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Queensr che - Promised Land CD (album) cover

PROMISED LAND

Queensr che

Progressive Metal


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Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Promised Land" was Queensryche's most criticized album to this time. That's quite obvious in my point of view. Maybe because it was their darkest and difficult album up to date. They produced the album over a couple of years and that's why it sounds over-produced. Not that this can pull down the quality of such innovative monser songs like "I Am I", the heavy "Damaged", the wonderful acoustic guitar-piece "Bridge", the catchy "One More Time", the epic title piece or the emontionally overwhelming piano-ballad "Someone Else" at all.

The most progressive (in the real sense of this word) appearing album in Queensryche's discography is "Promised Land" without a doubt. The best way to listen to this album is to hear it under headphones, without doing anything else but just listening. Several parts of the album remind me on their biggest influential fountain Pink Floyd or one song called "Disconnected" sounds a bit Games Without Frontiers-era Gabriel-alike. Quite original is the songwriting on this album, where the band shows all of it's talents (for the last time).

The most (and ciminally) underrated Queensryche album reminds as their most unusual but also one of their best products to this very day. After this gem the uneven, modern/alternative rock band-era began where I've (and many others) lost any inthusiasm in Queensryche. Sad but true! Let's enjoy their last great album with a tear in the eye.

album rating: 8.5/10 points = 84 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#23604)
Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2003 | Review Permalink
emokid3000@ao
5 stars maybe this should have been their last album... why ? because it's the last Queensryche album really worth of interest and their best IMO... Here, they took the beautiful songwriting and production of the previous album and cleaned up all the unnecessary sounds.. so it's the quitessential sound of Queensryche and it's truly wonderful !!! Lady Jane (with strings but not Kamen fortunately), Someone else (just a piano and Goeff's voice) and almost all ths ongs of the album are killer plus you have the best musical performance by the band but without showing too much... they're here to do SONGS (unlike Dream Theater and co) so they stick to it and give their best by serving the songs and protecting the purity of the melodies...Protect and Serve... Queensryche, it's like th musical police of fine taste ! do i have to say you HAVE to get a copy of Promised Land ???

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23608)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
arqwave@lycos
5 stars the real progressive record of this band, from tip to toe, a masterpiece of the so called prog-metal, great melodies, nice arragements and the cleaner voice of Geoff tate to date, not comercial at all, like it's predescesor, but stronger than anything else after or before, the complexity in the melodies touches de fine craft without harming the moment. A group that doesn't like "overplaying" nor "showing of", the end song, "someone else?" is at their finest moments. a must

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23609)
Posted Monday, March 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
robringas@ter
3 stars i never got into this album, I always thought it cuold be better. The songs are not really progressive, at least under my definition of prog. Theyre good songs but not what I was looking for. A straight song rock album of high quality, with some prog moments, but not much.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23610)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
hawkwindmania
4 stars The darkest Queensryche album ever.It was a difficult time for Queensryche,because of the breakthrough "Empire" made in the U.S. Queensryche never wanted to be stars, that's why "Promised Land" turned out to be a difficult album to hear and a difficult album to understand too.Great songwriting and very personal lyrics,just listen to "Someone Else","I Am I", "My Global Mind" and "Bridge"(dedicated to DeGarmo's Father) and you 'll understand.An honest album and the best of the 90's...

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23611)
Posted Monday, June 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
davidewata@ya
4 stars Aaaahhhh, the darket album ever produced by the Ryche :-) I can't say that this is their best album but this is the most often record played in my cd player. Strange, isn't it? Somehow it suites my mood for anything. "Disconnected" is my favorite track here, especially in the end part where Geoff playes the sax. One thing need to note that eventhough this album kicks off with "I Am I" and "Damaged" but this record is not entirely a metal abum. I can help but saying that this album is lyrically brilliant. Perhaps, this is the 'smartest' album Queensryche ever made lyrically. It is like you're looking at your own self and asking a lot of questions. It is what I feel about the album as a whole. Give it a try.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23612)
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
bruinjboz@aol
4 stars Promised Land is a deep,dark painting of introspection. The songs are haunting and dark, quite a dramatic turn from Empire. Most of us know the story of the album being recorded in a log cabin on an island in the Pacific-NorthWest. The band had a lot of things to work through at that point, and Promised Land became their canvas in which to paint their issues with. The PL album is when the Ryche were at their peak musically as we all sadly know that Chris De-Garmo the very talented guitarist/lyricist would leave after one more record. There is something for everyone on this record, "I am I" and "Damaged" kick off the disk in a flurry of fury while songs like "Out Of Mind" and "Bridge" and "Promised Land" settle us down into a dark tunnel of introspection and thought. "Disconnected" is a song we all can relate to at various times in our lives and songs like "One More Time" and "Someone Else" offer a flcikering vision of light in a still otherwise dark and beautiful tapestry this record is. I would strongly recommend this CD. It's not quite a masterpiece, but it is a brilliant piece of work. Further I would recommend that for those considering it that you buy the 2003- Promised Land reissue as there are some new tracks on it. One of which is the expanded electric version of "Someone Else" and the haunting song "Real World" which imo should have been on the PL CD.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23614)
Posted Saturday, July 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
neo_jozze@hot
3 stars This is the first CD i have with Queensr che. I really didn┤t know what to expect from them, so I was really at a + - 0 when i put the CD in my stereo. The first thing i noticed especially was the singer. It┤s really a pretty old-school metal voice, which i personally don┤t like that much, though it actually works supricingly good it Queensr che. The band in other is great. The sound is good, and so is the music. It definatly isn┤t the most complicated music I┤ve heard, but also everything don┤t have to be complicated to be good. I think I made a good buy, and i┤m happy about it. I recomend this to the people who wants to open up their view more in the progworld, not for the ones that look for the best album in the world.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23615)
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is definitely better than Empire and probably even better thean Mindcrime. The pompous sounds are gone and it's much better that way. The atmosphere is really dark, almost frightening, the best way to listen to it would be with the lights off. The best moments are two powerful heavy songs that start the album - "I am I" and "Damaged" , "Out of mind" and "Lady Jane" - beautiful ballads with that scary feeling, and the best song is saved for last - "Someone else", just a simple piano background and a majestic performance by Geoff Tate at his best. It's a pity that the band didn't go on like this on Hear in the Now Frontier. The reason I don't give 5 stars is that the cd contains some weaker tracks - "Disconnected", "My Global Mind", and the title track "Promised Land", which is not bad at all, but a bit too long and sometimes boring.

