Most 80s hard rock bands ought to have hung it up long ago. In general, they degenerate album by album, and ultimately become wastes of space on record store shelves. Queensrÿche formed in 1981, and, in theory, should at this point be releasing vapid, horrible records. It is a surprise, then, that their latest, Q2k, is actually quite decent and even (gasp!) somewhat listenable.
That is not to say that you need this album. Only genuine Queensrÿche fans will find more than marginal enjoyment in it. Yet Q2k should not be scoffed at by the musical bourgeoisie. It is a tight collection of heavy tunes, at many times recalling Alice in Chains and similar serious grunge groups. And unlike most of these bands, Queensrÿche actually have the production and musical chops to back up their lofty pretensions.
Q2k‘s sound is basic and predictable. On all songs, thundering drums and brutal guitar licks dominate, while introspective lyrics are sung in that intense but cloying way that only a hard rock singer can properly deliver. The songwriting is banal, but it works. Sort of. At any given moment, you expect Queensrÿche to lose it, and for the album to fall headfirst into that rapidly-filling pit of unlistenability. Yet somehow, they never do.
Q2k is not a great album, by any means. But it is alright—quite a feat considering the records released by Queensrÿche’s contemporaries in recent years.