Empire (Queensrÿche album)

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Queensryche - Empire cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 20, 1990
RecordedSpring 1990
ProducerPeter Collins
Queensrÿche chronology
Operation: Mindcrime
Promised Land
Singles from Empire
  1. "Empire"
    Released: September 1990
  2. "Best I Can"
    Released: December 1990
  3. "Silent Lucidity"
    Released: January 1991
  4. "Jet City Woman"
    Released: May 1991
  5. "Another Rainy Night (Without You)"
    Released: October 1991
  6. "Anybody Listening?"
    Released: February 1992
Audio sample
"Silent Lucidity"
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal7/10[2]
Entertainment WeeklyD[3]
PopMatters6/10 stars[4]
(20th Anniversary Edition)
Record Collector3/5 stars[5]
(20th Anniversary Edition)
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[6]

Empire is the fourth full-length studio album by the American heavy metal band Queensrÿche, released on August 20, 1990. The album stands as Queensrÿche's most commercially successful release, reaching triple-platinum status.[7] The primary single, the power ballad "Silent Lucidity", reached number 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.[8] "Silent Lucidity" was also nominated for the Grammy Awards of 1992 in the categories Best Rock Song and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.[9] The album won a 1991 Northwest Area Music Award for Best Metal Recording.[10]

In a June 2019 interview, former vocalist Geoff Tate announced his intentions to perform the entire album live in 2020 to celebrate the 30th anniversary. He also said that there will be a new 30th anniversary edition box set.[11]


Empire has received generally positive reviews from critics since its release.

AllMusic praised the album, selecting the songs "Jet City Woman", "Empire", and "Silent Lucidity" as the album's best tracks. The review stated that the band went for "a song-oriented approach that is more art rock and less metal" with lyrics that talk about social and physical handicaps in "Best I Can" and issues such as poverty and regret in "Della Brown" and romance with "Another Rainy Night (Without You)" and "Hand On Heart". The reviewer concluded by praising the band's mature sound and the production done by Peter Collins.[1]

Record Collector gave the 20th anniversary edition of the album a generally positive review. The reviewer called the album a "very pleasant, but only intermittently gripping" listen, calling the songs "Best I Can", "Silent Lucidity", and "Jet City Woman" as being some of the band's best material. Comparing Empire to the band's earlier albums, The Warning and Rage for Order, the reviewer wrote that it is "a little boring". The reviewer concluded by calling the live CD accompanying the re-issue "flawless", making it a "worthwhile reissue".[5] PopMatters reviewer Adrien Begrand also reviewed the album's 20th anniversary release. Begrand called the album an "enigma" that's "beautifully produced and features some of the band's quintessential songs, but at the same time it's a rather bloated, conceptually scattershot piece of work containing filler that honestly has not aged very well". Begrand praised the songs "Empire", "Another Rainy Night", and "Silent Lucidity", calling them the album's best tracks, favorably comparing "Silent Lucidity" to Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb". Begrand had a mixed reaction to the live CD and referred to the cover of "Scarborough Fair" as being "abysmal".[4]

Jim Farber of Entertainment Weekly was highly critical of the album. Farber criticized the album's progressive metal riffs, calling them "tuneless bombast" as well as the dire nature of the lyrics. Farber concluded his review by calling the band members "relentless killjoys".[3]

Track listing[edit]

1."Best I Can"Chris DeGarmo5:30
2."The Thin Line"DeGarmo, Geoff Tate, Michael Wilton5:42
3."Jet City Woman"DeGarmo, Tate5:20
4."Della Brown"DeGarmo, Scott Rockenfield, Tate7:04
5."Another Rainy Night (Without You)"DeGarmo, Eddie Jackson, Tate4:44
6."Empire"Tate, Wilton5:07
7."Resistance"Tate, Wilton4:47
8."Silent Lucidity"DeGarmo5:45
9."Hand on Heart"DeGarmo, Tate, Wilton5:30
10."One and Only"DeGarmo, Wilton5:52
11."Anybody Listening?"DeGarmo, Tate7:40
2003 CD reissue bonus tracks
12."Last Time in Paris"DeGarmo, Tate3:51
13."Scarborough Fair" (produced by Queensrÿche and Neil Kernon, recorded in 1986[12])Traditional3:51
14."Dirty Lil Secret"DeGarmo, Tate4:07
20th anniversary edition bonus disc (recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon, November 15, 1990)
1."Resistance" 4:33
2."Walk in the Shadows"DeGarmo, Tate, Wilton3:56
3."Best I Can" 5:16
4."Empire" 5:11
5."The Thin Line" 5:43
6."Jet City Woman" 5:30
7."Roads to Madness"DeGarmo, Tate, Wilton9:32
8."Silent Lucidity" 5:43
9."Hand on Heart" 5:17
10."Take Hold of the Flame"DeGarmo, Tate5:10