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Send comments to Pety (BETA) | Report this review (#23617)
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the band's most progressive effort, alongside with Rage for Order probably. This one was released on a time that Queensryche had been growing quite large on popularity with 88's Operation:Mindcrime, and even more with the more mainstream sound of Empire, so it would be possible to maintain that certain sound of success. But the band broke the barriers with this progressive masterpiece, turned to a much darker and mystical sound, dived deeped into human emotion and created the best album of their carreer(along with Mindcrime of course). I must admit that it took me a while to get used to this album, but there was something there that dragged my attention in from the beggining, making me to want to listen to it more and more, until I fully understand its beauty. It is a solid album of a common musical style and certain feeling, but some tracks are able to excel, like I am I, Damaged, Lady Jane or Someone Else, and are still reminders of this gem on the band's live concerts. In simple words, probably the most definite expression of progression in metal music.

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Send comments to V0lcaN0 (BETA) | Report this review (#23618)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Did anyone say "darker"

Queensryche enjoyed great success with their "Empire" album, which opened many doors for them, especially at MTV. That album saw them moving into much more commercial areas, the tracks being much closer to melodic rock than prog or prog metal. The subsequent tour for that album was a massive success, and the band played to sell out audiences in many different countries. They coped with the adulation with differing levels of success, which led to a lengthy period of inactivity where the members barely communicated.

It was some four years after the release of Empire that the band got together to record the follow up. In the best traditions of "getting it together in the country", they took a mobile studio to a cabin on an island off the coast of Washington state in the USA, near to the Canadian border. After a couple of rather strained false starts, they came up with this highly credible album.

For "Promised land", it was the turn of vocalist Geoff Tate to take the lead role, and he took the opportunity to change the band's direction yet again. With the apparent move into MTV friendly melodic rock on the previous album, the band were torn between making another commercially orientated album, or moving back towards the heavier prog metal featured on "Operation : Mind crime". "Promised land" is much darker (a word you'll find in most reviews of the album) and heavier than its predecessor, with only occasional references to the melodic rock of "Empire". Most of the time it's prog metal in the Dream Theater or Iron Maiden vein. The loose concept of the album is the challenges of life, although this is not really a concept album as such.

Among the best tracks are the title track (the title is a reference to the trials of seeking success and security in a modern environment), which opens dramatically, leading into an almost dirge like piece with good guitar work. At 8 minutes, the track is heavy with a capital H. "Lady Jane" has a soft piano start, before becoming a fine power ballad with a very commercial chorus and some excellent guitar. The track is rounded off with some pleasant orchestration.

There are still plenty of melodic rock moments, but they are less overtly commercial than on "Empire", with tracks such as "My global mind", "One more time", and "Bridge" all built on a bed on fine instrumental passages.

There are also a number of softer tracks, such as "Someone else." and "Out of mind", a pleasant quiet ballad recorded some years before Dream Theater's similar "Through her eyes".

The recent remastered version of the album has four bonus tracks. "Real world" is another power ballad, which originally appeared on the "Last action hero" soundtrack . It is heavily orchestrated, building to a great symphonic instrumental conclusion. There is a full band performance of album track "Someone else". The original demo of this track was used on the finished album, this version only being available previously in Japan. The other two additional tracks are live versions of "Damaged" and "Real World", recorded in 1994.

The remastered CD is well presented, with informative sleeve notes, and relevant additional tracks. Recommended.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#23619)
Posted Wednesday, April 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
paokus@homtia
5 stars the last great album by ryche. after the huge success they experienced with empire, everyone was expecting from them to record an album that would sound like empire. but they didn't. they created their mostly personal record. all the songs are well structured and the lyrics are fantastic and so personal, especially in the song called bridge where degarmo writes about his relationship with his father. tate's voice is so warm and the production is perfect. a heavy prog allbum that surely deserves a place in your collection. my top-5 songs from this album are: damaged, bridge, lady jane, one more time and someone else?. 11 (plus the intro 9:28 am) great songs from a great band.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#39842)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars what a masterpiece. these are the only words I find to describe Promised land. On of my favourite albums ever. It is completely dominated by an incredibly bleak mood. It's like shifting sands, once you enter it you have no escape. Here Geoff is probably at his best, as all the band around him. The courage of this group is hidden among the notes of this album: after Empire their label asked them to make another "commercial" album. And so they came out with a may-be-concept so gloomy and hard to listen to that was probably the most different thing from a commercial album possible. Pieces like "I am I", "Damaged", Out of mind" the absolutely incredible title-track (an opera, a masterpiece of obscurity and disease), "one more time" are among the best things ever written by the 'ryche. And over all this you find the conclusion, left to a "Someone else" that will leave you crying on the floor wondering if you are still alive or if you had really ever lived..... What a masterpiece...

