Queensr che - American Soldier
'American Soldier' chronicles US military involvement in 20th and 21st century conflicts.
So, worthy addition to the cannon, or misguided concept album?
Only you can judge.
 
Credit to the band for taking on the challenge. Maybe they needed such a challenge to get the creative juices flowing again.
It's certainly not an uplifting album, but can claim to be a thought provoking, and sometimes fascinating insight into the human cost of war, at least from a western perspective.
It's based on the stories and the reflections of the soldiers who came back.  A sobering commentary on human frailty and fear, from the personnel who faced life threatening situations on the battlefield, often heroically, on a daily, and frequently on an hourly basis.
It could be a rock music version of Ridley Scott's anti-war movie 'Blackhawk Down', where motives are suspect, politicians meddle and best laid plans blow up in your face.
 
For every newly released Queensyche album, there's a multitude of critics banging on about it "not being as good as" their seminal recording, 'Operation Mindcrime'.
We can think of 'American Soldier' as the polar opposite, where 'Operation Mindcrime' was rooted in extrapolated fantasy, 'American Soldier' is grounded in painful reality.
 
Naturally, it's a heavy album, in both senses. The sombre nature of the music reflects the subject matter. Darkly textured, densely constructed, with a strong contemporary metal feel, it uses voice overs, Michael Wilson's steely, thick cut riffs and Scott Rockenfield's wholly appropriate artillery shell beats to create the atmosphere, and to punctuate the action for Geoff Tate's rich baritone and hard punching lyrics.
 
So much for the motivation and the purposeful performances, but what of the music?
Up front, let's be clear. Without DeGarmo, there are no more striking melodies or memorable hooks. And anyway, 'American Soldier' was never planned to be about either. The mood swings from pensive to angry and the music matches.
 
'Sliver' is an abrasive call to arms. Musically it's an effective, hard hitting mix of metal with hip hop rhythms, lyrically setting up the album with the "it's about the man next to you" philosophy.
'Hundred Mile Stare' is a medium paced, melodic metal monster. Tate spits out the gritty lyrics impressively and convincingly.
'Dead Man's Words' is likewise delivered with commitment and conviction, with Tate very effectively condensing the emotional desperation of a dying soldier.
 
The songs are driven by muscular melodies, clanging guitars, low slung harmonies and insistent, pounding rhythms.  It's a compelling formula. Even though there's never exactly any compunction to sing along, there's a sinuous, insistent quality to the music that gets under your skin and makes no move to leave.
'If I Were King' and 'Man Down!' examine grief and guilt among the survivors with more crashing riffs, thundering rhythms and sturdy melodies.
  
Having undergone a bombardment of visceral lyrics and hardbodied music,
the stripped down acoustic guitars and strings of the truly gripping 'Home Again' come as a welcome relief. As do the sentiments.
The irony is : ostensibly, these are the freedoms that the American Soldier was fighting for in the first place.
 

Written by Brian
Friday, May 22, 2009
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Ratings

Brian: 7/10

Members: 7/10 - Average of 1 ratings.



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Profile pictureProfessorShred

Rating: 7/10
As much as I hate to agree with Brian on anything,well... this time I do.... · Read more ·

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Review by ProfessorShred (Member) - Friday, August 7, 2009
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Comments: 16
Ratings: 45
As much as I hate to agree with Brian on anything,well... this time I do.

Rating: 7/10

Posted by ProfessorShred
Friday, August 7, 2009










Review by Brian

Released by
Rhino Entertainment - 2009

Tracklisting
Sliver
Unafraid
Hundred Mile Stare
At 30,000 FT
A Dead Man's Words
The Killer
Middle Of Hell
If I Were King
Man Down!
Remember Me
Home Again
The Voice


Style
As described

Related links
Visit the band page

Queensr che - Official Website

Other articles
Operation: Mindcrime - Remastered and Expanded - (Hashman)

Rage for order - (Steen)

Tribe - (Steen)

Tribe - (Hashman)

Empire - (Hashman)

The Art of Live - (Hashman)

The Warning - (Steen)



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