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Queensr˙che - Tribe CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.06 | 188 ratings

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3 stars Following my revival like experience at Queensryche's summer show in Atlanta I was cautiously optimistic. I hoped the band could turn back the clock and reproduce the magic that created 10 years of astoudingly awesome music and erase the bad memories from the substandard 8 years since. The foundation of that hope came from their reenergized show on a co-headliner bill with Dream Theater. The band opened that show with a different-sounding but very strong effort from their upcoming release.

One listen into Tribe and I knew this was a much better band than the one responsible for either the disappointing Hear in the Now Frontier or the distasteful Q2K. Three listens into Tribe and I was thinking the band exuded a vitality and energy that had been missing for almost a decade. Twenty listens into Tribe and I'm ready to declare it easily the best QR effort since PLand but not quite as good as any release from the band's golden age. Believe me, there's a lot to like here. This isn't simply an attempted return to glory with refried riffs from the good old days. These are original and creative songs, reflecting the band members maturity and age. It's also noting that much of Tribe rocks, most notably the centerpiece title track. Tribe combines all of the classic QR elements, with brain bending power chords mixed among thought-provoking lyrics and intricate progressive rhythms. New to the mix is a world beat flavor that raises its head at unusual times.

Really, everything about Tribe is good. The only thing keeping me from fully embracing the release and giving it an even higher rating is the relative simplicity of the songs. All log in at under 5:00 and follow the basic chorus/verse-chorus/verse-break/close song structure of a 3-minute pop song. With the exception of a brief (but very satisfying) solo found on Losing Myself you'll be challenged to find a true guitar solo anywhere. Add short, simple intros and short, simple closing and the simplistic, sometimes repetitive song structures are pretty obvious. That's the only real complaint.

It's hard to pick out favorites and it's pretty telling that every time I listen I listen from beginning to end with nary a skipped song. Open does just that quite well, with Geoff showing off a tremendous, high-pitched wail throughout, hitting and holding notes in a manner not heard since the 80's. Losing Myself follows with a high-energy groove accented by an intense musical break that maybe the highlight of the entire disc. The dense, mystical wall of sound created by the four musicians recalls some of the ambient highlights from Promised Land. Desert Dance is another quality hard-rocker that features a powerful repeating-chant chorus.

Falling Behind and Rhythm of Hope are the mellower songs found here and both work, with Falling Behind being the better of the two. The song contains a catchy chorus that rings through my head a lot lately while Rhythm of Hope has some orchestral moments that bring back memories of Silent Lucidity. As mentioned, Tribe is clearly the disc's centerpiece, with an epic sound to it that would be appropriate for a much longer song. The musical break also recalls some of the signature dramatic highlights from the band's earlier efforts. I find it interesting that this song is credited to all four "permanent" members, with only Chris DeGarmo absent. The song is the best the band has to offer in 10 years and I'm surprised to find he wasn't part of the creation.

I'm not at all surprised to find DeGarmo and Tate co-wrote The Art of Life which is the most interesting and creative piece on Tribe. The song has a slow, machine quality to it, with layered taped vocals and repeated phrases masking transitions from verse to chorus and back. The musical break is also a highpoint, with the band again achieving an intoxicating, mystical wall-of-sound. The only regret is that after a tremendou buildup the song quickly reverts back to a standard chorus. This is repeated throughout the disc, with buildups that end up not fulfilling their promise. The tension and anticipation builds but without the expected reward.

Finally, the closer Doin' Fine is fine enough but somewhat of a letdown. Every single release by Queensryche has contained a closer that could arguably be the best song on that particular release. Even the disappointing HITNF and Q2K both closed with strong songs (SpooL and Right Side of My Mind, respectively). Still, for loyal fans such as myself, Tribe reaffirms the the very reason I started this little corner of my webpage in the first place. I'm looking forward to seeing the songs live and hope this is a new beginning for a band that's been a part of my life since

MrMan2000 | 3/5 |


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