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Queensr˙che - Q2K CD (album) cover

Q2K

Queensr˙che

Progressive Metal


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Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Two Words: S&*% Sandwich

Yes, I'm ripping off Spinal Tap with the title of this review......so what? I actually have a good reason for stealing this phrase from one of the funniest movies of all time: because Q2K is literally a [&*!#] sandwich. How, you ask? Because the band took the only two semi-decent songs on the album, made them the first and last tracks, and filled the rest with pure, unlistenable [&*!#]. So imagine if you will, the two semi-decent songs acting as two slices of bread, with a heaping pile of [&*!#] in between. There you have it --- one giant [&*!#] sandwich of an album.

Let me get this out of the way: Queensryche is one of my favorite bands of all time, so don't get the (wrong) idea that I hate the band and am just giving them a bad review for the hell of it. I think that albums like Rage for Order, Operation: Mindcrime, The Warning, the self-titled EP, Empire and even Promised Land are all fantastic albums, with TW, RFO and O:M probably three of the best albums ever recorded. It goes downhill after Promised Land and even Hear in the Now Frontier had some good songs on it, even they felt uninspired and soulless. Then came this --- Q2K, which is the first album recorded by the band after the departure of Chris DeGarmo. Terminal drunkard Kelly Gray took his place, and didn't do such a hot job either, so at least there is some reasoning behind why this album sucks so much. Although you can't blame Gray completely for why this album is so worthless, since Geoff Tate was probably the main creative force behind the album since DeGarmo left, and he doesn't like metal anymore, remember?

The cover art is pretty cool; looking at it, you'd think that the band would be returning to some of the technological themes present on The Warning and Rage For Order; nope, mostly just terrible lyrics dealing with love and such. The album sputters off to a start with "Falling Down", one of only two passable songs on the album. Right away, it's apparent that this is not a (progressive) metal album; maybe alternative rock or something? Anyways, there is some decent riffage in the beginning, and Tate's vocals sound pretty good, with some good use of backing vocals in the bridge and the chorus. I do kinda dig the guitar solos, because there is some dueling going on between Michael Wilton and Kelly Gray, and then they both combine together to play some more leads before the solo is over. Kind of reminiscent of some of the solos in Rage For Order in the way that it's structured, although nowhere near as good. It's a decent song, but not even in the same neighborhood of anything appearing on RFO or Mindcrime.

Now the album goes downhill, fast. "Sacred Ground" sounds like a really bad alternative rock song, featuring absent-minded guitar riffs, tambourine banging, and inane lyrics. Even worse, Tate sounds like he is talking through a lot of the song, I can't even call it singing. "One Life" starts off sounding like bad elevator music, and when the song "kicks in" it doesn't get much better. The riffs are terrible and are horribly structured; the notes don't even sound like they flow together at all. Who wrote these riffs, and why was the whole band under the impression that they sounded good? Another annoyance that can be heard here and a lot throughout the album is that Kelly Gray loves to use weird guitar effects, probably to compensate for the fact he can't play leads very well. If you've heard/seen the live CD/DVD Live Evolution, then you've heard Gray butchering DeGarmo solos while trying to hide his mistakes through layers of guitar effects. Mike Stone is a much better fit for the band, but that's another story entirely. "When the Rain Comes" is a pathetic attempt at soft, contemporary music.......is this the same band that did "Queen of the Ryche" or what? "How Could I" and "Beside You" is just more of the same --- awful lyrics, terrible guitar work, extremely boring songs.

When I first heard the next track, "Liquid Sky", I thought it sounded pretty cool.......maybe there was some hope for the rest of the album! A nice little guitar part starts the song out, very refreshing after all of the boring riffs present through the rest of the album. However, 17 seconds into the song, the guitar part stops and in comes Tate with more horrible lyrics, something about he's not no Romeo and he's the man for you. Real deep and thought provoking, is it not? I thought Queensryche was supposed to be the thinking man's heavy metal band. There aren't even anymore cool guitar parts in the rest of the song to partially redeem it (just a short reprise of the same part from the beginning in the middle of the song); it blends nicely with the rest of the [&*!#]ty songs on the album. "Burning Man" drags the album down further, if that's even possible at this point. The bass riff and drum work through the verse & chorus sounds like it should be in some jingle on a TV commercial trying to sell a new sports drink or something. Awful, awful, awful. "Wot Kinda Man" follows, and yes, it also sucks. First of all, I can't get over the title --- why are they misspelling "what"? Is it supposed to be cool or something? I hate that, a lot. It's simply stupid. The song is just as forgettable as anything else on the record, with no memorable guitar or vocal work anywhere to be heard (hey, those two factors used to be Ryche trademarks, but I guess the band forgot that while recording Q2K).

