Queensryche
Promised Land


4.5
superb

Review

by krusty85 USER (3 Reviews)
November 13th, 2006 | 99 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A dark, complex and progressive masterpiece, "Promised Land" is somewhat overlooked in Queensryche's catalogue but is very rewarding if one takes the time to really listen.

With the release of "Operation Mindcrime" in 1988 and "Empire" two years later, Queensryche were on the forefront of the progressive metal genre. Although some die-hard fans were disappointed with the somewhat more "pop" sound that "Empire" had offered, the album nevertheless had it's share of progressive elements, making Queensryche a nice bridge between good 'ol fashioned metal like Iron Maiden and the more artful progressive vein of rock of such bands like Pink Floyd or Rush.

Come 1994 however and the world of rock music had greatly changed. Classic metal bands of various streams (e.g. Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Slayer) thought invincible only a few years earlier (though all of the above have experienced somewhat of a rennaissance of late) seemed to pass out of the limelight. Queensryche too seemed affected with rumours of inner tentions and a several year gap with only one track for the "Last Action Hero" soundtrack being released. Queensryche however did return and in spite of the explosion of grunge and alternative rock, "Promised Land" went on to sell very well and provide Queensryche with another platinum seller. But enough history.

"Promised Land" is not the Queensryche album that the fans could have come to expect. The title of course is laced with irony. The promised land that fame and success should have lead to was not the paradise one would have believed and, as the band members themselves admitted, Queensryche learned this the hard way. Consequently the album largely reflects this feeling of disillusionment and disappointment both lyrically and musically.

It is in this album that Queensryche most closely resembles Pink Floyd ca. "Animals" or "The Wall". Many of the tracks are very quiet and atmospheric creating a sombre and dark mood with instrumentation ranging from largely acoustic guitars ("Bridge" or "Out of mind") to almost entirely piano driven ("Lady Jane" and "Someone Else?"). These latter two bearing a distinct Pink Floyd touch with "Someone Else?"'s piano lines an homage to "Nobody Home" off "The Wall" and "Lady Jane" sporting Roger Waters-esque vocals from Tate and "Echoes" style vocal harmonisation.

Despite this resemblence Queensryche make these songs all of their own particularly through their fantastic harmonised guitar leads and overall heavier, guitar-driven sound. And simply because there are more quiet tracks does not mean that the boys have forgotten how to rock out. "Damaged" moves along with a thumping bass and a grinding riff courtesy of DeGarmo and Wilton. Some headbanging material to be found there. "My Global Mind" also moves along with a quieter verse but with a driving riff for the chorus.

However the most fascinating tracks here are probably "Dis Con Nec Ted" and the title track. The former can almost be classified as a dark funk with some nice bass licks and cleverly used saxophone fills (yes, they actually work!). The latter on the other hand is the darkest piece on here and broods along with an equal share of keyboard and sonic atmospherics as well as rocking solos and riffs.

The crowning achievement of this album however is its ability to create atmosphere. As stated, it is a dark and reflective record and for this reason it might not suit everyone or be suitable for every occasion or mood. Yet despite this prevelant atmosphere, the tracks here are all quite varied and each yield a slightly different feel unto themselves.

The production as well as musicianship on this album is top-notch with Tate providing an excellent vocial performance. However, fans of his more stratospheric delivery, as witnessed in earlier albums, might be disappointed as Tate stays mainly in a lower register with a much mellower tone to his voice. That being said though, Tate delivers the power when necessary and this is used to great effect. Check out "Someone Else?" for a fantastic performance.

Without a doubt this is Queensryche's most progressive and least accessable record. However, as can often be the case, a great work can take time to fully appreciate and those perhaps not initially inclined towards the sound this album has to offer should give it a chance or two more. Good things lay within. Sadly this would be the last (in my opinion) strong album from Queensryche for several years. The rut has only recently been escaped (to an extent that is) with Operation Mindcrime 2, which while pale in comparison to the original, is a solid rock offering.

For those seeking a somewhat more complex and thought-provoking record with some solid metal thrown in this is right up your alley. Everyone else should at least have a listen. Highly recommended

Please also feel free to comment, This is only my second review and I'm still trying to find my feet.


user ratings (275)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (4.5)
If Empire is Dark Side Of The Moon, then Promised Land is Queensryche’s answer to Wish You Were He...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Cravinov13
November 13th 2006


3854 Comments


I wanna check this out. I like Queensryche.

Atica
November 13th 2006


42 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, I also like this band and that album sounds interesting, I will check it out.

Bfhurricane
November 14th 2006


6197 Comments


Nice review. I only have their Greatest Hits and I adore it [I reviewd it :-)]. Im going to have to make a note to check this out as well as Queensryche's other albums.

Willie
Moderator
October 26th 2007


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

202 views and not one positive vote... sometimes people are stingy with the whole voting thing ;) ... I got ya...

It's a good review, a lot of description... nothing to add.

Promised Land is my second favorite Queensryche CD, with Rage for Order being my first. They're both really similar in that they're both experimental and moody.


Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

moltenlava
July 13th 2008


312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm really starting to appreciate this one. Yet, still, I could never really see myself liking more than half of what's here. Instead of thos weak-ass Radio ballads like 'Bridge' and 'Lady Jane', there could be more hard-rocking stuff on this collection. But, it's got that concept-album feel to it that I'm a total sucker for. This album, for me, really boils down to the first two songs - - 'I am I' and 'Damaged', along with the super-strong last two tracks, 'One More Time', and 'Someone Else?' AND, the centerpiece of the album, the Pink Floydish title track, 'Promised Land'. This track and 'Someone Else?' sound awesome through a pair of headphones.



Willie
Moderator
July 14th 2008


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

EVery song you named is awesome. I like those ballads because to me they don't come off as radio ballads, they're a little too subdued and maybe even a bit too weird for radio.

Disconnected
May 9th 2010


485 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review.

beefshoes
April 14th 2011


4353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their best album. If they went back to doing darker, and more experimental prog rock like this I would love this band.

Digging: Christopher Lee - A Heavy Metal Christmas

Willie
Moderator
April 15th 2011


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Then you might love them again because the drummer just said in an interview that they're doing like a modern version of Rage For Order with a bit more electronics on their next album.

Sound
May 11th 2011


3904 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album. The title track is incredible.

TheNotrap
August 12th 2011


8132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Queensryche last great record.
Promised Land is definitely their most introspective album filled with intense moments like I Am I, Damaged, Out of Mind, Bridge, Promised Land, Lady Jane or Someone Else?

Sad to see how this band lost their way after this record.

Digging: Funebrarum - The Sleep of Morbid Dreams

TheNotrap
October 14th 2011


8132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

My 1994 comment goes to the best 1994 album

laughingman22
April 22nd 2012


1933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

empire has a higher rating than this?! This is queensryche best besides mindcrime

KILL
April 22nd 2012


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well empire is better yea

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

KILL
September 17th 2012


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

for promised laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand

TheNotrap
September 17th 2012


8132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Album has a great vibe.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2012


16124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this was beginning of the end for them

scissorlocked
September 17th 2012


3511 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

yes,and probably their best

Digging: Low Roar - Low Roar

KILL
September 17th 2012


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

omg

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2012


16124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

op mindcrime and rage for order are >>>>>>> this



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