Author Topic: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: La Torre-fronted Albums (2013-present)  (Read 29552 times)

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Offline Mladen

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #910 on: September 11, 2017, 12:11:23 PM »
I usually allow myself several dates before I post my thoughts on an album I'm new to, but after my third listen of the album, I have some firm thoughts about it. There's still plenty of tracks that need to reveal themselves to me, but some already hooked me.

I was IMMEDIATELY struck by Unafraid. I see that people are divided on it, but I think what makes the song work is exactly the fact that only the chorus features singing. Sure, you can't hear the words on the verses very well, but I thought they were going for a chaotic, messy collage of samples. And once the chorus emerges from the heavy riffs and samples, it's only powerful because it's so strikingly different from the verses given it's wonderful vocal harmonies and chord progressions. It works. Brilliantly.

Regarding the lyrical content, I'm on the fence with it. I like the concept and some the ideas were rather well executed. The one that wasn't is Home again. Dear God, that one is hard to listen to. Sorry for being harsh on the female vocalist, I can imagine she tried hard.

Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #911 on: September 11, 2017, 07:17:08 PM »
Despite being a hardcore QR fan at the time of its release, I all but ignored American Soldier. Just from looking at the cover, I just was like "what is this..."

I am a social dissident. Fed up with politics, corruption and all the bullshit of human nature, which is why I loved Mindcrime. Songs like revolution calling, Anarchy X and operation mindcrime absolutely got my blood pumping. So QR always appealed to me as someone who has always been anti-authority, So when I see my favorite band (which was the embodiment of that) release an album called american solidier with a solidier on the cover, I personally just didn't get it and it seemed so bizarre. It was a hard swing from just releasing mindcrime II to now release an "army" themed album. I may have misunderstood what they were going for, but it still turned me off.

So basically, I just ignored it. Actually listening to it in anticipation of this thread, its not bad. It has some decent parts and overall is pretty much a solid album. It most certainly is Tate-ryche though, which at this point I was still willing to tolerate, but still, another album where the actual band didn't write anything? fuck that.

I was willing to put up with it during Mindcrime II since I am obsessed with Mindcrime One and was willing to look the other way to have a little more, but if this was going to be norm going forward, then no thanks.

And sadly it only gets worse before it gets better...
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 07:24:00 PM by Phoenix87x »
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Offline PowerSlave

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #912 on: September 11, 2017, 07:48:34 PM »
A question for Bosk, or any of you other folks that have served in our military. From your personal experiences, do you think that this album comes close to what you went through when you served? I don't intend to pry because I fully understand that some of these themes can be an extremely personal thing, but if the album is an authentic thing in your view then it might be the thing that would push me towards giving it a chance.
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Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #913 on: September 12, 2017, 01:23:50 AM »
I found American Soldier a little bit better than OM II when it was released but then that isn't saying much. But as time passed the record didn't hold up. Too many of the songs are just plodding along and Tate doesn't really give a shit for his vocal performances. Sad to see such a voice going down, but even sadder to see that he didn't really care. If your range is gone you can at least put your heart and soul in your performances and not some lackluster singing.  >:(

That duet with his daughter is so cheesy it is atrocious. I get that he's proud to sing a song with his daughter, but I know, as I have two daughters myself, that no-one outside of close family members wants to hear you perform with your kids.

I didn't get the overall theme: Are you critical of the military? Are you praising it? Are you feeling for the soldiers? Is the use and abuse of the military and its powers by governments a thing on this record? What are you trying to achieve? What are you trying to tell us?  ???

So overall I once again was let down from my expectations and this time I really put my QR love on hold, I didn't care about them and their activities till Todd came along.

Offline ReaperKK

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #914 on: September 12, 2017, 05:00:56 AM »
I just gave OM:II a listen yesterday. I started it earlier but never finished, it's terrible. Production, solos are uninspired and weak, and the back and forth vocals in "The Chase" are hilarious in a bad kind of way.

Offline MirrorMask

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #915 on: September 12, 2017, 07:49:36 AM »
I realized I started following for Mindcrime, and didn't properly read the earlier entries. I went back and re-read them, just to have the complete experience  :tup

It's bittersweet reading about supposedly Geoff had a bad reputation for his attitude, but the band realized he was simply to good to miss and wanted to stick with him - just as he wanted to make it with his other band, but joined when they got a record deal. A little bit like Adrian Smith wanting to make it on his own, but then realizing his path was with Maiden.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #916 on: September 12, 2017, 08:58:42 AM »
A question for Bosk, or any of you other folks that have served in our military. From your personal experiences, do you think that this album comes close to what you went through when you served? I don't intend to pry because I fully understand that some of these themes can be an extremely personal thing, but if the album is an authentic thing in your view then it might be the thing that would push me towards giving it a chance.

That's a great question.  I do think it is an accurate reflection of a lot of the things that our military goes through.  I think Geoff did great job of getting information directly from people who served, and in many cases, did a great job of translating their experiences and their stories into song lyrics that drive those personal struggles home. 

For example, Sliver does a pretty good job of conveying what happens when a recruit goes through basic training and has his civilian life essentially stripped away so that he can be built into a soldier.  It is from an army perspective, so doesn't capture the specifics of how that works in, say, the Marine Corps.  But in terms of the basics and the main idea of the song, it works well.  At 30,000 Feet is one I particularly identify with.  As someone in an artillery battery during the Gulf War, I was similarly in a situation where I was detached from the fighting on the front lines.  Although I wasn't in a plane, my unit was responsible for raining down destruction on targets far away that we couldn't see and wouldn't have known existed but for those on the front line calling back coordinates to us.  And there are plenty of other songs as well that capture other relevant struggles and emotions, such as feeling detached from society upon returning from an armed conflict, the difficulty of trying to have a normal family life in the middle of having an abnormal work life in the military, and so on.  So, from that perspective, I think Tate did an outstanding job.  He took those emotions and those struggles and put words to them in a way that makes them real, and put music to them that is fitting of those emotions and struggles.

