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EvilCheeseWedge
03-20-2009, 11:53 AM
I've been spinning the new R˙che album for several days now.

Short Version: My verdict so far is that it's their highest quality post-Promised Land release. It is absolutely the best Queensr˙che album that does not feature Chris DeGarmo. The concept is solid and well executed. The music has variety, is performed well, and stands on its own. The lyrics, performances, and the production shine in ways they haven't on several past releases.

American Soldier is a concept album about the emotional experience of being an American Soldier. This experience is translated from interviews Geoff Tate did with veterans of the American military. Portions of these interviews are worked into tracks, and I think this serves the songs well. I was afraid that after repeated listens to a song it'd get tiring to hear the same interview clips, but most of the time the clips are short and are both appropriate enough to the song and spaced out enough on the album that it's not tiresome.

While this isn't a Queensr˙che sounding album in the classic sense - nobody's going to mistake it for an album released around the same time was Rage For Order or Operation: Mindcrime - it isn't a Queensr˙che sounding album in the non-Chris DeGarmo sense. What I mean by that is American Soldier does not sound like Q2K, or even Operation: Mindcrime II. While elements of those releases, and all Queensr˙che releases, can be felt in the album (the first single, "If I Were King" has a vaguely Q2K feel to it) this is typical for the band.

Some of the non-typical elements in the album include a drill sergeant on "Sliver" repeating a few lines throughout the song. It works. Sliver is one of the stronger opening tracks for a Queensr˙che album and sets the tone for the rest of the album to follow.

Another non-typical element is found on "Unafraid" the second cut on American Soldier. While Geoff sings the chorus, the verses are composed largely out of two soldiers' interviews laid on top of a modern heavy riff, and an energetic rhythm section. I've read complaints about this, but in my opinion: it works: The soldiers speak for themselves, and Geoff Tate delivers a fist-in-the-air anthem chorus that's later matched by one of Michael Wilton's more stand out, horns-worthy solos.

One of my favorite cuts off the album is "At 30,000 Ft." - this is Queensr˙che. It's broad: It's about being a pilot, and being above the carnage your bombs create, but at the same time, it's specific: We're inside the soldier. On the band's website Geoff Tate commented that when the soldier that inspired this song read the lyrics, he was moved to tears, especially by the line: "their tortured, painful cries will never fall upon my ears, and never stain my elder years."

Last year on the tour for Take Cover the band hosted a karaoke contest of sorts. Winners would get to perform on stage with the band, with one finalist winning a guest appearance on American Soldier. That guest appearance shows up on a cut titled, "A Dead Man's Words." This song is set over a simple, but energetic and extremely heavy riff with Arabic musical elements in the background. The song is about a soldier (Geoff's voice) injured in the desert. The military asks for volunteers (the guest vocalist's voice) to rescue him. While it's no grand duet, and not really comparable to, say, "The Chase" from Operation: Mindcrime II, it works, and it's a great cut that is closed with some saxophone work from Geoff. His saxophone has worked its way on to a few cuts from the album, and is a welcome addition, in my opinion.

Not all the songs are exactly memorable, and some of the cuts that I find myself ready to skip over include, "Hundred Mile Stare", the lead single, "If I Were King," and "Remember Me", which is one of the two ballad tracks on the album.

The other, "Home Again", features a duet with Geoff Tate's ten year old daughter, Emily. It's from the perspective of a soldier writing home to his daughter, and his daughter writing back. This song works, and I think it is (and should be) slated to be one of the future American Soldier singles.

Another single-worthy (and likely to be a single) cut is "Man Down" an up-tempo rocker about re-adjusting to civilian life.

American Soldier closes with a cut called, "The Voice." It's a fitting closer to an hour long album of a dozen songs about the experience of the American soldier.

American Soldier is a strong album. If you've written off Queensr˙che, I encourage you to listen to this album, because it might cause you to reconsider. If you were disappointed with Operation: Mindcrime II, you might find this addresses some of your concerns: The production is better, and there are less ballads. There's a real cohesion with the songs - they sound like they belong together - yet, as the concept is broad (American soldiers) and not specific (centered on the few Mindcrime characters) I think that afforded Geoff and the band more flexibility in songwriting.

