Remind me again why I agreed to pick the band with the random umlaut in its name?

What is it?

Promised Land is the 11-track 1994 album release by Queensrÿche, and yes I’m going to have to copy and paste that band name into this post over and over again.

How does it sound?

Here we stand at the sampler mix:

Why this pick?

I must confess that including this band in the lineup is the result of a dare. In our household, Kyla is the big Queensrÿche fan. When I was assembling the list last year she dared me to include one of their albums. So here we are.

I’m not complaining, mind you. I really do like a lot of the stuff on this record.

Which songs are the highlights?

“Damaged” is a good example of Queensrÿche dialing right into what I enjoy. It’s dense, but not chaotic. It has some neat sounds and ideas, but not so many that it overwhelms the listener.

I like “Disconnected,” as grim and weird as it is. It gets good mileage out of a simple riff and some vocal trickery.

The song many folks will know from this particular album is “Lady Jane,” probably the second most recognized song in their library after “Silent Lucidity.” Well, it’s still pretty good.

“One More Time” is, structurally, a mopey self-obsessed power ballad. Don’t ask me why it works so well in spite of that. I have no idea.

(For bonus points, go chase down the single for “I Am I” so you can get the full band version of “Someone Else?” because that’s a far, far better rendition than the one on the album proper.)

Which songs don’t work so well?

I can’t really ding the lead-off track, “9:28 A.M.,” because it’s one of those minute-or-so teaser bits of random noise going into the album proper. It’s a bit Pink Floyd but not as interesting.

I can, however, ding the following song, “I Am I.” It’s a prime example of a song that should work for me but doesn’t, in a way that happens over and over as I go through the band’s library. There are some interesting ideas and sounds, sure. The overall… randomness, for lack of a better term, drags it down for me though. There’s too much too-much-ing going on here. Maybe Queensrÿche would work for me more often if someone could just tell them to take one or two ideas out of each song? Maybe.

“My Global Mind” almost works. Almost.

The actual version of “Someone Else?” on the album consists of singer Geoff Tate and a piano, that’s it. Sometimes stripping a song down to bare essentials makes it more powerful, and sometimes you get… this.

Which album did you almost pick in favor of this one?

It could’ve been Hear in the Now Frontier, which isn’t great (and features a high percentage of duds) but I do really like a bunch of. With fifteen songs there’s a lot to choose from. Failing that, I would probably pick Queensrÿche (the album, not the EP) since that’s the first outing with the new singer who still sounds eerily like the original singer. Seriously, it’s amazing that they found a guy to maintain such a consistency in their sound.

Any final thoughts?

In this household the musical overlap is mostly theoretical. In theory, her hair-band tendencies and my prog-rock tendencies should mesh reasonably well. In practice, not so much. (The same goes for her Japanese boy-bands and my Japanese idol singers, as it turns out.) Queensrÿche almost bridges one of those gaps for us. She’ll always be the bigger fan, of course. I enjoy a few songs here and there and that’s about it. I didn’t even know the new singer’s name until working on this write-up.

And that’s okay!

I mentioned the lead teaser track as being “a bit Pink Floyd,” which makes me think of “Promised Land” which has a whiff of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome To The Machine” about it as well. There are worse albums to emulate than Wish You Were Here, I suppose. Oh yeah, Queensrÿche did a cover album about a decade ago and the first track is… a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome To The Machine.” Go figure.