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Queensr˙che - American Soldier CD (album) cover

AMERICAN SOLDIER

Queensr˙che

 

Progressive Metal

2.84 | 140 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars A Solid Effort From Queensr˙che!

I find Queensr˙che to be a fairly inconsistent band overall. It's actually kind of a shame because Operation: Mindcrime was a genre-defining album, but aside from that they haven't released many other great albums. Maybe only 3 other albums of theirs are worthy of a four star rating. And in those albums they show their excellence, but they really haven't shown it much since Promised Land.

With American Soldier, Queensr˙che has a sort of return-to-form, and this has some really great songs on it. Nothing on this album is "bad" so to speak, but there is a fair amount of filler, with a good portion of the songs really not being memorable at all. There are a few great songs that ultimately overrule the weaker ones, but that doesn't deny the fact that a good half of this album is not anything special.

On top of that, this album does get pretty formulaic very quickly, and it can get very predictable. There are a few small twists in a few songs, but for the majority it is standard verse-chorus-verse American heavy metal music. This is not nessacerily a bad thing, though. Some of my favorite albums are just straightforward metal. I'm just pointing out that this isn't even remotely progressive. This ends up being a little bit of a problem being that this album is an hour in length. Simply put, this album doesn't have enough standout content to be worthy of an hour of my time. While it is by no means bad, there is nothing here that hasn't been done before.

With that said, there are some great songs here, and the musicianship is top notch. Queensr˙che won't have a 10 minute shred fest, but they show what they're worth in American Soldier. A few great guitar solos, some memorable riffs, excellent vocals from Geoff Tate, and great melodies make this album far from failure. However, you will notice the same flaw burdens the majority of the album in the track-by-track review.

THE MUSIC:

"Sliver"- An upbeat riff opens up the first song. It almost sounds like rapping occasionally on this song, but soon Geoff Tate delivers a pretty good vocal performance. This song initially made me think "what happened?", but I now find it to be a pretty solid opener. If you were to listen to this song after finishing up Operation: Mindcrime, you would realize that Queensr˙che has a much different, more grunge-oriented sound here, in contrast to their earlier traditional heavy metal direction.

"Unafraid"- The second song here is very strong, and is one of my favorites on the album. After a short spoken word introduction, a light drum riff, vocals and guitar enter. A heavy riff follows that, but the chorus is really catchy here. It has a great guitar solo later in the song.

"Hundred Mile Stare"- After a brief opening, a rhythmic guitar and drum riff enters. The vocals here are pretty good, and I like the use of multiple vocal parts. It's got a good enough chorus, and some nice bridges.

"At 30,000 Feet"- The spoken word introduction portrays the feeling of being at war well, and soon a beautiful guitar rhythm enters. The chorus is particularly good in this song. Another solid song.

"A Dead Man's Words"- An ominous guitar melody is the theme to this song, and a metal section soon follows. This has some pretty good use of keyboards thrown in to make this song kind of cool. The chorus can get pretty annoying though.

"The Killer"- This song starts with an upbeat riff, and this is a pretty fast moving song. I love the verses, and this has some great melodies, and the chorus is pretty good. Another pretty predictable song, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this has some excellent songwriting.

"Middle of Hell"- A drum beat opens up this rather unmemorable song. Despite a pretty good guitar solo, there is nothing here that really stands out. Of course it's every bit as predictable as the earlier songs, but this doesn't have the excellent riffs and melodies the other ones have.

"If I Were King"- By about now the album starts to get boring. I'm not going to lie, but there are a few good songs near the beginning and end, but the middle is pure filler. I kind of like the verses here, but this song is very formulaic, and by about now I'm waiting for something unexpected to happen. Unfortunately, this song doesn't respond to my requests.

"Man Down!"- The verses are painfully annoying. They're clearly trying to relive their glory days in the late 80's and early 90's, but it isn't working out. I like the chorus though, and it has a nice contrast between the guitar riff and vocals. Not a terrible song, but it could have been a lot better.

"Remember Me"- What a change over the past few songs! The last three songs on this album are all the highlights, and this is when the album really begins. A moody verse, and beautiful chorus make this song very good. Of course, it still is verse-chorus-verse, but it is a very solid composition.

"Home Again"- This is my personal favorite song on the album. This portrays the feeling of a father at war exchanging letters with his daughter. The duet between Geoff Tate and his daughter Emily fits the mood of this beautiful song perfectly. If more of the album had been like this I swear I would have given it a 5. It is definitely worth hearing this song at all costs, though.

"The Voice"- After the excellent previous song, Queensr˙che follows it up with another highlight of the album. I absolutely love the riffs on this song, and I think Geoff Tate does an excellent job vocally. Again, I can't help but see the excellence in this song that isn't present on the rest of the album. The excellent ending gets me every time.

Conclusion:

American Soldier has a lot of potential. The last 3 songs are pure gold, but a good amount of the album is forgettable. If Queensr˙che would have made this a shorter album, or put more great material here, this would be one of the best 2009 albums. Unfortunately, that isn't true. However, this album is worth hearing for any Queensr˙che fan, or anyone who's looking for some pretty good prog metal. Nothing here brings anything new to the genre, but for people looking to play it safe with a very professional and high-quality band, American Soldier may be for you.

3 stars.

J-Man | 3/5 |

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