Queensryche
Hear in the Now Frontier


4.0
excellent

Review

by PsychicChris USER (66 Reviews)
June 17th, 2013 | 66 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An experiment that is pretty enjoyable but ultimately came too late

Queensryche’s sixth studio album is widely regarded as the first true misstep of their career. While having a few initial signs of success, it ultimately faded from sight due to their label folding combined with the Seattle group’s futile response to a movement that had already passed. To add insult to injury, guitarist/bandleader Chris DeGarmo left the band shortly after its release despite (or perhaps because of) his overwhelming influence on its development.

For the first time since the days of the EP, Hear In The Now Frontier sees the band emulating the styles of others as opposed to incorporating a wide variety of influences under a signature sound. Despite coming out a couple years after grunge was beginning to decline, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots are the album’s leading aspirations though one can also finds reference to U2, Pearl Jam, and what Metallica was doing around the time. In short, it’s a very basic record that puts a bunch of jams out there without any signs of a bigger picture.

And while there aren’t any prog or ambient touches left, the band hierarchy isn’t too far off from the Promised Land dynamic. The guitars are still the prime focus and while there aren’t any strong riffs or solos on display, they do their job and are backed by a decent rhythm section. And like the EP before it, Tate’s vocals are what keep the music from sounding too generic. However, he has stuck with a mid-range approach that rarely ventures into extreme pitches.

When it comes down to it, the success of Hear In The Now Frontier heavily depends on how the songs themselves are written and presented. Unfortunately, having fourteen songs on a single disc does lead to a mixed bag as several of them end up running together. Fortunately, the running times are short and the songs themselves are pleasant to listen to, but it’s definitely not as consistent as everything that came before it.

In addition, there are still some pretty brilliant songs on here. “Hit The Black” may be the easiest song to get into for established fans thanks to its Mindcrime-esque guitar lines though “Saved” stands out for its explosive Soundgarden-isms and “You” reminds me of KISS with its simple but catchy hook. In addition, “Get A Life” brings in a little heaviness, “Miles Away” and “All I Want” bring in a little pop, and “Sign Of The Times” makes for a decent opener.

Much like Bruce Dickinson’s Skunkworks, Queensryche’s sixth full-length album is an experiment that is pretty enjoyable but ultimately came too late. Its reputation is deserved when you consider its plain presentation and the band’s over the top past, but it is worth looking into for grunge fans and makes for an entertaining character study. And the fact that it’s in every used CD store ever does mean that you won’t have to pay too much for a copy…

Current Highlights:
“Sign of The Times”
“Get A Life”
“Saved”
“You”
“Hit The Black”

Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com



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user ratings (186)
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2.4
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
PsychicChris
June 17th 2013


217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is supposed to be the first crappy Queensryche album. So why do I love it?

dannyboy89
June 17th 2013


13064 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

At long last! Somebody who likes this!

Pos'd.

Pearl Jam had a style comparable to STP and SG, but just a nitpick. Album is underrated.

NeroCorleone80
June 17th 2013


30109 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good review but not a fan of this album at all.

scissorlocked
June 17th 2013


3511 Comments


I agree that this is kinda over-hyped as pure shit, but there are good moments indeed

skunkworks is also good and the comparison is accurate

Digging: Low Roar - Low Roar

KILL
June 17th 2013


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

sucks

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

scissorlocked
June 17th 2013


3511 Comments


still better than the new one

KILL
June 17th 2013


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

s/t sounds like the best album ever bro

ksoflas
June 17th 2013


459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cool album but definetely not a 4.
Pos'd.


scissorlocked
June 17th 2013


3511 Comments


the fact that there is some degarmo here instantly makes it better than most of the later crap

this guy was always the engine behind the band's subtlety. the others were more straight-metal guys

Titan
June 17th 2013


5792 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

still better than the new one [2]

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 29th 2014


6339 Comments


skunkworks is also good and the comparison is accurate

I agree about the comparison per se, but Skunkworks had/has infinitely better songs that this album, which sounds like the ultimate definition of golden mediocrity.

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive

DrJohn
July 29th 2014


489 Comments


Nah not even golden... Imho, if this is a four then Rage and Mindcrime should be an eight or more. As each of the former is twice the album Hear is.

SirDrumsalot
July 29th 2014


1604 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This really isn't as terrible as people make it out to be. It was just so different it was a shock. Its not terrific, and nowhere near OM and Rage, I'll give you that. But I still enjoy it.

DrJohn
July 29th 2014


489 Comments



I rank Rage and Order around 4.5 so this would make Hear according to my previous statement a 2.2 - 2.3. That's not terrible ... it is just mediocre.


Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 29th 2014


6339 Comments


Just jammed the album for the first time since it was released, and only the last two songs stuck with me.

It's as if band sounds mediocre on purpose.

Besides, 15 songs are too much for an album.

DrJohn
July 29th 2014


489 Comments


^
"Besides, 15 songs are too much for an album."

Agreed! Especially when the album is mediocre ;)

not very important> I have a version with 14 tracks...you have a bonus edition Voivod?


SirDrumsalot
July 29th 2014


1604 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah they should have just left the first 3 songs off. After that its better.

SirDrumsalot
July 29th 2014


1604 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh and on the "It's as if band sounds mediocre on purpose." comment.
I agree a little. They did go for a stripped away production sound on this. Which I think was a bad idea. The song could have been a lot better.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 29th 2014


6339 Comments


I have listened to the remastered version of the album on Spotify and the regular track list consisted of 15 songs.

The additional song was "Chasing Blue Sky".

Sabrutin
July 29th 2014


1052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't mind listening to this from time to time, but it's been very hard to digest at first.

Track number 15 "Chasing Blue Sky" comes from the 2003 reissue.



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