QUEENSRYCHE - "Q2K" (ATLANTIC)
Queensryche is an awesome band. Or, let me rephrase that, was an awesome band. "The Warning" was cool, "Rage for Order" was excellent, "Operation: Mindcrime" was a milestone. Then, things became less impressive. "Empire" was pretty decent, "Promised Land" had some really cool and some lesser tracks, and "Hear in the Now Frontier" had perhaps one grunge ingredient too much. Quite a few fans, in fact, spoke out against "Hear in the Now Frontier" is much less subtle phrases.
I am afraid "Q2K" continues the downward trend. It's not Chris DeGarmo's leaving the band, I am pretty sure of that, because "Hear in the Now Frontier" was already below Queensryche's usual par, and lacked the Wilson/DeGarmo guitar duets. DeGarmo's replacement, Kelly Gray, hasn't picked them up either. On "Q2K" you'll find more ballads, much simpler song structures, no guitar duets, no crunch, no balls. None of the songs on the album stick out. It's not actually disagreeable to listen to, but it's just wallpaper. It doesn't grab you by the danglies, it doesn't seize your attention, it doesn't hook you like some earlier Queensryche albums. And way too many ballads.
Some bands I buy all stuff of. When the bands 'progress' into another style, I usually buy one album too many. "Q2K", as far as I'm concerned, was one Queensryche album too many.
Written September 1999
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