Queensrÿche – American Soldier
Released: March 31, 2009
For longtime Queensryche fans, American Soldier is the album that helps us remember the brilliance of their musical chemistry and instrumental abilities. While I would not say that the ‘Ryche have been going through the motions over the last decade, I believe that their output has not sustained the impassioned intensity or mellifluous nuance of their early work, particularly Operation Mindcrime and Empire. Soldier brings back the musical and lyrical intellectualism that has been the legendary signature of Queensryche’s sound and imagery.
What started as a personal pet project for vocalist Geoff Tate has bloomed into perhaps their finest conceptual CD since the first Mindcrime. Geoff’s vocal intensity, combined with emotionally charged and timely lyrical content, hit us right in the gut. Michael Wilton handles all guitar duties on this release, showcasing his masterful fret skills. While Tate no longer has the vocal range of years gone by (a long term four-pack-a-day cigarette habit and being 50 years old will do that to you), he still brings the ache and poignancy through his intonation and fervent conviction. If you are looking for key tracks to download, or the best songs to listen to, I will disappoint you by stating that American Soldier must be taken in and absorbed as a whole. Justice cannot be achieved by piecemeal listening. This CD deserves the full-album experience. That said, Queensryche is still far from reclaiming the glory of its past, though there are hints here that the band may be heading back in the right direction.