“Q2K” (remaster) by Queensryche

Artist: Queensryche
Title: “Q2K” (remaster)
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 8/29/2006
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

In 1999 Queensryche would find themselves in a bit of a bind for not only did they lose the label they had for much of their career but co-founder Chris DeGarmo would also choose to move on and pursue other interests in life. Musically this would not be a release that many Queensryche fans would embrace very openly; but upon listening to the remastered and expanded edition some seven years – I can safely say that there is some enjoyable stuff on it and necessary as part of the complete Queensryche catalog. The best way to enjoy this one is to skate around the tracks and find the most acceptable ones such as “Sacred Ground” and “One Life” which show a different Queensryche from the band you grew up remembering. I think the initial problem fell in the expectations of the fan base as well as the bands quest to keep themselves relevant during a difficult musical point in time. They were no longer Progressive Metal and had instead become a style of harder Progressive Rock that used their typical strong melodic sense mixed in throughout their songs. Technically, they remained the same and sounded fine, as the band did not aim for high levels of avant-garde musical exploration as the bands that came after them (I speak especially of Dream Theater and Fates Warning). DeGarmo’s spot in the band would be temporarily filled by Kelly Gray (now of Slave To The System) while the rest remained the originals (Tate, Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson). Gray was good but perhaps did not receive any level of compliment based on fans refusing to let go of the fact that Chris had left the lineup. The remaster includes several additional tracks and “Until there Was you” is a perfect ballad for the group while “Howl” is a rocker from top to bottom. Maybe their inclusion to the original release would have helped it along but now we have them on the re-issue so its no longer a problem. The original album tracks of “Breakdown”, “Right Side Of My Mind” and “Liquid Sky” are quite good as well and could have carried the release forward but perhaps its lack of an overall theme and instead just built as straight songs caused this additional grief. To be honest, I remember finding myself uninterested in it when it first hit the shelves but cannot recall what kept me from it back then.

The remaster brings this back into the public eye as the original has been out of print for some time. The expanded tracks (half live and half studio) along with an expanded liner notes booklet and cleaner production make this a welcome addition to ones Hard Rock collection. However, if you are expecting “Operation Mindcrime” or “Empire” with this one then you should keep on walking – If not, then give it a chance this time around. It’s not that bad after all.

Track Listing:
1. Falling Down
2. Sacred Ground
3. One Life
4. When the Rain Comes
5. How Could I?
6. Besides You
7. Liquid Sky
8. Breakdown
9. Burning Man
10. Wot Kinda Man
11. The Right Side Of My Mind
12. Until There Was you – bonus
13. Howl – bonus
14. Sacred Ground (live) – bonus
15. Breakdown (edit) – bonus

Official Website: www.queensryche.com

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