Geoff Tate

Geoff Tate

Geoff Tate

Sanctuary

Respect to the old prog with the funny hair! Geoff Tate’s going to piss off quite a few Queensrÿche fans with this one, even though there’s only half a reason why they should take offense. In fact, considering that band’s latest lukewarm efforts, they should take a bow to Tate’s electronica experiments.

Well, electronica might be overstating it, but lush and trippy programming do take the spotlight where Queensrÿche would routinely have opted for the grand thunder. Instead, then, Tate delivers a softer and warmer sound that could possibly appeal to a wider audience than the usual metal crowd.

Established artists’ attempts at going all contemporary regularly end up with them sounding more dated than ever. And there’s definitely a hint of ’80s production values going on here, as well. However, Tate handles the material with a surprising subtlety, and even if he’s always inclined towards the grandiose and melodramatic he knows when to hold back, as well. The gentle “Every Move Me Make” is surely a good example of this, proving that this is the same guy that did Operation: Mindcrime back in the day. And so, the only places where the ghost of the ’80s is a truly scary one are the places where he tries to funk things up a bit, such as on the grueling and gruesome “A Passenger.” Avoid! And there’s “This Moment,” which has a power ballad thing going on, but still ends up on the right side of the embarrassing, and actually proves to be one of the album’s finest moments.

Tate is certain to end up on Broadway sooner or later, what with the voice and the hair and all, so we should appreciate him while he’s still around making decent music. This is recommendable to any open-minded Queensrÿche fan and to any newcomer curious about the state of epic prog pop in the year 2002.

Geoff Tate: http://www.geofftate.com

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