Formed in the Seattle area in 1981, Queensryche borrowed heavily from both the biggest prog rock acts of the '70s (Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Genesis, Rush) and emerging spandex metal bands of the day (Van Halen, Queen, Judas Priest, Scorpions). The various members had played in a number of popular northwest regional cover bands before deciding to form Queensrych and develop their own music.
A pair of local record shop owners Kim and Diana Harris heard their demo and quickly signed them to a management deal. The Harrises financed an EP entitled Queen Of The Reich, which sold over 20,000 copies. Within a year, the band was signed to EMI, who had them expand the EP tracks to a full album. The band built a steady but cult following until several years after this recording was made, when in 1988 they recorded a heavy metal prog opera entitled Mindcrime. It stayed on the charts for a year and went platinum. A similar concept album, Empire followed with the radio hit "Silent Lucidity."
The band has remained intact, with the exception of guitarist Chris DeGarmo, who departed in 1997 and was replaced with Kelly Gray.