QUEENSRŸCHE — Promised Land

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QUEENSRŸCHE - Promised Land cover
3.90 | 67 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1994


1. 9:28 A.M. (1:43)
2. I Am I (3:56)
3. Damaged (3:58)
4. Out Of Mind (4:35)
5. Bridge (3:29)
6. Promised Land (7:58)
7. Disconnected (4:44)
8. Lady Jane (4:14)
9. My Global Mind (4:21)
10. One More Time (4:18)
11. Someone Else? (4:44)

Total Time 48:06


- Geoff Tate / vocals
- Michael Wilton / guitars
- Chris DeGarmo / guitar
- Eddie Jackson / bass
- Scott Rockenfield / drums

About this release

Release date: October 18, 1994
Label: EMI Records

Reissued in 2003 with the following bonus tracks:

12. Real World (from Last Action Hero Soundtrack) (4:23)
13. Someone Else? (full band) (7:13)
14. Damaged (live at The Astoria Theatre, London, 1994) (4:00)
15. Real World (live at The Astoria Theatre, London, 1994) (3:45)

Thanks to colt, Lynx33, Unitron, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Promised Land" is the 5th full-length studio album by US power/heavy/progressive metal act Queensrÿche. The album was released through EMI Records in October 1994. Queensrÿche had a relatively lengthy recording break after the release of the multi-platinum selling success of "Empire (1990)", but they returned on "Promised Land" with the same lineup and a new ‌inspired concept.

"Empire (1990)" was a fairly accessible and commercial oriented release, which provided Queensrÿche with great success and worldwide recognition. Following up a release like that was always going be a difficult task (just as it was a daunting task following up the artistic achievement of "Operation: Mindcrime (1988)"), but Queensrÿche took the bold and adventurous path, instead of releasing "Empire (1990)" number two. "Promised Land" is generally a much more progressive and experimental release than it´s predecessor, although progressive in this respect shouldn´t be understood as if the band have now have started playing long instrumental sections or that they focus on odd time signatures. It´s an experiment within the confines of their own sound, and overall they succeed pretty well. Stylistically this is still at it´s core heavy metal/rock with only the occasional progressive metal leaning.

"Promised Land" is a bit of a fragmented release though, featuring quite a few different atmospheres and music styles. Tracks like "Damaged" and "disconnected" are both dark and very heavy songs. The former probably features THE most heavy riff ever on a Queensrÿche release and it´s an absolutely brilliant composition. But then there are also tracks like "Out of Mind", "Bridge", "Lady Jane", and "Someone Else?", which are power ballads (in the case of the latter it´s a pure piano and vocal ballad, and probably the weakest and least interesting track on the album. It´s definitely not a good way to close the album), and tracks like "I Am I" and the title track are of a more experimental nature, both featuring middle eastern music influences, and the latter featuring saxophone. "My Global Mind" and "One More Time" are rather forgettable heavy rock tracks, which don´t stand out much. To my ears the album is frontloaded with the best material, and especially the last three tracks on the album leave you with the impression that the quality has dropped markedly since the high quality opening to the album. For all the greatness of tracks like "Damaged", "Out of Mind", and "Lady Jane", "Promised Land" simply features too many tracks which aren´t remarkable enough.

As always the musicianship are on a high level on all posts. The instrumental work is delivered with great skill and with an adventurous spirit, and Geoff Tate also delivers a strong vocal performance. "Promised Land" features a dark and heavy production job, which suits the material perfectly, so it´s in the songwriting department and overall tracklist flow, that the album doesn´t score perfectly in my book. It´s actually a bit hard to rate an album, which maybe features some of the best material written by Queensrÿche, when said material sits among some of the most lacklustre and uninspired material written by the same artist. Despite these issues I still find "Promised Land" highly recommendable, although I almost always skip around 30% of the album, when I give it a listen (including the way too long intro track "9:28 A.M."). A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
Best 90's Queensrÿche album

After their disastrous MTV attempt "Empire", QUEENSRŸCHE decided to go back to a progressive approach on "Promised Land". However, in 1994, traditional heavy metal from the 80's was agonizing, whereas grunge, alternative rock and electronic music were greatly developing. Therefore, instead of reproducing the complex elaborated structures of "Operation: Mindcrime", the band decided to try something new by incorporating different musical styles. Still influenced by PINK FLOYD, but also by recent grunge bands such as PEARL JAM and even Eastern music, the compositions are more modern and innovative, resembling no other at the time.

Elegant and refined as always, this adventurous opus is well rooted in the 90's and not totally metal. It alternates atmospheric, gloomy, somber, melancholic, spacey, tortured and even slightly electronic passages. The range of addressed themes is also quite wide: reincarnation, isolation, alienation, madness, consumer society...

The ambient opener "9:28 A.M." is a short concrete music piece composed by drummer Scott Rockenfield. Quite surprising, the dark "I Am I" contains heavy riffing guitars and middle-eastern sonorities, installing an oppressive ambiance. Magic! The powerful "Damage Case" is great and sinister too. On the contrary, the enjoyable floydian piece "Out Of Mind" is acoustic and calm. "Bridge" narrates the relation between Chris de Garmo and his father, who died during the album recording sessions. A song also driven by the acoustic guitar, but a little boring tune. The proggiest song of the record is undoubtedly the title track, tortured and depressive. It features original elements such as discrete futuristic sonorities and especially - and for the first time - Geoff Tate playing saxophone! His solo is just mesmerizing! It's certainly not every day that you hear this jazz instrument on a metal disc.

