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Queensryche: American Soldier

Queensryche: American Soldier

Progressive Rock/Metal
Rating: 4.5/5.0

American progressive metal masters Queensryche return with 'American Soldier,' a concept album exploring the effects of war from a soldier's perspective. Vocalist Geoff Tate interviewed American veterans from World War II to the current Iraq War to get their memories and perspective. Desiring authenticity and honesty, the songs Tate crafted are founded in these sessions. Additionally, on a number of songs we hear the voices of these men. The whole concept is provocative and emotional. Therefore, it would require some very compelling music to do justice to the thoughts and memories of these soldiers. Decisively, Queensryche pulls it off allowing the music to equal the tenor and scope of the subject.

Considering the depth and seriousness of the subject matter, it seems superficial, even suspect, to critique the music. Therefore, my review will drift more towards observation than criticism. To start, the two most compelling features of 'American Soldier' are the creative and stirring vocal arrangements and the dynamic bass and percussion work. Of the first, Tate is in fine form and, for me, the most compelling arrangements were found 'Sliver,' Hundred Mile Stare,' and emotionally challenging duet with his daughter, 'Home Again.'

Of the second feature, Ed Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums) are simply amazing, essentially stealing the show on 'American Soldier', on these remarkable songs: 'Unafraid,' 'A Dead Man's Word,' 'Man Down!' and especially on 'The Killer' where they save a generally mediocre song. If there are low points, it's on that last song and the one that follows, 'Middle Of Hell' which has an eerie atmospheric quality from the guitar and keyboards, but it still remains trying in its length.

Very few bands could tackle the subject of war from a soldier's perspective as a concept album. In the hands of Queensryche the work becomes a noble and compelling accomplishment both lyrically and musically. As far as I'm concerned, 'American Soldier' will supplant any Queensryche album considered to be quintessential whether it's Operation Mindcrime or any other. Highly recommended!

In Short

Very few bands could tackle the subject of war from a soldier's perspective as a concept album. In the hands of Queensryche the work becomes a noble and compelling accomplishment both lyrically and musically. As far as I'm concerned, 'American Soldier' will supplant any Queensryche album considered to be quintessential whether it's Operation Mindcrime or any other.

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