Queensryche - Tribe

Queensryche Tribe cover
Sanctuary Records
I feel a bit awkward to criticize Queensryche’s new album. It’s not an easy job to comment on the new work of one of the most intelligent, pioneering, artistic groups in the history of music. Let’s be blunt: this album would be Queensryche’s last chance to make a great comeback, after two “weak” albums, and before their fans turned their back on them. For those keeping in pace with the webzine, they will possibly remember that after their live in Athens – when I first listened two of their new tracks – I wrote that if the rest of the album would sound like this, it would be the album of the year.
Well, no I don’t think that “Tribe” will be the album of the year. However it is by far the best album that Queensryche have released after “Promised Land” and this is the surprise: that the band managed to gather its pieces of centrifugal inspiration of the last years and turned it into songs, which bear the unique “Queensryche” mark on them. I have listened to the album dozens of times and very carefully, and I can say two things: first, it is an album that “conquers” you little by little with each listening (as most of their albums). Second, that they stick to the tradition, which wants them to produce each time albums that differ from each other significantly.
And this is the problem: I cannot define what they play this time in order to give you a hint. In the 42 minutes of the running time they grind and meddle so many and contradictory kinds of music (metal, rap, funk, prog, grunge, art rock, psychedelic) that the final outcome can only be described as “Queensryche”. For those who insist, I can say that their new sound is like a mixture of the “Promised Land” album, with more inspired elements of “Q2K” and some grains from Tool, but again don’t jump to any conclusions before listening to it. It would be unfair to compare it with the monumental works of the group, like “Rage for Order”, “Operation: Mindcrime” and “Promised Land”, because it would be impossible to produce again something so pioneering. Forget “Empire” because the group instantly showed that was annoyed by the huge popularity and fame. As for those who expect them to play power metal, they’d better buy Wizard’s new album for example, as Queensryche is refused to play the same things it used to play 20 years ago.
For me the album is separated into 5 monumental songs (“Open”, “Desert Dance”, “Tribe”, “Blood”, “The Art of Life”), 3 very good tracks and two, which without being bad seem to be a bit too “little” for a band like Queensryche. Those two songs have decreased my grade. Anyway, open-minded listeners should check this one, as we don’t get to listen very often to something so independent. This is attitude in music, not the “stew pan” drums that some others use in order to turn the lights on them because they have “nothing left to say”...