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Did the title of my review make you gasp? Have you collapsed onto the floor and commenced experiencing a seizure? Or perhaps you have closed your eyes and opened them expecting "best" to change to "worst". Well, folks, I'm dead serious when I say this is Queensryche's best album, and I've heard all of them.
This disc is underrated and while it may break no new ground, it treads over previously broken ground quite nicely. By now Queensryche had achieved quite a bit and successfully converted from a heavy metal band to a progressive metal band to a hard rock band, still keeping the same sound the band started with. I agree that this album does not excel by being the most technically brilliant, the best produced, the most creative, or even because it has the best performance by the band. What it does have in it's favor is songwriting.
Others tend to disagree with me, but I feel this album has the best set of Queensryche songs yet. It's probably their only album without filler, and I know with each passing sentence I'm sending more of you to the emergency room from trauma, but really I like all of the songs on here. I can't say that about Mindcrime. Even still, some songs are still better than others. Highlights on this album include "Jet City Woman" a classic tune that you've most likely heard several times. Next is "Another Rainy Night", a song that's actually quite sappy and pathetic but has some excellent guitar melodies and a catchy as AIDS chorus. "Empire" is one of the heaviest tracks, featuring some vocals which bring back the band's earlier albums. "Silent Lucidity" is a song that you've almost certainly heard and wheter you hate it or love it, it is a classic.
But it is the album's closing track which is the best of the bunch. Topping in at number one on the list of my favorite Queensryche songs is "Anybody Listening?" a song which defies that tone set by every other song on the album and decides that if it wants to be a lengthy progressive rock element then it damn well can. I don't want to explain this song and give it away but it sounds similar to "Suite Sister Mary" from Mindcrime, but much, much better.
The album isn't mindblowing, except for maybe two cuts, and it isn't a breakthrough, but at this point should I even really care? Being a creative, unique, masterpiece is great, but every once in a while I just want an album I can pop in and just listen to, say "That's a good album.", then put away until next time. And that's what kind of album this is. Enjoy it for what it is, because if you over-analyze it then of course it's going to sound pathetic.
If you're a Queensryche fan then you need to own this album. If you aren't a fan of the group, then I suggest this is a good place to start.