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Queensr’che Promised Land album cover
3.97 | 416 ratings | 36 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 9:28 AM (1:44)
2. I Am I (3:57)
3. Damaged (3:58)
4. Out Of Mind (4:36)
5. Bridge (3:30)
6. Promised Land (7:58)
7. Disconnected (4:45)
8. Lady Jane (4:15)
9. My Global Mind (4:22)
10. One More Time (4:19)
11. Someone Else? (4:44)

Total Time: 48:08

Bonus tracks on 2003 Capitol remaster:
12. Real World (4:23) $
13. Someone Else? (With Full Band) (7:13)
14. Damaged (Live *) (4:03)
15. Real World (Live *) (3:42)

$ Originally released on the "Last Action Hero" soundtrack
* Recorded at the Astoria Theatre, London, England 10/20/94.

Line-up / Musicians

- Geoff Tate / vocals, keyboards, sax
- Michael Wilton / guitar
- Chris DeGarmo / guitar, sitar, cello, piano
- Eddie Jackson / bass
- Scott Rockenfield / drums, percussion, tape effects

Releases information

Artwork: Hugh Syme

LP EMI Records USA ‎- E1-30711 (1994, US)

CD EMI Records USA ‎- 7243-8-30711-2-8 (1994, US)
CD Capitol Records ‎- 72435-80529-2-3 (2003, US) 24-bit remaster by Evren Göknar w/ 4 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy QUEENSRYCHE Promised Land Music

QUEENSRYCHE Promised Land ratings distribution

(416 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

QUEENSRYCHE Promised Land reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marc Baum
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

Review by 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.

Review by 1800iareyay
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+

Review by Mellotron Storm
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.

Review by b_olariu
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

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Promised Land" is the 5th full-length studio album by US power/heavy/progressive metal act Queensr’che. The album was released through EMI Records in October 1994. Queensr’che had a relatively lengthy recording break after the release of the multi-platinum selling success of "Empire (1990)", but they returned on "Promised Land" with the same lineup and a new ‌inspired concept.

"Empire (1990)" was a fairly accessible and commercial oriented release, which provided Queensr’che with great success and worldwide recognition. Following up a release like that was always going be a difficult task (just as it was a daunting task following up the artistic achievement of "Operation: Mindcrime (1988)"), but Queensr’che took the bold and adventurous path, instead of releasing "Empire (1990)" number two. "Promised Land" is generally a much more progressive and experimental release than it“s predecessor, although progressive in this respect shouldn“t be understood as if the band have now have started playing long instrumental sections or that they focus on odd time signatures. It“s an experiment within the confines of their own sound, and overall they succeed pretty well. Stylistically this is still at it“s core heavy metal/rock with only the occasional progressive metal leaning.

"Promised Land" is a bit of a fragmented release though, featuring quite a few different atmospheres and music styles. Tracks like "Damaged" and "disconnected" are both dark and very heavy songs. The former probably features THE most heavy riff ever on a Queensr’che release and it“s an absolutely brilliant composition. But then there are also tracks like "Out of Mind", "Bridge", "Lady Jane", and "Someone Else?", which are power ballads (in the case of the latter it“s a pure piano and vocal ballad, and probably the weakest and least interesting track on the album. It“s definitely not a good way to close the album), and tracks like "I Am I" and the title track are of a more experimental nature, both featuring middle eastern music influences, and the latter featuring saxophone. "My Global Mind" and "One More Time" are rather forgettable heavy rock tracks, which don“t stand out much. To my ears the album is frontloaded with the best material, and especially the last three tracks on the album leave you with the impression that the quality has dropped markedly since the high quality opening to the album. For all the greatness of tracks like "Damaged", "Out of Mind", and "Lady Jane", "Promised Land" simply features too many tracks which aren“t remarkable enough.

