You Picked It! – Queensryche – ‘Hear in the Now Frontier’ (1997) – Album Review

Alright…You Picked It! This one was really close and we actually ended in a tie. That is right. Two artist got the same # of votes. The winner for this month’s picks ended up being Queensryche’s ‘Hear in the Now Frontier’ AND Saigon Kick’s ‘The Lizard’ and I am real excited about this fact. So, what we are going to do is review them both, but with a twist. First, we will review Queensryche’s ‘Hear in the Now Frontier’ and down the road, we will do Saigon Kick’s ‘The Lizard’ as someone out there has agreed to review it at the same time with me so I am taking him up on that offer. Here are the results.

  1. Queensryche – ‘Hear in the Now Frontier’ – 5 votes
  2. Saigon Kick – ‘The Lizard’ – 5 votes
  3. Arcade – ‘Arcade’ – 4 votes
  4. Collective Soul – ‘Collective Soul’ – 2 votes
  5. Stryper – ‘Against the Law’ – Disqualified as I already reviewed that one…doh!!

Thanks to all for participating. The March choices will be up on Saturday! And the choices are all from my collection and the next one will all be more modern European Bands that never really made it in the States. Hopefully you can help me decide which one I should review.


Back around 1997, music was a sort of black hole for me. I was lost, wandering around trying to find something I liked and whenever bands from the 80’s put something out, I would get excited and grab it. As I did this one back in the day. Queensryche’s 6th studio album was ‘Hear in the Now Frontier’ and it was released on March 25, 1997 and I wasn’t one of the first to get it, but I did get it that year. The CD was no longer in my collection for some reason, and when I was out digging, I found it and saw the name of the song “Sign of the Times” and thought, I liked that song, let me get this as it was only about $3m. Man, did I over pay for this thing. Also, now I remember why it was no longer in my collection. This was my jumping off point for Queensryche and honestly, never have revisited anything that has come after. They completely lost me with this one.

The sound was so stripped back and the production I felt on this thing really sucked. The songs are raw and feel unfinished almost like a CD of demos. And demos that would’ve never led me to actually want to finish them and see what flushes out, because it all just screams dull and lifeless. And to make matters worse, this was the 90’s so the thought was to cram a lot of songs on here and we get 14 tracks and there are only a few worth anything. I also understand the album cover with the ears scattered around everywhere because when you hear this you want to cut your ears off because it is that bad. See, even they thought so as they were telling us with the artwork. Foreshadowing at its best.

Not everything was horrible as I said. The opening track “Sign of the Times” had its moments. “Cuckoo’s Nest” is a little nuts and will drive you crazy and not in a good way. It plods along in misery. “Get a Life” has some funky bass and it started out as a Red Hot Chili Pepper vibe to it before it crashed and burned once Geoff’s vocals came in and that chorus was atrocious. Wait, this was supposed to be some good points…oh well. Let’s talk Tate for a minute. I am fan of Geoff’s vocals. Up to this point they have been stellar. His vocals matched with the band’s playing all blended together perfectly. They brought life to the songs. But here, there is no life, no spark, no heart, nothing. He is running through the motions for me. Maybe it is because the songs are so, so fucking awful, but who knows. It was the most irritating thing of the whole album. And that makes me sad because he is such an amazing singer. I guess everyone has a bad album.

“The Voice Inside” is a slow burner, very dark and it is one of those songs that could’ve gone somewhere, but got lost along the way. And then “Some People Fly” and hopefully they fly away from this song. More boring, miserable and a tough listen. Next please! Now the 90’s had a lot of music that was dark and depressing thanks to the Grunge and Post-Grunge era as the music was generally very dark and disturbing. As a result, this album fits that mold perfectly. So, if you want to feel depressed and you are in a dark place, here’s the album for you. The song “Saved” has this whole Soundgarden vibe to it with the heavy bass and deep crunchy guitars and as a result, I kind of dig this song a little as well. Alright, another nice thing to say.

The single “You” was actually another good song on the album. It received some airplay along with the “Sign of the Times” and if I had anything good to say, these were the two best songs to release as singles as they are the most radio friendly, but they don’t really represent the dark and moodiness of the rest of the album.

Songs like “Hero” are like trudging through sludge. It just weighs you down and gives you a sinking, sullen feeling. “Miles Away” makes you want to run miles away from this thing. “Reach”, okay it has a great opening riff and a great groove…maybe I found another I like. It has good energy, Geoff sounds pretty good. The band almost feels like the band of old. Okay, I do like this one, this ones good.

And to make matters worse, after this album, lead guitarists, Chris DeGarmo left the band and that was the final blow for me as well as I love his playing. Now, he did get to sing on a song on here. He did “All I Want” which I will admit is a highlight on the album. It is the first time any one other than Geoff had sang on a Queensryche album and it worked really well. See, I found something good to say after all. Yeah me!

“Hit the Black” has a real modern sound to it. Geoff’s vocals start off like on a radio and then normal back to the echoing, old fashioned sound. The music has a little more energy. Not a bad track. Then next track is more of the grungy, distorted guitar sound that highlighted the 90’s. “Anytime, Anywhere” seems to continue the improvements on the sound. The back half is definitely stronger than that painfully awful first half. Well, that is until the final track, “Spool” comes in and ruins things for me.

There was so little energy, so little punch, so little emotion, so little anything that this was a painful listening experience. It didn’t grow on me with each listen. No, not even close. It became more painful and harder to dredge through with each listen and that is never a good thing. I had problems with the production as it was too minimal, too raw, too lackluster and overall too boring. And sadly, the great Geoff Tate’s vocals were not up to snuff. It had a few moments with “Reach”, “All I Want”, “You” and “Sign of the Times”, but otherwise, few and far between. My Overall Score is a 2.0 out of 5.0 Stars. This will go back on the shelve forever, or until I do a cleansing of releases I don’t need anymore.

Alright, that is enough…I’m done with this one!


27 thoughts on “You Picked It! – Queensryche – ‘Hear in the Now Frontier’ (1997) – Album Review

  1. I didn’t think this was a bad album. It was ok and I listened to it quite a bit when it came out. Still some songs on it that I rate as pretty good. But I didn’t love it as much as their previous albums and it’s extremely rare that I feel an urge to go back to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t remember a whole lot of this one, I probably haven’t listened to it since it was released. I know I wasn’t impressed with it at the time, but it came in a long line of shitty albums from bands I previously liked so I was used to being disappointed. I know it was their next one that truly ran me off from them.

    Liked by 1 person

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