What is this crap that's going on with Queensr˙che?! The artistic endeavours have received consistently bad reviews for years, rightfully culminating with the miserable 'Dedicated to Chaos', and over the past few months, accusions of varying nature have been flying in the 'r˙che camp (ranging from creative stagnation and laziness to ill-tempered knife-threatening behaviour). The latest development being that there are now two versions of Queensr˙che - a Geoff Tate version and a Rockenfield/Wilton/Jackson version! If you go to wwww.queensryche.com these days, you can clearly see who happened to have the password for the site...there's nothing about the band's 30+ history anymore! Oh, how the mightly have fallen! It's pathetic and sad.
I honestly had no idea what to expect from this, the first solo release from Geoff Tate in a decade. I wasn't too impressed with his first solo effort, but things might change. It's no secret that Tate's voice can't reach the highs it used to be able to, but even a lesser Tate has a great voice. 'Operation: Mindcrime', we have to face, is unreachable, so let's put that behind us for now.
For someone like me who always had a special relationship with 'Promised Land' and of course liked 'Empire' a lot, this Geoff Tate album is not at all a bad thing.
Tate's not pretending to be 20 years old, there's no blasting away, there's no recklessness. No, there's a bunch of mid-tempo tunes, there's thought behind these songs without the rock edge getting entirely lost in the process. There are earworm riffs from former Q-r˙che axeman Kelly Gray like the main riff in 'These Glory Days', there's a solid rhythm section and, beyond and above all, Tate's voice.
Who did what in the events which tore apart Queensr˙che, I don't know, and whether Tate making an album like this as a business move rather than artistic want, I can't tell, but fact remains that this album is way better than anything the 'r˙che has done in ages - sadly.