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Queensr˙che - Q2K CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

2.19 | 170 ratings

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2 stars Okay, first the bad news. The Queensryche quintet that stayed together for over 15 years of magical musical performances is no more. Guitarist and creative force Chris DeGarmo left the band and was replaced by Kelly Gray. Gray's single claim to fame is to have produced Candlebox's self-titled mega-hit with the huge single, Far Behind. That's NOT a plus in my book. Replacing one of the driving forces behind Operation: Mindcrime with the producer of a one-hit wonder doesn't particularly bode well, in my opinion.

Now, the good news. The title of the new release is totally cool, and the cover artwork is among the best of any QR disc. Okay, that's about it for the good news. From the first listen, it was clear that the QR I knew and embraced for almost 15 years no longer exists. This "new" Queensryche is but a shell of its former self. Gone are the dueling, harmonic guitars, the soaring melodies, the progressive instrumentation, the uniquely original song-writing. In their place are muddied, unimaginative guitar work, fairly simple, lame song ideas and arrangements and the lousiest production imaginable. It's downright hard to discern any guitars, the vocals are never prominent, and drums seem to always be in the background. Gray has performed the seemingly impossible: every instrument AND the vocals are in the background. The result is non-stop drone that never seems to rise, or fall, beyond the immediate starting point of the disc.

And, admittedly, the starting point is pretty good. Falling Down is a fairly good straight-ahead rocker with the best guitar work on the entire disc. Unfortunately, the momentum generated is pretty much lost and only rarely recovered on the rest of the disc. There are moments, such as Beside You, Breakdown and the disc's highlight, The Right Side of My Mind. TRSOMM is the only effort here that recalls any of the earlier QR magic. But it also suffers from repetition, droning on with same chorus sung over and over. QR never resorted to such cheap tactics in prior years, and it's kinda sad they do so here. I didn't expect a repeat of the genius of Rage For Order, Operation: Mindcrime or Empire. I did hope, however, for genius of another kind. If not that, then at least some good songs. And there are some promising moments here, but nothing so great it rises above the crummy production. All in all a major disappointment and a seeming confirmation of my fears that arose out of 1997's equally disappointing Hear in the Now Frontier: Queensryche is no more. There's only an imposter out there using their name.

MrMan2000 | 2/5 |


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