I liked the idea behind HITNF and was happy to accept a stripped down album from such a grandiose sounding band. My problem is, that other than a few OK songs, it's just really not that good.
I agree with this as well. bosk brings up a good point about HITNF as well, that things are there, but done in an understated way, very much by design.
But overall, while it does have some tunes I really enjoy a lot - spOOL, Hit the Black, The Voice Inside, Hero - there are more tunes on there that have PARTS I enjoy, but as a whole, the full song falls flat (Sign of the Times, Reach, You, Saved, etc.)
I would disagree with PC that Queensryche's peak was Mindcrime. I think the album is their best, yes. But from a creative standpoint, they had a "peak cycle" of Mindcrime-Empire-PL that is almost unmatched in succession
, by most bands. Those three albums represent what Queensryche is as a band...a band that incorporates metal, mainstream had rock, and more atmospheric/progressive rock, all into one sound...and does it VERY well.
I think if you gave someone Mindcrime and said "this is Queensryche," it would be a serious mistake. You really would need to give them all three of those records I mentioned, because they sum up the entirety of what IS Queensryche, to the fullest extent.
Mindcrime is one peak, but Queensryche had three peaks...each touching upon the different facets of their sound.
Anyway, interesting conversation.