MY major problem with the album is that it is biased, and in a very insidious way.  In many ways, Tate didn't get it.  And it isn't just that the narrative is one-sided.  It is that Tate was looking for a certain angle and heard what he wanted to hear that fit that angle, and then used the soldiers' own words to fit his narrative.  In doing so, I think he missed some important stuff a lot of them were saying (or likely would have said if he had asked the right questions). 

Case in point, I want to tell a story I alluded to in my prior post about when I met some of the band members after the Portland show on the Take Cover tour.  This was actually the first and only time I have met and spoken to Geoff Tate.  One of the things I wanted to tell him personally was about how much the song Anybody Listening meant to me personally.  I loved that song from the first time I heard it.  The music itself is outstanding and befitting of "favorite song" status.  But it is really the lyrics that grabbed me the hardest.  To me, lines like "think for yourself and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet" were what I most appreciated about this band.  They took a stand on issues, called out things they felt were wrong, dissected, criticized...but at the end of the day, while they made their (or, at least, Tate's) viewpoint fairly apparent, I always felt like the band was just trying to get you to think about and discuss the issues and "think for yourself," no matter which side of a given issue you might eventually fall on.  And there were other things in the lyrics that grabbed me as well.  There were the nautical themes.  There was the lonely melancholy.  For example, I really dug the line, "and if I don't return to sing the song, maybe just as well; I've seen the news, and there's not much I can do...alone."  That line in particular hit me pretty hard when I was sitting up late one night in the middle of the desert during the gulf war listening to Empire on my Walkman.  So much so that I began signing my letters home with that line.  To me, it was a statement of calm resignation--a recognition that I wasn't in control of my destiny, and that was okay.  And getting to a place where I could feel that that was "okay" was a mindset that actually produced hope and optimism about what I was doing and who I was. 

When I met Geoff, I explained all of this to him.  And...he completely missed the point.  He interjected a few times and said things along the lines of, "Wow, so you felt like you were just a tool of the corrupt government machine that was using you guys over there to further its own agenda. I'm glad our song could get you through something so awful."  And I was like, "Well, NO.  That's not what I'm saying at all," and I would again try to explain.  But it was one of the oddest conversations I've had.  He clearly had a preconceived notion about what he thought the narrative was that he didn't get what I was trying to tell him.  And it was like he couldn't get what I was trying to tell him.

I didn't know at the time, but that conversation was during the timeframe that they were working on American Soldier.  After having the album for awhile, I remembered back to this conversation, and it all clicked.  Tate accurately captured a lot of relevant feelings and struggles, but he ultimately missed the point that our military personnel could have shared with him.  And as that translated to the album, if you listen carefully, there definitely is a very anti-military and anti-government slant to it all.  And that's fine, if that's what he wanted to do.  But the problem is, it's not authentic.  I feel that he used those soldiers' words to paint a picture that isn't true to what they would tell you if they were allowed to just freely speak their minds about those things.  Yes, a lot of what he presents is accurate and is very poignant in the way it is presented, and that's a good thing.  But the slant and spin he puts on it all is not. 

So, this is the major problem I have with this album.  Tate got so much right.  But he also got so much wrong simply by virtue of the fact that he had preconceived notions about what he wanted to say and then hammered all the dialog into that mold to fit his own theme rather than listening to what these people really had to say.  In other words, he got the words right, and got the feelings right, but missed the bigger picture. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since I'm focusing on the negative right now, I have two other unrelated problems with this album:

1.  The vocals.  This is THE glaring flaw in the album.  Geoff Tate was, by far, the weakest link.  He is strained and thin, and it ruins some otherwise REALLY good songs.  This was SO disappointing to me.  In what universe should Geoff Tate's singing be the weak link on a Queensryche album?  But that is, unfortunately, the universe we are living in now.

2.  The emotional impact of the album suffers due to the album sequencing.  Overall, I really like the songs.  All of them.  And I think The Voice is a great closer, even if it isn't quite the big epic that a lot of their closers up to this point had been (forget Mindcrime II for a minute).  Two ballads leading up to The Voice really killed the album's momentum and made it end on a whimper, and that is unfortunate. 

Related to that, a sort of 2.b., Geoff should not have had Emily Tate sing Home Again.  I don't mean to criticize her.  But she wasn't the best choice for that song.  At first, I liked the fact that Tate sang it with his daughter.  Knowing that fact should have given the song an extra emotional kick.  And initially, it did.  Unfortunately, that quickly wore off because the performance just doesn't convey that emotion like it should.  Tate's performance is off key and flat, which is a problem in and of itself.  But Emily's doesn't really bring any emotion to the table like it should either.  Ultimately, I think it was a great decision to have a child sing the child's part in that song.  But they needed a different child--one that was either an experienced singer that could bring the emotional impact the song called for, or so young that the cuteness factor alone would pull at your heart strings so hard that it wouldn't matter.  This song just missed the mark.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, those are the problems I have with the album.  That said, there is a lot to like.  And overall, I do like the album quite a bit.  I already started a post where I hit most of the positives.  I will finish that and post it a bit later.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #917 on: September 12, 2017, 03:00:41 PM »
On to the positives...

Despite its flaws, I like this album.  I really do.  And the things I discussed above notwithstanding, there are things I love about the album that make it the best post-DeGarmo Tate album.   

I bought the album on release day, which was a fairly common occurrence for bands I like.  What as a bit unusual is that I bought two copies so I could keep a spare unopened copy.  I did so because the album's theme really resonated with me and the snippets I had heard were excellent.

The theme was and continues to be a draw for me.  Like a lot of musicians, Tate tends to be at his best when he has a specific vision and is forced to focus on that vision.  On this album, he and Slater managed to capture a lot of themes, ideas, and emotions that really resonate. 

