Just over three years ago, Seattle’s Queensryche went into hiding.
The five-piece, progressive rock band had just completed the final, exhausting leg of its “Building Empires” tour.
It took the band nearly eight years, four albums (“The Warning,” “Rage for Order,” “Operation Mindcrime” and “Empire”) and many grueling tours to crack the music business. With the multi-platinum success of its fourth album, “Empire,” and an infinite number of sold-out concerts, Queensryche, known as a thinking man’s rock band, wasn’t so sure rock stardom was its destiny.
So instead of getting swallowed by the whirlpool of success, the Seattle quintet retreated from the music business and took nearly two years off to spend time with family.
Taking a lengthy hiatus was a dangerous move for Queensryche. The musical tide was shifting. Consumer interest in mainstream rock and heavy metal (two genres the band is often tagged with) was dying and alternative rock was becoming the flavor of the month. None of that stopped the band.
Refreshed, inspired and hungry again, the five members of the band reunited in 1994 and recorded its fifth long-player, “Promised Land.”
Last fall, Queensryche released the much-anticipated “Promised Land.” It is the band’s most thought-provoking, intelligent and musically intriguing release to date. It also captures the insanity and chaos of the band’s free fall into rock stardom.
“With ‘Promised Land,’ we came into fruition,” said Scott Rockenfield. “We really like what we did with it. It’s our best … we knew it before we put it out.”
It also shows that Queensryche’s music is substantial enough that it can stand out against and outlast the trends.
Even with limited support from radio and MTV, “Promised Land” has sold more than 1.5 million copies.
Queensryche owes the early success of its new album to its legions of loyal followers.
“I guess we’ve just gotten to the point that we’ve got a hard core following,” mused Rockenfield. “We’re very fortunate; we count our blessings every day.”
And because of its fans, Queensryche has staged an enormously successful amphitheater tour. The band is commanding crowds of 10,000 to 12,000 nightly.
Queensryche’s current tour, “The Road to the Promised Land,” ranks as the band’s most elaborate multimedia display yet. Through music, lights, images and films, the show tells the story of man from birth to death.
“It’s multimedia meets Broadway,” told Rockenfield.
And believe it or not, the Seattle band is already in the midst of writing and recording basic tracks for a new album. In fact, the group has brought the portable studio used to record “Promised Land” on the road with it.
“We’re feeling extremely prolific right now,” Rockenfield said. “We’ve got ideas just flowing out of us.”
This summer, Queensryche will release “Promised Land” on CD-ROM. Issued in versions for IBM and Macintosh computers, it will include a band documentary, a fivelevel adventure game (said to resemble “Myst”) and a song written exclusively for the two-disc set.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Queensryche Location and time: The Gorge, tonight, 8 Tickets: $22.50 to $45, available only through Ticketmaster