tell, there’s not a huge difference between the original disc and this remastered version. Basically, this album is the 2003 re-release but with an added second disc of previously unreleased tracks recorded live in 1990 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon.

Disc 1 is the entire Empire album with three bonus songs, including one of my personal favorites, “Last Time in Paris,”  which was never included on the 1990 original full length recording. It was originally done for the soundtrack to the 1990 movie The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, starring Andrew Dice Clay. It also includes the band’s cover version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair.”

Disc 2, the live concert, is the reason to own this album. QUEENSRYCHE have always been an excellent live band, and this recorded concert is no exception to their excellence. “Resistance,” “Best I Can,” “Empire,” The Thin Line,” Jet City Woman,” Silent Lucidity” and “Hand on Heart” were all played from Empire. “Walk in the Shadows” from Rage For Order,” Roads to Madness” and “Take Hold of the Flame” from The Warning are also included in the set list. The sound is warm and electrifying. Geoff’s vocals are top notch and the whole band are as equally stellar. The bass and drums are very audible and overall, the mix is very good for a live album.

If you’re already a QUEENSRYCHE fan, chances are, you already own Empire. But this 2 disc package with bonus songs and a live concert, is something you’ll truly enjoy. If you’re just discovering the band now, then this disc is not a bad start.

By Kelley Simms

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