Initially it may take quite a few listens to really familiarize yourself with and grow accustomed to. If you only heard one or two Queensrÿche tracks before buying this it may be pretty confusing, unexpected and hard to absorb at first.
When the album came out a lot of Metal bands were incorporating synths into their sound, and indeed a lot of lighter more pop orientated metal bands were coming out and getting radio success yet this synth filled late eighties metal album doesn’t really sound anything like either of the aforementioned styles. Additionally, it also came out just before the real first wave of Prog Metal bands had gained momentum and doesn’t share many sonic similarities there either.
The actual music has gotten fairly far away from anything that a conventional Metal band would write at this point, yet isn’t glam and isn’t stereotypically Prog Metal either, in the sense of long songs with long shredding guitar solos. The album that the band released after this, Operation Mindcrime, actually had songs on it like `Speak’ `Spreading The Disease’ and `The Needle Lies’ that were much closer to the traditional spirit of metal than anything on Rage For Order.
Stylistically, the music on this record is relatively dark, brief and quiet restrained in parts. There are moments of hard metal riffs and blazing guitar solos but they are very few and far between. It incorporates a lot of artificial sounds and synth work but in a completely different way to how the likes of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden did at the time and is more unique in its implementation of the controversial instrument.
Rage For Order delivers its dystopian themed messages of paranoia and societal-breakdown in an atmospheric and for the most part vocal-led way, that almost recalls Marillion and the solo career of Roger Waters in as much as the vocal and lyrical content takes center stage quite often and a lot of import is placed on Geoff Tate’s diction and emphasis.
Luckily however, Geoff Tate is a remarkably diverse and talented singer with the skill and range to carry off such an album well. The more you get into the nuances of his performance and the polyrhythmic interplay between him and all the other band members, the more the album opens itself up to you as a listener.
Highlights include `Chemical Youth (We Are The Rebellion)’ `Screaming In Digital’ and `Surgical Strike.’
In summary, this isn’t an album that really fits in neatly into one little box, and in that sense it embodies the true spirit of progressive music. No one had made an album like this before; it was music that literally nothing else sounded like. The evocative, melodic and richly textured music can take a good few listens to really “get,” but it sure is worth giving it that chance.