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Queensr che

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1 stars Awful, just Awful...

I would like to say that this is rock bottom, but they keep redefining what rock bottom is. First they ruined the reputation of Mindcrime by making a bland sequel, then created horrible renditions of once decent songs on Take Cover, then they wanted to bank on the Army Demographic with American Soldier delivering a boring album with WAY to many spoken parts. Then they really disgraced themselves with Queensryche Ca-beret. What a sad spectacle that was. I've never seen a band hit rock bottom so many times. So finally after all these distraction albums, now finally a strait up new Queensryche album, and man is this CD bad.

This album is SO VERY BORING. I can barely get through it, always instinctively wanting to skip to the next track just to find the same disappointment. Pretty much every track is bland and generic with no complexity or emotion. Its like pop music, but its even bad by pop standards and this is a hard feat to accomplish. They embarrass themselves with song titles like Wot We Want and Big Noize. I really don't know who this is supposed to appeal to. Its not going appeal to kids who don't know about Queensryche, so it wont make them new fans, and its certainly going to alienate older fans such as myself. The only people who will buy this are the one's obsessed with QR enough to ignore the elephant in the room and refuse to call a spade a spade, but what ever, that is there problem. In the end this album is just terrible.

It needs to be said that this band is not the same without Chris Degarmo. Degarmo's departure would be like if Jimmy Page left Led Zeppelin, there's no way to compensate that absence. Micheal Wilton is just awful and so is Tate's arrogance and ego. Degarmo balanced everything out and brought depth to the band, much in the same way that Kevin Moore brought depth to Dream Theater, but what ever.

At this point I wash my hands of Queensryche. I had some small hope for this album, but that hope has died. Unless something ground shattering happens ( something the equivalent of Portnoy leaving) then I am done with Queensryche.

Report this review (#461915)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Firstly, this is nowhere near the dizzy heights of yesteryear, let's make that clear, however, this is in no way a bad album as some would have you believe. I will admit that it took 3 or 4 listens, but patience has been rewarded with this CD. I found myself humming the tracks very soon after. It is a 'grower'. There are few progressive moments, but that has not been the Queensryche style for a long time now, so not unexpected. I enjoy especially the changes in mood that occur throughout the album, from hard rock to sublime melodies. Geoff Tate's vocals are probably their best for quite some time also. No real outstanding tracks though, so I won't pick one, however, in my opinion, no turkeys either. A very good album I think, and should be given a chance before being dismissed by all those who think that Queensryche should be releasing Rage For Order part 17!!!
Report this review (#484219)
Posted Sunday, July 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Queensr che's last effort, American Soldier, was one that, despite all of the negative hype surrounding it, I actually enjoyed quite a bit. Although nowhere near the heights of Operation: Mindcrime or Empire, I thought it was a generally high-quality concept album with a few excellent songs that were on par with the band's classic material. Dedicated to Chaos has been met with even more negative attention than 2009's American Soldier, and (unfortunately) I agree with it this time around. This is an extremely weak effort that is far too uninspired and generic to impress even the most die- hard Queensr che fan - really a shame after the massive step forward that was American Soldier. Dedicated to Chaos is a very low point in Queensr che's discography, and I can only hope that they recover from this artistic disaster next time around. Unless generic metal riffs, straightforward song structures, and uninspired lyrics are your preferred poison, I'd have a tough time recommending this to even the most hardcore Queensr che fans.

The music on Dedicated to Chaos is similar to Queensr che's sound on their previous few albums. Expect grunge-tinged alternative metal with very few influences from progressive metal and traditional heavy metal - this truly sounds nothing like the band that made Operation: Mindcrime, and those who are expecting a traditional/prog metal album should look elsewhere. Although I'm certainly open to the band's ever-evolving sound and change in direction, I can't help but feel that they've lost a bit of their inspiration along the way. The vast majority of Dedicated to Chaos consists of generic riffs and surprisingly uninspired vocal performances from Geoff Tate - a bit shocking when considering what a powerful and emotional vocalist he can be. There really are only a few songs on this album that are decent ("Around the World", "Hard Times", and "Big Noize" come to mind), and even they aren't great or anything. Dedicated to Chaos also sports some of the band's most horrendous lyrics to date - just take one listen to "Hot Spot Junkie" and you'll catch my drift. How could this be the same band that previously wrote genius concept albums with stories that compete with the best ever written?

