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Queensr˙che - Hear In The Now Frontier CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

2.53 | 206 ratings

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3 stars 2.5 stars really

Well, it was a great run but a run I knew couldn't last. From their 1983 self-produced, self-titled 4-song EP through 1994's Promised Land Queensryche had released five discs with almost five hours of mind-expanding, thought-provoking, emotion-bending music that never once failed to live up to the high ambitions set by the five band members upon their creation. But 14 years is a long time for any band to stay together, let alone continue to produce not good or great but outstanding music. It's my unfortunate duty here to announce the run is over. In the previous five releases not one dog could be found among the 50+ songs. On Queensryche's latest release, Hear in the Now Frontier, there's at least two dogs, several duds and only a couple real good songs. My hope is this is a one-time hiccup but the reality is the band may have run its course.

I'm not gonna go into detail about all that is wrong with HITNF. The two good songs, Some People Fly and spOOL, would be average songs on any other QR effort; here they are the clear standouts among a list of mediocre offerings. Some People Fly offers a fairly routine power-ballad QR effort. I love the positive, ambitious lyrics and the stripped down sound (found throughout the disc). The disc's finale, spOOL, represents perhaps the last truly great uniquely original song from the Seattle quintet. Brooding, dark and angry, it contains some great melodies and guitar work. It's a great final song in the tradition of previous disc finishers like Roads to Madness, I Will Remember, Eyes of a Stranger, Anybody Listening and Someone Else. Unfortunately, it's about the only originality to be found on HITNF. QR fails in a lot of ways on this disc. They offer dull radio-friendly power pop (You, Sign of the Times), reprocessed attempts at grunge (Hit the Black, Get a Life, Reach) and a couple of abysmal, virtually unlistenable tracks (Cuckoo's Nest, Anytime/Anywhere). There a couple of good songs, most notably The Voice Inside and Miles Away. The first has a unique, mellow guitar base while the other contains soaring harmonies and layered vocals. Neither is great in the traditional QR mode but both are relative standouts in this mix of songs.

As I said, 14 years is a long time for a band to maintain unbroken greatness. The QR catalog of songs is truly amazing in that from 1983 to 1994 they didn't produce a single song, NOT ONE, that doesn't remain immensely enjoyable to this day. Sadly, that can no longer be said. All music fans who've had the pleasure of following the Queensryche journey through musical greatness should pause to salute a great band who gave an honest, enlightened, inspired effort for more than a decade. To Geoff, Scott, Chris, Michael and Eddie, I thank you.

MrMan2000 | 3/5 |


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