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Send comments to heavydrum (BETA) | Report this review (#45988)
Posted Thursday, September 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Promised Land is a great prog-metal album, in my opinion better than Operation: Mindcrime. The onyl weak song on the album is "Bridge", an junky pop-metal tune. Other than that song, this album is excellent with very few weak moments. Good singing from Geoff Tate and well constructed songs. Not many solos on this album though so if you like bombastic solos this album might not quite be your bag.

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Send comments to walrus333 (BETA) | Report this review (#57083)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars DIS-CON-NEC-TED!

Clearly the best QUEENSRYCHE album. No more Maiden-esque heavy songs, no more commercial songs, just great songwriting and melodies.

Starting heavy with "I Am I" and "Damaged", the true talent of the band starts to appear with "Out Of Mind", very in the mood of psychiatrist asylum indeed. "Bridge" is another great mellow song. "Promised Land" is a dark epic track (ends funnily though). "Disconnected" is really something original: haunting vocals, soft melody... "Lady Jane" is another ballad, and QUEENSRYCHE are really good at writing ballads. Then you get "My Global Mind" and "One More Time": classic QUEENSRYCHE tracks, in the vein of Mindcrime/Empire mid-paced songs. "Someone Else ?" ends the album with a piano/voice performance from Geoff Tate: simply gorgeous.

Rating (not counting the first track "9:28 AM"): 90/100

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Send comments to zaxx (BETA) | Report this review (#66330)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Since I first got into Queensryche, I've always seen this as the beginning of the end of their releases which captivate their audience. HitNF, Q2K, Tribe, even O:M2 have failed to make classics of themselves, but they are another story.

Promised Land seems to have that "African-Middle Eastern" sound to it, especially seen in I Am I and the epic title track. Both of these tracks remind me of a sprawling landscape and when I close my eyes I can see Geoff singing on top of a sand dune in the Sahara Desert. There are also some brilliant ballads including Bridge, Someone Else and Out of Mind which are sung with pure emotion by Tate.

Though there are some great and memorable songs on this album, there are a few I would skip over every time I'd put it into my CD player. Lady Jane and Disconnected are respectable in their own right, and the Middle Eastern Atmospheric feel is kept up in them, but they just lack the passion that I see in the other tracks on this album.

All in all this would have to be Queensryche's last great album before they drop off. Tate even brings in hs buddy the saxophone to add another dimension to the tracks. Promised Land is definately an experiment by Queensryche that has worked.

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Send comments to Sacrilege (BETA) | Report this review (#80091)
Posted Thursday, June 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Promised Land is Queensryche's darkest and arguably most emotive album. The central theme is that of wealth and success failing to lead to the "Promised Land". After the Degarmo driven Empire It was Tate's turn to be the driving force behind Promised Land, Queensryche's most Progressive album.

1. 9:28A.M: A very experimental sounding introduction with a melodic blend of textures sets the tone for what is to follow. (8/10)

2. I Am I: A catchy experimental track with strong lyrics and emotive singing. (9/10)

3. Damaged: Some incredible guitar work on this track with a solid rhythm section and an uplifting chorus. Excellent (9.5/10)

4. Out Of Mind: Returning to an Empire-esque sound, this is a very melancholy song however, filled with emotion (8.5/10)

5. Bridge: String Dominated Ballad which talks about Chris DeGarmo's relationship with his father. (8/10)

6. Promised Land: Incredibly Atmospheric, Strong Progressive elements and beautiful musical arrangements make this a great track. (9.5/10)

7. Disconnected: A killer riff and haunting vocals fuel this excellent progressive track. (9/10)

8. Lady Jane: melancholy ballad with an excellent melodic timbre. (8.5/10)

9. My Global Mind: Another Great Melodic Progressive track. "welcome to the information age" (8.5/10)

10. One More Time: a fantastic chorus and stellar performace from Tate along with some nice guitar work (8.5/10)

11. Someone Else: In my opinion Queensryche's best ever ballad, filled with emotion fantastic singing and a beautiful piano. The albums final and standout track (10/10)

Overall: 88/100

After Promised Land Queensryche had a decision to make. Did they continue to follow the Empire style for subsequent albums and try to make commercially successful records or fully express themselves musically as with Promised Land. Sadly the next two releases chose the former and were major dissapointments. In 2006 they finally got it right with O:M2 which was a phenominal return to the Progressive Metal band we know and love.

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Send comments to Jon_Mc (BETA) | Report this review (#82780)
Posted Wednesday, July 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Four long years. F-O-U-R L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-N-G YEARS. That's how long it had been between studio releases when Queensryche's Promised Land finally landed in record stores. And you just KNOW I was there early to pick up a copy. This was the first time that I purchased a new QR release in CD format and I immediately rushed home, placed it in the tray and sat back for a listen.

And I wasn't disappointed. From the first listen it was clear that the four intervening years hadn't softened the mood of the Seattle quintet. No, these were not the happy melodies found on Empire. Nor were they the angry ranting of Operation Mindcrime. These were brooding, introspective songs. Songs about pain (Damaged), regret (Promised Land), isolation (Disconnected), lost minds (Out of Mind) and lost youth (One More Time). These weren't the social conscious songs of previous efforts, but more like the soul-searching meanderings of a man, and a band, questioning their own existence. And for that very reason this is a bluntly honest disc that sometimes hits the listener over the head, sometimes invites the listener to share a secret, sometimes wants the listener to maybe go away (but no, come back....please). The music is from the heart and thus, makes this a moving, compelling release.

