Queensrÿche - Q2K

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Atlantic
Catalog Number: 83225-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 49:23:00

Well, dammit, I wanted to like this disk. I wanted to be able to say to all the naysayers that they were looking too hard, were being unduly unkind because it wasn't Operation:Mindcrime (or whatever you hold as quintessential Queensryche). But, dammit, it's true. This is a very disappointing Queensryche album - no. It's a disappointing album period.

If we take past 'ryche out of the mix and look at Q2K as a stand alone album, the assessment is this: It's a morass of sound that never achieves any kind of cohesiveness. If this were a new band, you'd call this an average debut, seeing the potential.

The fact that we're 15 years or so on from their debut, this is an average album by a band that used be above average. Certainly, since the commerical success of Empire - okay, mainly because of "Silent Lucidity" - their musical direction has gone more commerical. That isn't the disappointing part to me, change is inevitable. Even more so when a core member of your band leaves (Chris DeGarmo). What gets me about this album is that with this change, the album seems unfocused. It's as if, now faced with the potential for change, they don't know where to take that change. That's what's disappointing. One would expect a different Queenryche, but one that made its statement with authority, with a voice that said, "This is who we are, like or not." I don't get that sense here.

"Sacred Ground" is, but for the arrangement and the vocals of Geoff Tate, a track I'd have expected from the likes of Warrant, or Poison, or other some such band. I've come to think of Queenryche as being concerned with loftier issues than sex ... rather, than just sex (sex of some sort has always cropped up in their music). But, with a title like "Sacred Ground," you'd think some issue of grand importance was being tackled - maybe environmental issues, maybe Native American rights ... alas, no. While it tries for romantic sentiment, I'm afraid it's a no-go here. It's trying to say, I think, the same thing that Peter Gabriel said so beautifully on "In Your Eyes." but comes off instead as crass and vulgar (not in a Beavis and Butthead kinda way, though). "You bring me to sacred ground / when I'm inside you" Tate sings. Oh sure, you'll say anything for a fu-- Ah hem. No sly coyness, no irony, no metaphor ... no twist ending...

Anyway, grunge is a word I'm hearing bandied about - they're not quite, but fairly darn close as there are moments when I thought of Soundgarden (as I did on Hear In The Now Frontier). On "One Life" the playing is sluggish and sounds a bit sloppy. Maybe skewed was what they were going for, but too skewed is was they got.

Because DeGarmo wrote most of the band's lyrics, this is perhaps the most noticable change. Clichés are here by the dozen. "When The Rain Comes" is the biggest cliché offender - how over used is rain these days? In the last decade? Of course, they do come from Seattle, so rain is a constant fixture (or so it seems), but still ... here's the beginning of the chorus: "I feel the rain coming/I feel it in my heart, take away my pain..." (cribbed from Dream Theater?).

Not only cliches, but it seems to rehash ideas from past disks, making self-referential comments ... I would have expected an album called Q2K to take on our digital future/present or commentary on the ending of one millenium, the start of another (same thing, I guess). Take "Empire" for example - in 1991 gang violence was a hot topic (still is, only escalated); this commented upon that, making a statement (whether you agree with it or not). But here, they aren't really examining the human condition with same keen eye as in the past, but rather are examining the end of one career phase and the start of another - the state of Queensryche in 2000. Well, that's why it's called Q2K, I guess: "Q"uestioning ourselves in the year "2K"

This isn't the worst thing I've heard, just not the greatest. Tate seems in fine voice for the most part, and is still one of the better vocalists out there in any genre. And there are brief moments when the band shines, mostly instrumentally. I don't really have a take on Kelly Gray, and as to how he compares as a guitarist to DeGarmo.

This lyric sums up this package nicely - "There you were like a ghost from my early days..." Yes, Queensryche as we knew them is nothing but a ghost now - that ghost is manifest in Geoff Tate's voice.

Again, I'm disappointed that I'm disappointed, because I had such high hopes for this album. But, I really can't recommend it.

Falling Down (4:28) / Sacred Ground (4:12) / One Life (4:48) / When The Rain Comes (5:05) / How Could I? (3:44) / Beside You (5:14) / Liquid Sky (4:53) / Breakdown (4:11) / Burning Man (3:42) / Wot Kinda Man (3:15) / The Right Side of My Mind (5:51)

Geoff Tate - vocals
Kelly Gray - guitars
Scott Rockenfield - drums
Eddie Jackson - bass
Michael Wilton - guitars

Queensrÿche (1983)
The Warning (1984)
Rage For Order (1986)
Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
Empire (1991)
Promised Land (1994)
Hear In The Now Frontier (1997)
Q2K (1999)
Greatest Hits (2000)
Live Evolution (2001)
Classic Masters (2002)
Revolution Calling (2003)
Tribe (2003)
Art Of Live (2004)
Operation: Mindcrime II (2006)
Essential (2006)
Face To Face (2006)
Mindcrime At The Moore (2007)
Extended Versions (2007)
Sign Of The Times: The Best Of Queensrÿche (2007)
Take Cover (2007)
The Best Of Queensrÿche (2007)
The Collection (2008)
American Soldier (2009)

Live In Tokyo (VID) (1985)
Mindcime (VID) (1989)
Building Empires (VID) (1992)
Live Evolution (DVD) (2001)
Operation LIVEcrime (DVD) (2001)
The Art Of Live (DVD) (2004)
Live (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: September 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.queensryche.com
Hits: 1152
Language: english


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