American Soldier is out March 31, and I encourage everybody to give this album a listen, as it is an album more than worthy of being apart of the Queensr˙che legacy.

Maiden33
03-20-2009, 11:55 AM
I heard this album today. It sucks, but that's exactly what I expected.

EvilCheeseWedge
03-20-2009, 11:56 AM
I heard this album today. It sucks, but that's exactly what I expected.

:tp:

Maiden33
03-20-2009, 11:59 AM
:tp:

As if I'm the only one who thinks this band should just break up and stop embarrassing themselves.

DethMaiden
03-20-2009, 12:00 PM
I'm definitely giving this disc a chance. I'm inclined to think it will suck, though. :(

EvilCheeseWedge
03-20-2009, 12:04 PM
As if I'm the only one who thinks this band should just break up and stop embarrassing themselves.

No, but I'm not the only one that thinks American Soldier is a strong cut. I've been following a lot of opinions since the album leaked, and a lot of the folks that have written off the 'Ryche, and did not enjoy O:M II have been surprised, pleasantly, by American Soldier.

I don't understand how Queensryche is an embarrassment. I don't want to read into your perspective, but I assume you would prefer Rage For Order or Mindcrime over Promised Land or Tribe any day.

The band's stylistic shifts do not mean it is an embarrassment to itself. If it's embarrassing to write thoughtful compelling music and not be constrained by genre, then yeah, they're an embarrassment, and some day, I hope I'm an embarrassment to myself as well.

Otherwise, what's an embarrassment? The performances are strong. Wilton is shredding, and this is Eddie's hands-down best overall bass performance on an album. And it's well mixed. The weakest point is Geoff, and while there are some seriously rough spots, overall, and on tracks I highlighted like "Unafraid" or "At 30,000 Ft." or even "Middle of Hell" he does the job, and he does it fine.

SomewhereInTime72
03-20-2009, 12:16 PM
As if I'm the only one who thinks this band should just break up and stop embarrassing themselves.

Why don't you post it on blabbermouth, where people agree with you?

EvilCheeseWedge
03-20-2009, 12:26 PM
I want to add that the album is hardly perfect...

> Geoff Tate, in my opinion, is still a good vocalist, but he can't do what he once did and when he tries, it doesn't always sound too good. There's a few weak - and some really rough - spots with his vocals on the album. There's also some really good spots. Overall, it's one of his weaker performances. Is it bad? Not, really. Could it have been better? Probably.

> The album does suffer a bit from some overly dramatic choruses. Operation: Mindcrime II had this too, but I think it's not quite as bad here.

And for the record, "If I Were King" may be my least favorite Queensr˙che song ever.

But, even with that said, these things aren't enough to stop American Soldier from being a good album. Great? Maybe, maybe not - it's a bit too soon to call. But good? I think it's safe to say so. And I do feel that quality wise - in terms of writing, performance (overall) and production... yes, this is one of the highest quality releases since Promised Land - and out of the three Queensr˙che albums that do not feature Chris DeGarmo, American Soldier is, in my opinion, the strongest.

Div
03-20-2009, 12:42 PM
havent heard it yet, but will keep an open mind until i listen to it

overkiller
03-20-2009, 01:12 PM
I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW I REMEMBER NOW

EvilCheeseWedge
03-20-2009, 01:51 PM
I REMEMBER NOW

:lol:

Maiden33
03-20-2009, 05:33 PM
No, but I'm not the only one that thinks American Soldier is a strong cut. I've been following a lot of opinions since the album leaked, and a lot of the folks that have written off the 'Ryche, and did not enjoy O:M II have been surprised, pleasantly, by American Soldier.

I don't understand how Queensryche is an embarrassment. I don't want to read into your perspective, but I assume you would prefer Rage For Order or Mindcrime over Promised Land or Tribe any day.

The band's stylistic shifts do not mean it is an embarrassment to itself. If it's embarrassing to write thoughtful compelling music and not be constrained by genre, then yeah, they're an embarrassment, and some day, I hope I'm an embarrassment to myself as well.

