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So the legendary Queensryche go for the gold (aka THE DOLLAR) and release a pop-rocking prog record that repeats the same drum beat OVER and OVER on every song. The production places this one beat so high that it becomes obvious that Scott Rockenfield didn't want any variation of any sort. At worst, it sounds as if the man looped his drums for every song. Otherwise...one may find the artwork, lyrics and production on this release to be quite classy and a good 2-4 songs work well as listening junkfood. Even so, I suggest that people buy the "Live Evolution" CD to hear the best songs from this album performed with a better mix and a lesser sense of annoyance with the drumming.
The few key tracks that poke out are the Led Zepplin-esque "Falling Down", the sliding "Liquid Sky" and the rumbling "Sacred Ground". The rest has some classy guitar work and the typical "new-Tate" vocal styles but because of the one-trick drumming and lazy riff-craft the album does little but drift by, hammering that annoying drum beat into your skull again and again. The few good tracks make it worth buying for the Queensryche fan...but if you're a fairweather...stay FAR away.
Queensryche keep evolving as in the past, but I don't think have any clue of what or who they wish to be anymore. This record shows a band trying to embrace progressive elements AND pop elements and sacrificing the best of both in an attempt to please everyone and spark sales.
Sadly for them...this was not to be and they found themselves (for the first time) being kicked from a major label.