As always the musicianship are on a high level on all posts. The instrumental work is delivered with great skill and with an adventurous spirit, and Geoff Tate also delivers a strong vocal performance. "Promised Land" features a dark and heavy production job, which suits the material perfectly, so it“s in the songwriting department and overall tracklist flow, that the album doesn“t score perfectly in my book. It“s actually a bit hard to rate an album, which maybe features some of the best material written by Queensr’che, when said material sits among some of the most lacklustre and uninspired material written by the same artist. Despite these issues I still find "Promised Land" highly recommendable, although I almost always skip around 30% of the album, when I give it a listen (including the way too long intro track "9:28 A.M."). A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by Roland113
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by ProgBagel
3 stars Queensryche - 'Promised Land' 3.5 stars


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.

Review by Negoba
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.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars After the grueling touring schedule of the previous years with the huge success of "Operation: Mindcrime" and "Empire," QUEENSRYCHE took a few years to take a much needed break and reflect on the experience of becoming a huge band on the world scene and all the pressures that go with it. The exhausting experience saw the band feeling no hurry to release any new material and so hard was it to get the whole band together that much of the album was recorded as individual tracks that were sewn together at the end to create a sum of the parts. The result is one of the most experimental albums of the band's career covering the diverse aspects of the band's past as well as incorporating a whole score of new sounds and ideas into the mix. The album may seem a little disjointed compared to the finely tuned focus of "Mindcrime" or the more commercial sound of "Empire" but despite not giving this a spin often, when I do I seem to like this album more each time and it has emerged as one of my favorites.

The album opens with a strange musique concrete intro followed by the only two real metal tracks on the album that could easily fit on one of the earlier albums. The first one of which "I Am I" has the addition of a sitar which signifies not only is QUEENSRYCHE back with gusto but that things are different this time around. After two hearty metal rockers the tides change completely and we get two acoustic rock tracks. "Out Of Mind" is a melodic spacey track about seeing the world from the confines of a nursing home as seen by the throwaway elders in US culture and "Bridge" is an apparent therapy session of Geoff Tate (I presume) about his relationship with his dad (or lack thereof). After this set we are treated to two of my favorite tracks on the album "PROMISED LAND" which is a long sprawling feast of sounds with saxophones and an excellent production and "Disconnected" which is a hint of a anesthetized paranoid schizophrenic unable to plug into the real world. The following track is a scrumptiously beautiful piano ballad called "Lady Jane" which like most of the track has nothing to do with the others. "One More Time" is another well written track that didn't appeal to me at first but since has become quite appreciated. The only track I still can't get into is the final one "Someone Else" which is yet another piano ballad. The melodic developments just don't hit me although it may work well for others.

Easily the strangest and all-over-the-map album by QUEENSRYCHE with a roller coaster's ride of ideas and musical implementations. I initially didn't warm up to this album because it was so different and not what I expected but after many years of coming back to it I find it has taken root and unleashed itself in a new way into my psyche. Unfortunately this would be the last great album by this band as we see the great fall into the musical dross beginning with next release as many an 80s band totally lost their way and soul. This would have been a great album to go out on but instead we got two decades of less than stellar releases and bitter battles between band members. 4.5 rounded down

Review by Modrigue
3 stars Best 90's Queensr’che album

3.5 stars

After their disastrous MTV attempt "Empire", QUEENSR?CHE decided to go back to a progressive approach on "Promised Land". However, in 1994, traditional heavy metal from the 80's was agonizing, whereas grunge, alternative rock and electronic music were greatly developing. Therefore, instead of reproducing the complex elaborated structures of "Operation: Mindcrime", the band decided to try something new by incorporating different musical styles. Still influenced by PINK FLOYD, but also by recent grunge bands such as PEARL JAM and even Eastern music, the compositions are more modern and innovative, resembling no other at the time.

Elegant and refined as always, this adventurous opus is well rooted in the 90's and not totally metal. It alternates atmospheric, gloomy, somber, melancholic, spacey, tortured and even slightly electronic passages. The range of addressed themes is also quite wide: reincarnation, isolation, alienation, madness, consumer society...

The ambient opener "9:28 A.M." is a short concrete music piece composed by drummer Scott Rockenfield. Quite surprising, the dark "I Am I" contains heavy riffing guitars and middle-eastern sonorities, installing an oppressive ambiance. Magic! The powerful "Damage Case" is great and sinister too. On the contrary, the enjoyable floydian piece "Out Of Mind" is acoustic and calm. "Bridge" narrates the relation between Chris de Garmo and his father, who died during the album recording sessions. A song also driven by the acoustic guitar, but a little boring tune. The proggiest song of the record is undoubtedly the title track, tortured and depressive. It features original elements such as discrete futuristic sonorities and especially - and for the first time - Geoff Tate playing saxophone! His solo is just mesmerizing! It's certainly not every day that you hear this jazz instrument on a metal disc.