One annoying feature about Dedicated to Chaos is the horrible-sounding production. The mix sounds just terrible to these ears, with everything (particularly the drums and bass) mixed so loud to the point that it lacks emotion. Guitar parts are nearly inaudible at times, and the vocals are mixed too high as well. Giving already generic music an uninspired and generic production is not a plus in my book.

Dedicated to Chaos is not a successful album from almost every aspect. The uninspired arrangements, weak lyrics, terrible production, and simplistic compositions make this possibly the worst Queensr che effort to date. It will take a real boost of inspiration to recover from this disaster. I hate to do this to one of my once-favorite bands, but the most I can give out here is 1.5 stars. If not for the few decent tracks, you could easily subtract that extra half-star. Dedicated to Chaos is only for the most die-hard of Queensr che fans, and I have a feeling that even they will be disappointed. Along with Morbid Angel's recent disaster, this can currently be considered the biggest let-down of 2011. Sorry guys - I really wanted to like this album. Maybe next time.

Report this review (#487968)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The album title resumes in a quite perfect way the musical, lyrical and overall direction of Queensr che anno Domini 2011: "Dedicated To Chaos".

Let's say that Queensr che have surpassed their zenith of creativity since almost twenty years and desperately tried to get a connection to their roots with the disappointing "Operation: Mindrime II" and the weird conceptual record "American Soldier" which had a lot of lights and shades. As the last records still had some glimpses of what I have loved about Queensr che and as there were still some signs of hope and elements for a better future within those records, I defended those albums and was faithful to the band. But even for an open minded and patient fan of progressive music, the new record "Dedicated To Chaos" seems to go too far in the beginning. But as I already expected to listen to the worst album of the year which I thought I had already heard with the last HammerFall record I got a big surprise after a while just like on the last record.

This album kicks off so bad that I don't know where to start. The last album had a guiding line while the first songs of this album don't fit together at all. The sound of this album is more commercial and weak than ever. Queensr che seem to want to sound like a mixture of U2 and Three Doors Down but they don't even get near at their level. Even the last Puddle Of Mudd record seems to be masterpiece of rock music compared to the beginning of this release of Queensr che with songs like the faceless opener "Get Started". The ancient metal and progressive rock musicians have lost their feeling for haunting melodies, progressive structures, catchy hooks, gripping lyrics and emotional passages in here. A few plastic keyboards and artificial folk, jazz or symphonic sounds can't take the place of the melodic guitar solos, pumping bass lines and intense vocals that have made this band famous. The band really "Got It Bad" at many points in weird funk-folk-pop tracks with crappy radio sounds and has the same problems over and over again all "Around The World". "Higher" sounds like a mediocre plastic jazz track for a Phil Collins record with some modern metal influences. I mean that just the description of this is completely weird and they completely lose me there. It's though still better like commercial attempts in the style of one dimensional modern metal tracks like "I Take You" and "Hot Spot Junkie" that the band offers us on the album.

But once again the band got me by surprise after five truly horrible tracks. They suddenly pull out "At The Edge" which is a rather calm, experimental and progressive song that reminds of the old days but is too hectic, weird and incoherent to entirely convince and strangely fits to the previous songs that had no focus either. But for the first time, there is a song on here that is surely intriguing and courageous but after so many boring pop songs I honestly ask myself what those guys smoked to write a strange track like this. The other epic track with the strange title "Big Noize" that fits more to a hip hop record misses even more focus and goes straight nowhere in over six minutes. I don't know if that's something good or band in comparison to the first commercial songs. Sometimes, the band is very strange on this record and hard to follow. "I Believe" has strange tribal drum loops, artificial oriental string sounds and vocal effects and sounds like a sound collage of a junkie. Those are the same ingredients as in "Got It Bad" for example but this time the mixture is so experimental and lacks of focus that the radio pop fans might quickly feel frightened while the traditional fan just shakes his head and is taken by a surprise which could be as well positive as negative. The slow and somewhat weird "Luvn'U" or "The Lie" could be tracks written by Jane's Addiction or the Red Hot Chili Peppers in their weirdest eras and they need a lot of time to grow on me and sound simply like a mixture of weird and incoherent structures with experimental flows while having a commercial attempt at the same time. Even though those songs are hard to digest, I have never heard anything as strange as this and at least the band still surprises and is able to innovate in times like these.

