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American Soldier

3.8 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 31, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Queensryche envisions war through the eyes of a soldier with the band's 12th studio release, the epic concept album, American Soldier. The ambitious album encompasses a dozen songs inspired by numerous interviews with veterans conducted by Geoff Tate, the group's singer and chief songwriter, who was intent on telling their story using their words. After speaking with soldiers who served in various conflicts-from World War II to Iraq-Tate turned their firsthand experiences from the frontlines into an unflinching musical examination of the life of a soldier and the consequences of war.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 31, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B001QVMJV0
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,391 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Queensrÿche has had quite a roller coaster ride over the past decade. From 1999-2009, the band featured three different sets of songwriters before settling in with producer/songwriter Jason Slater in 2006 for Operation: Mindcrime II. With Slater back for round two with lead singer Geoff Tate and company, Queensrÿche has clearly found its creative legs on American Soldier, a concept record detailing the experiences of United States servicemen and women.

Starting with the "on your feet!" call of a boot camp drill instructor in "Sliver," American Soldier takes the listener on a unique journey of hard rock bombardment. Featuring a plethora of heavy riffing throughout the album, particularly on the rockers "Man Down!" and "Unafraid," American Soldier embraces Queensrÿche's heavier roots, without forgetting the epic side of the band.

"At 30,000 Ft.," a track written from the point of view of a bomber pilot will remind fans of the grand "Anybody Listening?" off of 1990's Empire, whereas the moody "A Dead Man's Words" is reminiscent of the song "Promised Land." In fact, in a nutshell, American Soldier feels like a hybrid between the darkness of 1994's Promised Land with a good injection of modern musical angst.

American Soldier was written primarily by producer Slater (with Tate responsible for lyrics), although former Queensrÿche axeman and producer Kelly Gray (Q2k, Live Evolution) contributed some tracks ("Hundred Mile Stare" and the aforementioned "Man Down!").
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Format: Audio CD
I've liked Queensryche for a very long time. I'm a veteran of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan with the USAF, and I must say this album is outstanding. The way the album flows is exactly how I feel. I've been waiting for a long time for an album such as this to come out, and I'm so glad that it was Queensryche that took on a project such as this and completed it. I've never told anyone the misery, and sadness I experienced over there. After listening to this album it makes me want to finally open up, and tell my story to the people I know. I've never wanted to open up about any of it, but now I have the confidence to do so. Thank you Queensryche for doing this for me, and Soldiers/Veterans everywhere. It's about time someone did something like this for us. Thank you.
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Format: Audio CD
Queensryche's latest album, American Soldier, is destined to be (yet another) controversial album that will fail to satisfy a certain number of fans (especially those unable to appreciate albums released post-Promised Land). American Soldier does not include any songs that will become "hits" or concert favorites. It is a concept album that is meant to be listened to in its entirety. As a whole, it is quite good. The individual performances by the musicians, especially Geoff Tate's vocals, are great. Also, the songs flow together very well, resulting in an enjoyably cohesive album. If you're expecting Empire or Operation Mindcrime then you'll be disappointed. But, if, like me, you are open minded and able to enjoy post-Promised Land albums, this one will grow to your liking.
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Format: Audio CD
Count me in as one of those fans who believe Queensryche had lost their mojo after 1994's "Promised Land". Every album they have released since then has been middling at best: some nice spots, but with lacking consistency. The culmination of this post-Promised Land malaise was 2006's "Operation Mindcrime 2", a borderline desperate reach back to their glory days that missed the mark and left me wondering if it was a band's last gasp at musical relevancy. My 2006 2-star review of that CD was not kind.

Three years later and we now have "American Soldier", a concept album about the American military experience that plays fresh, uncontrived and serious without being overwrought. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this CD.

To be brief, three reasons I think this is a STELLAR "comeback" album for Queensryche:

1. The return of "soaring" guitar solos. A big gripe of mine with Queensryche after Chris Degarmo left was that they seemed to forget how to write and play good guitar solos. With "American Solider" guitarist Michael Wilton said himself that he made a special effort to write classic Queensryche-sounding solos, and he came through big time. Most of the songs on this CD have excellent, signature guitar solos and guitar work.

2. The songwriting and arrangements are dark, intelligent, and catchy. As a longtime Queensryche fan, I hear strains of Promised Land in tracks like "A Dead Man's Words" and "Middle Of Hell". Other tracks like the enigmatic "The Voice" and "Hundred Mile Stare" sound like they could have come from the "Empire" era. The lyrics are not jingoistic or trite. Geoff Tate is at his best when he has you reaching for the CD booklet to read along with the lyrics to figure out a particular song's meaning.
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