Queensrÿche - Frequency Unknown

Queensrÿche
Frequency Unknown
Cleopatra Records
2013
7
Right now it must be hell to be Geoff Tate.
 
Most of the fans of Queensryche demonize and mock him, his former band mates are locked in a legal battle with him over the rights of the band’s name with the comical situation of the two Queensryche’s and well both bands are on the road trying to feed the “legal eagles” that feed off both the bands “carcasses” by mounting nostalgia tours to pay for the legal bills. Nice one.
 
Following a truly shitty solo album and a not so shitty one, Geoff, god complex, slightly blown out voice but also lyrical genius, poet, artist extraordinaire, VEST & HAT, manages to well not really, do much in order  to to patch it all up, but at least he manages to move one small step forward. Even with the entire public outcry, he’s brave enough or foolish enough to do so. Which is truly commendable!
 
“Frequency Unknown”, is possibly a Tate, lost, trying to find a new identity! He seems to be trying to tune into something close to “Hear in the...”. Very alternative, post modern not so “Promised Land”… It’s messed up, effect ridden, but Geoff does sound motivated and a little twisted and angry. And anger breeds art.
 
“Cold” is a minor masterpiece, and even if it’s a bit alternative flavored and if Tate doesn’t start soaring, it easily half silenced the critics that had him completely, written off. Yeah, it doesn’t amount to much, but it has a simple yet effective hook and an honest heartfelt delivery. Nuff said. You can overanalyze stuff and dilute the camel, but this rocks.
 
The same can’t be said for “Dare” that’s very simple based on a distorted riff and tries to be atmospheric, has a couple of moments, but ultimately bores. I suppose, some of these lyrics, may be quite personal exercises in exorcising certain feelings. So be it.
 
“Give It To You” well, sees Tate in a semi grungy ballad that however rocks. Tate is even is a bit borderline, vocally on this one but he’s not trying to hide it, which is honest.
 
“Slave” is a fast paced modern sounding piece. It has an interesting idea and a generic yet catchy riff. It’s all about people becoming slaves to the money. Well it’s funny, very fitting and oh well… I could think of a certain person that fits the lyrics quite nicely – a certain person who managed to halt his band on the tracks, lose a singer and much more, just by sheer greed and lack of common sense and obviously being a slave to the pleasures of the flesh. Where is he now?!
 
“In the Hands of God” is a lot different, starting in a rather bizarre way, quickly building up with Tate trying different approaches, even some borderline scream-o stuff, that kinda works… nicely!? Quite dramatic in fact… I am sure it must have to do with some “event”…
 
“Running Backwards” tries too hard to create a mood, but I guess, it fails to really make any other statement than maybe take a stab at his former band mates for “their” “let’s go to the past approach”.
 
While typically it’s them that should have won me over, their whole real Queenrsyche tirade and Latorre’s eagerness to become the “teenage idol” too fast, too soon, and possibly without the “songs” – (we’ll find out pretty soon how the “Other Ryche” has fared has EN-RAGE-D me so much, that I’ve given Tate, more than a fair chance and I’m glad I did since…
a) The man is an artist…
b) The only “real Queensryche” ceased to exist when a certain Mr. DeGarmo departed, and…
c) It takes “Cojones” not to do the obvious and not to absolutely suck. Well at least, this time he did not do cabaret. This is not wot he did! Oooops! Ma, bad!
 
“Life Without You”... Could it be about living life, without a lover? Without the former QR members? Without reaching the heights of an “I Dream in Infrared”? Tate still manages to be, well, Tate, strained, tired, older… but he doesn’t have to imi-Tate himself. He’s not APEing anyone. He created and helped popularize singlehandedly a style that almost everyone else copied ever since in the early 80s. Surely there were, high pitched singers in bands before Tate, but none quite like him, I’d dare say…
 
It’s quite a sensational song and performance. I suppose the solos, could have been a tad more careful and more refined. There’s a great one and a fuzzy as #$## one, the latter of which sounds a little out of place it’s a minor spoiler… but still, I’d rather have a double harmony/melodic solo in its place.
 
