Sunday, 29 March 2009

Review - Queensryche - American Soldier

Queensryche - American Soldier

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5 out of 10

I'm sure Geoff Tate had only the noblest of intentions when he interviewed various members and ex-members of the US Army for this album, Queensryche's twelfth. The project also had deep, personal connotations, since Tate's father had spent his working life in the military. Also, Tate duets with his ten year-old daughter on the strongest track Home Again. This album does not attempt to rewrite history or air-brush over that most futile and destructive aspect of humanity - unlike many American works of art, from whatever discipline, which use war as their subject. However, since it is titled American Soldier and since the sound bites are from American soldiers, that history ends up being given a certain gloss anyway. The universal truth of war's horrific stain on life and love has to come through a national perspective many feel has had far too much air-time already.

The soldiers' reminiscences are many times more powerful than the music on offer, of course, which leaves Queensryche in the rather invidious position of soundtracking that which ought not to be soundtracked - and certainly not from a chiming 1980s metal band still flying the flag as the thinking man's Def Leppard. As a 'concept album' it coheres less well than its acclaimed predecessor Operation:Mindcrime, resulting in a worn kitbag of well-meaning platitudes about how terrible war is, with the stars-and-stripes thrust in the top. 'A fool is left to live as brave ones fall', Tate opines during Middle of Hell. This is certainly true in war - American or otherwise. The trouble is, it can also be said of music. American Soldier, although not 'FUBAR', is a touch 'high speed'.


1. Sliver
2. Unafraid
3. Hundred Mile Stare
4. At 30,000 Ft
5. A Dead Man's Words
6. The Killer
7. Middle of Hell
8. If I Were King
9. Man Down!
10. Remember Me
11. Home Again
12. The Voice

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