Also pretty uncommon, "Disconnected" deals with American consumerist society and features Tate on saxophone again, supported by groovy riffing and electronic sound effects. Driven by DeGarmo's piano, "Lady Jane" is a touching power ballad about the influence of commercials. Then comes the heavy alternative rock "My Global Mind", efficient and catchy. The last two songs are unfortunately not the best part of the record. The rock ballad "One More Time" is average and a bit repetitive, whereas the acoustic closer "Someone Else?" sounds rather cheesy.

Anyway, "Promised Land" still remains adventurous and pleasant. I would like to hear this mixture of various styles more often. QUEENSRŸCHE has definitely emancipated from their primary IRON MAIDEN influences here. Although uneven and containing less memorable melodies, the music is quite unique and refreshing. A genuine trip into the depths of your mind and the illnesses of modernity. Truly progressive stuff, but not by the common approach of most prog metal bands.

If you're looking for long complex metal compositions such as DREAM THEATER, this is not the one to pick. Nonetheless, if you want something original and depressive, this album is what you need. Recommended to metal or even to alternative hard rock fans!
siLLy puPPy
After the grueling touring schedule of the previous years with the huge success of “Operation: Mindcrime” and “Empire,” QUEENSRYCHE took a few years to take a much needed break and reflect on the experience of becoming a huge band on the world scene and all the pressures that go with it. The exhausting experience saw the band feeling no hurry to release any new material and so hard was it to get the whole band together that much of the album was recorded as individual tracks that were sewn together at the end to create a sum of the parts. The result is one of the most experimental albums of the band's career covering the diverse aspects of the band's past as well as incorporating a whole score of new sounds and ideas into the mix. The album may seem a little disjointed compared to the finely tuned focus of “Mindcrime” or the more commercial sound of “Empire” but despite not giving this a spin often, when I do I seem to like this album more each time and it has emerged as one of my favorites.

The album opens with a strange musique concrete intro followed by the only two real metal tracks on the album that could easily fit on one of the earlier albums. The first one of which “I Am I” has the addition of a sitar which signifies not only is QUEENSRYCHE back with gusto but that things are different this time around. After two hearty metal rockers the tides change completely and we get two acoustic rock tracks. “Out Of Mind” is a melodic spacey track about seeing the world from the confines of a nursing home as seen by the throwaway elders in US culture and “Bridge” is an apparent therapy session of Geoff Tate (I presume) about his relationship with his dad (or lack thereof). After this set we are treated to two of my favorite tracks on the album “PROMISED LAND” which is a long sprawling feast of sounds with saxophones and an excellent production and “Disconnected” which is a hint of a anesthetized paranoid schizophrenic unable to plug into the real world. The following track is a scrumptiously beautiful piano ballad called “Lady Jane” which like most of the track has nothing to do with the others. “One More Time” is another well written track that didn't appeal to me at first but since has become quite appreciated. The only track I still can't get into is the final one “Someone Else” which is yet another piano ballad. The melodic developments just don't hit me although it may work well for others.

Easily the strangest and all-over-the-map album by QUEENSRYCHE with a roller coaster's ride of ideas and musical implementations. I initially didn't warm up to this album because it was so different and not what I expected but after many years of coming back to it I find it has taken root and unleashed itself in a new way into my psyche. Unfortunately this would be the last great album by this band as we see the great fall into the musical dross beginning with next release as many an 80s band totally lost their way and soul. This would have been a great album to go out on but instead we got two decades of less than stellar releases and bitter battles between band members.
Promised Land was the fifth full-length Studio Album from the Seattle Progressive Metal band Queensrÿche, it was released in 1994 following up their multi-platinum selling 1990 album Empire.

The music on the album for the most part is not up-tempo driving metal music like some of their earlier work or shimmering commercial rock like some of their highest charting stuff, but rather a slow and completive progressive style that relies on piano, saxophone and acoustic guitar to do a lot of the work. It is the sort of album that requires a lot of patience to really enjoy, and may take a few listens to really wrap your head around properly.

Despite the slower brooding pace and mostly quieter nature of Promised Land when compared to the band’s earlier material, the strength of the songwriting is still very impressive and when it does finally kick off there are moments of superb lead guitar to enjoy as well. This isn’t necessarily an album to listen to if you want to bang your head, but if you allow the music to just wash over you it will prove to be among the best moments in the band’s career.

Thinking about it, there are two kinds of songs on the album; big powerful tracks that start off as quiet ballads or hypnotic, dense and slow building songs that evolve slowly over time with some metal riffs and a sort of eastern flavor. In addition to the core band there are often a lot of weird percussive rhythms and touches of synth, but the main focus is on the vocals and lyrics.

Geoff Tate’s powerful and dynamic voice caries the listener through a whole range of moods and mindsets, from desolation to practical thinking across a range of topics from parental relationships to coming to terms with your inability to improve the state of the world.

Highlights include the emotional ‘Bridge’ as well as ‘My Global Mind’ and the lyrically superb ‘One More Time.’

Overall, if you are willing to give it the time and patience that it asks of you, Promised Land is a very interesting album that is worth a place in your collection.
Time Signature
Out of mind...

Genre: progressive metal

Certainly one of the most interesting Queensrÿche albums in terms of composition, production and instrumentation. I'm thinking of the somewhat prominent use of saxophones on some of the tracks, which works very well.

Production-wise it has a much more modern sound than 'Operation: Mindcrime' and 'Empire', but it also lacks some of the catchy hard rock energy of both of the above.

The remastered version of the album contains a full-band version of "Someone Else?" which is much better than the one on the original album. It also contains the symphonic bonus track "Real World".

I don't know if hardcore metal fans would appreciate this album, or even consider it metal (I do consider it metal, though), but it certainly is a very interesting and different album.

(review originally posted on progfreak.com)

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