Tate’s New QR LP Unlike Anything Fans Have Ever Heard

Courtesy:  Deadline Music

Courtesy: Deadline Music

Geoff Tate is one of the most talented and iconic singers in the world of rock music today.  Tate has made a career of fronting the equally iconic hard rock band, Queensryche.  In his most recent album, Tate has shown once again why he is still a vocal powerhouse.  Call it a Queensryche album.  Call it a Geoff Tate album.  Regardless of which side one takes in the ongoing dispute between Tate and his former band mates, one has to admit that even this Queensryche album has its share of positives.  The first of those positives is the album’s opener, ‘Crush.’

‘Cold’ is one of those songs that will take listeners back to the days of Hear in the Now Frontier.  While it is heavier than anything on the aforementioned album, it definitely bears at least some slight semblance to the material from that record.  What makes this song interesting is that for all of its heaviness, lyrically, it doesn’t come across as something that should be quite so heavy.  Tate sings in the song’s chorus, “Would you stay here/If I begged you to/What more can I do/You’re so cold.”  This is a song rooted in relationship matters.  It is that imbalanced juxtaposition of the song’s lyrics to its music that makes it quite the opener for this album.  Rather than being just another moping emo-style piece, Tate and his mostly new band mates have opted for something that instead grabs listeners and engages them right off the bat.

Things get even more interesting after ‘Cold’ as Tate and company launch into the even heavier Dare.  This song (save for its single f-bomb early on) is this album’s most radio ready single.  It is as far from the older days of Queensryche as Tate could get.  That’s evident in the much heavier, more mainstream guitar riffs and electronics.  It’s even unlike what fans have come to expect from Tate’s own previous solo records.  This stark contrast from other songs penned by Tate makes it one more point for listeners to note.  One has to wonder as to whom exactly Tate’s target was here, what with the song’s lyrical content.  He sings in the song’s first verse, “What have you got/What have you got to show/You can’t look it in the eye/That’s how I know/You wouldn’t dare/You wouldn’t dare/You wouldn’t dare hurt me/Cause you just might get hurt yourself.”  On one hand, it could be argued that this is another song based in relationship issues.  But on the other hand, it could just as easily be argued that this is a direct response by Tate to his former band mates considering the two sides’ less than pleasant split in 2012.

Frequency Unknown is an interesting effort from Geoff Tate, needless to say as is evidenced by the songs noted here.  This is not a record for classic Queensryche fans as it breaks completely from the classic Queensryche sound.  That aside, it still bears its own sound that shows Geoff Tate and his band of hired hands has still crafted a record that is worth at least one listen.  It’s just too bad that the band wasn’t able to put its differences aside as it would have been interesting to hear the songs from this album mixed in with those of the music from Tate’s former band mates on their new album.  Until or unless that happens, audiences do have quite the interesting listen in this record.  It is available now in stores and online.  Fans can check out the music from Tate’s Queensryche as the band is touring in support of Frequency Unknown now.  The band will perform today at Club Fever in South Bend, Indiana.  A full listing of tour dates for Tate’s Queensryche can be found online at http://www.queensryche.com/tour/.

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Queensryche’s Upcoming LP A Welcome Return To Form

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Queensryche is one of the most well known bands in the history of rock.  This Seattle based band survived the hair metal movement and the nu-wave movement of the 80s.  It also survived the grunge movement of the 90s and even the musical gold rush of 2000.  Throughout all of these different phases that the music industry has seen come and go, Queensryche has had its share of highs with iconic albums such as Empire, Operation: Mindcrime, Rage for Order, and to a slightly lesser degree, Hear in the Now Frontier and Promised Land.  While it did survive the musical gold rush of 2000, the release of its 2003 album, Tribe and its predecessor, Q2K (1999) were met with lukewarm reviews at best.  And 2011’s Dedicated to Chaos was perhaps its least warmly received album in its thirty year plus long career.  Things didn’t get much better after the less than pleasant split between the band and its now former front man Geoff Tate.  But it looks like the band is well back on track with a new front man and a self-titled album that takes long-time fans back to the days of Empire, Rage For Order, and even HITNF and Promised Land.

