Revisiting Queensryche’s Debut Record, ‘The Warning’
With The Warning, Queensryche aimed to consolidate the gains made overseas by way of an initial EP -- only it didn't quite work out that way.
The group's four-song disc had already received a rave review from the respected U.K. heavy-metal magazine Kerrang!, paving the way to a recording contract with the American office of British major EMI. On Sept. 7, 1984, the release of The Warning followed a rookie U.S. tour in the waning months of 1983. By then, guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield had completed Queensryche's initial lineup when singer Geoff Tate agreed to join in full after the EP took off.
The band then spent the early months of 1984 writing and recording The Warning, in part at Abbey Road Studios in London. Unfortunately, the experience was not one they would remember fondly in years to come, as the sessions ran well over budget -- something that convinced EMI’s bean counters to have the album mixed and mastered on the cheap, without any input from the musicians themselves.
The flawed results left the members of Queensryche enraged, and many of their earliest fans disappointed. Potential singles like "Deliverance," "Child of Fire" and "No Sanctuary" were slowed by the inexplicably flat production, while ambitious fare such as "En Force," "N M 156" and the epic "Roads to Madness" fell short of achieving their grand progressive intentions. Others, like the plodding title track and repetitive "Before the Storm," simply shouldn’t have made the cut in the first place.
A good portion of this material, however, would soon be vindicated on stage, as Queensryche embarked on a year-long tour across the U.S., the UK, Europe and Japan, where "Take Hold of the Flame" gave the band its first taste of radio success.
From there, Queensryche continued to work and evolve, growing from strength to strength. They'd find their footing, and a new audience, over the course of the ensuing Rage for Order and then the Peter Collins-produced platinum follow-up releases Operation: Mindcrime and Empire -- but only after a switch to the more friendly confines of North American studios.
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