August 13, 2021
New Documentary Discusses Queensryche's Original Lineup
By Brian Heaton
A short documentary on the original lineup of Queensryche has been released on YouTube.
The Reign of Queensryche was created and narrated by Raz Ben Ari and edited by Simon Kopp. Based loosely on a historical essay on the band written by this author (which appears here on AnybodyListening.net), the documentary features interview footage, live performances and backstage video that helps tell Queensryche's story from 1983-1997.
The documentary's script was written in April 2021, with production starting in late June 2021 and wrapping earlier this month. Ben Ari said his main objective was to maintain accessibility for the casual viewer without losing the finer details that made Queensryche's journey so complicated and thus compelling to hardcore fans such as himself.
“Queensryche, as a musical project and as a group of people, is infinitely interesting to me,” Ben Ari said. “I see it as a perfect storm - something that became huge almost by accident, and despite many things working against it - even from within.”
The documentary takes a wide look at the band as it progresses through each of its album cycles through 1997's Hear in the Now Frontier. It focuses primarily on guitarist Chris DeGarmo and vocalist Geoff Tate as they evolve personally and musically throughout the years. To his credit, Ben Ari does a good job at narrating Queensryche's complex story over the course of the documentary. It's a perfect overview for general metal fans and contains enough rare footage to make it an enjoyable watch for those more familiar with the band.
Ben Ari has made a number of other music documentaries previously, most notably Iron Maiden's Darkest Hour, which talks about that band's change in vocalists from Bruce Dickinson to Blaze Bayley in the mid-1990s. Ben Ari was inspired to do one on Queensryche after becoming fascinated by how the band changed its sound from album to album, specifically the shift from Empire to Promised Land in the 1990s.
“I did, finally, get it - once I dug in deeper,” Ben Ari said of Promised Land's darker and more introspective tone. “What I also found is a lot of dysfunction in what otherwise seemed like a very tight-knit band. I quickly realized there's a story here that's worth sharing with the world.”
In addition to the YouTube version linked above, a director's cut of the Queensryche documentary is also available. This 21-minute version is featured on Ben Ari's Patreon page and was viewed for the purposes of this review.
Editor's Note: Despite The Reign of Queensryche being based on an article by this writer, the documentary was created independently and is in not affiliated with this writer or AnybodyListening.net.
Brian Heaton is the founder of AnybodyListening.net, and a co-author of Building An Empire: The Story of Queensryche, the band's first biography, due October 2021 on NW Metalworx Music.