Queensryche has done it, done it very, very well too. “American Soldier” is a Progressive Metal achievement, in my Metal opinion. This is a concept album, that was written from the words spoken from those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. This release brings Queensryche back to where they belong, at the top of the Metal heap, reminding me of the “Operation Mindcrime” days. This is an album to really follow along to, with the lyrics that are inside the liner notes. Each song does lead itself into the next, both with it’s time line and lyrical content.
Geoff Tate has the vocals that are shearing with pure emotion, hitting the high notes and making it sound like it was done effortlessly. Michael Wilton on lead guitar does not steal the show, nor does he have to on a splendid Metal creation like this. Michael Wilton plays guitar with exactness, creatively lending his unique sound of his playing the six string do the talking. Ed Jackson on bass and Scott Rockenfield combine for as cohesive a rhythm section as can be, all the while giving each other the flexibility to shine in their own musical identity. Emily Tate (Geoff Tate’s daughter), lends her talented, soft and decisive vocals on “Home Again”, an inspirational song that offers hope, that a solider will come back home. You will hear musical elements that have that Middle East ambiance, something we have been hearing every so often now among many recent Metal releases, (Ozzy Osbourne’s “Black Rain” album for example). “A Dead Man’s Words” will definitely let you know, what I exactly mean on this point. You are not going to hear anything close to “Jet City Woman” here, the pumped up Metal this is not. What should or could pump you up about “American Soldier”, is it’s musical tone and lyrical content, which just might set you straight on a Metal reality check about the value of life.
“American Soldier” is better than I expected, bigger in it’s message than I anticipated, this is the pinnacle of the Queensryche Metal music catalog. Reading through the liner notes, listening to the lyrics, I am convinced that Queensryche made “American Soldier” not for a quick buck, nor for stardom. This band already has both. Queensryche created “American Soldier” as a tribute to the men and women who have served the United States Armed Forces during war and peace time, an appreciation for freedom that comes with a price. Anyone who reads these liner notes and lyrics will walk away with this same opinion, it is impossible not to. In my opinion, this is far from being a political album or statement, I judge it as the liner notes state, that these songs are the voices of the soldiers, of their experiences, in their words.