Album review

Geoff Tate : Geoff Tate

Geoff Tate : Geoff TateIt would ultimately be incredibly difficult for Geoff Tate to produce a solo album that didn't sound like Queensrÿche. A more distinctive voice the world of rock has never known.
    So the question really is which Queensrÿche album does it most sound like? The good news is that it probably sounds like the next Queensrÿche album. A melting pot of all all that was right with Empire and Promised Land and (it pains me to say it) everything that was wrong about Hear In The Now Frontier.

As a starting point, Flood and Forever can really do no wrong, and bring about a standard that the rest of the album has a bit of hard time keeping up with. But even when Tate is under the weather, he still blasts ten holes out of his contemporaries and that is what saves the album from falling apart.
    There are strikes and flashes of brilliance throughout - including the rousing Every Move We Make and the beautiful Touch - but the songwriting is lacking that edge that Tate always has with Chris DeGarmo as his right hand man. Too much of the album begins to sound the same towards the end and could really use some of those indispensable hooks and choruses so prevalent in the band at the pinnacle of their powers.
    Also worthy of a mention are Off The TV and A Passenger which see Tate trying out some new lyrical themes and utilising some studio sounds that aren't normally associated with his work. On the subject of lyrical ability, I would venture a guess that most of the ghosts that haunted Tate and Queensrÿche - those ghosts that made their music so powerful land all encompassing - have been long exorcised. So what we also find here is a man exploring some new depths for himself, and coming out the other side looking . . . empty?

In the big scheme of things, Geoff Tate has delivered a solid album that will keep fans happy but probably won't be winning him any new fans. A fine album really, but it's hard to be objective when you look up to people. The fact remains that Tate has the most distinctive voice in the genre, can deliver it live time and time again, and is quite easily one of the best performers I have even seen. If it takes a while for him to find his feet alone, then I can wait.

:: Sion Smith

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