Otherwise, what's an embarrassment? The performances are strong. Wilton is shredding, and this is Eddie's hands-down best overall bass performance on an album. And it's well mixed. The weakest point is Geoff, and while there are some seriously rough spots, overall, and on tracks I highlighted like "Unafraid" or "At 30,000 Ft." or even "Middle of Hell" he does the job, and he does it fine.

:lol:
That's about all I have to say, but I, I'll go on. If Wilton is "shredding" on this album, that word has clearly been redefined. My first thought when I listened to this is that Geoff Tate just can't sing anymore, he just sounds bad. I respect the fact that he's not trying to sound like he used to, but I just think he sounds weak and whiny most of the time now. This album actually has rapping on it. I had to hold back my vomit at the awful rap/metal-esque garbage on the opening track.
Queensryche attracts the most fanboys of any band I've ever seen. There are many other bands who can evolve and keep a fanbase. Queensryche basically just has a split between those who like the stuff through Promised Land, and those that defend everything they do from a point of 'artist integrity". Not every bad move a band makes was a stroke of artistic individualism, sometimes they just make bad decisions. Not every Queensryche album since Promised Land is void of merit, but this album is no different than most of them to me. I think the band is trying to hide behind a concept that is weak at best. "OMG WAR IS BAD AND IT SUCKS TO BE A SOLDIER!". Yeah, it does, you don't need to write an album about it. Basically this just comes off as crappy, and totally unmemorable. I listened to the whole album once. I can't remember anything I liked about it, hence why I'm saying it sucks, end of story.

EvilCheeseWedge
03-20-2009, 05:54 PM
:lol:
That's about all I have to say, but I, I'll go on. If Wilton is "shredding" on this album, that word has clearly been redefined. My first thought when I listened to this is that Geoff Tate just can't sing anymore, he just sounds bad. I respect the fact that he's not trying to sound like he used to, but I just think he sounds weak and whiny most of the time now. This album actually has rapping on it. I had to hold back my vomit at the awful rap/metal-esque garbage on the opening track.
Queensryche attracts the most fanboys of any band I've ever seen. There are many other bands who can evolve and keep a fanbase. Queensryche basically just has a split between those who like the stuff through Promised Land, and those that defend everything they do from a point of 'artist integrity". Not every bad move a band makes was a stroke of artistic individualism, sometimes they just make bad decisions. Not every Queensryche album since Promised Land is void of merit, but this album is no different than most of them to me. I think the band is trying to hide behind a concept that is weak at best. "OMG WAR IS BAD AND IT SUCKS TO BE A SOLDIER!". Yeah, it does, you don't need to write an album about it. Basically this just comes off as crappy, and totally unmemorable. I listened to the whole album once. I can't remember anything I liked about it, hence why I'm saying it sucks, end of story.

That's not rapping. It's a cadence from an actual drill sergeant.

I like how weasly your comments are too. You define something as "rap metal-esque" and suffix "garbage" on to it. If you feel everything rap metal-esque is garbage, than your biases make you no worse than a fanboy because you're judging a label (the fanboys are judging the brand) and not the actual content. What makes it what you call it?

> "Sliver" has a traditional song structure. Verses/choruses/bridges/solo, etc.
> It has your typical hard rock style drumming, with an active bass line.
> It has singing.
> It has electric guitar (hmm, so far it smells like it has a lot of the components of regular ol' rock)
> If you still want to disagree about what I said about the drill sergant, I can assure you it's not rap on the simple ground that... There's not enough there for rap. Don't you usually have at least three consecutive lines of words in rap? Because the sergeant never has more than two ("Welcome to the show"/"Gonna tell you what's up".) - And in military training they refer to battle as "the show" - and this dude is a drill instructor.

So what you're really telling me is that the presence of an actual drill instructor on a song about bootcamp singing two lines is enough for you to pigeon hole the song in an entire sub-genre of two other genres that you happen to consider garbage, yet you still have the audacity to subtly hint that anyone that disagrees with you is probably just defending shitty music under the guise of artistic integrity because they're a non-objective fan boy. If there's not something vaguely hypocritical about all that, then I really don't know what to say.