The very first thing that audiences should note with this new release is not much its musical side but its cover art and title.  Most people don’t pay much attention to any album’s title or even the cover art for its liner notes/booklet.  But in the case of Queensryche, both are of equal significance with this new release.  They are so significant because of the recent history between the band and its former front man.  The artwork for the standard edition of the album is simplistic, unlike that of many of the band’s previous releases.  It is simply the band’s logo set against a solid metallic background.  In its own way, one could argue that this is its own statement of the band redeveloping its identity through this fashion.  Just as the artwork is simple, so is the album’s title.  The band’s very first release way back in 1983 was a self-titled release.  Now three decades later, the band has offered fans another self-titled release.  Again, it seems insignificant on a small scale.  But considering everything that has happened with the band since 2012, making the album self-titled is another statement of rebirth for the band.  Just as Tate was delivering a statement with the title and artwork of his Queensryche album, Frequency Unknown, so is this Queensryche’s album title.  And it’s a statement that is as solid as the album’s musical content.

Musically speaking, this album is a rebirth for this Queensryche band in every way.  The ten songs that comprise the record are classic Queensryche, hands down.  Even with new front man Todd LaTorre manning vocal duties, listeners will be taken back.  If one were to listen to this record without knowing about the band’s rather acrimonious split with Geoff Tate, one would swear they were indeed hearing Tate.  That perhaps is the most intriguing fact of all about this record.  Forget the fact that the classic bombastic guitar work of Michael Wilton and the equally impressive drumming of Scott Rockenfield are back.  LaTorre’s vocal style and sound are near mirror images so to speak of that of the band’s previous singer.  It’s incredible how similar the two sound.  And it is because of this and the album’s overall old school sound (not to mention the statement of the album’s artwork and title), that fans that grew up with Queensryche will cheer happily once more.  It is everything that those fans have awaited for so many years.

Queensryche is currently wrapping up the U.S. leg of its tour in support of its new album.  It will kick off the European leg of its tour beginning October 2nd at the O2 Academy Islington.  Fans can get a complete tour listing and all of the latest tour updates and general news from the band on its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial and its official website, http://www.queensrycheofficial.com

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Tate’s Second Solo Record Largely A Success

Courtesy:  Insideout U.S.

Courtesy: Insideout U.S.

Geoff Tate’s new solo record, Kings & Thieves is a drastic improvement from his first solo outing.  The now former Queensryche singer went way out on a limb with his 2002 self-titled solo debut on Sanctuary Records.  The record was experimental to say the least.  And while fans should be proud of him for making the attempt to branch out and do something not so much like that of his main band, he seemed not so certain of himself.  Enter Kings & Thieves.  This record is the polar opposite of Tate’s previous solo effort.  He comes across as being far more in his comfort zone, crafting songs that are more accessible to mainstream audiences.  It is also an album that fans of Queensryche’s Q2K and Dedicated to Chaos will enjoy.

One of the best songs on this new release is the album’s second track, ‘Take a Bullet.’  The song’s musical side makes this song an instant radio hit for Tate and his backing band.  The guitars are just heavy enough to make heads move.  And drummer Bobby Blotzer (Ratt) keeps a solid beat throughout proving that less really can be more.  Lyrically, it would almost seem that this song might have even been somewhat aimed at his now former band mates in QR.  Tate opens the song singing, ‘Paybacks are a bitch sometimes/When you know/You’re pretty good/But never good enough/I know/You believe this show/That you’re drowning/Yeah, you’re going down/Swept away by my undertow.”  He continues his lyrical attack in the song’s chorus.  His forceful manner as sings, “Take a bullet/Yeah, take a bullet/For me/Take a bullet/I’d take a bullet/For you.”  Considering the less than amicable split that seemed to have happened between Tate and his former band mates and its resultant fallout, one can only surmise that if this song is directed at them, what he is saying here.  It’s just one example of what makes this album a worthwhile listen for fans of both Queensryche and Geoff Tate.

