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QUEENSRYCHE

Progressive Metal • United States


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Queensr˙che biography
Quite simply, Queensryche was one of the essential bands in the development of progressive metal. Merging the metal of Iron Maiden with the atmospheres of Pink Floyd, the band created what may still be the quintessential metal concept album, OPERATION: MINDCRIME. The band's sound has centered on the operatic vocals of Geoff Tate singing over numerous versions of heavy rock over a 30 year career.

Starting in the early 1980's in Seattle, Washington, guitarists Chris Degarmo and Michael Wilton, along with bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield, were in a cover band, the Mob, cutting their teeth on the work of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Singer Geoff Tate of local progressive bands Babylon and the Myth was brought in sporadically for gigs and then an EP. The EP, fueled by the anthemic "Queen of the Reich" gained the band national exposure. The band acquired Tate permanently, changed their name in honor of their then signature song, and were signed to EMI.

Initially tagged as an Iron Maiden descendent, Queensryche folded in more and more progressive influences under Tate and DeGarmo's direction on the LPs THE WARNING and RAGE FOR ORDER. The latter is one of several albums that may be considered the first true progressive metal album, as it melded keyboards, conceptual themes, and more complex song structures. However, Queensryche's defining moment was the full concept album from 1988, OPERATION: MINDCRIME. Its ambitious story covered government, religion, sex, drugs, and mental illness. The interconnected songs included an over ten minute epic, several MTV hit singles, and fueled the band's rise supporting several of the top metal tours of the time.

The following album, EMPIRE, took an intentionally more commercial tone and catapulted the band to major arenas where they performed MINDCRIME in its entirety as a headliner. The Pink Floyd influenced single "Silent Lucidity" was one of the major hits of the year. This would be the band's peak with eclectic PROMISED LAND being the last of the band's classic era. Musical tastes had changed, and the band attempted unsuccessfully to accommodate to alternative / grunge with HEAR IN THE NOW FRONTIER. DeGarmo left the band soon after, and Queensryche has had an up and down career. TRIBE and OPERATION: MINDCRIME II were much better received than their predecessors, and the band's continuing tours have included co-headlining with fellow prog-metal pioneers Dream Theater. Though never reac...
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QUEENSRYCHE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

QUEENSRYCHE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 220 ratings
The Warning
1984
4.01 | 282 ratings
Rage For Order
1986
4.21 | 876 ratings
Operation: Mindcrime
1988
3.75 | 332 ratings
Empire
1990
3.96 | 307 ratings
Promised Land
1994
2.47 | 161 ratings
Hear In The Now Frontier
1997
2.05 | 140 ratings
Q2K
1999
3.11 | 149 ratings
Tribe
2003
3.24 | 201 ratings
Operation : Mindcrime II
2006
2.15 | 99 ratings
Take Cover
2007
2.82 | 149 ratings
American Soldier
2009
1.98 | 124 ratings
Dedicated To Chaos
2011
2.03 | 68 ratings
Frequency Unknown
2013
3.63 | 74 ratings
Queensryche
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
Condition Hüman
2015

QUEENSRYCHE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 42 ratings
Live Evolution
2001
4.47 | 103 ratings
Operation: Livecrime
2001
2.63 | 26 ratings
The Art Of Live
2004
3.26 | 29 ratings
Mindcrime at the Moore
2007
2.50 | 2 ratings
Extended Versions
2007

QUEENSRYCHE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.61 | 53 ratings
Operation: LIVEcrime
1991
3.75 | 22 ratings
Live Evolution
2001
4.59 | 80 ratings
Operation: LIVEcrime
2001
2.28 | 23 ratings
The Art Of Live
2004
3.73 | 28 ratings
Mindcrime at The Moore
2007

QUEENSRYCHE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 36 ratings
Greatest Hits
2000
1.40 | 11 ratings
Classic Masters
2003
1.50 | 2 ratings
Face To Face
2006
3.41 | 22 ratings
The Best Of Queensryche: Sign Of The Times
2007

QUEENSRYCHE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.34 | 115 ratings
Queensr˙che
1983
4.07 | 14 ratings
Anybody Listening?
1992

QUEENSRYCHE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dedicated To Chaos by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Studio Album, 2011
1.98 | 124 ratings