The songwriting itself is mostly really good.  I had given Slater props on Mindcrime II for capturing a lot of that classic Queensryche sound.  I don't know whether to attribute the experience he gained in working on that album, the fact that the band was more involved with the recording on this one (but not the writing, obviously), or both, but he really knocked it out of the park on this album.  You may not be able to say this album sounds like Mindcrime, or sounds like Empire, or sounds like [album X].  But it sounds like Queensryche. 

This is just a collection of good, well-written, well-performed songs.  Yes, there are some choices that are a bit different and may not have worked as well as they could have in the execution.  For example, Samsara highlighted Middle of Hell, with its unconventional spoken-word verses and its hypnotic atmosphere.  Some liked the unconventional approach.  Some felt that it killed the song to not be heavier and not have a more traditional verse.  Personally, I have mixed feelings about it.  I love the atmosphere of the song.  I think it might have benefitted from a more traditional verse structure.  But I can't fault the creative vision behind it, and I really like the result they produced. 

There are lots of other strong moments on the album as well.  A Dead Man's Words is probably my favorite, even if it may be a bit derivative of the band's prior work (there is a reason I affectionately refer to it as Open II; listen to the song and sing the verses to Open over the songs verse--go ahead and try it). 

Ultimately, I just like what was written and how the songs are performed on the album, and that's the main thing.

Looking back, I wish I didn't miss the tour.  The scheduling and location here didn't work out for me, unfortunately.  But the worst thing was, when my wife and I went to New Orleans, we learned that they played the House of Blues a couple of blocks from our hotel.  Unfortunately, we didn't learn that information until the day AFTER the show.  :( 
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Offline PowerSlave

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #918 on: September 12, 2017, 03:57:02 PM »
Bosk, thank you very much for the great response to my question. I now intend to dive into this album, and hearing from someone who has lived that life will help me appreciate the record that much more.
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Offline Dittomist

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #919 on: September 12, 2017, 11:59:18 PM »
I remember being so excited when I picked this album up at Best Buy, but frustrated on the ride home because so many songs had the potential to be great but were just barely missing the mark. I kept wishing that Unafraid, with that truly glorious chorus, had actual verses rather than spoken word clips clumsily placed over a lame nu-metal riff, that Remember Me had a stronger chorus, that Home Again had slightly better vocals, that Sliver didn't contain those annoying "What's up?!" chants, etc. But just like the majority of albums, it seemed to get better each time I heard it.

Dead Man's Words is the clear standout in my opinion--it has such a dark, brooding quality reminiscent of the song Promised Land, and it was also quite a treat to hear the saxophone again! Listening to it on headphones makes it even more epic because you notice more of the vocal layers and haunting battlefield sound effects. Hundred Mile Stare is really catchy and I think it contains Tate's best performance on the album. At 30,000 Feet is another outstanding tune, made extra powerful with lyrics like "Their tortured painful cries will never fall upon my ears and never stain my elder years." After so many mid-tempo songs in a row, Man Down really hits the spot, and provides the only moments that sound remotely metal.  And even though it's a little corny, I think Home Again is really beautiful and poignant, and I wish it could have been the closing track.

The only song that still does nothing for me is The Voice. It's absolutely mystifying to me because I've heard it at least 15 times, including once this afternoon, and I still can't remember a single thing about it. I practically have the entire Queensryche catalog memorized, but for some reason this song goes in and out of my mind like vapor every single time, so I have no choice but to think of it as the most boring Queensryche song ever.

I didn't like American Soldier nearly as much as Operation Mindcrime II, but it had a really compelling, honorable concept and enough good songs to make me proud to be a loyal Queensryche fan. However, that feeling of pride would have vanished instantly had I done more research to discover that the band members didn't even write the fucking music.

Offline Mladen

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #920 on: September 14, 2017, 01:38:49 PM »
This was a solid album overall. Better than O:M2 and Q2K, but not better than Tribe and Hear in the now frontier. Unafraid is still one of my favorites, and Man down! and A Dead man's words turned out to be highlights as well. The album is consistently listenable and enjoyable, aside from Middle of hell and If I were king - the album would have been much better had those songs been left off.

Offline Samsara

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #921 on: September 15, 2017, 12:50:01 PM »
Those of you that listened to the record again (or for the first time)...do you think you'll put it on any sort of "rotation" of your regular listening?

By that I mean, for me, I usually listen to new records quite often. This year, I tend to rotate records released this year. But then I have probably a stable of 25, 30 albums I usually cycle through fairly regularly (meaning -- a few times per year). Do you see American Soldier approaching that level?

Just curious. American Soldier is a rotation album for me. I find myself going back to it a few times per year, despite the flaws discussed earlier. I just plain like it.

Offline Grappler

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #922 on: September 15, 2017, 01:01:58 PM »
Those of you that listened to the record again (or for the first time)...do you think you'll put it on any sort of "rotation" of your regular listening?

By that I mean, for me, I usually listen to new records quite often. This year, I tend to rotate records released this year. But then I have probably a stable of 25, 30 albums I usually cycle through fairly regularly (meaning -- a few times per year). Do you see American Soldier approaching that level?

Just curious. American Soldier is a rotation album for me. I find myself going back to it a few times per year, despite the flaws discussed earlier. I just plain like it.

Not really, only in that I don't listen to Queensryche very often anymore.  This thread has been fun to give myself a reason to listen to these albums and see if my opinions of them are still the same, or revisit why I loved them so much 15-20 years ago. 

But I generally listen to so many other bands in my regular rotation and only go for Queensryche if something prompts me to (reading some news about the band or hearing a song somewhere like on a free trial of XM radio. 

That being said, I may end up listening to some of the latter-era albums more often now since I tend to grow tired of their classic albums that I usually gravitate to.

Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #923 on: September 15, 2017, 01:08:57 PM »
Those of you that listened to the record again (or for the first time)...do you think you'll put it on any sort of "rotation" of your regular listening?

