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Review: Sweet Oblivion - Relentless
Sweet Oblivion

Label: Frontiers Records
Year released: 2021
Duration: 43:42
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy/Progressive

Rating: 4/5

Review online: July 20, 2021
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 3.33/5 (66.67%) (9 Votes)

Geoff Tate has spent about the last twenty years embarrassing himself. First with exactly how bad the music he wrote could be, and then with how extraordinarily petty he could be during the well-publicized Queensrÿche breakup. In short, the man hasn't been associated with anything even kind-of good since about 1999, and since then he has just been plumbing the depths of shittier and more contemptible musical projects.

So Italian label Frontiers Records basically put this together as a project, and I have no idea how it got started or how they got Geoff to do it. They hired a band of Italian prog and metal musicians and had them write an album of tight, slick material in line with the later period where Queensrÿche were still good—essentially Promised Land and Empire—and then had Geoff sing on it. I don't know how much songwriting input he had, but I am betting it was none, as this sounds too good for him to have had anything to do with it.

What comes from this is an album of glossy, slightly proggy music that is definitely in the rockier end of the pool, strongly influenced by Yes and Rush and other such clean, catchy progressive stuff. The songwriting is solid if not showy, clearly meant as a platform for Tate to sing.

The surprising thing is that he does so well on this. He doesn't have the highs he used to, but his tone sounds better, and he is working the expressive, dramatic aspect of his voice again. The vocal lines are solid, and he mostly just sings and sounds pretty good doing it. It's kind of sad that someone who was so talented has come down this far, but this is the most listenable thing Geoff Tate has done in 20 years, and if you miss the days of Empire and those catchy, hooky sounds, then this will scratch an itch you might have never expected to scratch again.

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