The album is mercifully brought to a close with "Right Side of My Mind", which is actually kinda decent. It sort of reminds me of a weird Pink Floyd song in some parts, and hey --- there is actually some listenable guitar work in this song! Nothing to get too excited about, but it's a hell of a lot better than anything else on the album (besides "Falling Down"). Still, this is nowhere near what the band is capable of. I think the big problem with Q2K is that everything sounds so uninspired. Tate sounds like he's hardly putting out any effort and doesn't even really hit any high notes. Like I mentioned, most of the riffs sound like they were haphazardly thrown together, and when you combine it all, you get one boring, very forgettable album.

I hate to give Queensryche such a low score, but they truly deserve it with this album. Maybe everyone was all shaken up after DeGarmo left and they just couldn't write anything decent without him (although Wilton and Tate have written some of the band's finest work on their classic albums without DeGarmo, so it's not like the rest of the band can't write songs or anything). On their recent tours, they didn't even bother to play any Q2K material, so maybe the band realizes now that Q2K was just a big mistake. Their latest album, "Tribe", isn't exactly a return to top form, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. It's nice to see that the band bounced back a little after this horrible album, but I'm still waiting for Queensryche to really get it back together and start making some real prog metal music again. Come on, Tate, save the soft stuff for your solo albums and let's get some of the old, heavy Queensryche back again.

Album rating: 2/10 points = 22 % on MPV scale = 1/5 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

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#23634)
Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2003 | Review Permalink
rockmadanoff@
5 stars This album took me a few listens but it is worth doing cause "Q2K" definitlely delivers the goods. Tremendous outflow of emotions by Geoff Tate on stuff like "When the Rain Comes" and "Beside You". The music is moody and dark yet overflows with hard hitting density...gotta love the opening guitar on"Sacred Ground" not to mention the twin guitar assault of "Burning Man"

Rock

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23635)
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
briankay66@ho
1 stars This CD should have been called YQ2K...as in WHY Queensryche put out this lame, generic, piece of crap is beyond me. QR spent the better part of 2 decades building a reputation of intelligent, cutting-edge progressive metal. Lots of us fans have been following the band since their stunning 1983 debut EP. And what thanks do we get for our time and troubles? Q2K! Like a poor fishermans tacklebox, Q2K is full of junk and no hooks!

Maybe it should have been called YDCDH2QQ...WHY DID CHRIS DEGARMO HAVE TO QUIT QUEENSRYCHE. After just one listen, (that is, IF you can make it all the way through), it becomes painfully evident how much of a force guitarist DeGarmo was in the band. Gone are the subtle nuances, quirky little chords, riffs, and dissonance that graced all their previous releases. In its place, you get 49+ minutes of mostly spastic, bombastic guitars (ho hum), one-size-fits-all rhythms (translation: boring), uninspired vocals, and the occasional "slower" number to complete your R.E.M. cycle. On the upside, DeGarmo had a "guest " spot on their latest effort TRIBE. Advice to QR...do whatever you have to do to get Chris back in the fold again. Beg, borrow, steal, kidnap, whatever! Sorry, Kelly! Advice to QR fans...avoid this dud at all costs. Q2K...NO WAY! -yak

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23638)
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
emokid3000@ao
1 stars DeGarmo is gone, his songs too... what's left ? a kind of grungy heavy album with an awful production and songs i've never been able to remember... a huge miss, a great disappointment, Queensryche died with this album.. to be reborn ?