By that I mean, for me, I usually listen to new records quite often. This year, I tend to rotate records released this year. But then I have probably a stable of 25, 30 albums I usually cycle through fairly regularly (meaning -- a few times per year). Do you see American Soldier approaching that level?

Just curious. American Soldier is a rotation album for me. I find myself going back to it a few times per year, despite the flaws discussed earlier. I just plain like it.

Actually yes, I think I will go into my QR rotation. So i was very happy to be reminded of it from this thread. And the write up was awesome of course. Now I have a better understanding of it.

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Offline bosk1

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #924 on: September 15, 2017, 01:21:06 PM »
American Soldier is a rotation album for me. I find myself going back to it a few times per year, despite the flaws discussed earlier. I just plain like it.

Yeah, same here.  It isn't one I revisit often.  But like you, a few times a year is about right. 
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Offline ReaperKK

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #925 on: September 15, 2017, 07:03:05 PM »
Those of you that listened to the record again (or for the first time)...do you think you'll put it on any sort of "rotation" of your regular listening?

By that I mean, for me, I usually listen to new records quite often. This year, I tend to rotate records released this year. But then I have probably a stable of 25, 30 albums I usually cycle through fairly regularly (meaning -- a few times per year). Do you see American Soldier approaching that level?

Just curious. American Soldier is a rotation album for me. I find myself going back to it a few times per year, despite the flaws discussed earlier. I just plain like it.

I'm completely new to QR and I've been following this thread closely (it's one of my favorite threads on DTF) but to my ears I've never heard a band get so terrible as QR. American Solider is really awful, there is some cool riffage but that's about it.

I've been listening to a lot of TW through Empire (except for O:M which I don't care for but I can appreciate the music) and then it goes to shit, but with every passing album it seems to just get worse and worse.

I'm sorry if I'm coming off harsh here.

Offline njfirefighter

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #926 on: September 15, 2017, 08:09:02 PM »
Those of you that listened to the record again (or for the first time)...do you think you'll put it on any sort of "rotation" of your regular listening?

By that I mean, for me, I usually listen to new records quite often. This year, I tend to rotate records released this year. But then I have probably a stable of 25, 30 albums I usually cycle through fairly regularly (meaning -- a few times per year). Do you see American Soldier approaching that level?

Just curious. American Soldier is a rotation album for me. I find myself going back to it a few times per year, despite the flaws discussed earlier. I just plain like it.

I'm completely new to QR and I've been following this thread closely (it's one of my favorite threads on DTF) but to my ears I've never heard a band get so terrible as QR. American Solider is really awful, there is some cool riffage but that's about it.

I've been listening to a lot of TW through Empire (except for O:M which I don't care for but I can appreciate the music) and then it goes to shit, but with every passing album it seems to just get worse and worse.

I'm sorry if I'm coming off harsh here.


I'm a Queensryche diehard and they are my favorite band and I can't fault you at all for your stated observation. These last recordings with Geoff Tate fronting the band are abysmal by comparison to what this band accomplished on the first six albums. Steady decline for sure, which is why Geoff's ouster and Todd La Torre joining and a complete rebirth of the band was welcomed and necessary.

But you ain't seen nothin yet my friend, do yourself a favor and read the write up for the next record, but if you thought negatively about American Soldier, dear God, don't even bother listening to Dedicated to Chaos.

Back on topic, nah. American Soldier doesn't hold enough interest to revisit. There is so much better music out there and several other albums from this band to enjoy. This one certainly wouldn't be one of them unfortunately.     

Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #927 on: September 16, 2017, 03:22:12 AM »
I listen to QR  quite regularly, but only from EP to Promised Land and the two Todd fronted ones. Sometimes I throw Q2K in. Every couple of years or so I get the urge to listen to the whole discography from start to finish and only then the Tateryche records get a listen for the sake of completeness.

Offline Lowdz

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #928 on: September 17, 2017, 04:42:40 AM »
We're done now aren't we. We can just jump ahead to the s/t... nothing to see here...

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #929 on: September 17, 2017, 01:59:38 PM »
Idk. The way Sam does the writeups, it might be interesting to hear his take on the train wreck behind the scenes
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Offline MirrorMask

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #930 on: September 17, 2017, 02:05:06 PM »
Well, I'm here just for the trainwreck  :corn  I didn't even bother to listen to Dedicated to Chaos but I'm looking forward to read the entry about it.
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Offline Lowdz

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #931 on: September 17, 2017, 02:20:49 PM »
Idk. The way Sam does the writeups, it might be interesting to hear his take on the train wreck behind the scenes

Yeah, the Cabernet writeup could be good 😀

Offline Snow Dog

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #932 on: September 17, 2017, 02:30:19 PM »
Idk. The way Sam does the writeups, it might be interesting to hear his take on the train wreck behind the scenes

Yeah, the Cabernet writeup could be good 😀

There's attractive if rather one-dimensional fruit in the opening. The middle has good texture, and some of the opening fruit loops back at the finish.
Smooth, easy, and easy to find, with a very modest price tag. The body is light and boasts lots of cherry and strawberry dipped in a touch of mocha on the finish. Tastes great with red-sauce pasta dishes, lasagna or give it a go with your favorite calzone combination.

 ;)

Offline romdrums

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #933 on: September 17, 2017, 03:29:43 PM »
Idk. The way Sam does the writeups, it might be interesting to hear his take on the train wreck behind the scenes

Yeah, the Cabernet writeup could be good 😀

There's attractive if rather one-dimensional fruit in the opening. The middle has good texture, and some of the opening fruit loops back at the finish.
Smooth, easy, and easy to find, with a very modest price tag. The body is light and boasts lots of cherry and strawberry dipped in a touch of mocha on the finish. Tastes great with red-sauce pasta dishes, lasagna or give it a go with your favorite calzone combination.