“Everything” is another quality number that’s a bit reminiscent of an 80s pop power ballad! It’s quite bittersweet and powerful actually. It seems to suffer a little mix wise, but not to the point where you’d dismiss it!
 
“Fall” is a very pessimistic song, with very strong lyrics. It’s about dying. I suppose mostly internally, but I suppose one might also interpret the song as being about generally withering out.
 
“The Weight of the World” is the final “proper” song… in the album… and it’s a heart wrenching, gut stirring piece at 6 minutes of simple guitar noodling and simple meditation between life and pondering non existence before some electric requiem takes over… as an outro… It’s mesmerizing… really!
 
There are also 4… re-recorded Queensryche “hits” namely: “I Don’t Believe In Love”, “Empire”, “Jet City Woman” & “Silent Lucidity”. Some are butchering jobs some not so. Some Todd Boy, can imi-Tate, some he will never own. Actually he’ll never own anything else other than whatever albums he may maketh.
 
Let me try to make a prophecy: I’m guessing, that like in all the usual big bands that oust their “classic” singer, it will only be 1-2 albums, with a replacement singer, before we see a joyous reunion – when everyone realizes the big bucks is in the original band and Sharon @$$P@RN comes with coffers full of cash, screaming reunite to play Empire$ on Ozzfest! Woo-hoo!
 
Now – I like how fucked up this album is! It’s not Queensryche! It’s not exactly a Tate solo album. It’s a weird hybrid and it’s such an album out of place album. But it’s such an honest piece of art… and I have honest doubts that, the other side of “Midnight” has any ounce of I would not say honesty, but well, I’d dare say soul left…
 
Most seems to have been swept away by all the auto tuning on the sample of “Redemption”, for godsake and that LaTorre, guy is not a pitch challenged vocalist but I suppose the idea must have been – hey let’s make it sound more modern eh? But that’s another story for another review sometime in the early summer I guess, If CM, doesn’t also get cold feet. (Like the “real” QR got with their UK dates!) I see them pushing the product 20 or so days later... hm…
 
Team Tainty – The Vest, kinda wins this round since the opponent has shown up only one repetitive song with a bit of auto tune, plus a stolen vocalist doing, his best impression of the songs that made the band, who the are, and charging an arm and a leg for the spectacle! Sorry Todd, but, you’re trying to fill some really big shoes of a guy that’s still alive! Waiting for Round Two!
 
For all I know It could as well be a complete ass whooping the other way around, when the eponymous Queensryche album arrives (but I have to question the sanity of the “Real” (?) Queensryche doing that, since there is already and eponymous EP, so that would be a little confusing in catalogues etc... but I suppose they want to show that they are a reboot, or something… oh dear! What bullshit! Why didn’t they call it Metallica or Megadeth, and misspell it intentionally so as to avoid litigation – they’d probably get better exposure that way! haha!
 
Mind you, I still do “blame” “Team Tate” for the “nose-dive” in the 90s, from what I was “reading in the press” but… maybe they were all funked up collectively – maybe the band was going through a crisis – and could not be helped, anyway. After all, it was basically, their livelihood they managed to diminish, their fan base to estrange and their legacy to tarnish. I do still enjoy the records you know! Good or Bad I can only be subjected to them and voice my opinion as a fan, the artist should be free to follow his muse as he wishes and that is what he should do.
 
PS: Since there are apparently 2 sides to this story, and allegedly 2 Queensryche’s until November at the very least, we’d urge you to also read the review for  Queensrÿche – “Queensrÿche” to formulate a more spherical opinion about the 2 sides of this “coin” and make up your mind about this “cold war” after you’ve taken into account both our reviewer’s opinions on the albums. After all he’s one of the few people on the planet right now that has been afforded the chance to have heard “BOTH” of the albums! So go ahead! READ...the word!