  • Geoff Tate – vocals, keyboards
  • Chris DeGarmo – 6 and 12 strings electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards on "Best I Can" and backing vocals, lead guitar on "Best I Can", "Jet City Woman", "Silent Lucidity", and "Anybody Listening"
  • Michael Wilton – 6 and 12 strings electric and acoustic guitars, lead guitar on "Empire", "Resistance", and "Another Rainy Night"
  • Eddie Jackson – bass guitars, backing vocals
  • Scott Rockenfield – drums, percussion
Additional musicians
  • Michael Kamen – orchestral arrangements on "Silent Lucidity", conductor
  • Randy Gane – message left on answering machine on "Empire"
  • Robert Bailey – keyboards, programming



Country Organization Year Sales
USA RIAA 1994 3× Platinum (+ 3,000,000)[7]
Canada CRIA 1991 Platinum (+ 100,000)[31]
UK BPI 1993 Silver (+ 60,000)[32]


  1. ^ a b Henderson, Alex. "Empire – Queensrÿche". AllMusic. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Popoff, Martin (August 1, 2007). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 3: The Nineties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 356. ISBN 978-1-894959-62-9.
  3. ^ a b Farber, Jim (October 12, 1990). "Empire Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien (October 7, 2010). "Queensrÿche: Empire (20th Anniversary Edition)". PopMatters. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Pinfold, William (December 2010). "Queensrÿche – Empire: 20th Anniversary Edition". Record Collector (382). Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  6. ^ Rolling Stone list
  7. ^ a b "RIAA Searchable Database: search for Queensrÿche". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Empire Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  9. ^ "34th Grammy Awards — 1992". Rock on the Net.com. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  10. ^ https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=19910304&slug=1269658
  11. ^ Blabbermouth (June 9, 2019). "GEOFF TATE To Perform QUEENSRŸCHE's Entire 'Empire' Album On 30th-Anniversary World Tour Next Year". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Empire (Single sleeve). Queensrÿche. EMI America. 1990. MT 90.CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ "Empire Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d "Queensryche Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  15. ^ "Queensrÿche – Empire (Album)". Norwegiancharts.com. Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  16. ^ クイーンズライク – クイーンズライクのアルバム売り上げランキング (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  17. ^ "Album – Queensrÿche, Empire". Charts.de (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  18. ^ "Queensrÿche – Empire". Hitparade.ch (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  19. ^ "Queensrÿche – Empire (Album)". Swedishcharts.com. Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  20. ^ "Queensrÿche – Empire (Album)". GfK Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  21. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 54, No. 1, June 08, 1991". Library and Archives Canada. June 20, 1991. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  22. ^ "Queensrÿche – Empire (Album)". charts.nz. Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  23. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - June 8, 1991" (PDF).
  24. ^ "Single – Queensrÿche, Silent Lucidity". Charts.de (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  25. ^ "Queensrÿche – Silent Lucidity". Hitparade.ch (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  26. ^ "Queensrÿche – Silent Lucidity (Number)". GfK Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  27. ^ "Queensrÿche – Silent Lucidity (Song)". charts.nz. Media Control Charts. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  28. ^ "Queensrÿche – Best I Can". Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  29. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 54, No. 11, August 17, 1991". Library and Archives Canada. August 17, 1991. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  30. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 54, No. 26, November 30, 1991". Library and Archives Canada. November 30, 1991. Archived from the original on July 7, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  31. ^ "CRIA Gold and Platinum Search: Queensryche". Music Canada. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  32. ^ "BPI Certified Awards: Search for Queensryche". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 7, 2012.