 ;)

So you've actually tried Insania then? 
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Offline Lowdz

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #934 on: September 17, 2017, 04:38:02 PM »
Bloody hell. And that was with my new glasses on 😀
But yeah, obviously I meant insania and not the very dodgy cabaret shows 😜

Offline DragonAttack

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: American Soldier (2009)
« Reply #935 on: September 17, 2017, 07:30:09 PM »
Off the Cabernet for a minute, and back to AS for a comment........

I tried to listen to a few tracks during this discussion, and it was as if suddenly someone turned on a PBS documentary at 3/4 volume while I'm trying to listen to some music.  The interviews ruined what wasn't all that great to average material.  The demo for 'Unafraid' was pretty good (thanks for providing that).  'If I Were King' wasn't bad, but then someone turned up the frickin' TV in the other room partway through. 'Home Again' was soooo cheesy and painful to get through visually and audibly.

I think back to the time of its release, that I didn't bother with it at all, unlike the one spin that both OM 2 and 'Live Evolution' received.  Also, I went up to Philly with a friend to see DT and Zappa Meets Zappa.  I went with another friend to see them in Columbia, MD at the Meriweather Pavilion.  with Special Guest Queensryche.  At this point in their career, after being so disappointed in everything after PL (but making 'passable' personal version of 'FrontEar' and 'Q2k'), the BS behind 'Tribe' and its tour, the change in image, music, direction,etc....I was done with them.  We intentionally arrived late so as not to see the special guests for the evening. 

Judging from the vids available on youtube of that show, other than not seeing a damn good Rockenfield performance, we didn't miss much.  Well, other than what might have amounted to the biggest WTF? moment in my concert history, had I seen Daddy Tate and daughter sing together. 

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Offline Samsara

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Cabaret and D2C (2010-2012)
« Reply #936 on: September 18, 2017, 08:22:41 AM »
Queensryche: Circa 2010-2011

Touring...and touring...and touring...


Before we go forward and explain what Queensryche was doing after American Soldier, it is necessary to go back and understand the state of the music industry. Starting in 2004 or so, the music business, at least when it came to hard rock and metal acts, really began to shift. Bands and their management teams realized that albums wouldn't really sell unless you're a top pop act. So, instead of relying on album sales to generate revenue, most bands hit the road hard, trying to play as many dates and make as much money as possible.

This was a complete reversal from the days of putting out a record every two years and then going on a 100-date tour, and then repeating the cycle. Now, instead of touring to generate more record sales, bands make records to give promoters another angle to book them and keep them on the road. For established and long-term successful acts such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, it really didn't affect them – they toured when they wanted to tour, regardless of the changes. But for mid-level and fringe headlining acts, and those on the bubble that had waves of success like Queensryche, touring became the only way to survive.

While this was a positive for many fans who didn't have the ability to see Queensryche when the band only toured a market once an album cycle, the strategy ultimately backfired. Starting about when Susan Tate began managing the group (about 2004), Queensryche continually went back to the same key markets in the U.S. Not just every album cycle, but two, sometimes three times per year. This helped the band pay off debt and enabled the members to make an extremely good living, even better in some ways than the Empire years, and especially after the U.S. economy took a dump in the late 2000s.

Simply put, the band was making money and thriving financially until the end of 2009 on the strength of that “tour until you can't stand up” philosophy. In fact, there were stretches of dates where Queensryche would play six out of seven nights, and 13 out of 14. It was grueling, but lucrative because of the volume of gigs.

As much as Susan Tate's method of management has been questioned and criticized over the years, the one thing everyone – including the band – admitted: her work kept them afloat and their wallets full.

The problem, however, was her strategy was short term planning and couldn't be sustained. Queensryche found that the over-saturation of U.S. markets also eroded the band's (booking agent's) negotiation power with promoters in terms of how much money Queensryche would earn (called guarantees) for each show. As a result, each time the band went to book a new tour, they ended up making less and less money. Queensryche needed a “gimmick” as the years went on to convince promoters that the show would sell well, to enable the band to secure the financial number (the guarantee) per show it was accustomed to.

Well, in 2010, the guarantees per show were starting to bottom out, and Queensryche went all in on a gimmick to try and get things back up...

The Queensryche Cabaret (2010)




Queensryche announced that it would bring a cabaret-style show, complete with aerialists, strip tease dancers and various other erotic/exotic acts to the masses in 2010. The performers would strut their stuff while Queensryche played a concert with songs from its catalog tailored to the acts being performed on stage. In a nutshell, as the saying goes, sex sells, and Queensryche was looking to exploit that and find a way to make some money.

The idea was spearheaded by Susan and Geoff Tate. The “acts” consisted of Susan herself (an ex-stripper), and Mysti Rockenfield (another ex-stripper), along with Miranda Tate (the Tates' daughter who was doing some exotic dancing/cabaret stuff at the time) and various other family members and friends. I'll let the photos do most of the descriptive talking regarding the stage “show” Queensryche put on:



Not all the members of the band were in favor of this approach. Michael Wilton, in particular, wanted nothing to do with the whole thing. He wore a hood (see photo above) for some of the initial shows to basically, as he described to me and others, “just try and hide and just play the songs.”

To put it bluntly, the band was CRUCIFIED for the cabaret. Both from the fans, and the critics. From a fan perspective, the sexual overtones and cabaret-style stuff were exactly the sorts of things that Queensryche had always publicly frowned upon for the most part. Queensryche was known to be against things that objectify women (again, generally) and this flew in the face of that. Just like Wilton, the majority of fans recoiled at the sideshow act the Tates were turning Queensryche into.

From a critical view, the cabaret idea (as some have remarked) could have had some legs...had the band not tried to pull it off so cheaply. By using friends and family to keep the costs low, the performance came off second-rate, as opposed to truly professional. Some critics noted that if Queensryche hired experienced talent, and really worked the show, the band may have found a new crossover audience with the cabaret crowd. But Queensryche went on the cheap, and after about 20-25 dates, the concept was put to bed. It lasted, however, through October or so of 2010. Queensryche played “normal” shows, including the aforementioned tour of the Middle East throughout the rest of the calendar year.

