It seems almost unbelievable that 25 years has gone by since Queensryche released “Operation: Mindcrime,” one of the best concept albums in the history of rock. Frontman Geoff Tate has assembled a new version of the band and has recently released their 13th studio album, “Frequency Unknown.” The new lineup consists of Rudy Sarzo on bass, Robert Sarzo and Kelly Gray on guitars, Simon Wright on drums, and Randy Gane on the keyboards.
There has been no love lost between Tate and his former bandmates and the lyrics on this record reflect the turmoil that has been ongoing between them. The album was produced by Jason Slater who has worked on prior projects with Tate and has a much heavier feel as well. The album sounds more like a Geoff Tate solo album than a band project. There are numerous guest appearances by uber-talented musicians, amongst them are Brad Gillis, K.K. Downing, and Dave Meniketti to name a few. Unfortunately, this makes for a lack of continuity to the music and the songs themselves. There are a few really outstanding tracks though, most notably “Slave” and “Everything” which are solid steps in the right direction for Tate and company. I’d like to hear more of that style with Geoff’s dramatic vocals being the focal point amidst searing guitars. The CD also includes four bonus tracks which are re-recorded Queensryche songs. I’m not sure why these are included as they are fairly weak versions of some of the best of the best of Queensryche including “Empire” and “Silent Lucidity.”
“Frequency Unknown” certainly lacks the magic of the Queensryche of old but overall it’s not a bad album. Instead of trying to compare it to the original, enjoy it for what it is.