The wait is over for Queensrÿche fans.
The band’s new album, “The Verdict,” was released on March 1, and the group is on tour promoting it. The tour makes a stop at El Rey Theater on Saturday, March 23.
“We’ve made a big splash,” Queensrÿche guitarist Michael Wilton said. “It’s been 3½, 4 years between albums, and fans have been patiently waiting. They’ve been gnawing at their teeth, going, ‘When’s the next album coming out?’ You know, we recorded this back in 2018. It’s amazing how much prep time it takes to get an album out these days, but you know you’ve got to do it when the cards line up.”
“The Verdict” is a well thought-out album, and each member brought his A-plus game to the table, according to Wilton. Queensrÿche vocalist Todd La Torre even took on drumming duties when the band’s former drummer decided to hang up his sticks and spend more time with his family.
“You have five guys that are just really creatively brewing something magical up but you don’t know what it is, and that’s what’s cool about being in a band, because when you see the project, where it came from, it blows your mind,” Wilton said. “It’s like the coolest thing in the world. That’s the key element in the world that makes being in a band fun when everybody is creatively growing as one and just giving their ‘A’ performance for the songs. So we did that with every song.”
Songs on “The Verdict” take on deep social issues with powerful guitar riffs to match.
“You have songs like ‘Dark Reverie,’ which are the guitar player parts that (guitarist) Parker Lundgren wrote,” Wilton said. ” ‘Blood of the Levant’ has a perspective on the Syrian war and the atrocities that happened. We have ‘Inner Unrest,’ which is about PTSD. We have ‘Portrait,’ which is kind of a universal family relationship kind of situation, and then you have songs that deal with tyranny in the world and dictatorship, and you have songs like ‘Inside Out’ that is more about finding yourself, going deep inside when you’ve checked out of life and bringing yourself back in the game of life. It’s all these different subjects that as we’re on the road interest us.”
Queensrÿche has been going strong for nearly 40 years and does not plan to change the formula for its success.
“You don’t know what’s going to hit radio and what’s going to be the next thing, so it’s better to write for yourself and to gain that connection with your fans,” Wilton said.