Geoff Tate - Geoff Tate
Hard Rock
11 songs (49:64)
Release year: 2002
Geoff Tate, Sanctuary
Reviewed by Marty

Geoff Tate is a man who needs little introduction if you are a metal fan who's been following heavy metal music since the 80's or early 90's. As the lead singer for Queensryche, he played an integral part in shaping heavy metal music into what it is today. They were not afraid to take risks with their music and as a result, gave credibility to a form of music that had been stereotyped as being just a lot of noise. Heavy metal music could be complex, atmospheric, passionate and intelligent all at the same time. Talk to any metal band around now and mention the name Geoff Tate or Queensryche and many will agree that they have been an influence at one time or another in their career.

With his first solo effort, Geoff has proven that he himself is not afraid to take risks with his music. In a bold and daring move, he has given us an album that aside from some of the dark and atmospheric tones to the lyrics, bears very little resemblance to anything that he's ever done with Queensryche. He delivers a very spirited and inspirational performance and you get the feeling that this sort of album couldn't have come from someone who isn't at peace with himself and content with his life. There's none of the biting style of Spreading The Disease from Operation Mindcrime or the title track from Empire. This is the sort of laid back album that you could curl up with the wife (or any significant other.....have to be politically correct nowadays!!) and settle in for a quiet evening. Only a couple of tracks feature any sort of gritty, distorted guitar work. In fact, most tracks feature more acoustic guitar and piano and there's frequent use of.....gulp....drum machines ( I hate drum machines!!!). A couple of tracks, with the use of REAL drums and very up front bass lines, create very hypnotic rhythmic tones and really get a groove going. There's a couple of pretty good slow AOR style ballads on this release as well and they are very well placed in the track order to break things up nicely. Some modern hard rock/metal sounds can be heard on a few tracks with some pounding heavy beats and rhythms indicating that Geoff is very aware of the current musical climate and has allowed this to influence his songwriting.

I found this album to be both interesting and in a strange way, somewhat enjoyable one as well. Geoff's vocals rekindle the type of passion that he used to sing with in the glory days with Queensryche, but with very simple and laid back rhythms. In some ways this is more of a Pop Rock album, but there are moments where it borders on more of a harder rocking style. All the tracks are very catchy and all get the trademark Geoff Tate treatment. No-one sings like he does or uses the type of vocal arrangements that he uses for his songs. He could sing most of the tracks on this album acapella and it would still sound good. The production and arrangements on this release are such that they showcase Geoff's voice. The music definitely takes a back seat.

It's difficult for me to recommend this album unless you are a huge fan of Geoff's. I think he's one of the best singers ever in rock music today and his performance on this album is worth checking out if you are a fan. If it's classic Queensryche you're looking for, you won't find it here. If you like laid back AOR style music with great vocals and lots of passion, you should check this out. Most of the solo releases to come from singers in Heavy Metal bands at least have some resemblance to the respective bands they front. This one's the exception. This album must have been something different that Geoff has been wanting to do for sometime. He has the kind of voice where he could sing just about any form of music and I see this album as a branching out and a journey into new musical styles. Artists make decisions about their music based on what feels right for them and not what the public wants. We have to respect that. This release offers a glimpse into another side of Geoff Tate that we may have only seen little of before and something that definitely could not have been done on a Queensryche album.

Killing Songs :
none really but Flood, Helpless, In Other Words and Over Me are good tracks
Marty quoted 75 / 100
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