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Queensr˙che - Promised Land CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.97 | 381 ratings

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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.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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