There is a thinly linked concept to all the songs, as they each deal with A life. The opener, 9:28 AM is a sound-driven version of birth while the closer, Someone Else, deals with an individual looking back on a life that wasn't quite what he thought it was. In between are songs dealing with all kinds of life's topics. The strength and muscle of the disc comes from the title track and centerpiece (Promised land) and three closing songs (My Global Mind, One More Time, Someone Else). Each are uniquely QR songs; any fan of the band would instantly recognize them as QR songs and yet they are totally unique and original efforts. So too is Disconnected, a song that combines effects-driven guitars, distorted vocals, synthesizers and saxophone to create a pleasant cacophony of electronic sound. Other songs don't quite reach the same heights as those mentioned above, but are definitely quality QR. Bridge is a pretty, melodic tune written by Chris DeGarmo. It addresses his struggle in dealing with his father, a man who disappeared from his youth and now wants to renew the relationship. The record company made a major mistake by making I AM I the first single, instead of Bridge. Bridge, while not a pop song in the vein of Jet City Woman or Another Rainy Night is radio-friendly. It has all the elements of your typical power-ballad. IMO, had the record company made Bridge the first single the song would have taken off and propelled Promised land to major hitdom. Not that the disc didn't sell....it debuted at #3 on the US charts, but didn't maintain that momentum. A radio hit out of the gate would have helped immensely.

I AM I IS a great song, maybe better than Bridge. I love the lyrics, which deal with our ever-present media and their desire to shape and form everything. The music is progressive and melodic, the voice somewhat sinister, the lyrics a bit diabolical. All very appropriate for the song.

Damaged follows in much the same vein. Heavy sound, heavy lyrics, cool bridge in the middle and imaginative guitar solo, that somewhat reminds me of the solo found on Chemical Youth from RFO. Out of Mind is a mellow yet very dark song about the good folks found in mental homes (ah, the usual lighthearted songs of QR!). This is a tremendously original, subtle song with a perfect ambience for the lyrics. The understated guitar solo is appropriate as are the slightly tortured lyrics.

The centerpiece of the disc though is the 8+ minute Promised land. Powerful, hard, dark, introspective....the music again matches the lyrics in mood and style. This is an opus in the same vein of previous QR songs such as Roads to Madness and Suite Sister Mary. My only reservation is the conclusion of the song. A broad array of instruments combine to create a sonic hum that's damn near hypnotizing. It's pretty cool but goes on a little long, which is emphasized because it fades into an overlong sound-effects bit that's little more than the sound of walking feet. Together they create about a 2 minute area in the middle of the disc where there's no real music. Were it not for this flaw Promise land would rank even higher. The end of the disc is a major recovery from that middle hiccup. My Global Mind is a sonic assault with a beautiful break near the end, much like the break found on Child of Fire from Warning. One More Time is another classic QR effort. Layered guitars on top of magical rhythms make a musical delicacy. Finally, the closer is a Geoff Tate ballad, just him, his voice and a piano. If ever you doubted the range, power and sheer beauty of Geoff's vocals this should change your mind. Simply wonderful....the kind of song I always knew the band had in them but had never tapped.

All in all, a VERY solid rebound from the slightly disappointing Empire. This was again Queensryche reaching for something no other band had achieved. Only this time they were reaching inward instead of outward and what they found was a somewhat dark, somewhat scary reality. Promised land no doubt reveals the trauma members of the band were going through at the time and their emotions come through clear. They often say pain is the inspiration for great art and this is a good example.

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Send comments to MrMan2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#85144)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars If I could go back in time, to just after this album was released, and say something to the band, it would be this: STOP!

Stop making albums! If they had stopped after this one, Queensryche would have had a solid career. I must admit, I did buy "Hear in the Now Frontier" the day it came out, as did a friend of mine, and we would each listen to it several times a day and ask each other whenever we spoke: "Do you like it yet?" Eventually, we realized that we weren't going to be able to force it on ourselves.

But back to "Promised Land." Unlike most of the reviewers on this site, my favorite song is actually the title track. I don't find it boring at all... I appreciate a band's ability to use the space between the notes. The percussion in this song should appeal to anyone who ever saw Rush in concert just to get a glimpse of Peart's drum kit. It's unique and innovative. And also strangely haunting... this song is about atmosphere, in the same way the Resident's album "Eskimo" is about atmosphere. Mood. Subtle textures.

As for the rest of the songs, how can I put this... most of them ROCK! "My Global Mind" is kind of weak, "Disconnected" isn't perfect, but one has to admit that the album has a solid start. I remember the video for "Bridge" as being the hands-down best thing on MTV at the time... which may not be saying much, but my point is, compared to mainstream music this is very, very good. Compared to "Operation:Mindcrime" it's a little lacking, but what wouldn't be?

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Send comments to chorvath (BETA) | Report this review (#115496)
Posted Sunday, March 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Promised Land is certainly the most progressive Queensryche album, and shows that the band were willing to take risks that would set them apart from the scene they inadvertently associated themselves with in releasing the radio-ready (but still stellar) EMPIRE in 1990. This can be attributed to Geoff Tate taking over the writing once again.

Highlights include the sax-laced title track and closing ballad "Someone Else?", easily Tate's greatest vocal achievement.

