The Legendary Queensrÿche, envisions war through the eyes of a soldier with the band’s twelfth studio release, the epic concept album AMERICAN SOLDIER.

The ambitious album encompasses a dozen songs inspired by numerous interviews with veterans conducted by Geoff Tate, the group’s singer and chief songwriter, who was intent on telling their story using their words.

After speaking with soldiers who served in various conflicts — from World War II to Iraq — Tate turned their firsthand experiences from the frontlines into an unflinching musical examination of the life of a soldier and the consequences of war.

AMERICAN SOLDIER will be available from Atco/Rhino on March 31 for a suggested list price of $18.98 (CD) and $9.99 (digital).

Tate, Michael Wilton (guitar), Ed Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums) recorded the album in 2008 over the course of nine months. The idea for AMERICAN SOLDIER, Tate says, came from hearing stories from fans that are veterans, as well as his own father, who served in both Korea and Vietnam. “My father was a career military man, but until very recently he never spoke about what he went through. I think that reticence is true of a lot of veterans, which means most people never truly understand what it means to be a soldier at war. Hearing what he and some of our fans have endured made me want to share their stories with the world. This is an album about the soldiers, for the soldiers, as told by the soldiers themselves.”

Those stories resonate at the heart of AMERICAN SOLDIER, imbuing each song with vivid details about both the emotional and physical impacts of war, evoking war zone battles (“Middle Of Hell”), sacrifice (“The Killer”), loss (“If I Were King”), the longing for home (“Remember Me”), and adjusting to society after returning from war (“Man Down!”).

Tate recorded many of his interviews with the soldiers, and some dialogue from these discussions is mixed into several of tracks, allowing the soldiers’ own words to help tell their compelling stories. The band also brought a few of the soldiers into the studio with them to record vocals. The verses of the track “Unafraid” feature the voices of Chris Devine, a Vietnam veteran, and Sean Lenahan, a veteran of Somalia, recalling their war experiences while Tate provides the anthemic chorus. Also making a guest vocal appearance is Tate’s 10-year-old daughter Emily on the gripping duet “Home Again,” which examines the emotional toll of war from two perspectives, with Geoff singing from the soldier’s point of view and his daughter singing from the viewpoint of the child left behind.

Making the album, Tate says, was an enlightening process. “I was surprised to learn how little has changed through the generations. I spoke with a Vietnam vet whose experience wasn’t all that different from a soldier who fought in Somalia almost 30 years later. But what surprised me the most was how antiwar most soldiers are. To me, that makes their sacrifices even more moving.”

Soon after the release of AMERICAN SOLDIER, Queensrÿche will launch an extensive spring tour of the U.S., with international dates to follow later in 2009. The shows will be presented in three suites, with the band performing sets from AMERICAN SOLDIER, RAGE FOR ORDER and EMPIRE. The first date of the tour will be April 16 at Snoqualmie Casino in the band’s hometown of Seattle.

AMERICAN SOLDIER
Track Listing
1. “Sliver”
2. “Unafraid”
3. “Hundred Mile Stare”
4. “At 30,000 ft.”
5. “A Dead Man’s Words”
6. “The Killer”
7. “Middle Of Hell”
8. “If I Were King”
9. “Man Down!”
10. “Remember Me”
11. “Home Again”
12. “The Voice”

Queensrÿche U.S. Tour Dates
APRIL
16 Snoqualmie, WA Snoqualmie Casino
17 Snoqualmie, WA Snoqualmie Casino
18 Portland, OR Roseland Theatre
19 Chico, CA Senator Theatre
22 Anaheim, CA House Of Blues
23 San Diego, CA House Of Blues
24 Los Angeles, CA House Of Blues
25 Las Vegas, NV House Of Blues
26 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
28 Denver, CO Paramount Theater
29 Kansas City, MO Voodoo Lounge @ Harrah’s
30 Milwaukee, WI Northern Lights Theater

MAY
1 Milwaukee, WI Northern Lights Theater
2 St. Paul, MN Myth
3 Walker, MN Northern Lights Casino
5 Grand Rapids, MI Intersection
6 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
7 Chicago, IL House Of Blues
8 Chicago, IL House Of Blues
9 Mt. Clemens, MI Emerald Theatre
10 Greensburg, PA Palace Theatre
12 Verona, NY Turning Stone Casino
13 Stamford, CT The Palace Theater
14 Sayerville, NJ Starland Ballroom
15 New York, NY Nokia Theatre
16 Atlantic City, NJ House Of Blues
17 N. Myrtle Beach, SC House Of Blues
19 Tampa, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
20 Lake Buena Vista, FL House Of Blues
21 New Orleans, LA House Of Blues
22 Houston, TX House Of Blues
23 San Antonio, TX Hemisfair Park
24 Dallas, TX House Of Blues
27 Fayetteville, AR Arkansas Music Pavilion
28 Oklahoma City, OK Bricktown Events Center

29 Albuquerque, NM Kiva Auditorium
30 Phoenix, AZ Dodge

JUNE
3 Agoura Hills, CA Canyon Club Theater
4 San Francisco, CA Fillmore
5 Kelseyville, CA Konocti Harbor

NOVEMBER
11/15-11/20 Grand Cayman & Jamaica – Ship Rocked Cruise

* Official Queensryche photo by Greg Watermann.

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