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Dedicated To Chaos
Queensr˙che Progressive Metal

Review by Necrotica

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)

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 Tribe by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.11 | 149 ratings

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Tribe
Queensr˙che Progressive Metal

Review by Necrotica

3 stars Geoff Tate and co. have certainly been dwindling for the last 15 years. Queensryche used to be known as one of the defining bands in the prog metal genre, but ever since 1997's Hear in the Now Frontier, they took on a more contemporary alternative style with hints of the old 'Ryche sound mixed in. What followed was an atomic bomb of backlash from fans who wanted the old classic sound of Queensryche back. So far, most attempts have still been in vain, but a couple of them have had some shining glimmers of the old days, including 2003's underrated Tribe.

One factor in attempting to bring success back to the band was to bring original guitarist Chris DeGarmo back to the fold for just this one album. However, when Sanctuary Records caught wind of this, they stated that DeGarmo returned as a permanent member, most likely to boost Queensryche's popularity and sales for the album. One thing can be said here: Chris's presence can clearly be felt here, and having him in the album marks a return to the quality not seen since Promised Land.

Unlike previous albums, Geoff Tate really keeps his vocals on the down low here, letting the other instruments shine. This also gives Tate a more diverse palette, especially in terms of the dynamics presented here. Every instrument is very balanced here as well, as supposed to the generally vocal/guitar fronted sound Queensryche usually possesses, giving every member a chance to show what they can do.

About the songs themselves, there are ten here, clocking in at 41:37. The short length of the songs keeps them from getting stale or boring, a problem Queensryche have been running into with some recent work (*cough* Dedicated to Chaos *cough*). "Open" is a great, well, opener and wastes no time cutting to the chase of the album's sound. There are explosive (though sometimes rather slow) choruses and sly verses that show more of that aforementioned diversity here. While I'm on the topic of diversity, this album also features the return of the saxophone used in Promised Land. On here, it's prominent on "Art of Life" and gives it a dark jazzy edge, fitting in with the rugged spoken verses.

A big highlight here is the title track, "Tribe." It starts out with a progressive 6/8 riff, and eases the distortion when the verse hits with more spoken vocals. The tension of the song never really lets up, though, until the chorus clashes with powerful soaring vocals and a heavy rhythm pacing things along. The song sounds like it could have been featured on Promised Land or even Empire to an extent.

Unfortunately, some latter-day Queensryche flaws are still present here, and heard the most on the final track, "Doin' Fine." I starts out promisingly enough, with a strong guitar riff and nice relaxed feel, but soon just turns lazy. Even with a short run-time of 3:54, the song drags on and on, and keeps you waiting for something interesting to show up. Really, that's the biggest problem with the album; Some songs are too draggy and lack the passion of the better songs. "Falling Behind" has a really apt song title in that sense; it starts out with a nice acoustic riff, but then just... never catches real fire.

However, the album is still very good, and is one of the best latter-day Queensryche albums you can get. Geoff Tate's vocals are still powerful, and Chris DeGarmo, while a bit restrained here, hasn't lost any of his touch. Overall, this is a solid album, and their best since Promised Land... that is, until American Soldier came along.

(Note: this review was originally from 2011)

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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 Operation: Mindcrime by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.21 | 876 ratings

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Operation: Mindcrime
Queensr˙che Progressive Metal

Review by AndyJ

3 stars Queensryche's 'Operation: Mindcrime' was one of the first metal albums I bought way back in my teenage years and it was a completely random purchase. I was sifting through stacks of heavy metal CDs at my local record store when this one jumped out at me. I freaked out over the cover and bought it immediately - I didn't even bother to ask the girl behind the counter if I could listen to it first.

I remember being blown away when I first put it on. Initially I didn't really know what to make of this album, it being so different from the other music I was listening to at the time. But it quickly became one of my favourites. I enjoyed the story of revolution and loss, and fell in love with Geoff Tate as a vocalist - some of those power notes he was able to hit in this album are out-of-this-world!

As a heavy metal album I consider 'Mindcrime' to be very good, but as a progressive metal album I'm a little bit underwhelmed. I never really considered this particular record to be all that progressive. Sure, it has the long story concept running throughout, but the individual songs by and large follow a fairly conventional rock/metal song structure. Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Solos, Chorus, Outro. Or variations of that... Queensryche put out more proggy albums after this one, specifically the 1991 album 'Empire', which I personally think is better than 'Mindcrime'.

