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Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable and strong album., 12 April 2009
This review is from: American Soldier (Audio CD)
I'm a fairly new listener to Queensryche having only heard both of the Mindcrime albums and one of the compilations. However, I have become a huge fan of what I've heard from them so decided to buy this album on the strength of what I'd heard. From what I can gather, this album is not as heavy as a lot of their previous work but musically, it's fantastic. Many of the songs are very melodic relying on beautifully constructed guitar lines rather than knock-out power chord anthems. This album is built around many interviews with soldiers that lead singer Geoff Tate conducted to gain inspiration and material for this album. While this is not a rock opera like the Mindcrime albums, a similar vein flows through the songs connecting them and making a very coheisive album. Anyway, time for the track run through:

Sliver - A great introduction to the album with many military reference in the vocals and drill sergant-type type vocals that compliments Tate's vocals very well. There is some great guitar work from Michael Wilton that makes this song instantly recognisable as a Queensryche song. A very strong opening to the album. 8/10

Unafraid - This song is very different from anything Queensryche have ever done! It is built around many recorded voices of soliders that have served in a varitey of American wars. Tate sings a chorus inbetween their stories and then they start again. This is all held together by a very heavy guitar riff played by Wilton, and some pounding drumming by founding member Scott Rockenfield. A different kind of song, but works well in the context of this album. 7/10

Hundred Mile Stare - This is one of songs on this album co-written by ex-Queensryche guitarist Kelly Gray who is now back but on the production side! This is quite a light song with some interesting guitar work and great vocals by Tate. The chorus is pretty cool with many layers of vocals and catchy hooks. 7/10

At 30,000 Ft - This is a very strong song with Tate's still great voice bleeding from the speakers backed up by some very nice clean guitar and a beautiful bassline. The chorus is pretty rocking and would have not have seen out of place on the great 'Operation: Mindcrime'. It deals with the threat of air strikes from a pilot's perspective. A great song. 8/10

A Dead Man's Words - The longest song on the album at 6:36, and this deals with a wounded soldier who's been left in the desert. It also sings from the perspective of the rescue team who eventually find him alive. It makes great use of sound effects behind the music which really adds another dimention and a sense of reality to this song. There is also a great saxaphone solo performed by Tate. 7/10

The Killer - A song that talks about how a soldier feels when he returns and is greeted by protesters thinking that the war that he fought in is wrong and think that he is some kind of monster. It follows the same vein muscially as what's gone before with melodic verses and heavier choruses. There is a very good melodic guitar solo from Wilton followed by a great percussion part by Rockenfield. 7/10

Middle of Hell - A very progressive piece with interesting vocals layered to create a deep listening experience. Tate's voice sounds strong as if he's not aged at all since their huge albums of the late 1980s. The guitar solo sounds very like something David Gilmour would write which is backed up with some great bass by Eddie Jackson. 8/10

If I Were King - This song opens with someone talking about how one of his friends died in a warzone and this song deals with loss. It's a very good song and has a fantastic chorus that is very easy to sing along to and very simple verses with sparing drums and a single clean guitar. A very strong song that carries an important message. 8/10

Man Down! - This is probably my favourite song on the album as it's a real rocker with huge riffs and one of the best Queensryche choruses ever. It deals with what an ex-solider thinks after remembering being injured in a war and how he still feels bad for becoming injured and becoming a burden on the rest of his team. It has a super guitar solo and huge vocals. 9/10

Remember Me - One of two great ballads on this album. This song is about a soldier thinking about his wife back home and how much he misses her. It's extremley moving and has a very good chorus that I can imagine being really good live. 8/10

Home Again - This follows in the same vein as 'Remember Me' but this time deals with how much a solider is missing his children and how he's regretting not being albe to see them grow up. This is a duet between Tate and his daughter Emily which works very well and makes it very emotional and heartfelt. The lyrics are very good and just add to the beauty of this song. 9/10

The Voice - A good song to end this album on. It sort of brings everything in all the songs together and really highlights the horrors of war, especially the imjurys sustained by many and the deaths. It's a very good song but would not stand on it's own well, but here it fits really well. 7/10

Overall, this album is very good and very moving. It's different to anything anyone has ever done before and there really is no better band that Queensryche to do this.
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Location: Saltash, UK

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