Dec 3, 2007

Queensryche Cover Album: Two Devils Horns Waaaaay Down

I had to write something about this. The 'Ryche are not my favorite prog-metal/hard rock band out there. Not as presumptuous and prevalent as the reviled/revered Dream Theater, not nearly as underground as all those prog metal bands none of us have ever heard of, I kind of likened them to a mainstream power metal band, without a lot of power. Still, when Geoff Tate brought it, he really could sing (without excessive shrieking). 

I liked a good number of tracks from the original Operation: Mindcrime album, and I thought "Best I Can," "Empire," and even "Silent Lucidity" were really great off the follow-up. Never cared enough to check out the louder previous material, and just checked out afterwards, not even caring enough to see if Mindcrime II was worth the 18 year wait. Album sequels don't generally do it for me anyway - I'm prone to think the wait should be as short as the gap between Use Your Illusion I and II. Though Metallica's Load and Reload underscore the reason we should just skip sequels altogether.

Anyway, after all that, I found out about this covers album Queensryche released last month and thought "wow - I'd be interested in hearing how they approach some of these tracks." "Synchronicity II," "Red Rain," and a cover from Jesus Christ Superstar? Bring it on. Well, even if the album was not particularly ill-conceived, the execution is excruciating. I'm not sure if it was the streaming quality on Free Napster, though I haven't had this complaint with them before, but the mix sounded god awful. And Tate's lackluster delivery was painful - he's lost his voice completely. It's shameful that he's still trying to sing, actually. He should hang up the mic and get a desk job. Seriously, it was *awful* - his moaning at the beginning of "Synchronicity II" sounds like he has no monitors to guide him -- he's off time, off tune, and shouldn't sing this way in his shower.   What happened to his voice?

It was a terrible waste, and honestly, the worst disappointment was Queensryche's attempt at "Heaven on Their Minds." Andrew Lloyd Webber generally annoys me, but his work on Superstar was pretty rocking. And you can almost feel that if Queensryche were in top form, from their "golden" period, they would have made this one shine. But it's just terrible and I couldn't listen through it. I almost put on that Def Leppard cover album of 70s glam (from Napster, okay - I don't own that crap) just to cleanse my listening palate after subjecting it to pieces of this record. I don't know what the reviewers were listening to, but it sure couldn't be what I heard.

And what is it with bad covers from the soundtrack of JC Superstar, anyway? Sinead turned in a very poor performance of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" on her latest, Theology. And now this awful recording. Webber would be rolling over in his grave, if he were dead.  Yeah, so just don't bother with this one.  It's not that it's mellow -- it just sucks.

and what's with the cover of the album? Hey 'Ryche: Sacred Reich called, they want their gas-masked motif back.

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