The only particularly progressive song on the album is 'Suite Sister Mary', and if I'm being honest its the one song on the album I've never particularly liked and I have a tendancy to skip it more often than not. The reason being the vocals are just too shrill and over-the-top for me. I find that song just a touch overpowering for my ears - I've never been one for opera!

Musically the performances on this album are solid. As already mentioned Geoff Tate is a wonderful vocalist, and his voice is so full of emotion and power in this album. The guitar riffs are memorable and melodic, and there are some nice instrumental solos. Scott Rockenfield is a total powerhouse behind the drum kit in this album, and his chops really drive a lot of the music on.

The problem I have in assigning a rating to this album is I'm on a prog site, not a metal site. As a metal album this probably deserves 4-stars, but as a prog album I can only give it 3-stars. Queensryche are a progressive band, but I'd argue less so on this album than in their later releases...

Stand-out tracks are 'The Mission', 'Eyes Of A Stranger' and 'Speak'.

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 Operation: Mindcrime by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.21 | 876 ratings

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Operation: Mindcrime
Queensr˙che Progressive Metal

Review by Losimba

5 stars Concept albums usually get a half or even full star more from me than the music of the album itself deserves. This is not true for Operation: Mindcrime. But the reason is not that I dislike the concept so much, though it took my some time to fully understand the plot.

The 15 songs show a wide scale of variety both in length and style. The only thing not represented is an acoustic ballad. That said, I'm be very curious how Operation: Mindcrime would sound unplugged. I guess it would be different, but not a great deal weaker. That said, the live album Operation: Livecrime gets the same rating as the original version, but that will be another review at another time. Apart from four particularly strong songs I especially like the way the story and album are built up. First two short tracks with some hospital noises and guitar sounds before the first real song gets the album going, a feature later repeated before the Grande Finale. The plot is then quite similar to the one of Dream Theater's Scenes From A Memory, but of course Geoff Tate can claim first spoils as Operation: Mindcrime was recorded and published several years before its counterpart from the other coast. Speaking of Geoff Tate, his voice and style have improved massively compared to the first Queensryche albums, as have the performances of all instrumentalists. But back to the songs, I have always liked little inserts of speech and action like the beginning of Suite Sister Mary. This longest track of the album is on my personal favourite's playlist, as are the title track and I Don't Believe In Love, but everything is overshadowed by Eyes of A Stranger, another personal Top 10 song.

To finish my introductory musings, Operation: Mindcrime would rate at 4.8 stars if it were a normal album. Since 5 is the highest rating, I can't award 5.8 stars, so it has to be perfect 5.0 stars.

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 Take Cover by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.15 | 99 ratings

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Take Cover
Queensr˙che Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars I'm really not a fan of cover albums unless the songs have been reworked in a very creative and unique way beyond the parameters of the original intent. QUEENSRYCHE released their tenth studio album TAKE COVER which is admittedly a clever name for an album totally devoted to their take on other's music. There's quite a range of artists COVERed here ranging from Pink Floyd to Black Sabbath to The Police and Peter Gabriel to even the O'Jays. The range of influences is great but there are a few factors which really keep me from getting excited about this album one of which is the fact i'm really not a fan of all cover songs for albums!

Firstly, Geoff Tate's vocals just don't sound right to me on some of the arrangements that were clearly constructed around the original vocalists abilities. This includes "Red Rain," "Welcome To The Machine" and "Neon Knights." Secondly, I don't think the band adds much to the way of creative interpretations for the most part. There are a few exceptions. I think they do take some creative license on Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" and "For The Love Of Money" from the O'Jays.

Where I think the band shine especially with Geoff Tate's vocals is where they have always been at home and that is with the more operatic type of music and that is displayed quite well on Carlo Marrale's "Odissea." This is my favorite track on the entire album. I know some will find this album satisfying but I really have no desire to hear a whole album of QUEENSRYCHE doing covers. I do appreciate a well-crafted cover song slipped into an otherwise original album but despite being a hardcore fan (up to "Promised Land" anyways) I have no desire to ever hear this one.

