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Good for what it is - 68%

The_Ghoul, February 21st, 2014

This seems to be the album Queensryche fans shit on the most. Perhaps because this represents a more clear vision of Geoff Tate's post-Mindcrime madness, or perhaps because Chris DeGarmo isn't here, but for some reason this album gets a lot of hate. A LOT. So much, that I avoided Q2K for many years, assuming it to be nothing more than pop-rock garbage. Is this garbage, though? I would most certainly think not.

What it is, though, is very 90's. Q2K is actually very representative of the musical landscape of the late 90's, which makes it very hard for most metalheads to appreciate, given our natural predisposition against anything 90's. As such, if we approach this evaluating this from a metal standpoint (guitar solos, aggressive riffs, fast drumming, etc...) of course this is not going to be up to par. And, it's worth noting, this isn't perfect. A lot of tension was in Queensryche at the time, which would eventually lead to its fission, and this album does have a fractured nature to it. Chris DeGarmo's absence is indeed felt, as there is very negligible lead work on this album, but that's irrelevant. At the end of the day, I genuinely enjoy a good 75% of this album, which, considering its style and the state of mind of the bandmembers, is a friggin' miracle.

The style, if anybody is unaware, of Q2K consists of slow-midtempo songs with either really basic or clean rhythm guitar most of the time, with midrange singing from Tate about life and relationships and stuff, and I'm pretty sure your eyes just rolled and you're wondering what kind of high-grade weed I'm smoking that makes this enjoyable for me. Well, the Queensryche boys seem to have a knack for composition, because even when they're scraping the dregs, the result seems to be mostly enjoyable. We have faster songs, like Liquid Sky and Wot Kinda Man, which actually have a bit of lead work (however simplified it is) and slower songs like Right Side of My Mind and Beside You continue the tradition Queensryche have of the slower, more contemplative material that they dove into on Promised Land. In fact, Right Side of My Mind even seems to take from the same creative well as songs like Eyes of A Stranger, and although the latter is clearly superior, the former does display Queensryche's knack for coming up with catchy and melodic chorii, which proves DeGarmo wasn't the only one who wrote those.

This album has its letdowns, like Breakdown and One Life, the latter of which sounding a bit too "MTV" even for my tastes. Clearly, the band is not working with the best of source material, and while my review said "Good for what it is", "what it is" consists of some rather radio-friendly tunes, so it goes without saying that there is some filler here. In fact, even on the better songs, it's apparent that their hearts aren't entirely in the right place. Placed next to Mindcrime, it obviously topples down easily.

But honestly, compared to the crap they made in collaboration with Jason Slater with Susan Tate at the helm, it's positively enjoyable.