QUEENSRŸCHE — Promised Land (review)

QUEENSRŸCHE — Promised Land album cover Album · 1994 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"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.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
28 days ago
This one grew on me a lot. Much better than Empire. Fragmented but still every track is unique and interesting.

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