Also pretty uncommon, "Disconnected" deals with American consumerist society and features Tate on saxophone again, supported by groovy riffing and electronic sound effects. Driven by DeGarmo's piano, "Lady Jane" is a touching power ballad about the influence of commercials. Then comes the heavy alternative rock "My Global Mind", efficient and catchy. The last two songs are unfortunately not the best part of the record. The rock ballad "One More Time" is average and a bit repetitive, whereas the acoustic closer "Someone Else?" sounds rather cheesy.

Anyway, "Promised Land" still remains adventurous and pleasant. I would like to hear this mixture of various styles more often. QUEENSR?CHE has definitely emancipated from their primary IRON MAIDEN influences here. Although uneven and containing less memorable melodies, the music is quite unique and refreshing. A genuine trip into the depths of your mind and the illnesses of modernity. Truly progressive stuff, but not by the common approach of most prog metal bands.

If you're looking for long complex metal compositions such as DREAM THEATER, this is not the one to pick. Nonetheless, if you want something original and depressive, this album is what you need. Recommended to metal or even to alternative hard rock fans!

Review by Menswear
5 stars True Lost Gem.

Okay, if one expression is overused on the Net it's truly « lost gem ». It seems they are everywhere these days. Phew, that been said, I never heard of Queensr’che on MTv past 1991. It seemed they vanished after their big Empire moment, or maybe it's just Nirvana that took all the spotlight, leaving scraps of attention to everything else but grunge? I vote for the latter. A true overlooked record that fell in the cracks of the sofa of time.

I'm so glad I took the time to drench into Promised Land; we ecounter a much more softer side of the band. I say softer but, darker is perhaps a more suitable word. Call it « sophisticated Dark»: growling bass, haunting saxophone (!), acoustic guitars, grand piano (!), whispers of conscience and melancholic lyrics. Although 'r’che has never been wedding music, the sadness (or desperation) is obviously deeper, the pain is skin deep. I'm also surprised how much quality songs is packed in this, perhaps one or two filler songs can be found (maybe Global Mind or One More Time).

Promised Land does not disappoint: sophisticated, charcoal matte metal with a slick urban feel, something to listen in your car at midnight, cruising in the city.

You've never heard of it? Good. Now enjoy.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is my first review on PA and I thought I would choose an album that I knew on a pretty deep level. I purchased this still feeling flush with the excitement of Operation: Mindcrime and impressed, but not blown away, by Empire. This is a long way from a METAL album and I wonder if I would ... (read more)

Report this review (#1298592) | Posted by twalsh | Wednesday, October 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#755288) | Posted by Gentlegiantprog | Saturday, May 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#258192) | Posted by DTJesus | Monday, December 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#210870) | Posted by Alitare | Thursday, April 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 Geof ... (read more)

Report this review (#125430) | Posted by DethMaiden | Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#115496) | Posted by chorvath | Sunday, March 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#85144) | Posted by MrMan2000 | Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#82780) | Posted by Jon_Mc | Wednesday, July 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 East ... (read more)

Report this review (#80091) | Posted by Sacrilege | Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 as ... (read more)

Report this review (#66330) | Posted by zaxx | Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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. N ... (read more)

Report this review (#57083) | Posted by walrus333 | Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#45988) | Posted by heavydrum | Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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 p ... (read more)

Report this review (#39842) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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 main ... (read more)

Report this review (#23618) | Posted by V0lcaN0 | Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#23617) | Posted by Pety | Thursday, January 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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, tho ... (read more)

Report this review (#23615) | Posted by | Tuesday, December 21, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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, an ... (read more)

Report this review (#23614) | Posted by | Saturday, July 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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 Ge ... (read more)

Report this review (#23612) | Posted by | Wednesday, June 23, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#23611) | Posted by | Monday, June 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#23610) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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