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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews



Review by Gary Hill

This disc is certainly the hardest rocking album the Ryche have come out with in a while, it is their strongest at least since Empire, but I would hazard to say since Operation Mindcrime. That is not to say that this CD is in the vein of that one, it certainly isn't. Indeed, Queensryche have shown that they can move their sound forward, venturing into new musical territory, and doing it with style. They even touch upon such modern styles as nu-metal and rap-metal here, but pull both of them off with a style that is not frequetnly found in the genres. The disc reaches back to older Queensryche sounds, and brings them into their modern repertoire, and the lyrics are possibly the most thought provoking they have given us in several albums, too. This one will definitely make my top five album list for the year.

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Track by Track Review
Coming in hard-edged and with a somewhat Eastern tinged sound, this anthemic rocker feels a bit like more recent Ryche, but with a harder and more potent edge. This is a killer cut, and a great way to start of the disc. The lyrics seem quite appropriate to today's world "Open your eyes. Just say what you want to say?/Open your eyes, you see yours isn't the only way/Open your eyes. To you everyone is blind/Open your eyes and your mind."
Losing Myself
Drums begin this, and it is like no Queensryche you have ever heard before. This has an electro-rock sond, but (as opposed to much of that genre) is quite effective. The choruse feels like modern Ryche mixed with nu-metal.
Desert Dance
Another that is a new sound for the band, this hard rocker is another with Eastern tinges, and it in some ways hearkens all the way back to the earliest Ryche. That said, they infuse it with modern sounds, and even a rap-metal leaning. No Limp Bizkit here, though, this is very cool.
Falling Behind
Bluesy, but rather dark acoustic sounds start this. As the song really kicks in it takes on a sound that calls to mind the mellower, reflective side of the Empire era. The cut is not bad, but one of the weaker points on the disc. Lyrically, though, it is quite a poignant statement. "Is it really all about the thing of what you wear and what you think I'll think?/Who has more?/Arabs and Jews at war, I don't care anymore/It's always the same tired story/How many dead in the name of some god?/And what's the difference?/Don't give a damn about their differences/Nothing's sacred once the shooting starts."
The Great Divide
Another with killer lyrics, "So are we standing at the Great Divide?/Is there hope for America?/Take the flag we wave, the freedoms that we sing./Without respect for one other, it doesn't mean a thing." Musically it is another that draws on the newer Ryche sound, and it is incredibly powerful and evocative. This is another clear cut winner.
Rhythm of Hope
Another mellower, more reflective piece, this is very potent, and it feels like it could have lived rather comfortably on the Empire album.
Very hard-edged and dark in texture, this arguably has some of the heavy sounds the band have produced in a long time. Much of the vocal work on this one is spoken, or at least half-way between spokend and sung, and the percussion feels appropriately tribal. The lyrics on this one stand out as well. "Seems every where I go/I see the same face, I feel the same flow/With every one I meet and every hand I shake/I see myself in every man, trying my best to get to know/because everything's at stake/We're the same tribe."
This one is more mellow in nature, but is very powerful and thought provoking. It is certainly one my favorite songs on the disc. The chorus is painfully poignant, "It's all gone wrong/There's blood on our hands".
The Art of Life
Another crunchy track, this makes you glad the band have rediscovered their metal roots because they do it so much better than the rest. This one also has quite a bit of spoken vocals.
Doin' Fine
With an almost pop texture at times, this seems to meander into all new territory for Queensryche. It is not one of the stronger pieces on display here, but would have certainly be a stand out on many other albums.
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