On a positive note, the one thing the cabaret tour got a thumb's up on, by many fans, was the setlist. Approximately 90-minutes in length (perhaps a tad more due to costume and set changes), Queensryche played a bunch of tunes that they had shunned on previous tours, including a trio of rarely played songs from Promised Land (the title track, Dis-con-nec-ted, and Lady Jane), and the never-before-played “The Art of Life” from Tribe. The setlist was constructed to support the theme very well, and from the accounts of those that attended, if you closed your eyes and just listened to the music, the band performed extremely well and the songs flowed nicely together.

Dedicated to Chaos (2011)



Lead vocals – Geoff Tate
Guitars – Michael Wilton
Bass – Eddie Jackson
Drums – Scott Rockenfield

Additional musicians:

Guitars – Parker Lundgren
Guitars – Kelly Gray
Keyboards – Randy Gane
Bass – Jason Slater
Background vocals – Jason Ames
Background vocals – Miranda Tate

Dedicated to Chaos
was released in the U.S. on June 28, 2011 in two different versions – a standard edition, and a special edition with four bonus tracks. It debuted at #70 on the Billboard chart (as opposed to American Soldier being #25 and Operation: Mindcrime II being #14), and dropped like a rock after that. It was, along with 1999's Q2k, likely the most criticized record in Queensryche's career to this point.

Playing up to the title of the album, Dedicated to Chaos was all over the map in terms of musical style. From pop to metal to electronica. Quite simply, it was a mess of a record. Parts of it were a complete sonic departure from what people knew as Queensryche, resulting in a huge backlash from fans...and actual band members (we'll get to that in a bit).

Initially, Dedicated to Chaos was supposed to be a band-written record (unlike Operation: Mindcrime II and American Soldier). The band was not pleased that their contributions were limited over the last couple of records, and allegedly, the four principal members of the band agreed to write the album together. Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield got together to come up with initial song ideas. But at some point in early 2011, Tate allegedly flipped the script.

Instead of working on the songs from the band, Tate instead sang on songs given to him by Kelly Gray, Randy Gane (Tate's old bandmate in MYTH) and Jason Slater. Wilton, in particular, was completely shut out from the writing process. In the end, Dedicated to Chaos ended up with a few songs co-written by Jackson and Rockenfield, but the majority were again from outside writers, with Tate doing all the lyrics.

Editor's note: There are a large amount of b-sides compiled for this record. They have never been released, but generally, Slater opened up his unused song library to Tate, and Tate picked quite a few cuts and recorded vocals on them. Again, they've never been leaked or released (to my knowledge). They are also quite varied, style-wise. I have heard them (with Tate's vocals) and most are in the vein of Slater's old band, Snake River Conspiracy, highlighting electronica and the rhythm section.

In addition, Wilton has been asked on multiple occasions what happened to the tracks he was working on for Dedicated to Chaos, and if they would be recycled by Queensryche's current lineup. Wilton generally sidesteps the question, saying the band only works on stuff they have come up with in the present for whatever project they are working on.


Perhaps the most shocking aspect of Dedicated to Chaos was the album's lyrics. Sexually-charged songs such as “Got it Bad” were ridiculed, as were the majority of other tunes on the record. Tate unfortunately comes off as complaining about the world at times (Hot Spot Junkie, Retail Therapy), as opposed to his reputation as a deep thinker. And while coming off of American Soldier, embracing lighter subject areas was probably a welcome change for him, it only served to further build the frustration fans were having with Tate and the direction he was steering the band.

Tate and Rockenfield did a lot of promotion for the album, however, trying to sell it on the strength of it being very rhythm oriented and experimental. If I recall correctly, Rockenfield tried to liken it to Rage for Order meets Empire, which, if you listen, isn't an accurate description at all. As for the rest of the band, they had other ideas. Right at, or prior to Dedicated to Chaos' release, Wilton and Jackson took to social media to share their thoughts.

“I hope you enjoy my guitar parts on the new record” - Michael Wilton (summary/paraphrase)

Eddie Jackson went a step further, and simply apologized to fans on Twitter for the album.

It was a huge public sign of the growing dysfunction in Queensryche that has first reared its head publicly nine years earlier. If you recall, that was when Tate was on the road with his solo band and said on WMMS that Queensryche only spoke through lawyers, and were a dysfunctional group. As you can imagine, the fan backlash, on the strength of those comments from Wilton and Jackson, was immense.

Even Parker Lundgren, who was still a guest in the band at this point, remarked (again paraphrase) that he and the band worked on songs, and then when the record came out, there were songs he had never even heard once before. Wilton's comments about “guitar parts” is also likely accurate. Unlike American Soldier, where you can hear Michael play throughout the album, only a couple of tracks on Dedicated to Chaos have Wilton on them.

To be fair, Dedicated to Chaos has its moments of promise and intrigue. “At the Edge” is probably the highlight, appealing to the progressive rock fan who enjoys Promised Land, as does “Big Noize” (ridiculous spelling aside). Lyrics aside, “Hot Spot Junkie” (great guitar solo) and “The Lie” should capture a bit of interest from hard rock fans.

The singles from the record (if I remember correctly) were "Get Started" (a mid-tempo rocker that lacks any real crunchy guitars), which was used at Seattle Seahawks football games, and "Around the World." The latter is more of a pop rock song whose chorus tries to be a unifying statement that “all we need is love.”

Queensryche had planned a tour marketed initially to support Dedicated to Chaos, but it was quickly scrapped in favor a tour celebrating the band's 30th anniversary. So, instead of being subjected to six or seven songs from the new record, Queensryche played one or two (Get Started, Around the World, and sometimes At the Edge), and the rest were tunes from the back catalog.

The band played gigs throughout 2011 and 2012 in support of its 30th Anniversary and to a minor extent, Dedicated to Chaos. But the tension between them was at an all-time high, and would erupt in April 2012.

