RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Queensryche – Frequency Unknown
Deadline Records

Rating: B+

Queensryche is two bands…kinda like the old Steppenwolf and Foghat situations of the past.  Legal battles, in band fighting, people being kicked out of the band and anger fueling an already volatile situation has lead to a Geoff Tate led Queensryche and a non-Geoff Tate led Queensryche.  This album, Frequency Unknown, is the Geoff Tate version. 

One thing is immediately noticeable; Geoff getting ousted from the other Queensryche has pissed him off, which, in turn, has sparked some hard rocking creativity absent in the last few albums by any band named Queensryche.  Suffice it to say, this sucker rocks.  The album consists of hard rocking guitars, emotional lyrics and a solid vocal delivery by Tate. 

Don’t be fooled, however, that this is Geoff just rehashing classic sounds, as he is too much of an artist to just rely on past glories.  Think of it more like Geoff Tate mixing his current place in the musical world with the classic sound he is known for.

The other question people are asking is, “Who is in Geoff’s version?”  Well, there is Geoff and his old friend Kelly Gray, who was in Queensryche from 1998 to 2001.  Rudy Sarzo is also in the band on bass, adding Queensryche to his collection of amazing bands he has played with.  His resume also includes Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Dio and Blue Oyster Cult.  His brother, Robert, who was in a band called Hurricane, is on lead guitar while former AC/DC and DIO drummer Simon Wright mans the skins.  The band is rounded out by keyboardist Randy Gane of Myth.

Frequency Unknown consists of ten new songs, plus four bonus tracks of Queensryche classics.  The classics are basically there to show the fans that Geoff’s version can not only deliver the goods on the new tunes, but they are able to crank out the classics as well.  And they do.  “I Don’t Believe In Love,” “Empire,” “Jet City Woman” and “Silent Lucidity” are all top notch.  They don’t just remake them to be clones, as there is a perfect mix of the original and enough flair of the new to keep it fresh. 

Tate enlists many of his rock star buddies to make guest appearances on the album, including Chris Poland (Megadeth), Dave Meniketti (Y&T), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), Ty Tabor (King’s X), K.K. Downing (Judas Priest), Craig Locicero (Forbidden) and Chris Cannella along with drummers Paul Bostaph (Slayer/Testament) and Evan Bautista.   Also appearing on the album is bass player Jason Slater who has worked with Tate on both Queensryche and Geoff Tate solo albums in the past. 

Tate comments on the decision to include guests on the album, “I think that the idea of having guest appearances evolved from the time constraints we had imposed on the project. And I must say that I was humbled by the enthusiasm and excitement of all the players that contributed.”

While the guest artists are cool, the really excitement comes from the ten new tracks.  Robert Sarzo shines on lead guitar on “Cold,” “Life Without You” and “The Weight of the World.”  Hell, he plays his ass off on the entire thing. 

“Slave” is a groove oriented rocker while “Dare” is a tad modern.  “Fallen,” “Running Backwards” and “In the Hands of God,” as well as “Life Without You” and “The Weight of the World” are what Queensryche fans have been begging for, now, with Frequency Unknown” they finally have it.  Tate, it appears,  has let his issues with his old bandmates give him a creative kick in the ass and return him to the type of music his fans have  been begging for.   

Tate 1 other Queensryche 0.    

Track Listing:
1. Cold
2. Dare
3. Give It To You
4. Slave
5. In The Hands Of God
6. Running Backwards
7. Life Without You
8. Everything
9. Fallen
10. The Weight Of The World

11. I Don’t Believe In Love
12. Empire
13. Jet City Woman
14. Silent Lucidity

By Jeb Wright