Queensryche are a band with a long history and ditto back catalogue. They started out back in the early 80’s, but it wasn’t until Operation: Mindcrime (1988) that the band got their breakthrough. With the release of Empire (1990) Geoff Tate and Co reached their commercial zenith. Years of touring followed, driving Queensryche to the verge of breaking up. The next album, Promised Land, was released in 1994. It’s their last truly inspired effort, before sinking into their current state of indolent mediocrity. Dear reader, I present to you Queensryche’s Promised Land!
Compared to its predecessor Promised Land is much darker and more contemplative in nature. It sounds like a band going through a difficult time dealing with the negative effects of their success and all the stress it brings. This is depicted in a brutally honest way in the album’s title track. The loss of communication between people is also a major topic on The Promised Land, especially on I Am I, Bridge, Damaged and Disconnected.
The band also display a more experimental side by incorporating all kinds of electronic effects, string sections and jazzy parts within their music. This is especially the case on the aforementioned I Am I, Damaged, Disconnected and the infamous title track. This is also by far the best song on the album, captivating its spirit.
Sadly this album has its weaker moments as well. Lady Jane and One More Time are somewhat tedious ballads, though the latter does feature a ripping guitar solo by Chris DeGarmo. My Global Mind has a memorable chorus, but overall it isn’t exactly the strongest Queensryche composition to date.
A special mention goes out to the album’s closing song, called Someone Else? It’s a heart wrenching composition featuring Geoff Tate on vocals, accompanied by Chris DeGarmo on piano.
Promised Land by Queensryche is one of those overlooked musical gems, despite its weaker moments. The music is heartfelt and intelligent and it shows a band not shying away from experimenting with new influences. In retrospect it’s sad to see that a band with so much quality has become so pedestrian in their later years.
written by Raymond Westland