Samsara's top tracks from Dedicated to Chaos: At the Edge. (If you really want to stretch, try Hot Spot Junkie).

Next up: 2012-2013: A discussion of the “Brazil Incident,” the fallout and changes from that (Tate's dismissal, Rising West, two Queensryches, etc.), Return to History Tour, Self-titled album.






Offline MirrorMask

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Cabaret and D2C (2010-2012)
« Reply #937 on: September 18, 2017, 08:58:39 AM »
At this point in time, I simply stopped to bother with Queensryche.

I was anticipating more this chapter in the thread than the album itself.

Pity that the cabaret was half assed, if done well and tastefully, it could have been something original and more well received, even though the whole idea was kinda whacky to begin with.
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Offline Grappler

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Cabaret and D2C (2010-2012)
« Reply #938 on: September 18, 2017, 09:11:48 AM »
Not much for me to add here.  I listened to the official pre-release stream of Dedicated to Chaos.  Flipped through it, actually.  I determined that there was nothing of value to this album and have never purchased it.  It was the first QR album that I had never bought at the time of release, and still do not own it.  That broke my heart, coming from my one-time favorite band.  But they had been trending downward for me over the years before they put this album out.

The cabaret - the last time I saw them with Geoff as their singer was in 2006.  I had lost interest in them due to the oversaturation of touring.  They would play 2-3 night stints in Chicago EVERY year, with little variation to the setlist.  They'd drop a song from the set on the second night.  Geoff would say "hey, you want to hear some "old" Queensryche?" and you knew they'd play either Walk in the Shadows or Lady Wore Black.  What's the point of seeing a show every year if it's going to be the same?  Sadly, the current incarnation of the band has also fallen victim to this mindset as well.

I grew very, very tired of the same old schtick from the band.   And the cabaret was just dumb.  Motley Crue did it right on their 2005 Carnival of Sins tour.  Big arena setting, a stage that looked like a circus, and some aerial acts, strippers, and the like - all very professionally performed.  But you EXPECT that coming from the Crue, the kings of dirt and sleaze.  You don't expect it coming from a more thought-provoking band like Queensryche, and the half-assed approach wasn't worth my money at all.

Offline bosk1

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Cabaret and D2C (2010-2012)
« Reply #939 on: September 18, 2017, 09:15:30 AM »
Before I saw the D2C post, I was coming in here to post something, so I will post it anyway.  Just wanted to say that it is NOT related to D2C. 

A fan of the band made a comment to me a few times over the years that I didn't buy into at the time.  But in revisiting the band's history and my reaction to it, I have come to realize something and embrace it wholeheartedly for the first time:  Queensryche is dead.  The band I initially became a fan of and loved died when Chris DeGarmo left.  And it will never come back.  There are better guitar players than Chris DeGarmo.  There are better songwriters than Chris DeGarmo.  But this band had an undeniable synergy in their early years.  And the key element to that synergy was Chris being able to bridge the gap between Tate and the rest of the band and meld their disparate perspectives into something complex and amazing.  That died when he left.  That isn't to say there weren't cracks when he was still in the band.  Yeah, they were dysfunctional during the PL sessions.  And the balance had shifted as certain members shut down during the HITNF sessions.  But Chris was still the glue that was able to take what other members brought to the table and make it sound like Queensryche. 

After he left, the seeds remained.  The new version of the band wrote together during the Q2K sessions.  And even though the direction ultimately didn't work, they were trying to function as a unit.  And when Chris came back for the Tribe sessions, the stuff he worked on had that Queensryche vibe, even if the songs themselves were more modern and different than the classic sound.  To me, it shows that this band simply could not be what it was without Chris DeGarmo.

The band definitely had some high points after that.  Slater masterfully studied up and was able to bring things that sounded like Queensryche to the table on some of Mindcrime II and quite a bit of American Soldier.  There is a fair amount that I like on those two albums (mostly the latter, but still).  And I like a LOT of the latest iteration of the band with Todd LaTorre fronting (which I will comment on more later).  They are writing some truly great material now with Todd.  But they aren't the band they once were.  They can't be.  That band is dead.  And that's fine.
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Offline Samsara

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Cabaret and D2C (2010-2012)
« Reply #940 on: September 18, 2017, 09:40:49 AM »

I have come to realize something and embrace it wholeheartedly for the first time:  Queensryche is dead.  The band I initially became a fan of and loved died when Chris DeGarmo left.  And it will never come back.  There are better guitar players than Chris DeGarmo.  There are better songwriters than Chris DeGarmo.  But this band had an undeniable synergy in their early years.  And the key element to that synergy was Chris being able to bridge the gap between Tate and the rest of the band and meld their disparate perspectives into something complex and amazing.  That died when he left.  That isn't to say there weren't cracks when he was still in the band.  Yeah, they were dysfunctional during the PL sessions.  And the balance had shifted as certain members shut down during the HITNF sessions.  But Chris was still the glue that was able to take what other members brought to the table and make it sound like Queensryche. 

After he left, the seeds remained.  The new version of the band wrote together during the Q2K sessions.  And even though the direction ultimately didn't work, they were trying to function as a unit.  And when Chris came back for the Tribe sessions, the stuff he worked on had that Queensryche vibe, even if the songs themselves were more modern and different than the classic sound.  To me, it shows that this band simply could not be what it was without Chris DeGarmo.

Amen. That's exactly how I feel, bosk. There are better guitar players and songwriters. But Chris was the key cog of the band for most of us. I didn't realize it until well after he was gone. But it is more clear than ever before. As you said, there was this vibe and synergy in the band's sound that has not been replaced or replicated and never will be. Queensryche, as it was in that original band is gone, and that is fine. If it ever gets resurrected, well, that would be one thing. But at least for now, and likely forever, that band is dead and buried. It is still my favorite band of all time, but I'm fine if it never raises up, and I'm pretty thankful for it, and what I got from that original lineup of Queensryche. I wish the current band the best, but it is not the same for me, and never will be.

