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Queensryche: Q2K (remaster)

In 1999 Queensryche would find themselves in a bit of a bind for not only did they lose the label they had for much of their career but co-founder Chris DeGarmo would also choose to move on and pursue other interests in life. Musically this would not be a release that many Queensryche fans would embrace very openly; but upon listening to the remastered and expanded edition some seven years I can safely say that there is some enjoyable stuff on it and necessary as part of the complete Queensryche catalog. The best way to enjoy this one is to skate around the tracks and find the most acceptable ones such as "Sacred Ground" and "One Life" which show a different Queensryche from the band you grew up remembering. I think the initial problem fell in the expectations of the fan base as well as the bands quest to keep themselves relevant during a difficult musical point in time. They were no longer Progressive Metal and had instead become a style of harder Progressive Rock that used their typical strong melodic sense mixed in throughout their songs. Technically, they remained the same and sounded fine, as the band did not aim for high levels of avant-garde musical exploration as the bands that came after them (I speak especially of Dream Theater and Fates Warning). DeGarmo's spot in the band would be temporarily filled by Kelly Gray (now of Slave To The System) while the rest remained the originals (Tate, Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson). Gray was good but perhaps did not receive any level of compliment based on fans refusing to let go of the fact that Chris had left the lineup. The remaster includes several additional tracks and "Until there Was you" is a perfect ballad for the group while "Howl" is a rocker from top to bottom. Maybe their inclusion to the original release would have helped it along but now we have them on the re-issue so its no longer a problem. The original album tracks of "Breakdown", "Right Side Of My Mind" and "Liquid Sky" are quite good as well and could have carried the release forward but perhaps its lack of an overall theme and instead just built as straight songs caused this additional grief. To be honest, I remember finding myself uninterested in it when it first hit the shelves but cannot recall what kept me from it back then.

The remaster brings this back into the public eye as the original has been out of print for some time. The expanded tracks (half live and half studio) along with an expanded liner notes booklet and cleaner production make this a welcome addition to ones Hard Rock collection. However, if you are expecting Operation Mindcrime or Empire with this one then you should keep on walking If not, then give it a chance this time around. It's not that bad after all.


Track Listing
  1. Falling Down
  2. Sacred Ground
  3. One Life
  4. When the Rain Comes
  5. How Could I?
  6. Besides You
  7. Liquid Sky
  8. Breakdown
  9. Burning Man
  10. Wot Kinda Man
  11. The Right Side Of My Mind
  12. Until There Was you bonus
  13. Howl bonus
  14. Sacred Ground (live) bonus
  15. Breakdown (edit) - bonus

Added: September 27th 2006
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Score:
Related Link: Queensryche Website
Hits: 1758
Language: english

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Queensryche: Q2K (remaster)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-09-27 20:55:10
My Score:

Q2K, the 1999 release from Queensryche, received plenty of regative reaction from the fanbase upon it's release, and listening now to this brand new remaster from Rhino Records, it's easy to hear why. Not that Q2K is necessarily a bad album, it's just stylistically very different from what fans came to expect from the band. More riff-heavy hard rock than the intriguing prog-metal that the band became famous for, there are still a few good numbers here that make for a worthwhile re-purchase, or if you have never added this to your collection (considering the CD has been out of print for a few years), now might be the time. Highlights are the heavy rocker "Falling Down" , the melodic "When the Rain Comes" (featuring a great vocal from Geoff Tate), the catchy "Sacred Ground", and the intricate guitar rock of "Liquid Sky". The most representative of the earlier Queensryche sound is "The Right Side of My Mind", a tune with some great progressive tendencies and an epic feel. Also, "Breakdown" is fairly imaginative, with some effective wah-wah and slide guitars, and "Burning Man" does have a nice heavy thump to it, but for the most part many of the songs here just sound uninspired and too similar to each other. Perhaps it was the absence of Chris DeGarmo, who left the band before the record was put together, or perhaps Queensryche were just a band in transition, looking for a new direction. Either way, Q2K is not a bad album, but it's not a great one either.

There's a few bonus tracks here, "Howl" being the best, and it's a good one. I'm surprised it didn't make it to the original album, as it's better than half the tunes that did make the cut.



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