11/6/2015 - Review by: Frank Hill
There are echoes running throughout Condition Hüman that any Queensr˙che connoisseur will pick up on--guitar tones, drum patterns, vocal intonations, etc. They are recognizable and comforting. All of that is somewhat expected since three of the five originals are current members, but for about a decade now, Queensr˙che hasn't felt like Queensr˙che. What many of us have pined for was the older band from the 80s to about Promised Land (some of us even pre-Empire) and we've felt that went astray with the tepid new millennium releases.
Then came the drama--out went one singer and in came another similar one. Court cases were held. Temporary band names were created and abandoned. If you're still not over the separation of vocalists, then you may as well move on because the evolution has been calling and Todd La Torre fits the 'R˙che sound.
For those unfamiliar, the band is a mix of heavy metal with some progressive elements and quirky moments. We did get a few sparks from the old circuitry with the self-titled Queensr˙che ('13), but Condition Hüman has real electricity powering the guitar riffs of openers "Arrow of Time" and "Guardian". "Just Us" has the sleepy reminiscence of "Silent Lucidity" and the title track is a breathable almost-eight minutes. Is there a hinted lyrical connection to Nikki and Mary within the stand-out power ballad "Bulletproof"?
Condition Hüman isn't as heavy as Operation: Mindcrime, nor is it as obtuse as The Warning ('84) and Rage for Order ('86), but it does have a fair amount of memorable choruses and hooks. All-in-all, Condition Hüman fits comfortably as one of the better releases of their catalog.
Drummer Scott Rockenfield has said: "Our fans love metal, and we've been pretty good at doing metal in our past, so [we thought], 'Let's have fun with some of that again. Let's do it and see what it means for us.'"
Some of that metal return may have come from producer, Chris Harris, aka Zeuss, who is rumored to be a big fan of the first six albums. It's similar to the resurgence of Accept that came from having Andy Sneap at their helm. They should hire Chris for the next release as well because THAT'S what we've been wanting. That umlaut "U" in the title could be a smiley face from the band or even a reflection of our own returned pleasure.
The future is but past forgotten.
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