Queensryche rocks Altar Bar as they get ready for new album May20

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Queensryche rocks Altar Bar as they get ready for new album

Unlike many bands to come from the 80’s metal scene, whose antics off stage sometimes got more attention than their live performances, Queensryche has always been the exception to the rule. Known as the thinking man’s rock band, the band has always preferred to let their music speak for itself and to keep life off the stage personal.

So when the band found itself thrust into the spotlight due to long time frontman Geoff Tate leaving the band and the very public feud over the rights to the name Queensryche, they handled it with the utmost professionalism and integrity.

With the controversy behind them, armed with new vocalist Todd La Torre and a new album on the way they find themselves out on the road, hitting all the major festivals and playing the early stuff fans have been longing for, essentially turning the band’s second wind into something more like an F5 tornado.

When the tour hit Altar Bar, Pittsburgh’s own Vermithrax and Icarus Witch landed the opening slots and would have their work cut out for them, getting the crowd primed and ready for living legends Queensryche.

Fortunately both bands were up to the challenge and came ready to kick ass, giving all they had, leaving it all on the stage and making Pittsburgh proud.

Vermithrax went first and tore shit up. Their old school 80’s thrash metal set was welcomed with open arms. The band could go toe to toe with any band out there and lead vocalist, simply known as Croy has elements of Dickinson, Halford and even King Diamond to his powerhouse vocals.

Up next was the pride of Pittsburgh, Icarus Witch. With 5 albums to their credit the band have served as openers and toured with major label acts like Y&T, Trouble and Heaven & Hell and have had some killer guest musicians such as George Lynch, Frank Aresti, Michael Romeo and Joe Lynn Turner play on their albums.

They also have a long tradition of tearing up the stage and that night was no exception. The band sounds a lot like Queensryche, so this was their target audience and they ate it up. Easy to see why national acts choose them.

Finally, the band everyone came to see took the stage and they did not disappoint, living up to their legend and then some. Imagine if you could go back in time to the Rage For Order or Operation Mindcrime tours and you’d be close to what fans saw that night.

The addition of Todd La Torre and guitarist Parker Lundgren has breathed new life into the band in a way that is almost indescribable and fans both new and old could not get enough.

The rhythm section of Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson sound better now than they did in their 80’s heyday and Michael “Whip” Wilton looks like he has found the fountain of youth. Not only does he look like his 30 year old self, but he plays like it too.

Fans were treated to a bounty of Queensryche classics like “I Don’t Believe In Love,” “Walk In The Shadows,” “Lady Wore Black,” “Eyes Of A Stranger” and “Silent Lucidity” alongside lesser played gems such as “Nightrider,” “Enforcer,” “Warning” and “NM156.”

In fact, by the time they finished “Empire” and “Queen Of The Reich” everyone in attendance was left asking, “Geoff who?” and in the end Todd La Torre did something Tate hadn’t done in decades…hit the high note at the beginning of “Take Hold Of The Flame,” much to the delight of the now rabid fans.

If you are one of the diehard fans that was left on the fence over the split with Tate, you simply must get past it and check them out live. This is the band once again firing on all cylinders and at the very top of their game. Weather you have seen them once before or a hundred times, you have not seen them like this.

-Eric Hunker

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