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23640)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
let.me.go@whi
2 stars This album is not Queensryche's worst (it's still better than Hear In the Now Frontier), but not what you expect from this band. Only "One Life" and "Beside You" remind me of their former albums like Operation : Mindcrime, Empire, or Promised Land. The new album, "Tribe" is much better than Q2K!!!!

the Sorcerer

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#43503)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars It seems apparently that Chris De Garmo left the ship before it sank... This album is really uninspired... somewhere a mix of their oldest stuff and the last album but without the heaviness and the emotion of both albums.

Are there any highlights at all here? Well there are... "When The Rain Comes ..." and "Beside You" are nice ballads. "The Right Side Of My Mind" is maybe the only recognizable track on the album - very much in the vein of "Roads to madness". But the rest... "Breakdown" and "Burning Man" are heavy and totally uninteresting. "Wot Kinda Man"? Pathetic...

Rating: 59/100

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Send comments to zaxx (BETA) | Report this review (#66343)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to MrMan2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#85148)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have one question for all, who think this is the worst album in the band's discography. What does make progressive band progressive? Every album by progressive band must be different! True progressive band doesn't record two same pieces. And QUEENSRYCHE is a progressive band.

Yes, after first listening I didn't like this album. BUT after the third listening, I heard there is something more on it and now I know, that Q2K is really great album by really great formation.

DeGarmo's absence doesn't matter, maybe it stands in a good stead. CD is full of fresh and modern hard rock songs like "Falling Down", "Liquid Sky", "When the Rain Comes..." or "One Life". The music is a little bit similar to a great project Iommi/Hughes: Fused (2005!). And the end of the album is really excellent - "The Right Side of My Mind", maybe the best song on Q2K. Teamplay of Tate's vocals and Wilton's and Gray's guitars is absolutely awesome on this song

I guess this hard rock jewel is a great escape from power metal monotonicity, which you can hear on last albums by bands like HELLOWEEN or EDGUY, and it could be an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

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Send comments to Godfrey (BETA) | Report this review (#88569)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars According to Geoff Tate, 1999 was one of the worst years of his life. Queensryche lost their record company and more importantly Guitarist and co-songwriter Chris Degarmo left before the release of Q2K on top of this the album prior (HITNF) had been criticised as it was a drastic change to the Queensryche sound of old.

All of these factors added up to produce a very disjointed album which lacked real cohesion. However if you persevere with Q2K you will be pleasantly surprised with a few excellent tracks. There are however a few weak tracks unworthy of the Queensryche name (Wot Kinda Man, anyone?). The other flaw in the album lies in Geoff Tate's overproduced vocals, If you have an incredible singer fronting the band why add stupid effects to his voice in places which deteriorate from the sound?

1. Falling Down: A catchy riff and beautiful dual guitar exchange are the force behind the first track. (8.5/10)

2. Sacred Ground: An excellent more melodic track which is let down slightly by below par lyrics. (8/10)

3. One Life: A decent enough track with fairly basic structure (7/10)

4. When The Rain Comes...: A beautiful ballad with emotive singing from Geoff Tate (9/10)

5. How Could I?: A straight up rocker, moderately uninteresting (7/10)

6. Beside You: Very good vocals from Geoff and nice melody make this a good track. (8/10)

7. Liquid Sky: The second best track on the album. Brilliant songwriting on this one. (9/10)

8. Breakdown: Probably the albums heaviest track with good energy. The overproduction of the vocals is annoying as the "Live Evolution" version makes Geoff Sound incredible, shame (8/10)

9. Burning Man: Good guitars, weak lyrics, not up to Queensryche standards (6.5/10)

10. Wot Kinda Man: A bad track. Vulgar lyrics mixed with a boring riff and grossly overproduced vocals. The worst studio album Queensryche track. (5/10)

11. The Right Side Of My Mind: The best track on the album, up there with the best Queensryche have ever written. Wonderful melodic and vocal performances. (9.5/10)

The worst Queensryche album? I would say no personally. Its a mixed bag with some excellent tracks and some dissapointing tracks but has more sonic energy and invention than Hear In The Now Frontier. I would rank it roughly on a par with the debut e.p in terms of quality