But next to many too commercial or simply too weird and ambitious songs, there are also some true pearls that can be found on this record and that might be easier to be appreciated by the classic fans. The slow and haunting jazz ballad "Broken" and the very progressive "Hard Times" hit into a calm and progressive same vein with dreamy lounge atmospheres, strange keyboard sounds and in the latter pumping bass lines. Those two songs happen to be probably the best tracks on the record. They have more focus than the other rather progressive songs and still add some new styles and elements to the band's sound after so many years without sounding too modern, trendy and one dimensional. The songs don't have anything to do with metal music but are great experiments and experiences for the band and their fans. "Drive" has pumping drum loops and a strange aggressive cold atmosphere and even though it sounds like a rather modern metal track, it has an addicting style and something more to offer. The song is monotonous but has many progressive little changes in style that make the whole thing a great listening experience. The jazzy passages of "Wot We Do" that are used in a wrong and strange way several times on this record happen to sound fresh on this track that stands out as another highlight even though the song title is once again horrible. It's a long time ago that Queensr che sounded as progressive as in the few mentioned tracks and after a terrible first third the band improves a lot.

In the end, this record is maybe the weirdest and most incoherent one I have ever listened to in my life. There are so many influences of different genres, weird ideas and experiments that the band could have created three albums with this material and they prove us that they still have something to say. The band is maybe more creative than ever in the last two decades but there is some soul, emotion and elegance missing that made those guys a pioneer band for many progressive rock and metal bands. I don't know any other band that has fallen so down in a career and that went from a permanently excellent level on a permanently mediocre to low level. This album underlines the band's fate.

They have nothing left to lose and nobody expects much from them but by risking so much as on this release, the band still loses focus and goes too hard into a commercial direction or too hard in a progressive direction. This record is difficult to digest and has a more than mellow start and appears to be the worst album of the band history in the beginning. Finally, there are some songs that find the right way between commercial attempts and progressive sounds and should hit the nerve of those who remained faithful to the band but this is not enough to justify a buy or give us a true sign of rehabilitation. This record is even more difficult to defend and appreciate as the last one.

Artistically, the band still has many possibilities, ideas and creative moments that keep themselves alive until the next deception. But if they really want to come back to form the next time, the band should focus much more and release maybe two different records which should be one with rather modern and commercial sounds and the other one filled with weird and experimental sound collages. This record here asks multiples listening, a lot of patience and an open mind for different skills and styles. This record is the most difficult, uneasy and controversial one Queensr che have ever created even if I didn't think this was possible. There is no truly catchy potential hit single or outstanding progressive track on the record and even if you see the album as a whole it seems completely disturbing and there are a lot of lights and shades. Listen to this at your own risks but when you do so take your time, be patient and don't expect too much from the beginning on. Be sure to get the special edition as the four bonus tracks happen to belong to the better songs on this crazy record.

In the end, I must admit that this album might be a grower of the weirdest kind after a few tries. Just carry on and expect that this record is truly dedicated to chaos as I told you. My final rating is a mixture of positive surprises and bitter disappointments and seems much more ordinary than it really is if you have read my whole review.

Originally published on on June 28th of the year 2011.

Report this review (#499346)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars This album is simply terrible, unlistenable, a pain for your ears. I find this unacceptable from a band with a bright past like Queensryche, capable of egregious things in the 80's like the excellent "Operation Mindcrime" and "Empire". This time I found myself skipping from one track to another in relentless search of something at least decent but eventually there is really nothing you can save of this album. This band has clearly and not just recently exhausted his creative vein. Please do yourself a favour, save some money and avoid this awful album like the plague. My final rating is: zero stars.
Report this review (#552718)
Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Dedicated to Chaos" is the 12th full-length studio album by US hard/rock metal act Queensr che. The album was released in June 2011 by Roadrunner Records.

