With the acrimonious split between Geoff Tate and Queensryche still being aired in public almost daily on Blabbermouth like some drawn out episode of Jeremy Kyle/Jerry Springer, it’s getting harder and harder to focus on the fact that these guys have produced some stellar music over the years due to their insistence on washing their dirty laundry in public. Both sides are making bitchy accusations and both sides have admitted to some horrible and petty behaviour and sadly that can be a bit of a turn off.
That said, real fans of the band may look on the split as something positive – if a band aren’t happy and both sides continue to create music, you can end up with two for the price of one, right? Queensryche will have a new album soon and Geoff‘s is already upon us. Having been the main song writing force for their last couple of albums (albeit with outside writers) one could argue that with his songs and his voice the solo material will be as good as having a new Ryche album? Sadly, to my ear, the recent Queensryche material has been substandard and this new offering is no different.
It is hard to review anything with this pedigree without comparing it with the utter brilliance of “Mindcrime” or “Empire” – but I will do my best to look at this on its own merits as a hard rock album.
Opener “She Slipped Away” limps along with no real direction or purpose and seeps into “Take A Bullet” which sounds like a rejected Motley Crue riff overlaid with Jon Lord-esque keyboards that don’t fit the song and are too low in the mix anyway.
“Say U Luv It” (yes, that’s how he spells it) starts promisingly with an interesting riff and some decent drumming but descends into more cod-rock blandness. On tracks like “Dark Money” his voice does sound strong but that is not enough to carry the lacklustre songs on offer here. “These Glory Days” actually makes a half-decent stab at being worthy of the Tate name but again it meanders in the middle and then tails off into a big beige mess.
“Change” is cast iron proof that no amount of strings and orchestral backing can disguise an average song. He does put his heart and soul into the vocals here, yet it still leaves me flat in a way I never thought possible from the man who screamed “I Don’t Believe In Love” and crooned “Silent Lucidity”.
Devoid of decent vocal melodies and song structures this album sounds like it was thrown together in a fortnight with a bunch of riffs Kelly Gray had been saving for a rainy day. Even after three listens it hasn’t grown on me and, if anything, repeated spins have started to irritate. Having been eager to hear this album and keen to review it I am genuinely disappointed with the whole shambles and it gives me absolutely no pleasure to commend this album to the bargain bins of your local record emporium.