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Queensryche: Promised Land (remaster)

Promised Land marked a slight turn in the career of Seatle's Queensryche. After the resounding success of the multi-platinum selling Empire, the band took a lengthy break before returning to the scene with this dense, less commercial release. While sales initially were brisk, many fans who were longing for more catchy "radio friendly" hits seemed turned off by the heavier, complex sounds contained on this CD. Listening to Promised Land once again nine years later, newly remastered and repackaged, one can really appreciate this fine recording for what it was-a good slice of moody, progressive metal.

Stripped of much of the pop sheen of the Empire period, the songs here take much more time to get into and appreciate, as each song has many layers and characteristics. The in-your-face anthems "I Am I" and "Damaged" start things off with a decidedly metal attitude, with chugging guitars and Geoff Tate's histrionic vocals. The band then changes gears for two gorgeous songs, "Out of Mind" and the gentle ballad "Bridge", showing they were not afraid to go down a similar avenue as on the hit "Silent Lucidity." The title track is a dark and moody piece, led by Scott Rockenfield's busy drum fills and the effects laden guitar work of Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton. Unfortunately, the second half of the CD is where things tend to get a little spotty, as the ramaining songs tend to meander and lack the power and punch of the first half. "Dis con nect ted" sees the band trying an alternative/techno trip, while "Lady Jane" is another mellow DeGarmo number, touching, but lacks the depth and catchy melodies of "Out of Mind" or "Bridge." The funky "My Global Mind" is perhaps the best of the CD's latter half, with Tate's voice soaring above Eddie Jackson's throbbing bass grooves and lots of crunchy wah-wah guitar licks. "One More Time" features a great vocal by Tate (and a great chorus) , but the song is very short and begs for more, while the closer "Someone Else?" ends the CD on somewhat of a downer. Basically a duet with Tate and piano, the singer gives a great performance, but the song is extremely moody and personal about someone at the crossroads, and perhaps not the perfect way to end this album.

The bonus tracks are a real treat here, as you get an alternate, full band version of "Someone Else?", which works much better than the depressing album version. Also, "Real World" is included from the Last Action Hero soundtrack, both in studio and live versions. If you haven't heard this song, it's a real winner, and the studio version features the Michael Kamen orchestra. It's a powerful number, led by Tate's passionate vocals and endearing acoustic & electric guitar work. Rounding out the package is a live version of "Damaged", even more kicked up on stage.

This remaster is basically an essential purchase for Queensryche fans, and recommended for the casual listener as well. Sonically, this CD is one of the better remasters I have heard in a while, and while it would have been nice to have included the lyrics in the booklet, there is a nice essay on the making of the album, as well as photos. An underrated recording from the band for sure, and definitely worth investigating if your collection ends with Empire.

Added: April 8th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Queensryche Official Website
Hits: 5627
Language: english

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Queensryche: Promised Land (remaster)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-04-07 16:50:22
My Score:

Queensryche would continue its progression into a slightly different style from their origin on Promised Land. The album would follow hit maker Empire after a long break in releases for the band was almost always on tour. Released in 1994 we find a very different Queensryche and the end result makes Promised Land a very tricky record to absorb. While there are some solid rocking tracks like "I Am I" and "Damaged" there are also a few that seem out of place in this particular band ("Dis con nect ted"). "Bridge" is a nice ballad and would have made a good single for the band but I don't recall it getting much radio play. The times of the day were loaded with other Seattle bands now as the "grunge movement" was in full sway and dominating every medium available. The title track itself has a very Pink Floyd feel to it and perhaps owes some respect to the legends for the way it ebbs and flows. At this point Queensryche had their core following and it seemed to maintain its course from there. Those that wanted heavy music had long since stopped and perhaps the mega hit of "Silent Lucidity" from Empire while making the necessary financial changes to their lives ended
up costing some of those who supported from the beginning. Time and music changes all the time and Queensryche proved this very clearly with each release as it allowed them growth and exploration into different styles. This might have been done to keep them relevant against the day's music or to keep it interesting to them as well. Promised Land is more Hard Rock than anything else with the band moving to a straight ahead format more than progressive or truly heavy. The release of this album is more for the hard core fan at this point.

As with the remasters in this catalog, the Queensryche issues provide expanded artwork and liner notes. Bonus tracks that are relevant to the time of this albums release are also included and in this case are some live versions of some of the songs on the original studio record.

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