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Send comments to DethMaiden (BETA) | Report this review (#125430)
Posted Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Promised Land is the last album of Queensr che's classic era thatn stretched from their inception to right here in 94. After the dual critical and financial successes of Operation Mindcrime and Empire, the band took time off from their punishing live circuit. Three years later, they unleashed this album. PL is the darkest album in QR's discography, which is no small feat. It also stands as their most varied and progressive. It has a loose concept about life and its peaks and troughs, but the songs all stand alone. Tate is back at the helm after letting DeGarmo wirte nearly all of Empire, and he moves the band away from the melodic rock of their previous hit.

Picking highlights is very difficult. "Damaged" and "I Am I" are some of the heaviest songs in the band's catalog, while "Someone Else?" and "Lady Jane" are some of their most beautiful ballads. "Someone Else?" is one of the band's simpler soongs, featuring just vocals and piano. However, it is one of their most moving songs with a stunning performance from Geoff, which shows how he's still goood even without the screams. "Bridge" and "Out of Mind" recall the sound of Empire, but they're much more instrumentally advanced, particularly Bridge. My favorite song is the epic and heavy title track. 8 minutes of examining the challenging of prospering in modern society.

Promised Land should have been a hit with QR fans, and for many it was. However, it stands as a criminally underrated album that wonderfully combines the emotion of Operation Mindcrime with lyrical sophistication of Empire. Not the best place to start, but you're not a QR fan without it. Take a good look. This is the last good album form the band until the release of Tribe nearly a decade later.

Grade: B+

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#127695)
Posted Friday, July 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This will probably be the last QUEENSRYCHE album I review. This will be the sixth review I have done of their recordings. I rate this one as the fourth or fifth best, so yes, this one isn't one of my favourites from them. One thing that has bothered me for a while is how these guys (who I do like a lot) could have been so successful commercially, when a band like FATES WARNING never were. In my opinion QUEENSRYCHE aren't even close to being the band that FATES WARNING are. Maybe that isn't such a bad thing though, because that is sort of what the title of this album is all about. As Geoff Tate says "Reaching the "Promised Land" is a metaphor for obtaining the American Dream of prosperity, materialism and the happiness one derives from the ownership of things. The manufactured image constantly sold to us that materialism will make us happy is, I suppose, the only REAL THING in our society of simulation and consumption." Geoff Tate went into this recording disallusioned about the fact that the band, because of the success of "Empire" were now rock stars, which seemed to preclude them from being artists. QUEENSRYCHE was now a business. It's not a surprise then, with Tate taking the lead on this album, that it would become a dark and melancholic record. And that is why I implied that it's probably a good thing that my favourite metal band FATES WARNING haven't become rock stars, because they just keep releasing amazing albums, and they make the music they want to make.

I really like the first half of this record, then it goes down hill for me. "9:28 AM" is really samples of sounds in a hospital and of a baby being born. "I Am I" is one of the best tracks on the record. Just a great sound to this one,especially Tate's vocals on the chorus. I love the drumming and the tasteful guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in. "Damaged" is another solid tune with catchy riffs and screaming guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. "Out Of Mind" is a beautiful, dark song with reserved vocals, light drums and acoustic guitar. "Bridge" is a straight forward tune with meaningful lyrics about a son and father relationship.

"Promised Land" is PINK FLOYD influenced. This song opens with lots of atmosphere before becoming intense with some good guitar. "Dis Con Nect Ted" has some samples and the vocals are almost spoken as dark sounding guitar melodies play.The drums sound good late. "Lady Jane" opens with children singing, piano and deep vocals. Then it becomes more like a power ballad actually. "My Global Mind" has more energy as well as more samples 3 minutes in. "One More Time" sounds really good after 3 minutes when the guitar comes in. "Someone Else ?" features fragile vocals and piano. One of the best tracks on the album.

This almost seems like a farewell album but it's not. There certainly is enough good material on this record to recommend it.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#132889)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The last almost respectable album by this legends, "One more time", better not like this.

I think like "chorvath", if they stop after this album, Queensryche would have had a solid career, but after relesing another at least 3 mediocre albums, these guys sink so low that is impossible to came to the shore. Now talking about music here, to me sounds like an umplugged album, to much acustic guitars, the drums sounds like hell, maybe the voice of Tate make me put 2.5 - 3 stars to this album. Sorry but i don't find this a masterpice not even after 1000 spins. But i noticed some real good pieces that every fan of Queensryche shoud appeal, and maybe not only to them : the last track Someone Else?, absolute stunning voice of Mr. Tate and Damaged, the rest are between mediocre and radio friendly music. What to say from this one to the present, Queensryche never recover enough to become what they were 20 years ago - and i mean an inteligent metal band. 2.5 rounded to 3. Wher is the times when they sung Operation mindcrime or Della Brown

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#143697)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Four long years had passed from the release of Empire and something must have happened within the band as Promised Land sounds very different from Empire. It seems like Queensryche got tired of their Stadion Heavy rock/ Metal and wanted to experiment a little. Listening to Promised Land in retrospective I can hear that Grunge had an effect on the band too ( they were from Seattle after all). But don┤t worry it┤s just a hint.

This is maybe the most interesting Queensryche album for Prog Heads as the experimentation in songs like Promised Land and Disconnected is nearer to that kind of music than it is to traditional Heavy Metal. I┤d like to mention Lady Jane as an example of a beautiful melody which is also present on Promised Land.

It┤s a little uneven though as if Queensryche didn┤t really know if they had made the right decision with this one. It┤s like they didn┤t take the full step, and the album suffers in quality because of this. There are a bit too many filler numbers, and that┤s not good enough. I favour this over Empire, but it is still only worth 3 stars.

