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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Queensrÿche

Hear in the Now Frontier

Review by Gary Hill

Sometimes, for long time fans of Queensryche, their albums need a little space to be appreciated. That said, when I first heard this album I hated it. I thought it was their worst album ever. I listened to it once, filed it away and never spun it again – until recently. The truth is, this might be their weakest disc. Queensryche, though, is such a good band that even something that’s their weakest is still pretty darned good and would rank pretty high in the catalog of a lot of lesser groups. I’m not saying that I’m in love with everything here, but there’s nothing that’s really terrible. Some of the tracks are extremely good, too. I will say that the bulk of the album doesn’t really sound like anything else we’ve heard from the band before or since. I’ve got this under heavy metal, but most of it probably doesn’t really qualify – but Ryche is probably mostly a metal band. If you’ve done like I did and put this one away, dig it out and spin it again. You might be surprised that it’s as good as it is.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Sign Of The Times

This cut comes in as a pretty straight ahead rocker. I’d hear it as a cross of Pearl Jam with Queensryche’s Empire album.

Cuckoo's Nest
We get a lot more of a straight ahead hard rock sound on this one. I wouldn’t call it metal and it definitely doesn’t feel like classic Queensryche.
Get A Life
Another good song, this just doesn’t have that Queensryche magic. I mean, for a lot of other bands this would be a great song. For the Ryche, it’s just not up to the incredibly high standards they set for themselves. That said, the guitar solo section reminds me a bit of the more rock and roll side of Alice Cooper and I like it. 
The Voice Inside
While this doesn’t feel exceptionally “Rychian,” it’s a stronger cut than a lot of the other music here.
Some People Fly
A more balladic piece, this does feel like Queensryche. It seems like it would have fit pretty well on Empire.   It’s one of the better pieces here. 
Saved
This shows some of the dynamic range that has often been associated with Queensryche. It’s got a modern bent to it, but there are a lot of great Queensryche elements built into it, too. I like this one a lot and would consider it a highlight of the set. 
You
Now, this one feels more like classic Queensryche than anything we’ve heard to this point. It’s a stomping rocker that’s quite tasty. This is arguably the strongest piece on show. 
Hero
Another mellower cut, this one feels like it could have been included on the Empire album. It’s a good track and one of the stronger ones on this set. 
Miles Away
Parts of this are in a very stripped down mode that’s almost punk rock in some ways. It’s got a powered up chorus that’s more along the lines of what we expect from Queensryche. Still, this one just feels a little pedestrian for this band. We get some hints of progressive rock at times and bits of pop rock at others. 
Reach
The stripped down hard rock that makes up this cut isn’t the most recognizable as Queensryche, but this riff driven rocker is cool. 
All I Want
If you want a song that sounds nothing like what you’d expect from Queenrsyche, then look no further than this piece. I don’t see it listed in the credits here, but I would hazard to bet that this is not even Geoff Tate singing. Chris Degarmo is credited with writing the song, so I think it’s probably him singing. This is a very Beatles-like number. It’s catchy and almost feels like it could have come from their White Album. It’s actually quite a cool song, but really doesn’t fit.
Hit The Black
We’re back into the serious hard edged zone. This is another that doesn’t really feel all that much like the Ryche, though. The vocals at the beginning I’m betting aren’t Tate, either, but he comes in quickly. This track feels mean. 
Anytime/Anywhere
There’s a nu-metal kind of feeling to this. It might not be the most recognizable as Queenrsyche, but it’s a cool tune with an intriguing riff.
spOOL
Another that’s fairly dynamic, this cut is closer to a classic Ryche sound that most of the stuff here. It’s good and one of the highlights of the set. That makes it a great choice for the closing shot.
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