EDIT:

Some thoughts on Cabaret/D2C...I was disgusted with it. I'm all for tits and ass as much as the next straight guy. But that's not what Queensryche was about, and it really just soured me on them completely. I didn't see Queensryche live after the American Soldier tour until the first Rising West show in 2012 (we'll get to those later). And when D2C dropped, it was just plain shit. In retrospect, I do see what Tate was trying to do with D2C. But it simply wasn't what Queensryche was. To me, D2C was Tateryche's version of Hear in the Now Frontier -- and what I meant by that is creatively pushing in a direction WAY too far to lose sight of what the band IS.

Slater said something to me in the Mindcrime II sessions that he continually repeated to me through the years, which I then, and now, disagree with. He said that whatever music it is, it becomes Queensryche with Geoff's voice on it. I thoroughly disagree. And D2C was exactly the example I used to push that disagreement. It does have a couple of good seeds on it, song-wise. But other than At the Edge, and a few other brief PARTS of songs, it is downright abysmal, and sounds NOTHING like Queensryche to my ears.

I never bought D2C. In fact, it was the first record I didn't receive a promo copy of in advance since HITNF. A friend bought it and ripped it for me. I gave it one listen, got disgusted. I tried again a month or two later, and that was it. I kept a few songs I thought had potential (At the Edge, Big Noise, Hot Spot Junkie, The Lie, and I Take You), and deleted the rest. I listen to that "EP" of songs maybe once a year, and find a little bit of enjoyment in that, but not much. I listened to D2C in full when doing this write-up, and to be honest, it really wasn't in full. I had to shut it off about 3/4 of the way through. It's just a bad record, IMO. Worst one with Queensryche's name.

It was a very weird time to be a fan of Queensryche...
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 09:51:24 AM by Samsara »

Offline bosk1

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Cabaret and D2C (2010-2012)
« Reply #941 on: September 18, 2017, 09:55:29 AM »
Now for D2C and the tour...

I guess I can summarize by saying that I had become thoroughly disgusted with the band at this point.  I heard a few snippets form D2C and decided it was NOT for me.  Above all else, the songs just weren't there.  The band didn't write them, and they weren't anything special.  And the problem of Geoff's singing being subpar persisted.  Because I am a completist, I wanted to eventually own the album and have it in the collection.  But I wouldn't buy a new copy.  I wouldn't give a dime to this version of the band, just on principle.  So I waited until a finally found a copy in the used bin well over a year after the fact.  I spun it once.  No desire to ever spin it again.  I YouTube'd the songs Samsara highlighted above to see if maybe, years after the fact and just taking them as individual songs, I might find something redeemable in those songs alone.  Nope, not really.  Nothing about D2C interests me in the slightest (although the cover art is kinda cool). 

The tour...not much to say about the Cabaret that hasn't already been said.  Part of the problem was the format in general.  Queensryche should NOT be doing a cabaret tour at all.  That was diametrically opposed to how the band had always marketed themselves.  So, I wouldn't have gone even if it was done "right."  And the second problem was, as pointed out by several others, the fact that it was done on a shoestring budget just made it feel seedy, cheap, and gross.  With Crue, as pointed out above, it not only fit their image, but was also a high-budget spectacle.  This wasn't even close to that in any respect.  The only thing is, the set list really was pretty good. 

This era of the band had me thoroughly disgusted with them.  There is the obvious stuff that I mentioned above.  But also the fact that the "band" was now a Tate family affair only, right down to the nepotism of Susan running the band, the family members involved in the Cabaret tour, and Parker being the replacement for Mike Stone.  It all left a VERY bad taste in my mouth to the point where I would not support the band in any way, shape, or form unless there would be a major change in the way they did things.  And given that this was my favorite band for the better part of a decade (and my second favorite for years after that), that is pretty huge.  If things didn't change, I was done with them.

But one last note on Parker:  He was widely panned at the time, not only for being an unknown when they should have brought in an established player with serious playing chops, even more songwriting chops, and industry cred--but also for the fact that, by all appearances, he was brought in solely because of his relationship with the Tate family.  But to his credit, the guy did indeed have playing chops.  And he completely dedicated himself to learning how to play the songs correctly, not only in terms of the actual notes, but also going for the correct mood and feel.  It would not really become apparent until later what a find he was in that regard, but I can't give the guy enough credit.
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Offline jjrock88

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Cabaret and D2C (2010-2012)
« Reply #942 on: September 18, 2017, 10:31:12 AM »
Great write up as usual!

But DTC is still the worst thing I've ever heard from a band that I like.

Offline Lowdz

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Cabaret and D2C (2010-2012)
« Reply #943 on: September 18, 2017, 10:32:43 AM »
Great write up and tbh much better than this period in the band deserves.
The cabaret was an abomination. Motley Crue could pull something like this off, but QR? The thinking mans heavy metal band????

The album is shit. Just shit. I listened once and had to have my ears syringed to get the shit out 😀. And yet, unbelievably, there was worse to come.

If there are unreleased tracks which must be worse than this drivel, I wouldn't want to hear them in a million years.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 12:17:08 PM by Lowdz »

Offline romdrums

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Re: The Queensr˙che Discography Thread: Cabaret and D2C (2010-2012)
« Reply #944 on: September 18, 2017, 10:51:58 AM »
I had a good laugh when I saw the announcements for the QR Cabaret shows.  That, to me, felt like the absolute lowest of the low they could go, especially when it was clear that not only Geoff's wife, but his daughter would be involved, along with Scott's wife.  WTF were they thinking?  I felt bad for Michael Wilton seeing his band's reputation getting dragged through the gutter by the Tates.  Then again, I wonder why he stuck around.  Nothing is worth that kind of embarrassment.  Sure, the band is in a better place now because he stuck around, and is now kind of the leader, but wow, was it worth it?
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