Good album ! Nothing more.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#148035)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Roland113
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
4 stars Another masterpiece by Queensryche, possibly their last great album.

First of all, Queensryche shows their understanding of space on this album. There is very little clutter; the band picks their notes very carefully, using the quality over quantity theory. Drums are top notch the whole way through the album in a somewhat simplistic but very fitting manner.

One other last note on the album; the sonic quality on this album is top notch, it sounds fantastic beginning to end. Personally, I appreciate the album 'messing with the listener' at times. Specifically, I was rather dismayed the first time I listened to it, there was a CD skip at the end of "I am I".turns out that Queensryche was messin' with me. I also spent a moment checking my rearview mirror at the beginning of 'Disconnected' in an effort to find the police car. Furthermore the sound effect story of 9:28 AM sets the theme of reincarnation off beautifully and the end of 'Promised Land' just plain sounds fantastic.

Now, on to the music:

'I am I' absolutely rocks and is just 'off' enough for a progger to love. 4.5 Stars 'Damaged' is a good rock song, somewhat non-descript. 3 Stars 'Out of Mind' doesn't upset me. 2.5 Stars 'Bridge' is a nice piece featuring the acoustic / electric guitar sound very nicely. 3 Stars

'Promised Land' is my favorite Queensryche song to date, the passion and emotion raw and commanding, the visuals on the 'Promised Land' tour added to the feel. They moved the entire stage around such that it resembled a bar with the band playing in a corner. Tate flopped through the bar grinding out the emotional piece crying the last bit out from his knees. 5 Stars, easily.

'Disconnected' is a heavy catchy piece. 4 Stars 'Lady Jane' is a bit too poppy for my tastes. 2 Stars 'My Global Mind' again shows the value of space, the verses are co clean, you can hear every note by every instrument. 4 Stars 'One More Time' is another great song; the build up of the verses creates a delicious tension. 4 Stars 'Someone Else?' Is again, a beautifully emotional piece, almost as haunting as 'Promised Land'; a beautiful ballad and an amazing end to a powerful album. 5 Stars

To sum, this album is worth the purchase for the title track and Someone Else alone. It sounds great. 'Lady Jane' and 'Out of Mind' do detract from the album and drop it from a perfect 5 stars down to 4.

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Send comments to Roland113 (BETA) | Report this review (#168743)
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Queensryche - 'Promised Land' 3.5 stars

Darkness.

This album is, by far, the darkest and most cynical album that Queensryche ever released. This was a fine move in my opinion, the old Queensryche was now a thing of the past, and 'Empire' just wasn't the right move in my opinion. The band now goes back to an album-oriented approach rather than an individual song by song effort. The mood of this album is definitely dark and melancholic.

I can't really rate any songs above the rest, because this album just has a real nice flow to it. I will admit though, the second half of the CD is really patchy in some areas. I was a real big sucker for some of the dark piano ballads here, and not so much for some of the acoustic songs. I still find this to be in the upper tier of Queensryche albums, and they never reached up to the status of this album ever again.

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Send comments to ProgBagel (BETA) | Report this review (#190742)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Best of Post-Mindcrime Queensryche

Queensryche was "my" band. I walked around high school in my Mindcrime shirt when basically no one else knew who they were. I learned "Queen of the Reich" on guitar as one of the first metal songs my fingers explored. I bought "Empire" on midnight when it was released, and played it hundreds of times, but had always been a little let down. So when Promised Land finally came, I didn't know what to expect.

The album begins very well. The opening track (9:28) is an ambient, sound-effect laden piece that foreshadows the Pink Floyd-ian vision that singer Geoff Tate will take. It leads into the first single, I am I, which is an intense, pulsatile, weaving piece in 3 that is unlike anything Queensryche had done before. At the time, it was almost a little too much for me, and was certainly a very risky song to lead an album and release as a single. We are given a little break as the next song, Damaged, opens with a very typical Queensryche feel before hitting it's low palm-muted main riff. Again, a new sound, perhaps the group's heaviest at that time, backed up by the nasty multi-tracked low vocal bridge "Mother Mary in Control, Domineering Stranglehold." The chorus, like the intro, is stock Queensryche, but gave a little break in the intensity.

As track 4, Out of Mind, begins with a stutter-step acoustic lead in, it seems as if the album is going to stay adventurous and fresh throughout. Unfortunately, like the song before, the band drops back into one of their standard feels, though punctuated with interesting moments. This becomes the recurring theme of the album. Interesting instrumental passages, new instrumentation such as piano and sax, and strong Tate vocals abound here but the band continues to grab and then lose your full attention.

Track 5 is where things start to get a little iffy. Though framed from an interesting viewpoint (the adult child who has grown past a bad relationship with his father), the song (Bridge) is still a bit too much like psychobabble for me. Track 9 (My Global Mind), a musically very strong piece, lyrically is more talking at the listener rather than telling a story. Tate's philosophizing has always been over-the-top, but where on Mindcrime it makes for a great noir rock opera, here it seems preachy.

On the title track, Tate turns the scathing eye on himself, and it works better. Perhaps the darkest piece in a very dark library, Promised Land introduces sax, film soundtrack-like dynamics and more heaviness. As others have noted, it evokes Roger Waters or even solo Peter Gabriel, a mood piece about the ravages of success. The theme continues on the funk-riff fueled Disconnected, which has always seemed a little out of place to me. Lady Jane and the ender Someone Else complete the slow ebb this album takes into a Geoff Tate solo work. Both strong piano driven songs, each gives an emotionally charged vocal performance. They are good pieces. They just aren't Queensryche anymore.

