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Frequency Unknown
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Queensryche (Geoff Tate version)
Frequency Unknown
Hard Rock
Mark Balogh

3.0 Stars

The first post-breakup “salvo” has been issued with Frequency Unknown from Geoff Tate’s version of the band getting the jump on the other original members who supposedly have their offering hitting in June 2013 with new singer Todd LaTorre. The war of words has been well publicized so that is not worth talking about because when it comes right down to it the musical output is what will speak the loudest to the fans.

But before getting into that, I just have to mention the Frequency Unknown album cover. Its part douche move and part funny but it’s certainly a bold statement by Tate none-the-less. Anyone who has followed the drama between Tate and the other original members will instantly read into it. It seems a definite statement by Tate but enough about that; let’s get to the music at hand. 
The record opens with “Cold” and it starts with a heavy, mid-paced riff. Tate sounds fine and the song has a melodic chorus that is catchy enough to get into your head and be memorable. I like the track and the guitar solo is a highlight for me too. “Dare” is up next and the track continues with the heavy riffs and the lyrics take on a tougher approach. One has to wonder if the lyrical content had any roots in the battle between Tate and his former band mates. The song is another mid-paced track and has just enough “quirkiness” to make it sound like the more recent output of QUEENSRYCHE prior to the meltdown. It’s a decent track but might not have enough staying power to make it memorable in the grand scheme of things. “Give It To You” has a similar vibe and so far the tempo of the record hasn’t really shifted from the mid-paced territory. It would have been nice if the record featured a little variety but maybe this is just what Tate (and his voice) is willing to offer these days as it seems that is what we were getting from QUEENSRYCHE prior to the split. The guitar solo on “Give It To You” is nice again but the album seems to be settling into a pattern that makes for a decent listen but not much more. “Slave” is quirky and the simple and cliché lyrics don’t do it any favors. Tate uses some profanities for what I assume is for shock value but the track is easily forgettable and the guitar work is not even up to par on this track.

Finally for the first time on Frequency Unknown Tate takes the song style back to a more classic QUEENSRYCHE mode as “In The Hands Of God” has something of a “Gonna Get Close To You” feel from the “Rage For Order” era. Tate brings his vocals back to that time in a way and it makes for a strong track in the legacy sound of the band but then the following track “Running Backwards” is a more modern and heavier track and even though it picks up the pace just a bit but the lack of any real chorus is a letdown ultimately. I’d go as far as saying the track has the feel of a “leftover” demo but the guitar solo is again impressive and that is proving to be a highlight area on the record that I wasn’t expecting. Still I have to think is that enough?

“Life Without You” starts off sounding like it could be an uplifting song but settles into yet another mid-paced affair. The bridge leading to the chorus offers promise but again the lack of any real chorus leaves me wishing for more. The brief guitar solo seems out of place too and makes me think if the song had been tweaked some it could have been a winner but it ultimately leaves me feeling a little empty when all is said and done.

A piano opens the track “Everything” and you think you may be getting a ballad but that feeling quickly fades as the heavy guitars come crashing in. The song ends up being yet another song that is highly forgettable with cliché lyrics and feels like it’s more worthy of “bonus track” status than anything else. The next track, “Fallen”, is slower-paced but not a ballad yet it lacks any real bite as it just plods along.

“Frequency Unknown” ends on a somewhat high note with “The Weight Of The World” as it has a definite “Someone Else?” (from “Promised Land”) vibe. It’s the first and only ballad of the record but it made me think of something. Many QUEENSRYCHE fans would consider the last real strong QUEENSRYCHE album to be “Promised Land” (1994) and it made me ponder for a moment on something. The very last line in “Someone Else” (which is the last song on the record too by the way) is “I keep looking back at someone else… me?”. Perhaps that is what we will ultimately take from Tate these days; fans will always compare him to his former self and the glory days of the band and so he will constantly be looking back at some else in a way. Is that fair?  Who is to question but “Frequency Unknown” is not a return to glory for the QUEENSRYCHE name no matter who is in the band.

My overall feeling is Frequency Unknown is a somewhat better album than the last few QUEENSRYCHE records and certainly much better than “Dedicated To Chaos” but it is also far short of what it needed to be given how this war between Tate and the other former members has played out. We now wait until the other original members unveil their album with new front man Todd LaTorre and fans can start the debates all over again.

And I have to mention them because they are part of the record but Tate (or more likely the new record label) has decided to re-record for classic QUEENSRYCHE tracks as bonuses for Frequency Unknown. You get “I Don’t Believe In Love”, “Empire”, “Jet City Woman” and “Silent Lucidity”. My biggest question would be why? The versions offered don’t improve on the originals but my feeling is either Tate wanted to “stick it” to his former band mates or his new record company wanted to have “a part” of some QUEENSRYCHE classic songs to use for licensing purposes or something.

Band Lineup:
  • Geoff Tate – Vocals
  • Kelly Gray – Guitars
  • Robert Sarzo – Guitars
  • Randy Gane – Keyboards
  • Simon Wright – Drums
  • Rudy Sarzo – Bass
  • Special guests:
  • Ty Tabor – Guitars
  • K.K. Downing – Guitars
  • Dave Meniketti – Guitars
  • Bobby Blotzer – Drums
  • Chris Poland – Guitars
  • Brad Gillis – Guitars
  • Craig Locicero – Guitars
  • Chris Cannella – Guitars
  • Paul Bostaph – Drums
  • Jason Slater – Bass
  • Evan Bautista - Drums


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 (re-recorded bonus track)
  12. Empire (re-recorded bonus track)
  13. Jet City Woman (re-recorded bonus track)
  14. Silent Lucidity (re-recorded bonus track)




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