And if that message about soldiers is what you took away from the album then I don't think you were actually paying that much attention to it.

I don't understand your point about fanboys - still. It's seems obvious that as simply a matter of scale, there are bands with far larger groups of fanboys then Queensryche, because there are bands with far larger audiences. Iron Maiden is the obvious example that comes to mind.

I'm not defending bad songs under the cover of artistic integrity, but you came in here not willing to back up your opinions until you were called on it, and in the interim I merely suggested (and said it might not be the case) that perhaps you were one of the admittedly many people out there that do write off present day QR based on their shift in artistic direction.

Maiden33
03-20-2009, 06:01 PM
That's not rapping. It's a cadence from an actual drill sergeant.

I like how weasly your comments are too. You define something as "rap metal-esque" and suffix "garbage" on to it. If you feel everything rap metal-esque is garbage, than your biases make you no worse than a fanboy because you're judging a label (the fanboys are judging the brand) and not the actual content. What makes it what you call it?

> "Sliver" has a traditional song structure. Verses/choruses/bridges/solo, etc.
> It has your typical hard rock style drumming, with an active bass line.
> It has singing.
> It has electric guitar (hmm, so far it smells like it has a lot of the components of regular ol' rock)
> If you still want to disagree about what I said about the drill sergant, I can assure you it's not rap on the simple ground that... There's not enough there for rap. Don't you usually have at least three consecutive lines of words in rap? Because the sergeant never has more than two ("Welcome to the show"/"Gonna tell you what's up".) - And in military training they refer to battle as "the show" - and this dude is a drill instructor.

So the presence of an actual drill instructor on a song about bootcamp singing two lines is enough for you to pigeon hole the song in an entire sub-genre of two other genres?

And if that message about soldiers is what you took away from the album then I don't think were actually paying that much attention to it.

I don't understand your point about fanboys. It's seems obvious that as simply a matter of scale, there are bands with far larger groups of fanboys. Iron Maiden is the obvious example that comes to mind...

I'm not defending bad songs under the cover of artistic integrity, but you came in here not willing to back up your opinions until you were called on it, and in the interim I merely suggested (and said it might not be the case) that perhaps you were one of the admittedly many people out there that do write off present day QR based on their shift in artistic direction.

I admit calling it actual rapping was a bit of a bad call, but it definitely has a really distasteful vibe to it that I can not stand. I could bother to respond to a lot of the rest of this but I'm really not in the mood. Bottom line, I hated this album, and it has nothing to do with predisposition. If Queensryche ever put out another album I like, I'll be the first person to say it. However, until then, we clearly must agree to disagree because we're clearly at opposite ends of the spectrum here. We're both entitled to our own opinions, so that's that.

EvilCheeseWedge
03-20-2009, 06:06 PM
I admit calling it actual rapping was a bit of a bad call, but it definitely has a really distasteful vibe to it that I can not stand. I could bother to respond to a lot of the rest of this but I'm really not in the mood. Bottom line, I hated this album, and it has nothing to do with predisposition. If Queensryche ever put out another album I like, I'll be the first person to say it. However, until then, we clearly must agree to disagree because we're clearly at opposite ends of the spectrum here. We're both entitled to our own opinions, so that's that.

You're entitled to your opinion, and even your predispositions (and judging by your comments about "Sliver" even if you're not predispositioned to dislike QR releases, I do think you're predispositioned against non-traditional - in the rock/hard rock/metal sense - vocal elements.) At either rate, I was just trying to get at where you're coming from.

Maiden33
03-20-2009, 06:08 PM
I do think you're predispositioned against non-traditional - in the rock/hard rock/metal sense - vocal elements.

I am, and I have absolutely no shame in admitting this, even if it makes me a close-minded fool.

EvilCheeseWedge
03-20-2009, 06:10 PM
I am, and I have absolutely no shame in admitting this, even if it makes me a close-minded fool.

;)

Div
05-15-2009, 01:12 AM
this album was incredibly boring