Although they were initially grouped with the legions of pop-metal bands that dominated the American heavy metal scene of the '80s, Queensrˇche were one of the most distinctive bands of the era. Where their contemporaries built on the legacy of Van Halen, Aerosmith, and Kiss, Queensrˇche constructed a progressive form of heavy metal that drew equally from the guitar pyrotechnics of post-Van Halen metal and '70s art rock, most notably Pink Floyd and Queen. After releasing a handful of ignored albums, the band began to break into the mainstream with the acclaimed 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime. Its follow-up, Empire, was the group's biggest success, selling over two million copies due to the hit single "Silent Lucidity." Queensrˇche never sustained that widespread popularity -- like most late-'80s metal bands, their audience disappeared after the emergence of grunge. Nevertheless, they retained a large cult following well into the ensuing decades.