Empire is the fourth full-length 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 and the primary single, the power ballad "Silent Lucidity", reached No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. "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.
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 in 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.
Record Collector gave the 20th anniversary edition of the album a positive review. The reviewer called the album a "very pleasant" listen, calling the songs "Best I Can," "Silent Lucidity," and "Jet City Woman" as being some of the band's best material. The review compared Empire's "boring moments" to the band's earlier album's The Warning and Rage for Order. The reviewer concluded by calling the live CD "flawless" and making it a "worthwhile reissue."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."
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."