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Queensr˙che - Hear In the Now Frontier CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

2.48 | 211 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Casualty of Grunge

Queensryche got lucky in 1991 by having a phenomenally successful album even while their genre was hemorrhaging. 1994 brought the interesting but unfocused Promised Land when the entire music industry was still in flux after the grunge explosion. Whether it was record company pressure or a desire for a return to the high profile of Empire, for the next album, Queensryche completely revamped their sound. Shifting toward pop and an Alice-in-Chains lite style of grunge, it is very tempting to think "sellout." I suppose this should have surprised no one. However, as a huge Queensryche fan, I can still remember standing in front of my stereo with my freshly opened CD, massively disappointed. The opener "Sign of the Times" was well written, though very straightforward. I figured I could handle one song like that if there were more interesting things to come. Sadly, the opener is the best work of the album.

Many 80's bands were trying this tactic about this time, and many were keeping their careers limping along with this move (Motley Crue comes to mind.) If the songwriting had been there, I would have probably stayed along. But most of the songs are incredibly dull. Along with the opener, "You" is catchy enough, but some of the songs are so forgettable that, well, I can't remember any of their names. The guitar riffs are actually pretty good for grunge but simply aren't Queensryche. The little bit of lead guitar playing is simply stupid. I can almost hear both guitarists rolling their eyes throughout the entire disc. It is no surprise that co-leader Chris DeGarmo left after this, and without him, the band simply ceased to matter. Incredibly, some of the later albums are worse.

Geoff Tate still sounds great on this album, even if the Iron Maidenisms are long gone. He seems to be having a little fun using some of the 90's tricks of the trade ("Hit the Black") and really is the only member of the band who still is showing any of his identity. Still, the lyrics do not leave much impression, and his melodic delivery is mostly generic. When the melody is memorable, it is in a pop vein. Sign of the times indeed.

Bottom line: the prog is gone. The edge is gone. Mostly boring. Don't Bother.

Negoba | 2/5 |


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