At first glance, the title of Queensrÿche's eleventh studio album, Dedicated to Chaos, seems strangely at odds with the track record of one of heavy metal's most cerebral and civilized bands; but, on second thought, it's actually a perfect summation of the Seattle group's uninterrupted musical evolution from album to album throughout its storied career, frequently to the chagrin of its loyal fans. Ironically, though, even the band's single, obvious attempt at repeating itself via 2006's Operation: Mindcrime II arguably upset more fans than not, so what does that say about Queensrÿche's chances of remaining a vital, relevant musical entity instead of geriatric participants in the heavy rock nostalgia circuit inhabited by most other veteran outfits of their pedigree? Clearly not much, if not even long-term supporters appear willing to respect, never mind appreciate, each 'Rÿche album's quest for individuality, which, not surprisingly, sees Dedicated to Chaos taking another strange, unprecedented twist. This time, most songs are built from the ground up on strong rhythmic foundations, stopping just short of overt electronics, resulting in culprits like the eastern strains and funk of "Got It Bad," the paranoid string-sections of "Higher," and the ice-cool cocaine soul of "Drive." But this only covers the album's dominant facet and, looking a little deeper, one also finds the Spartan hard rock of "Get Started," where the band gets their inner AC/DC groove on, the haunting "Broken," which amazingly combines Sinatra's Only the Lonely and Bowie's Berlin period; the cinematic "At the Edge," which moves drastically from metallic familiarity to alien techno rave; as well as several rather forgettable tunes ("Around the World," "I Believe," "LuvnU") that simply leave no lasting impression. What's more, as has been the case with most Queensrÿche LPs, post-Promised Land and the subsequent departure of chief songwriter Chris DeGarmo, inconsistency is ultimately the problem here. Yet then, just when mediocrity and disorienting novelty begin to overwhelm, along come tracks like "Hot Spot Junkie" and "Retail Therapy" that actually resemble distant cousins of '90s Empire -- several generations and pure genetic strains removed from their pristine forefathers, but welcome old friends nonetheless. Still, it's no use: Queensrÿche are virtually unrecognizable nowadays, which is possibly worse than ripping themselves off. Not that anyone has been able to agree on the matter for at least the past decade in the band's career: Queensrÿche can't win, and their fans can't win. Stalemate.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia