When most musicians record solo albums, its because they need an outlet for material that doesnt fit the scope of their band. That wasnt the case with Geoff Tate. While theres very little on his solo debut that couldnt fit within the ever-evolving musical scope of Queensrÿche, the difference for the vocalist lies in the expression of those songs, and how they actually came to fruition.
The problem when youre in a creative environment is keeping things fresh and invigorating, and after working with the same people for twenty years, it gets very difficultYou walk into the room, and everybody knows what everybody is going to do, explains the frontman. Theres no spark of new blood, the chemistry is very tried and true, and you just keep coming up with the same ways of expressing yourself. Whats nice about doing a side project with new people, is that its a whole new breed, and a bunch of new ideas, musical backgrounds, emotional baggage, and whatever else it takes to create. Its a whole new set of parameters, so its all new, everyone has ideas you havent heard before, and everyone is throwing them against the wall. It takes on a whole new life.
For Tate, that whole new life is a vibrant tapestry of human emotion and expression, the culmination being his eponymous 11-track offering on Sanctuary Records. The songs are all about the strongest passion of life, which is love. Its all about the feelings that you have for somebody, how relationships work and dont work, the misunderstandings, and all that it takes to keep a relationship working. That said, its also about stepping out on youre own and trying new stuff, and not being afraid to take that big step. That makes it kind of autobiographical, because Im taking that step, moving out from where Ive been and stepping into other areas, and thats important for people to do.
Ask me what I believe in, Ill say compromise rings the opening line of the albums first track, and in those vulnerable depths of Flood the mood is set. The music swirls in a textured wash of soothing guitar tones and gently cascading rhythms, and Tates vocals shower the proceedings like the most welcome of spring rains, his words glistening like a morning dew. Fans of Queensrÿche will revel in the familiar, soothing warmth of one of musics most pure voices, while new fans will find themselves lost somewhere between the melancholy of Forever and the hopeful effervescence of This Moment. Co-songwriter Scott Moughton paves a tantalizing trail of Spanish-flavored guitars into Helpless, a piano lays the path through the peaceful calm of In Other Words, drums propel Passenger, and Grain Of Faith plays like the perfect culmination of Tates lyrical harmony and Carrells guitar-based foundations.
One of the most brilliant points of humanity is when you take a complex situation, and describe it in a sense thats simplistic enough for people to grasp it very easily. Thats amazing, really, and thats what I try to do with songwritingI try to take a big subject and condense it down into something very simple, maybe just a phrase, or a line, or a couple of lines that says everything. Thats a tough challenge, and thats what keeps bringing me back to writing music. Its never easy, which means theres always a challenge to come up with something new and different.
Ive often had this problem of looking at the glass like its half-empty, and Ive been trying for all these years to figure out how to change that perspective. All of a sudden, Ive done it, and I dont know how I did itI think its just sort of letting it all go, and knowing that it will change and get better. Im definitely in a better place now than Ive ever been in before, Ive got a real positive outlook now, Tate offers, drawing a comparison between his solo release, and his prior body of work. Queensrÿche seems to have angst about it, and I think thats just because of the dynamics of the members involved. This was much more of a peaceful vibe.
While a peaceful vibe may seem a bit askew from the voice behind Queensrÿches Operation: Mindcrime epic, theres not a rock band around that has had the bravado to take their music in as divergent directions as Tates full-time outfit, and that fact isnt lost on the singer. I never tried to have a box thrown around myself and be a heavy metal singer, he explains. If you listen to a lot of Queensrÿche records, especially since Empire, weve done many different types of music and vocals, all based around guitars. Silent Lucidity and Jet City Woman arent heavy metal anthems, theyre just good songs, and I think this new record of mine is a greater extension of where Queensrÿche went in those directions.
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