"They shall not grow old
As we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them."

Bolt Thrower - "...For Victory"

Защото светът... е брутален!

QUEENSRŸCHE - "American Soldier"

Well, well…. Here we come to the 10th studio album with original recordings from the one and only progressive metal mammoth that is QUEENSRŸCHE.

"American Soldier" tells the story of people whose lives have been permanently scarred with the experience of war. The authenticity of the story is carried to the listener as only Geoff Tate is capable of, since he has done a research of his own and interviewed numerous soldiers, including his own father, so that he could live inside the story as well.

There is no doubt that QUEENSRŸCHE have always been capable of doing their ideas justice by writing clever and deep lyrics. However, during the last 15 years, the same could not be said of the music. The 'ryche have sealed their names in gold only in 1988, with the immortal "Operation: Mindcrime", but since the beautiful "Promised Land" album, the fans have diminished greatly and the only reason was the deteriorated quality of the music, which, let's face it, was impossible to stand on par with the stuff released before 1994. OK, until now.

What makes me happy as a diehard fan of the band is that "American Soldier" stands on its own, with its own musical and lyrical identity, and it is hard to draw comparisons with other albums. There is a bit of everything I like and love about this band – crushing atmosphere and emotion throughout the whole album, unbelievable bombastic choruses (15 years have spent until a new song by the band has sent shivers down my spine, and now "Unafraid", "At 30,000 Ft." and "Home Again" did it), the oldschool, classic guitar solos by Michael Wilton and the oh-so-needed fluff of experimentation and bold originality that was sorely missed lately (the amazing use of saxophone in "The Killer" and "Middle Of Hell"). There are two incredible emotional ballads – "Remember Me" (which has a 60's vibe to me) and "Home Again" (with a haunting and really sad vocal duet between Tate an his daughter).

Tate's voice is really strong and deep. Yes, he doesn't do THAT hi-register wail we know so well, but that doesn't mean the vocals are not stellar. I was also really impressed with the solid and boosted sounding of the rhythms section, which makes the atmosphere of the album even denser. Second guitar player Mike Stone is out and already replaced in the live line-up by Parker Lundgren, but is not missed at all, since Wilton has recorded all the guitars in the album.

"American Soldier", all in all, is an album that needs to be listened to and experienced in its entirety. I really hope that the band will try and play it at selected venues as a whole. As a conclusion, I have to say that I was really scared of listening to this new album. Aren't we all like that when we get a new album by one of our favorite bands? Scared that my high expectations will not be fulfilled once again. Well, if you feel exactly like I did, as the album's closing words say: "Don't be afraid".


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