Overall: 79/100

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Send comments to Jon_Mc (BETA) | Report this review (#92299)
Posted Wednesday, September 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars After the blunder of Hear in the Now Frontier comes this atrocious offering. How could such a great band go so wrong? Much of the failure of this album comes from the departure of founding guitarist Chris DeGarmo who decided that he was no longer having fun. Geoff Tate is a good lyricist, but he always relied on Chris for that extra something. Without it, the songs are insipid and banal. His replacement was Kelly Gray, a guitarist who lives the rock star lifestyle despite no successes to his name (he sucks as a producer too, Nevermore's Enemies of Reality had to be remixed because of his shoody "production"). Apparently three of his friends died on tour from excess. The album title and art fool you into thinking that QR is returning to the robotic themes of yore. Nope. Instead, we get psuedo-ballads.

Only How Coud I? and Sacred Ground come close to capturing the spirit of the golden days. Now I know a prog band shouldn't sound the same on each album, but QR abandoned everything that distinguished it in the late 80/early 90s and went for straightfoward rock. Even Geoff's voice isn't great; so many effects were added to his vox that it ruins the greatest voice in prog metal, perhaps all metal. HitNF at least had ties to prog. This album is QR's worst, though it would be redeemed by the excellent Tribe and the suprisingly good Operation Mindcrime II.

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#102676)
Posted Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars First time I heard this album I thought this was the biggest waste of money I could have ever have spent. But after listening to it a few more times I found the beauties of this mainstream attempt by the legendary queensryche band.... or what used to be legendary. However, this album, Q2K, isn't as bad as I found the reviews to claim it as. Sure it's not the greatest these guys have put out. After such a great release like Operation Mindcrime I don't think these guys have any genious left in them to put out another great one, escpecially after all the albums after that classic CD. Just a steady decline, don't get me wrong, Promised Land and Empire are great, but Promised Land was the the peak before the decline of this band. Q2K isn't bad, but isn't good, with a heavy mainstream feel to it, and even in my opinion somewhat lowsy lyrics the music has some foundation for a decent album. One Life turned out to be a great song, and a few others in there, but that's about all you can credit them with. Their opening song Falling Down really doesn't catch your ears to be pleasant, but if you push past that pathetic song you realize there is some good to this album, enought good that I'm going to have to put a 3 star stamp on these guys and their release. The main reason this album wasn't that great, in my opinion, was because all these songs felt just like songs. They were just notes put into a cliche structure and lack of clever lyrics were piled ontop of them. These songs seemed empty of power and emotion and a good flow of music in them. This was just one song after another hope you find one that's good enough.

3 star rating, it's good, but really nothing to put your money into unless you love the queensryche band.

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Send comments to Xeroth (BETA) | Report this review (#124405)
Posted Saturday, June 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Catastrophy is not a big enough word to put on this album. I don´t have enough ugly words in my vocabulary to do this album justice. What a lame and utterly useless affair.

Not a single song stand out from the rest, they´re all equally bad. Not even Geoff Tate can pull anything out his sleeve to make this album worth buying.

The production is flat and boring so not even here is a saviour.

Oh please children or dog or anyone with a skill to destroy, relieve me from my misery and and wreck this CD, so I will never ever give it a " Maybe it´s not so bad" listen each year or so.

The musicians are skilled as they have always been, and that will justify my single star.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#148038)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Queensryche - 'Q2K' 2 stars

I'll try to make this review even shorter than the one for 'Hear in the Now Frontier', because this one is even worse. The departure of founding and influential guitarist, Chris DeGarmo, is the worst blow this band could take, because Geoff Tate has completely lost his identifiable vocals. In his place comes a guitarist with a background of imitating 70's and 80's classic and hard rock. It just led into an incredible mess of an album which this is. Not a single song can even hold a torch to any of the decent to awesome Queensryche albums. I can't think of a moment were Queensryche was lower than anything put on the album, one of the worst works of progressive metal right here.

Normally, this should really be a one-star. I really only give that rating to something that is worth throwing at the wall and breaking into pieces. However, I would choose not to break this CD, just store it somewhere and never listen to it again.