Another of the songs that make this album an improvement from his previous solo effort comes closer to the album’s end.  That song is ‘Evil.’  Musically, it’s one of those songs that is more closely associated with material from the likes of Q2K than his previous solo release.  That’s obvious right from the song’s opening strains.  This piece comes across as Tate (or the song’s main character) being involved with someone who comes across as being somewhat deceptive.  He sings, “When you say the things you say/Don’t know how you could/Mean it any other way/Why don’t you say it to my face/You don’t move me/You don’t fool me/What’s the matter/Cause what you give is what you get.”  This is one of those songs to which every person can relate.  Who out there hasn’t encountered people of such serpentine nature at one point or another in their lives?  Even this critic has more than once.  One can only wonder at whom this song was aimed.  It definitely has the fire of someone who has been done wrong by another.

The previous pair of songs already discussed make up just a tiny portion of what fans will enjoy about Geoff Tate’s new solo album.  There is at least one other song that fans will enjoy off of this record.  It’s another piece that comes later in the album’s progression.  That song is ‘These Glory Days.’  This is quite the uplifting song.  It could be argued that this song is a form of social commentary as he sings, “If it’s wrong to do what’s right/Then I fear there’s no time/No time to waste.”  That opening verse leads solidly into the song’s chorus in which Tate sings with the aid of a backing chorus, “Raise your hands/Shout out loud/Give the best you have/And don’t be afraid/In these glory days.”  There’s no doubt left as to what he is saying here.  Any doubt left is wiped out in the song’s final verse, with Tate singing, “Every day is a test/To do the right thing/Do your best/To live without lies/Gonna take it to a higher place.”  Lyrically it’s along the lines of Queensryche’s ‘Sign of the Times’ from the band’s album, Hear in the Now Frontier because of its commentary.  Musically, it’s just as closely related to music from that album, too.  It makes for a very nice bridge between the iconic singer’s past and where he is now in his career.  Again, it makes for just one more piece of the overall musical picture painted that will impress any long-time fan of Geoff Tate or even the most hardcore of Queensryche fans.  Those who would love to hear the album’s other songs can pick it up now as it’s available both in stores and online.  Kings & Thieves can be ordered directly through Geoff Tate’s official website, http://www.geofftate.com

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ShipRocked Cruise’s Fourth Year Its Biggest Yet

The annual ShipRocked cruise has officially wrapped.  This year’s cruise was the biggest yet for the annual event.  It saw a total of nearly 2,500 people on board the MSC Poesia.  The cruise featured the likes of:  Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, Korn, P.O.D., Sevendust, Geoff Tate, and a slew of other acts.  It was sponsored by General Suns, and was fueled by Monster Energy. 

The cruise’s record breaking attendance was just one high point for this year’s event.  Along with the band lineup and record breaking attendance, the cruise’s annual Cancer Sucks charity auction raised some $70,000 for cancer research.  The auction featured one-of-a-kind memorabilia from bands on both this year’s cruise and those bands who took part in past cruises. 

Plans are already in the works for next year’s ShipRocked cruise.  A pre-sale for returning guests will begin soon.  For all the latest on next year’s ShipRocked cruise and to sign up for the ShipRocked newsletter, audiences can go online to http://www.getshiprocked.com, http://www.facebook.com/GetShipRocked, or http://twitter.com/ShipRocked

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Queensryche Celebrate Iconic Album With Anniversary Tour Next Spring

Legendary Seattle, WA based prog rock band Queensryche is hitting the road in the New Year.  The band will kick celebrate the 25th anniversary of its landmark concept album, Operation: Mindcrime.  The band will kick off its celebratory tour April 6th in Wendover, Nevada at the Peppermill Casino.  While the album will be the same, the band lineup will be different this time around.  Founder and front man Geoff Tate will be joined by Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne/Quiet Riot/Whitesnake/Dio) on bass, Bobby Blotzer (Ratt) on drums, Randy Gayne (Myth) on keyboards and fellow long time member Kelly Gray on guitar.

