Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Queensrÿche, those Washington state prog powerhouses with one of heavy metal’s greatest concept albums, 1988’s Operation: Mindcrime, to their name. The group has many classic cuts in its jam-packed catalog, but in our opinion, these six are Queensrÿche’s most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.
“QUEEN OF THE REICH”
The only thing more terrifying than the dark protagonist of this punisher from the group’s 1983 debut EP is the glass-shattering high note with which vocalist Geoff Tate punctuates the chorus.
Sample lyrics: “The light will not shine/For you’ll die at her shrine/And black is the last thing you’ll see.”
“TAKE HOLD OF THE FLAME”
ALBUM: THE WARNING
Commanding gang vocals have made this mid-tempo mauler an audience-participation favorite for two decades.
Sample lyrics: “Ride, to a place beyond our time/Reach, for the edges of your mind, and you are there.”
“WALK IN THE SHADOWS”
ALBUM: RAGE FOR ORDER
Queensrÿche commune with their inner funkmaster and emerge with an infectious groove that does’t just walk — it struts.
Sample lyrics: “When…the pain’s too much for your mind/You need attention, what’s good is only mine.”
“I DON’T BELIEVE IN LOVE”
ALBUM: OPERATION: MINDCRIME
Within the swirling conspiracy that drives this era-defining concept album, this tale of betrayal reminds us that even in the darkest times, hearts can burn brightly.
Sample lyrics: “She said she’d love me/I guess I never knew/But do we ever, ever really know?”
“BEST I CAN”
This rousing motivational anthem (told from the viewpoint of a wheelchair-bound youth) is the hidden gem on the group’s most successful album.
Sample lyrics: “I want to write for a magazine/I’m gonna be the best they’ve ever seen.”
“SOME PEOPLE FLY”
ALBUM: HEAR IN THE NOW FRONTIER
Is it a rockin’ power ballad…or a laid-back power rocker? No matter; this uplifting opus will transport you to new heights.
Sample lyrics: “Some people fly, and some of us worry about touching the sun with wings/I know if I try, I’ll get where I’m going.”