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Send comments to ProgBagel (BETA) | Report this review (#190757)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
1 stars Worst Queensryche album ever!

Nothing on this can be compared to the greatness of "Operation:Mindcrime" 1 or 2 versions or "Empire" or "Tribe" for that matter. It is difficult to know what went wrong but something definitely did as this is some of the most uninspired tripe the band have churned out. The misdirection of the music is astounding coming from the creators of brilliance such as "Mindcrime" but this is a detestable album that should be flushed down the nearest sewer, and even then the stench would hang around for a few days.

Songs?

When the Rain Comes... is dreary and uninspired nonsense. Pretty boys on video type music. Duran Duran did better.

How Could I? well, exactly... how could they write such inane lyrics. I can't stand this type of rubbish from a so-called metal act.

Beside You is another lovey dovey ballad and at this point I am ready to throw the CD out the window.

Breakdown describes how I felt when I heard this.

Wot Kinda Man is the absolute pits and it is even spelt wrogn to be cleaver but instead comes across as idiotic. this is as low as the band can get.

If you don't believe me then ask yourself why has this album been utterly ignored by the band ever since, nothing on it played live? Why do fans pretend this never existed? and why was there no serious promotion for this album?

It sounds like a different band. Take it as you will but this horrible mess will likely become a very expensive, shiny gold coffee coaster.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#285313)
Posted Sunday, June 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Q2k gets a lot of flack for being uninspired and flat but it's actually one of my favorite Queensryche albums. It has more of a raw, under produced flavor to it and is more of an experimental album instead of cookie cutter over produced MTV friendly singles that other bands in this time period were putting out. (Creed, Linkin Park, etc etc). Although there are some songs on Q2K that aren't the best that Queensryche has recorded, I feel that most of the songs are masterful and meaningful and really touched a sensitive spot for me in this period of my life. Most notably Falling Down, When The Rain Comes, How Could I?, Beside You, Liquid Sky, Breakdown & The Right Side Of My Mind. I remember the first few times I listened to this album I thought that they took elements from all of their past albums and reflected it in each of their songs. "Right Side Of My Mind" is undoubtedly the shining star and has a Mindcrime feel to it. "When The Rain Comes" is packed with emotion and touches on deep friendships one has in life. "Beside You" is the perfect song for any Father who has been distant or separated from his daughter. How anyone can call these songs flat or uninspired is beyond me. Yes Geoff's voice isn't as strong as previous releases but that is all part of getting older. Yes DeGarmo isn't on this album but Kelly Gray's guitar feels inspired and brought a more 80's feel to their songs. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and I respect that. But don't base your decision to not listen to this album based on overall poor reviews.

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Send comments to n0cturne74 (BETA) | Report this review (#462929)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After the lackluster sales of the previous album "Hear In The Now Frontier" where QUEENSRYCHE decided to abandon their progressive metal sensibilities and jump into the world of alternative rock when Seattle grunge was ruling the world, they were forced to finance their touring obligations due to EMI America Records going bankrupt and as a result Chris DeGarmo saw the writing on the wall and jumped ship before the great fall which takes place on Q2K. He was replaced with Kelly Gray who only stuck around for this one album. Q2K is really the first time the band stuck to the same formula for two albums in a row and what a terrible decision it turned out to be.

This is one of those albums that I played once and was so disappointed after one listen that I got rid of my CD and totally wrote off this band. Recently I have been relistening to the albums that came after "Promised Land" to see if I was too hasty in my initial reactions. Well, I was surprised that I liked the previous album much better than I remembered but I cannot say the same for this one. Unlike that one this one has really no tracks that I can get into. If you want to experience an album where the musicianship is top notch and the songs are at the zenith mediocre then check out this millennial turkey. The album cover implies some kind of cool futuristic, even electronic metal fusion or something experimental. I was hoping for an album of electronic metal kinda like the song "Disconnected" from "Promised Land," but this is really no more than a bunch of very well played generic alternative rock tracks. I get a one star enjoyment value out of this one but because this is so well played I will bump it up to 2.

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Send comments to siLLy puPPy (BETA) | Report this review (#1304936)
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2014 | Review Permalink

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