Queensrÿche – American Soldier

     The title of the album may be American Soldier but, title aside, any soldier, or family of a soldier, can relate to the lyrics on this release from one of the first ProgMetal bands.
     There is a few harder rocking songs on the album but the music for the majority of it is kept thoughtful, almost as if the music was written for the lyrics and not the other way around.

     Queensrÿche has been releasing music since the early part of the 1980’s, gaining recognition with their third release, Operation: Mindcrime, and world-wide popularity and fame with their fourth release, Empire.
     In the nineties they did not disappear as many bands from the 80’s did with the onset of the whole Grunge thing, but continued to release albums that were off-the-beaten-path and heavy on the experimental, or, progressive side.
     
     What makes American Soldier more listenable from their nineties albums until Operation: Mindcrime II was released is the band has gone back to their earlier sound and mixed it with experimental digital sound (think Rage For Order).
     On American Soldier their is a bit of sampling, voices of soldiers and veterans talking about their experiences that is used as openers for some songs and stuck behind the music in others.
     Musically, the album is solid. From heavier to lighter, it is a metal album with elements of experimentation and prog. The band, being true to themselves; the music is never self-indulgent but filled with emotion. It does, however, deal with a subject that many do not understand unless they have been where the lyrics come from.

     Inspired by his father, a military veteran, lead vocalist Geoff Tate interviewed veterans and soldiers, speaking with them about their experiences and how they felt, how living through what they did had changed them as a person, what their hopes where, and their fears. One predominent theme throughout is the feeling that those Geoff spoke to, and, as a combat veteran myself can attest to, soldiers feel like they have absolutely no control over what is going on when in battle. You get the sense that it is almost surreal.

     Musings aside, their is no light and fluffy lyricism going on in this album, ever. And the music too is never light in ambience although the expiremental elements allow breaks from the emotion the band conveys; spots that seemingly step away from the concept and allow the listener to absorb the song, where, after a few listens, you might sit back and say, “Wow, this is a damn good album”.

track listing for American Soldier:
01: Sliver
02: Unafraid
03: Hundred Mile Stare
04: At 30,000 Feet
05: A Dead Man’s Word’s
06: The Killer
07: Middle Of Hell
08: If I Were King
09: Man Down!
10: Remember Me
11: Home Again
12: The Voice

     The song Home Again is about a father and his daughter’s thoughts on them having to be away from one another as he deploys to war. It is a duet, the part of the daughter being sung by Geoff Tate‘s own daughter, Emily Tate, who was, at the time, 10 years old. 
     Emily also performed the song with the band onstage at shows.

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