The 10 best early Queensryche tracks, by Michael Wilton

For me, the first three albums represent a special time for the band. It’s when we took our influences like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept and the Tygers Of Pan Tang and used them to create our own style. People have said we pioneered progressive metal, and I wouldn’t argue with that. You can hear the way we developed with each album from The Warning through Rage For Order, to Operation: Mindcrime.

Every album was a further step forward for us. Another part of the learning curve. We were growing as musicians, which is how we always saw ourselves; we have never thought we were rock stars. It was always about the music. It was a very exciting period for the band, one where we were firing on all cylinders, and what we did back then defined our career. For the fans, this was when we were out at our best, and who am I to argue with what they tell us? When you listen back to those three albums you hear Queensryche at our best. It’s when we were constantly pushing outwards, taking creative risks and prepared to be bold. I am proud of what we did, because this where we made our impact on the world. It was an evolution calling.

N.M.156 From The Warning. I love the double guitar solo I did with Chris DeGarmo. The pair of us had so much fun recording this. And it remains a fan favourite even now.

THE WARNING The title track from our debut album. I love the riff I came up with on this song. It also brings back happy memories of recording the album in London. And of our life there at the time. Hanging out at Camden Market, riding on the tube. It was a special period.

TAKE HOLD OF THE FLAME Again, from The Warning. Chris DeGarmo came up with this one, and it was a typical DeGarmo song, being a little of the wall. But it’s also a feelgood tune, so I am fond of it.

WALK IN THE SHADOWS From Rage For Order, this was the song that created the whole vampire vibe around the band, which was an interesting time. It’s a bit dark, and you can understand why we were seen as having a vampire image.

LONDON From Rage For Order. This was obviously inspired by our time in London, although it was actually written in Seattle and Vancouver. For me, it has the feel and texture of London running through it.

SCREAMING IN DIGITAL From Rage For Order, this is a track with genuine futuristic overtones. It’s very moving, poignant. But also a song where we were pushing the boundaries. It was also a little different for us.

I DREAM IN INFRARED From Rage For Order. I think the guitar intro is really interesting. I came up with the original idea for that when we were in Notting Hill Gate, and I have very fond memories of that time in our lives.

EYES OF A STRANGER From Operation: Mindcrime. An obvious choice, really, because MTV picked up on the video we shot for this song and played it a lot. And the song went viral. This catapulted us into the big time, so we owe a lot to Eyes Of A Stranger. It made our career.”

SUITE SISTER MARY From Operation: Mindcrime. It’s over 10 minutes long, and one of those epics we’ve always loved to do. This gave us the chance to stretch out and to be musically adventurous. It represents an important side of being in Queensryche.

REVOLUTION CALLING From Operation: Mindcrime, The first proper song on the album, and as such it has become symbolic of the whole concept. It’s a very powerful statement.

For more on Queensryche and the making of their classic Empire album, then click on the link below.

Queensrÿche: The Dark Empire