Photo Credit: Michaela Fisher Photography

Tate was noticeably excited about the upcoming tour when asked about the new lineup.  “It’s great to be performing with all of these guys who have been true friends for years”, Tate said.  “Kelly, Randy and I formed Myth more than 30 years ago and I’ve known Rudy and Bobby for several years as well.  I think we are all inspired by the collaboration and couldn’t be more excited to bring it to our fans next year.”

While the band’s iconic album will be the focus of the new lineup’s performance when it hits the road next year, fans can also expect to hear songs from the follow-up to that album, Operation: Mindcrime II.  And while fans wait to see this new lineup out on tour next Spring, they can also check out Tate’s new solo record, Kings & Thieves.  The new release is only Tate’s second solo album in ten years.  He explained his aim for this new release since so much time has elapsed between records. “My goal with this album was to make a solid rock album”, he said.  “I wanted it to be an album that I could play live that would be both satisfying and fun because, as a singer, you need to create a show that has a lot of dynamics to it and takes people on a ride.”  Tate is currently touring in support of his new album and will tour through the end of the year before prepping to hit the road for next Spring’s anniversary tour.

Fans can get a full listing of Tate’s current solo tour and the upcoming Queensryche anniversary tour, along with all the latest news online at http://www.geofftate.com/tour, http://www.facebook.com/GeoffTateOfficial, http://twitter.com/GeoffTate, and http://www.queensryche.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Geoff Tate Releases Artwork For New Solo LP

Courtesy: Inside Out Music

Queensryche front man Geoff Tate has released the artwork and track listing for his upcoming new solo release, “Kings & Thieves.”  The album is due to hit store shelves Tuesday, November 6th in the U.S.  “Kings & Thieves” is Tate’s second solo release.  His last solo release, which was a self-titled record, was released in June 2002 via Sanctuary Records.  “Kings & Thieves” will be released via Inside/Out Records.

The songlist for Tates new album is as follows:

01. She Slipped Away

02. Take A Bullet

03. In The Dirt

04. Say U Luv It

05. The Way I Roll

06. Tomorrow

07. Evil

08. Dark Money

09. These Glory Days

10. Change

11. Waiting

Tate will tour this Fall and Winter in support of his new solo release beginning Wednesday, October 17th at the Newton Theatre in Newton, New Jersey.  He will also hold a seven-date run in Canada alongside rock legend Alice Cooper from November 7th – 16th.  For a full list of tour dates and to get all the latest news from Geoff Tate, go online to http://www.geofftate.com, http://www.facebook.com/GeoffTateOfficial, http://twitter.com/GeoffTateOfficial, and http://wwwinsideoutmusic.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews online at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ShipRocked, Sixx Sense partner for cruise giveaway

Not able to get to next weekend’s Carolina Rebellion Festival at Rockingham Speedway?  Well a couple of the bands that’ll be there will also be on this year’s Shiprocked music festival cruise.

The organizers of the annual ShipRocked music festival cruise has partnered with Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx’s radio show, Sixx Sense, to give the cruise of a life time to two lucky people.  The contest runs from April 30th to May 16th.  Fans of Sixx Sense can enter the giveaway online at http://www.sixxsense.com/pages/contests/sixxshiprocked

This year marks the cruise’s fourth straight year.  Along for this year’s cruise will be: Five Finger Death Punch, Godsmack, P.O.D., Sevendust, Filter, Fuel, Blackstone Cherry, Lit, Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate, Gilby Clarke (ex-G N’ R), and In This Moment.  The cruise will run from November 27th through December 1st. 

The cruise departs from Fort Lauderdale, FL.  It lasts four days and nights.  Cruise winners will receive: Free passage for two onbard the cruise, One (1) Oceanview Stateroom for two for the duration of the cruise, Two (2) roundtrip coach airfares to Ft. Lauderdale, One (1) night standard hotel room in Ft. Lauderdale, Free entry to all ShipRocked concerts, meet and greets, artist hosted events and other activities, and complimentary food and non-alcoholic beverages, including 24-7 room service.

More information on this year’s ShipRocked cruise is available online at http://www.GetShipRocked.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GetShipRocked, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ShipRocked.