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ANALYSIS: QUEENSRYCHE NEEDS NEW MANAGEMENT TL;DR

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It’s probably not overestimating things to state that Queensryche is kinda in the shit right now. Relatively speaking, of course. Not like Afghanistan- or Michael Todd-type in the shit. Not that bad. But the weeks surrounding release of twelfth album Dedicated To Chaos seem like an extended, multi-pronged PR gaffe, one which must spawn from confusion in the Queensryche camp about averse receptions to their good product. And D2C is pretty good. Srs.

Lettucereal tho Dedicated To Chaos has at least one huge problem that takes effort, stamina, and will power to endure. So we can’t label it a ‘great album’ oh my no. But aspects of it can be great — it’s just not metal. We’ll talk about that later, k? First shall I back up the above ‘extended PR gaffe’ claim? Great! No offensies!

The problem Did Queensryche take a page from China’s/Borivoj Krgin’s playbook and take to limiting internet expression?

The charge Fans allege removal of harshly negative comments on official clips on Queensryche’s You Tube channel.

The evidence D2C‘s “Wot We Do” YouTube clip features near-unanimous praise from gushing commenters; conspicuously absent are the pleas for Queensretyrement found on their channel’s general comment section (as of this writing).

The verdict A draw. Though not exactly a classy move, a purge of the disrespectfully derisive comments might be within the band’s rights. I guess the YouTube channel is private property, so fuck it. Butttt the Tates must know that this policy will incite fans and internet jerks to additional butthurt, not to mention to accusations that the band is blocking their efforts to alert shoppers to the shittiness of modern Queensryche.

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The problem A Queensryche sideman publicly battles a fan forum whose members are critical of “Tate-ryche” (post-DeGarmo) music and mentality.

The charge On Queensryche’s FB wall, a member of fan forum The Breakdown Room posted an invitation for fans to join, but also made veiled reference to the fees required for membership to Queensryche’s official forum. About an hour later, Tate crony Randy Gane comments on the post with a slam of TBdR members and moderator, citing forum posts that instruct Tate to “curl up and die.” Forum moderators say the comments were purposefully removed from context.

The evidence It’s not funny or anything, but find the self-serving, petty discussion here.

The verdict Stalemate. Queensryche could’ve deleted the post — especially once it became a bicker party — but it’s up even as I write this. So that might suggest a desire to publicly retort to TBdR’s persistent crapping upon recent ‘Ryche jamz. Gane did the hatchetwork, but really it’s a miscalculation for Tate and crew. It’s the fucking internet, guys; response is fruitless. Just make honest art and let solitary haterz hate/grate/masturbate.

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The problem Lately, Queensryche is bad at interviews.

The charge Band members and manager are taking turns making defensive and inaccurate statements to interviewers.

The evidence Drummer Scott Rockenfield told stud Bryan Reesman that with D2C the band had “made a metal record”; that’s totally untrue, but Queensryche’s lack of traction with non-metal people forces them to (dishonestly) court metal fans. To Billboard, manager Susan Tate (singer Geoff Tate’s wife) asserted that the band truly cares about their music; that’s either bullshit denial or the height of no-duh platitudes… take your pick, lady. Lastly, guitarist Michael Wilton posted a statement on the band’s .com stating his 100% dedication to Dedicated To Chaos; that’s yet more suspicious overstatement. I mean, it’s like accepting a joint from Wilton and just as it reaches your lips, he says, “Forget what I said before — there is 100% no PCP or crack in that joint.” Wait what?

The verdict Tie. Queensryche is on the offensive to defend their Bowie-/Gabriel-style record, but on the internet it’s easy to sound like a desperate, contentious beggar. Why bother trying to educate exhausted fans about a polarizing album? But I don’t blame the band, which formed before the internet back when fan shit-talk was confined to bars and basements, and fans heard an album usually after buying it. And none of this would be an issue if SOTE commenters would FO&D.

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The problem Queensryche limits access to their new video to only purchasers of their new album.

The charge Band and management display a poor grasp of marketing technique by enabling fewer listeners to access their art.

The evidence Queensryche’s screw-up in this case is not strategy, just tactics, i.e. poor image management. Srs the idea is great: The video for “Get Started” remains a tool of marketing, but not a futile freebie to indifferent or jilted PC jockeys. Nay, ‘Ryche converted it into bonus content of the album. Like, purchase of the record is now treated as membership in a D2C club, members of which get to watch exclusive videos. (Membership in the real Queensryche fanclub costs $30.) Too bad mgmt didn’t frame it that way.

The verdict Impasse. Jumpy internet commenters wrongly painted the move as misguided only because of mgmt’s failure to control the narrative. Without proper branding, the “album buyers only” move came off as cockish punishment to wise-ass anti-Queensryche commenters, as incentive to purchase, and as out of touch with the current trend of throwing shitloads of free content at shoppers. It was not presented as a benefit to paying fans, so high-visibility observers perceived it wrong. Here I remind you that the singer’s wife is band manager.

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Behold the state of Queensryche in 2011. It’s sad that all this bungling is helping to sink a decent album; Dedicated To Chaos is pretty good, way better than the covers album, the solider’s-plight album, and um everything 1997-2005. But it’s more dance music than heavy rock, hence the butthurt metal nerds. It’s not what I want from them, true, but it’s good at what it is. Shit, we hypocrites might’ve even rubbed our balls on it if Ihsahn’s or Devin Townsend’s name were on it.

But probably not, cuz the album’s mega-fail (which I teased way up there in paragraph two) is singer Geoff Tate’s ghastly, hokey, frozen-in-2002 lyrics. Holy shit. Fuck man, my neck almost snapped as I whipped a hurtful look at my stereo with every mangled internet term or sexy, old dorkism. I mean, “Hot Spot Junkie?” “Luvnu?” Reading your kids’ text messages, right dudes? My suggestion: The next Queensryche album will feature lyrics inspired by Stuff You Will Hate. Did I get the manager gig? Great! That’ll be 11% of gross band income thanks!

-ADF

Queensryche’s Dedicated To Chaos is out now on Loud & Proud/Roadrunner.

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