Fortunately, before Geoff sings us into the sunset of the band's career, we are left with the very strong One More Time. Indeed, for one last time, we get icy harmony guitars, low spooky vocals, and the intensity that made me love this band. It foreshadows prog metal heirs Pain of Salvation, who will take the daring of this band even further past the precipice.

When I go back to Queensryche's catalog now, there are only two albums I listen to, Mindcrime and this one. Along with a number of select early tracks, these form the canon of the band. Though certainly uneven, Promised Land showcases Queensryche at their most broadly adventurous, Geoff Tate closer to channeling Roger Waters rather than Bruce Dickinson, and approaches essential status at least within its sub-genre of prog metal.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#206389)
Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must release my rage, I'm disconnected...

Wow, I never would have expected this from Queensryche, this makes Mindcrime look like a pop album in terms of darkness and mood. I liken this to Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. Thematic, but not directly conceptual, mood laden atmospherics, ambient stretches, spooky vocals and harmonies, and an atmosphere that is overall pouring with darkness and depression.

Starting with an ambient piece the album leads into the chugging progressive I Am I. It is powerful, and memorable. Then you have the rocking Damaged, which is possibly the album's weakest moment (it is still a solid song, and doesn't give off the filler vibe.) Out of mind and Bridge are acoustically driven downers, and I quite enjoy them. the title track is at times frightening, and very emotional. Disconnected is funky in the way that Have a Cigar was funky. Then you have Lady Jane, which is literally haunting, and Geoff Tate does his best Roger Waters impression (he does a damn fine job) leading into a shocking solo, between dark bass and piano driven parts. The lyrics are dark, and very interesting. I really want to say this is progressive metal's Wish You Were Here. Empire gave almost no foreshadowing into what Promised Land would be.

My Global Mind is more metallic, and kind of grabs you, leading into the bass heavy mid tempo melodic metal they seem to be straddling in their later years, only it is done so well, here. And the overall feel is much less melodic than you might fear. The word dark is thrown around a lot, but it is deservedly so. This is a downright depressing album, and I love it. One More Time Is rocking in the sense that Welcome To The Machine was rocking. the vocals on this track are breath-taking. And it is another bleak song on one very bleak album. With multiple emotive solos that rake you in and don't let go. Wrapping up this affair is the soft piano ballad Someone Else?. it has one of Tate's best vocal performances, and is an excellent end to one of Queensryche's best albums. I recommend you listen to this with headphones.

I don't want to give this album 5 stars, and 4 stars seems a bit too low. I'll give it 5 on the basis that someone else who will be in the same position as me will probably go the former. A weak 5(about 4.5-4.6) star album, which is quite impressive, indeed.

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#210870)
Posted Thursday, April 09, 2009 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Just when it felt like the band was moving into a commercial direction Queensr che went back to the studio and delivered their darkest and most ambitious album to date.

It wasn't an easy first listen but after a few spins I started to appreciate it more and more. Although I usually skip the intro 9:28 AM because I prefer to get straight to the goodies and this album offers quite a few. Staring with the atmospheric I Am I which transitions smoothly in a monster of a track called Damaged. This composition is the highlight of the album but things do get even better towards the end of the album.

Unfortunately Promised Land wasn't as well received as some of the band's more commercially-oriented releases so Queensr che never followed up on the foundation laid by this very promising record. Instead this album remains a testament of the unrealized potential this band had in the period of late '80s and early '90s.

***** star songs: Damaged (3:58) Lady Jane (4:15) One More Time (4:19)

**** star songs: I Am I (3:57) Out Of Mind (4:36) Bridge (3:30) Promised Land (7:58) Disconnected (4:45) My Global Mind (4:22) Someone Else? (4:44)

*** star songs: 9:28 AM (1:44)

Total rating: 4,22

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#255724)
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the most underrated and darkest Queensr che album. From here the band never would be the same. The Promised Land concept, the lyrics, the misterious atmosphere, the artwork and, over the top, the beautiful tunes and the fantastic guitar harmonies made of this disc the best exemple of how progressive metal have to be played. Finally the band get the perfect Pink Floyd approach that they was searching for a long time and wrote some unforgottable songs, like the acoustic jewel Bridge (inspired maybe in Genesis' Entagled), the epic ballad Lady Jane (with a grand piano intro that always made me cry), the very strange, experimental and long Promise Land (with Geoff Tate giving with his saxophone a King Crimson touch before the Tool boom), the four perfect straight to mind catchy tracks (Damaged, Out of Mind, My Globald Mind & One More Time), the electronic experiment Disconnected and the perfect final duel between just one piano and the magnificient Tate voice Someone Else? Unfortunately after this piece of art Queensr che creativity fall down without fail.

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Send comments to DTJesus (BETA) | Report this review (#258192)
Posted Monday, December 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Promised Land was the fifth full-length Studio Album from the Seattle Progressive Metal band Queensr che, it was released in 1994 following up their multi-platinum selling 1990 album Empire.

The music on the album for the most part is not up-tempo driving metal music like some of their earlier work or shimmering commercial rock like some of their highest charting stuff, but rather a slow and contemplative progressive style that relies on piano, saxophone and acoustic guitar to do a lot of the work. It is the sort of album that requires a lot of patience to really enjoy, and may take a few listens to really wrap your head around properly.

