Chronicling the History of Queensryche's Original Lineup
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"Time's measure rusts as it crawls." "Machines have no conscience." "From a haze came a rage of thunder."
Title: The Warning
Warning -- (Tate/Wilton)
Key Tracks: NM 156, Roads to Madness, Take Hold of the Flame
Notes: The Warning was the first full band collaboration between vocalist Geoff Tate and the rest of the group. Tate's more art rock leanings meshed with the heavy metal influences of the band to create its own subgenre of intelligent rock music labeled "progressive heavy metal." Cuts such as "NM 156" and "Roads to Madness" illustrate the blend well, featuring tempo and mood changes. The lyrics are inspired by the scare of nuclear war, and what society would be like in the event of such devastation.
Interesting fact: The tracklist everyone is familiar with for The Warning was not approved of by the band. As mentioned above, the original running order featured "NM 156" as the lead track, with "Warning" preceding "Roads to Madness." The latter song ends on the same sound effect/note as "NM 156" begins with, giving the record a circular presentation.
In addition, "Deliverance" and "No Sanctuary" were flip-flopped, so the latter track was #3 on the record, and "Deliverance" was placed right before "Take Hold of the Flame." The record was remixed and the tracks re-arranged by Val Garay at the behest of EMI Records who wanted the first single -- "Warning" -- to be the album's opening cut. Upon receiving word of the changes, the band was "crushed" at what EMI and Garay had done, according to a former crew member. In a 2013 interview, Wilton revealed the only documentation of the original sequence are cassette demo copies that he and some other members of Queensryche still possess (see image). Wilton also indicated there are no plans to release the demos, although he plans to transfer them to a digital format before they oxidize due to age and become unlistenable.
Note: Since publishing this, an old article from The Warning time period has surfaced suggesting that it was the band, not the label, who made the decision to have the album remixed before it was released. I find that to be unlikely, despite Tate's commentary acknowledging the matter in the article. Consider that The Warning was the band's first album with EMI, they were over budget on the project, and they worked with a legendary producer in Guthrie. In addition, the article never mentions the revised track order of the album, which was, allegedly, done by the label. So, while the band certainly could have requested the remix themselves, I think its more likely that it was label-driven, and Queensryche were told by EMI not to "rock the boat" in the press if asked about the issue.
The cover for The Warning we're all familiar with wasn't the only choice Queensryche had for artwork. The below images (courtesy of Queensryche) are of the alternative cover ideas for the album.
1984-1985 The Warning Era Scrapbook