The last year has been a big soap opera for Geoff Tate and his former band Queensrÿche. Internal fighting and crappy record releases that havn’t sold much at all has led to Tate getting the boot out of the band some months ago and it’s not over yet as the battle between the members has now found its way to court. We’ll just have to see how that goes. But while we’re waiting for that to settle, Queensrÿche will go on tour with a new singer and so will Tate with his version of Queensrÿche and he also gives us a solo album, his second. His first self titled solo album was released back in 2002 and wasn’t rock at all. The sound was more pop, in a darker way and was based on mellow stuff based on both acoustic guitars and electronics and it was actually really good. Hopes weren’t exactly high for this one after it was revealed that the latest Queensrÿche albums were more or less Tate’s work and that the other members hardly played on those albums. And we all know how much fun Queensrÿche is these days.
As Tate has shown himself to be a rather unsympathetic character who is in great need of a reality check, it sure would have been nice to beat the shit out his album just for the hell of it, but when things turns ugly in the press we all know that there usually are more to what meets the eye behind all the drama than what really comes out and besides, this is a review on the music, not his personality. So come what may, if the music’s good it’s good, no matter how much a douche the artist is. So, is it any good, then? Well, both yes and no. It’s not even remotely as bad as I thought it would be, but on the other hand, he promised us a hard rock record this time and we got one and no matter how much crap Queensrÿche has given us lately, the guys are responsible for albums of pure brilliance like Operation: Mindcrime, Rage For Order and Promised Land which puts these guys under a great deal of pressure every time they release anything new. Even if you really don’t expect anything spectacular, you really want to. And those expectations aren’t even close to be fulfilled here.
The biggest problem on this album is that it really doesn’t contain one single song that could be described as great, but there are quite few fillers and some really bad ones. But not to sound too negative, there are some good stuff here. “She Slipped Away” is a good one, “Take A Bullet” is a heavy number that works quite well, “In The Dirt” is a very good one with some great instrumental parts, “The Way I Roll” is catchy one that’s familiar to the stuff that Queensrÿche wrote on their underrated Hear In The Now Frontier album, first single “Dark Money” is a decent, political song and “Change” is the album’s big moment which features a big orchestra and a symphonic sound. As I wrote, I was expecting this album to be a real fiasco, but it’s not all that bad. Then again, it’s not good enough either and it sounds like the Queensrÿche of today although with not as bad songs and he still sings very well, at least on record.
Still, the question is who is gonna wanna buy this album after all the the useless Queensrÿche albums and the kindergarden fighting that has been taking time and effort off the music. To show his fans that he’s back for real, Tate was more or less forced to release one hell of an album and frankly, this one isn’t, and it’s the album he will be touring with his version of Queensrÿche. Things are confusing, to say the least. I wouldn’t bet on this album selling that many copies to other folks than the die hard Queensrÿche fans. If there are any left…
Jon Wilmenius (5/10)
01. She Slipped Away
02. Take A Bullet
03. In The Dirt
04. Say U Luv It
05. The Way I Roll
08. Dark Money
09. These Glory Days