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Queensryche - American Soldier

  by Peter Allison

published: 7 / 5 / 2009



Queensryche - American Soldier
Label: Rhino
Format: CD

intro

Emotive and highly impressive concept album from durable heavy metal band Queensyrche, which, avoiding flag-waving,looks at the impact of war across the centuries upon its soldiers


Unlike other albums that glorify war, Queensryche have taken a far more respectful approach in 'American Soldier', focusing instead on the impact war has upon the soldiers themselves and, without devolving into jingoistic flag-waving, exploring the issues of what it means to be a soldier . Opening with the drill sergeant yell of 'Sliver', 'American Soldier' synchs wonderfully into the fantastic 'Unafraid', before building up to '100 Mile Stare'. The album cools to reflect the loneliness of a fighter pilot in 'At 30,000 Feet'. A series of battlefield experiences follow with 'A Dead Man's Words', 'The Killer'and 'Middle of Hell' before it explores loss and guilt in 'If I Were King' and 'Man Down!'. It then examines the experiences of the soldiers’ families in 'Remember Me' and the heartbreaking 'Home Again', before concluding with 'The Voice'. Viewed separately, each track is equally powerful, but the whole album operates on a level that is simply sublime. 'American Soldier' is intended to be listened to in its entirety, rather than as a series of separate tracks, and here lies the true strength of the album : in a culture that has become increasingly dominated by music downloads, concept albums are a rare commodity, and are thus more special for being so. It is equally apparent that this is a subject Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate feels very strongly about, and one he has extensively researched. Geoff Tate’s father is a retired army veteran, who only recently started talking about his experiences in Vietnam. Tate has since then spent the past few years interviewing other veterans of previous conflicts (from Saigon to Afghanistan). Excerpts from these interviews are included on 'American Soldier', most prominently on 'Unafraid' and 'If I Were King'. Not only has Geoff Tate exhaustively researched his topic, he is also an incredibly gifted singer with an extensive vocal range. Similarly, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, and Scott Rockenfield are equally skilled (and versatile) musicians. The broad range of 'American Soldier' gives it further appeal, its varied musical canvas expanding from the uncompromising '100 Mile Stare' to the sombre 'Home Again'. The power of 'American Soldier' is undeniable, for even one such as I, a devout pacifist, was moved to consider the issues addressed in this album and rethink my own opinions. But that is not to say 'American Soldier' preaches ; the listener instead is left to make his or her own decisions. I had always (mistakenly) viewed Queensryche as a generic eighties hair-metal band, but 'American Soldier' invalidates this assumption. 'American Soldier' is an amazing album, and I cannot offer enough praise to justify how impressive it album truly is.



Track Listing:-
1 Sliver
2 Unafraid
3 Hundred Mile Stare
4 At 30,000 Ft
5 A Dead Man's Words
6 The Killer
7 Middle of Hell
8 If I Were King
9 Man Down!
10 Remember Me
11 Home Again
12 The Voice



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