The music on "Dedicated to Chaos" is hard rock/metal with an at times accessible commercial feel. The album is yet another example of the fact that you never really know what you┤re gonna get when a new Queensr che album is released. The band have since the early nineties been swinging back and forth between releasing semi-progressive metal albums and more easily accessible hard rock/ metal ditto. To the great despair of some fans but also to the great joy of others. Queensr che were never known to please. They are rather known for making exactly the albums they want to, when they want to. "Dedicated to Chaos" is no different and it belongs in the more commercial camp. So hardcore progressive metal fans, read it and weep!

The tracks are generally simple vers/chorus structured with memorable choruses that probably won┤t offend anyone. Hard rocking riffs, a pounding rocking rythm section and Geoff Tate┤s unique vocals on top. At times the band take the music in an almost funky glam rock/metal-like direction. "Got It Bad" is the best example of this. The band are definitely trying out new things on "Dedicated to Chaos" and while some work better than others I respect what Queensr che are trying to achive. "Dedicated to Chaos" is most likely a water divider but I┤m actually mostly positive about the more commercial musical direction. Since the release of "Promised Land" back in 1994, Queensr che have released quite a few grey and mediocre releases that haven┤t impressed me much. "Dedicated to Chaos" won┤t change my general opinion that the best years of the band┤s life are behind them, but as a nice and easily accessible hard rock/metal album featuring a positive vibe, a professional production, excellent musicianship and pretty decent songwriting, "Dedicated to Chaos" ain┤t too bad. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

Report this review (#603610)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars Let's face it: if you are familiar with the world of metal, then the name "Queensryche" is a household name for the band whose early works are well-regarded. Yet, everything since 1997's Hear in the Now Frontier has been extremely polarizing to old and new fans alike. There WERE signs of hope in the year of 2009 with American Soldier, an album that contained tracks with promising glimmers of the old style. So, we reach the biggest question of them all: What the hell were they thinking with this album???

Here's the thing; the band's recent output might have been lackluster, but nothing compares to the murderous peak they reach here. Dedicated to Chaos is a essentially a lengthy, boring tour of all that has gone wrong with Queensryche. Even a half-tolerable song in the form of the radio-friendly "Get Started" can't save the record from complete mediocrity in any case.

So, the biggest problem? Geoff Tate. You might be wondering: "How does Queensryche's general figurehead become the worst aspect of the album?" The problem is twofold: In his vocals and his lyrics. Most of his vocal output consists of weird off-key wails and spasms that don't sum up to much of anything (except getting incredibly annoying after a while); even his softer side has random out-of-place melodies and dynamics that don't even up with the sound. The lyrics, on the other hand, are ridiculously simple on the record, from the concept of (are you ready for this?) driving (*gasp*) to trying to unify the world in peace. Tate's subjects are overall very limited here, and the lyrics don't expand well on the premises.

The best song here is the aforementioned opener "Get Started," a very straightforward rock track with typical choruses and semi-decent vocals. The song isn't anything extraordinary, but at least the band seem to know what they're doing, and the track is fun to listen to now and again. Let it sink in, because this feeling doesn't last for too long.

When firing up the other tracks, one of the huge issues with the album is that it just drags and drags and draaaaaaags. It's understood that the band wanted to create an album with more rhythm (and that they did), but the rhythms could have at least been more exciting or stimulating; Instead, the band are content with using and recycling bored, tired drumming. Because of stuff like this, the 53:55 runtime truly feels like an eternity.

Another predicament is that there are some more experiments this time around, often with unfavorable results. The worst of this appears in "Hard Times" which mixes soul, reggae, space rock, and a couple of other genres into a mixing pot, but instead it ends up being very dispassionate-sounding and unconvincing with its influences. The atmosphere that is created only serves to drain any energy the song might have possessed.

This album is not an album where you see a bump in the road; In this album, you see a dark abyss with a small crevice of light seeping out of it. In other words, Queensryche are getting fewer and fewer chances to redeem themselves, and with this album, they just might have killed their career for good. What a shame.

(Note that this review was from 2011, and my thoughts regarding the final paragraph have since changed because of the band's new material with Todd LaTorre)

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Report this review (#1447044)
Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | Review Permalink

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