For the heavy-metal faithful, it was a pilgrimage into the rock 'n' roll cave of truth where the shadows on the wall belonged to Queensryche and none of the disciples were disputing the power of their message-laden lyrics. Saturday night, Memorial Auditorium was transformed into a rock 'n' roll tabernacle.

Considered to be a thinking metal band, Queensryche is more concerned with the social content of its music rather than focusing on just thunder-cracking volume.

The tormented vocals and machine shop music of Suicidal Tendencies, the opening act, revved up the youthful fans that delighted in its pure volume. The fans stomped their feet and squeezed their eyes shut in an ecstasy of delight. Queensryche's music was elegant in comparison.

How can you not like a band that uses "There's No Business Like Show Business" as an opener, then rumbles into an environmental rocker, "Resistance."

Always a favorite of critics and music industry people, Queensryche has that rare ability to combine social lyrics with heavy-metal music without betraying the integrity of either.

Lead guitarist Chris DeGarmo and vocalist Geoff Tate's lyrics comment on today's harsh world by presenting issues rather than positions. Queensryche's social consciousness and intellectual approach give the group a unique identity in the world of metal.

Most of the opening 30 minutes of the two-hour set was devoted to the group's "Empire" album. DeGarmo's guitar playing -- especially on "Best I Can," a song about the power of positive thinking -- was intellectually passionate.

Probably the highlight of the performance was "Operation -- Mindcrime" suite performed in its entirety. Relentless guitar playing by DeGarmo and Tate's highly theatrical delivery kept the rock 'n' roll congregation on its feet throughout the ceremony.

Queensryche and Suicidal Tendencies

Heavy-metal rock bands.

Saturday night in Memorial Auditorium.

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