Despite the slower brooding pace and mostly quieter nature of Promised Land when compared to the band's earlier material, the strength of the songwriting is still very impressive and when it does finally kick off there are moments of superb lead guitar to enjoy as well. This isn't necessarily an album to listen to if you want to bang your head, but if you allow the music to just wash over you it will prove to be among the best moments in the band's career.

Thinking about it, there are two kinds of songs on the album; big powerful tracks that start off as quiet ballads or hypnotic, dense and slow building songs that evolve slowly over time with some metal riffs and a sort of eastern flavor. In addition to the core band there are often a lot of weird percussive rhythms and touches of synth, but the main focus is on the vocals and lyrics.

Geoff Tate's powerful and dynamic voice caries the listener through a whole range of moods and mindsets, from desolation to practical thinking across a range of topics from parental relationships to coming to terms with your inability to improve the state of the world.

Highlights include the emotional 'Bridge' as well as 'My Global Mind' and the lyrically superb 'One More Time.'

Overall, if you are willing to give it the time and patience that it asks of you, Promised Land is a very interesting album that is worth a place in your collection.

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Send comments to Gentlegiantprog (BETA) | Report this review (#755288)
Posted Saturday, May 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars tszirmay doing a Queensryche review? What is the world coming to? Flash floods, traitors hiding on airplanes, a Supermoon, I mean, what could have prompted such a weird decision? Is the crying baby (I just became a grandfather 2 weeks ago!) an inspiration. I dunno, it just happened! The album is sectional, like sudden stark rooms in a labyrinth, everything the same , yet different.

This is a shadowy rebuttal to fame, after scoring highly with 'Empire' and it's loud 'Silent Lucidity', the rockers just wanted to be artists and not stars, so they flung this nasty piece of work in Geoff Tate's lap and the accomplished vocalist just let his inner demons scratch the surface and let the blood drip all over the microphone. The newborn baby learns how to vent after only a few minutes as 'I am I 'howls to the glorious blood red moon, the Wilton and deGarmo guitars crisscrossing a bullying riff, the rhythm section pounding ruthlessly, all immersed in a whirlwind of contradiction and some serious insanity (Geoff Tate can sound like Sharon at times!), pain seeping through the layers of effected sound. What is the outcome, you ask? 'Damaged'! Yes, injured, impaired, broken, dented, whatever you want to call it, the mood is schizophrenic and menacing, searching for nonexistent answers , there is a lot of pent up anger here, doctor Zoran, do I need to take more Largactil, Haloperidol or maybe some little blue ones?

Tate awakes secured to the cold gurney, slowly regaining consciousness and realizes quickly that he is 'Out of Mind', a somber ballad with jangly edges and frayed sways, the microphone wobbling from side to side like some puny drool. A cooling wisp of elegant guitar twangs away in the corridor, as the bass fans the tepid air. 'Bridge' was described by a fellow scribe as psychobabble, which only proves my imagined premise, a straightforward straight jacket song purposefully corny in that typical Midwestern country-like style. Thankfully, it's brief. The title track is the meatiest bone left on this skeleton, an epic 7 minutes of spectacular sonics, where weird noises, odd slashes of sound, all pretty much coalesce helter-skelter. There is a severe distortion of formula, with a burrowing sax blasting through the smog and with all this highly cinematographic pandemonium, I could not help recalling Pink's ravaged fate in the Wall. Tate yells, screams and shouts like a man possessed by the luxury of loneliness. Or is that the loneliness of luxury? 'To love is to hate' he bellows sardonically! There are also times where he sounds like the mad Scotsman himself (Fish), a big guy who feels small in a big world of nothing! Hey, this is no joyous walk in the park but rather a sinister, sweat-drenched run through a murky alley, filigree ghosts hushing your fleeing steps. Seagull screeches usher in 'Disconnected', a piece that only serves to recap all the crap going on here, a funky guitar romp, spoken words and a sense of paranoia that recalls classic Waters-fueled Pink Floyd meets the Jester's Marillion. Serious discontinuation going on here, as the Rockenfield drums scatter the dust around this broken man's corpse. Nasty stuff, indeed! And to prove how screwed up the Queensryche lads have become, they toss in a hard curve-ball in the name of 'Lady Jane' , a piano-driven ballad that seems strangely out of place until you inspect the kindergarten-like delivery and realize this is just another nightmare, adorned in sheep's clothing. Violins finish the deal. Pffff! On the disposable 'My Global Mind' Tate the Preacherman states 'There is hunger in Africa'. Really? Wow that's news! Been like that since the dawn of time, perhaps we rich dudes can do something about it like Bob Geldof, who bless his heart, never liked Mondays and hence, gave away his royalties and got a knighthood instead. A Bandaid that was! 'One More Time' is perhaps less obscure but just as dramatic, with swirling phrasings that show off some unconventional grit but this is the closest they come to an accomplished heavy prog rock song with neo-classic overtones. I was wondering when the surgeon was going to show up, bloody drunk! 'Someone Else' offers another piano-driven ballad, desperate in emotion with a sensational Tate vocal, full of insufferable pain. A fantastic finale.

Truth is there isn't a single melody on this recording that is immediately memorable, no massive solo by either axe man and it's all obviously done on purpose, as a counterweight to the recent past. Everything is action and reaction. The Promised Land this is maybe, but like Moses, you feel cast aside from its joyful gifts and more importantly, its moral deliverance. There will be none. A strange bird but a courageous one. Ok, you guys are artists.

4 Sodomized Edens

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#985276)
Posted Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | Review Permalink

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