Although they were initially grouped with the legions of pop-metal bands that dominated the American heavy metal scene of the '80s, Queensr˙che were one of the most distinctive bands of the era. Where their contemporaries built on the legacy of Van Halen, Aerosmith, and Kiss, Queensr˙che 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." Queensr˙che 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.