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 Live Evolution by QUEENSRYCHE album cover DVD/Video, 2001
3.75 | 22 ratings

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Live Evolution
Queensr˙che Progressive Metal

Review by SteveG

3 stars Look how the mighty have fallen.

Live Evolution is a terrific overview of the band that I consider to be THE Progressive Metal rock band. It also chronicles the band's quick decline in the late nineties and is an indicator of why the band are the way they are today. Fragmented.

First off, the sound on this live album is too good to be true. However, I was informed by a friend that this live outing was taken from a DVD of the concert, so let's assume that Queensryche were having an exceptionally good night.

This 2001 concert is chronological and starts off with great tracks from their debut EP and Warning album. These songs, such as London and Screaming In Digital, already have signs of progginess to them, even if they are very dependent on bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden for their inspiration. What makes these songs attractive is that they are smartly pulled out from the lesser tracks of those two albums while possessing great hooks and Geoff Tate's immediately likable and dynamic vocals. In fact, the backing vocals from Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson (guitar and bass, respectively) are stellar as well and add tremendously to the songs.

And adding is a key word with Queensryche. This live set admirably showcases just how effective Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield were as a rhythm section. Their incredible skills add to the music and never distract from it as overplayers like Portnoy and Myung from Dream Theater are apt to do times.

Another added dimension is the twin lead guitar work that was such a part of the eighties metal sound and has now been transferred to Queensryche courtesy of Wilton and new man Kelly Gray, who replaced long time member Chris DeGamo.

The concert deftly captures the band doing the best songs (and hits) from albums Operation Mindcrime, Empire and The Promised Land before the band inevitably run out of steam by the time the concert winds down with the dull material from Hear In The Now Frontier and Q2K.

What is immediately apparent is the band jumping back and forth from slick production and hooks to moody atmosphere and more bluesy playing, while losing their way. Permanently. Even the best songs from these two later albums sound subpar compared to the Mindcrime and Empire set.

Live Evolution may not be an essential album if you have Queensryche's key studio albums, but it does show exactly where the band went down hill and possibly why. 3 stars.

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 Operation : Mindcrime II by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.24 | 201 ratings

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Operation : Mindcrime II
Queensr˙che Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars OPERATION MINDCRIME II is the sequel to the the 1988 classic and the ninth studio album by QUEENSRYCHE. The story picks up where the first left off where Nikki is arrested for the murder of his favorite prostitute turned nun Sister Mary. The story picks up faithfully 18 years later as he is released from prison and seeks the ultimate revenge on none other than Dr X who single-handedly flushed his life down the big crapper. We get a reprise from Pamela Moore as Sister Mary and even a cameo from Ronnie James Dio who takes on the unflattering role of Dr X. The band was in the midst of all the 2000s drama at this point. Chris DeGarmo, who briefly reunited with the band on "Tribe" butted heads with Geoff Tate and left for good. Due to diminishing sales the band retreated to one of their most respected albums and decided to make a sequel. Well not really. This seems to be a Geoff Tate project with the other members in name only. This was a studio musician affair with Rockenfield and Wilton's tracks being re-recorded by others and it sounds like it.

I have to admit that I was excited when this was released and even liked it at first, however even upon first listen it is immediately apparent that this is far inferior to the 1988 classic. The story is the best part as it explains a lot about what happened to the characters and even some of the individual tracks are pretty good. Even now I still find this an ok listen, but after repeated listens this definitely loses some of its luster. I find it safe to say that disappoints despite my overwhelming desire to want to like it. I love tracks like "I'm American," "If I Could Change It All" and "Fear City Side" and a few others are ok-ish, but many of these are really not that great and the charade of how it was made becomes more apparent upon every spin. I really wish this could have been made in the 90s perhaps after "Empire" when the band was still at their peak and DeGarmo was on board but as history has unfolded it was not to be and in the process this is a very mixed album for me. OK but not great. Does it diminish the original? Hell no. I can still listen to that at any given moment and be floored and this only becomes weaker and weaker YET it isn't a total waste of time either.

