After their great "Empire" album (not even counting in their even bigger achievements before) I had completely lost interest in American QUEENSRCHE with albums like "Promised Land", "Hear The New Frontier" and also "Y2K". Why? Well, because they did not only correct their sound a bit, but rather yanked the steering into a tight turn, into far more Alternative influenced waters, which at least I could not connect with the name of QUEENSRCHE anymore.
So when I received "Tribe" I was rather reserved in terms of big hopes, rather let myself be surprised positively. And even though guitarist Chris DeGarmo is back in the band, the Americans cannot pick up where those great deeds from the past had left off. Progressive Metal it for sure is not anymore, I even hesitate with the expression Metal, if I can award it at all anymore, because basically this is Alternative Rock.
Of course you should not live in the past and measure a band only on what they had done in the past, but let's be honest, you just have to do it
And in the case of QUEENSRCHE I do not break into tears, because it is not that bad, but still I am not really sure what to think of it. Opener "Open" (at least aptly titled) has a rather measured tempo, with a bit darker guitars and a strong bass, while the chorus goes into your ear really quickly.
"Losing Myself" then starts out quite calm, with a bit quirky keyboards and is pretty modern, which at first is a little different with the following "Desert Dance", beginning with oriental sounds, but in the chorus the dams break and it gets completely drowned in vocals and effects and takes away almost any flow. The calm ballad "Falling Behind" stands a lot more in the band tradition, with quite sparse instrumentation, but very effective, here Geoff Tate's great voice can really unfold.
After two more rather average, modern Rock songs the title tracks brings in some variety again, with a down tuned riff and more spoken than sung verses, sounds interesting, if not exactly like QUEENSRCHE. And the rest, too, is more modern Rock, with party darker mood and riffing, with the exception of the still modern sounding ballad "Doing Fine", which nicely closes off the album.
Altogether I fear that we will have to say goodbye to the old QUEENSRCHE sound for good, because after four albums outside the old style I do not think that the Seattle band will make it back again. "Tribe" is a, and in connection with this band that already says a lot, ordinary modern Rock album with a certain Alternative touch, which coming from a young band surely would have been viewed as promising, but coming from QUEENSRCHE is not a big disappointment, but as a fan of the eras until including "Empire" stands for the climb down from Olympus
(Online September 3, 2003)