The new disc has been dubbed as experimental progressive metal. That can be alarming and worrisome to fans that want the early-era Queensrÿche heavy metal, which this album has none of. They bring a lot of different elements and influences into the equation. There’s Beatles-esque melodies, saxophones, melodic U2-like chord progressions, Middle Eastern sitar arrangements, funky groove rhythms, horns and elements of ’60s music up to the modern age. Some songs even sound like something from Geoff Tate's solo album and not too far removed from the cabaret thing they did a few years back.
The most distinctive characteristic of Queensrÿche is vocalist Geoff Tate. And on Dedicated to Chaos he still has the voice and the confidence that makes this band what it is. It’s been 13 years since the band has been removed from guitarist Chris DeGarmo’s services, but Michael Wilton still adds guitar flair along with Parker Lundgren. Scott Rockenfield displays a rock solid beat with some innovative drum fills thrown in for good measure. Eddie Jackson’s bass lines are groove-based and adequately prominent in the mix.
On Dedicated to Chaos, Queensrÿche tries some new things, but there’s not a lot of it that pushes the boundaries or seems even remotely challenging. There are hints of Hear in the Now Frontier, but it just doesn’t make itself blatantly apparent. There’s nothing memorable or long lasting about the songs, and the heaviness is cut back in favor of melody and harmony.
There’s a total of 16 tracks on Dedicated to Chaos, four of them being bonus tracks. There are a few catchy numbers that do stand out, such as the melodic, rock-driven riff of opener "Get Started," the funky rhythm section of "Hot Spot Junkie," the melodic pulse of ’70s rock of “The Lie” and the familiar Queensrÿche vibe of "Retail Therapy."
If you go into Dedicated to Chaos wishing that the band would sound like their earlier material or how you think they should sound presently, then you will be utterly frustrated. If you take the album in as a whole and get rid of all your preconceived notions of what Queensrÿche should be, then there’s something here for newer fans.
Die hard, early-era Queensrÿche fans, go about this cautiously. It’s still Queensrÿche performing the songs, but you either accept what they’re doing now, or you don’t.
(released June 28, 2011 on Roadrunner Records)