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 Tribe by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.11 | 149 ratings

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Tribe
Queensr˙che Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars After the Q2K train wreck, QUEENSRYCHE took a few years off to get their sheeeeet together. They opted to keep the alternative rock sound going for a third album in a row which is kind of a shame since it's my least favorite era from them but I have to admit that third time's a charm and they got the sound right this time, at least for them. After a gazillion other things plaguing the band including Chris DeGarmo exiting stage left, not only did they survive the cataclysm but mended relations with DeGarmo so that he contributed guitar parts to some of the tracks on their eighth studio album TRIBE. Not exactly a full-fledged reunion but enough to prove a very salient point about the band known as QUEENSRYCHE. It is clear to me that DeGarmo was one of the major ingredients that made this band so magical. It is the albums that he is on that I like best and the rest are just missing that extra mojo to make it special.

TRIBE only reinforces this belief because it is the songs that DeGarmo contributes to that I find most appealing. There are exceptions like the title track. Although I find this album to have way too much filler, some of the tracks are actually quite good. I love "Open," "Losing Myself" "Tribe" and "Desert Dance." Scott Rockenfield's tribal drumming along with the grungy guitars and interesting bass lines is something hitherto never tried before as far as I know especially in an alternative rock context and Geoff Tate has honed his vocals at the point to fit in with this lower register type of music. Overall a good comeback after my least favorite album from the group but unfortunately nothing on here compares to "Promised Land" and before. Still a reason not to write them off entirely for a glimmer of hope has been sparked and some good tracks to boot. Unfortunately Geoff Tate and Chris DeGarmo butted heads a few times too many and DeGarmo departed for good after this brief reunification.

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 Q2K by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.05 | 140 ratings

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Q2K
Queensr˙che Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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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 Hear In The Now Frontier by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.47 | 161 ratings

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Hear In The Now Frontier
Queensr˙che Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars Of all the possible musical directions QUEENSRYCHE could have taken on their sixth studio album HEAR IN THE NOW FRONTIER from the previous album "Promised Land," no one could have predicted that they would leave all those experimental meanderings behind to try something completely new. Well, new to them anyways. The musical world had changed drastically in the early 90s and moderately progressive melodic metal just wasn't the cat's meow any longer. The band went the way of many 80s bands trying to sally forth into a strange new musical landscape by stripping down their sound to fit in with the explosion of grunge and alternative rock. Ironically the band who emerged from Seattle was being upstaged by a whole new breed of angry rockers from their very own turf. For this release they even managed to record the album in the home studio of Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam and then it was mixed by Toby Wright who had helped Alice In Chains make it big. The result of this radical direction change was not one that pleased a skeptical fan base who thought they knew what their favorite band sounded like, but now they weren't so sure.

Upon first listen I was as disgusted by this album as anyone else. I mean who would have thunk this? QUEENSRYCHE? Famous for rock operas and sophisti-metal doing grunge? Oh gimme a break! Well, I wrote this album off for many years but I have been giving it a spin and re-evaluating it and I have to say that it's not as bad as my first impressions made it out to be. True, it will hardly go down as their crowning achievement but once again they do manage to deliver extremely well written melodic performances albeit stripped down. They definitely prove here that they have the basic skills of songwriting down pat and no further embellishment is necessary. OK, point well taken. I can get on board with their bold and brash ability to constantly reinvent themselves. I love bands that do just that. So what's holding me back from liking this more?

I have to say I think the problem stems not from the fact that they did a complete left turn to create a new sound. That is not the issue here at all. I think the problem lies in the fact that they are simply overqualified as musicians to be doing this kind of less demanding stuff. Geoff Tate's operatic vocal ability over the simpler riffing and song structure is as surreal as the ear-covered desolate landscape gracing the album cover and liner notes. This album is tantamount to the London Symphony Orchestra playing nursery rhymes at a kid's birthday party or Yes doing a full performance of "Close To The Edge" only reggae style at a flea market. There are actually a few songs here I really like. I totally dig "Sign Of The Times," "Hit The Black," "Anytime / Anywhere" and "spOOL." No individual tracks are bad but the album is a bit samey and lacks enough diverse elements to justify the nearly 60 minute experience. It's true that if this WAS a Pearl Jam or Nivana album, it would be fantastic but this is QUEENSRYCHE. Everybody expected more. OK. I'm down with experimentation and all and I give this one a passing grade, it's just not an album I find myself wanting to hear very often. I always go back to the albums that came before.

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