Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Queensryche- Frequency Unknown (2013) Album Review

I won't go into the politics behind this record. I won't dwell on the fact that Geoff Tate has been dragging the Queensryche name through the mud for years, but I will point out that not only is Frequency Unknown a continuation of that tradition, it exceeds all previous efforts by a mile in tarnishing their once-great reputation.

Frequency Unknown is a disaster. From the lousy songwriting and bored performances to the piss-poor production and cover art, the record is an uninspired and contrived piece of garbage not even worthy of the plastic that holds the cd. It lacks any semblance of musical or creative ability, and displays a huge error of judgement on the part of everyone involved from Geoff Tate and the hired guns he passes off for Queensryche, to the record execs too blinded by their own greed to see how big of a mistake releasing this album was.

They rushed through this album in order to give Geoff Tate leverage in court over his former bandmates. they knew that by releasing their album first they would sell more copies, giving Tate a reason to retain rights to the name. This is a shrewd business tactic that resulted an album that sounds thrown together. The production of this album is absolutely horrendous, with the mixing in particular being one of the worst in the history of recorded sound. There are points in the album where the guitars are so loud and distorted it becomes impossible to listen to. Your ears get bombarded with an undecipherable wall of sound intermittedly throughout almost every song. They could have fixed this issue, but they had to rush the album out as quickly as possible. Why would I care to listen to something when the people who made it didn't care about it themselves?

The songs themselves sound cut-and-pasted together. They are structured around Tate's vocal performance, which is unfortunate considering he gives the worst performance on the album. He has absolutely no musical range and lacks any trace of emotion or conviction in his voice. They tried to make up for this fact by piling every effect in the pro tools repertoire onto his vocal track, but in the end it comes out sounding more lifeless than ever. If you still aren't convinced Geoff Tate lost his soul, look no further than the song Weight of the World where Tate sounds like he's singing through the drive-thru microphone at McDonalds. I didn't know if it was Geoff Tate singing or if it was my computer asking me to put it out of its misery. And If you have any faith in Tate as a lyricist, or if you want to have yourself a good laugh, listen to the song Dare.

Geoff Tate deserves most of the blame for this turd of an album, but the musicians attached to it didn't help matters whatsoever. Simon Wright was a horrible choice for a drummer. He plays a more straight-forward, rock n' roll style which he displayed in AC/DC, but that playing style does not fit at ALL with Queensryche, who have traditionally leaned more progressively. Scott Rockenfeld was a great drummer who constantly kept things interesting with his innovative playing, but Wright simply plays the same beat throughout the entire song regardless of what the guitarists are doing (not that they are doing much anyway). This makes for a very disjointed and confusing listening experience that suggests they didn't take enough time to rehearse as a band before going into the studio.

In terms of song structure, this offers absolutely no variety or innovation. A lot of the songs sound like b-sides to Dedicated to Chaos, while the rest sound like a rip off of Jet City Woman. They didn't care about writing good songs for this crap. Don't get me started on the re-recordings, they are just depressing to listen to.

Cleopatra records should be ashamed of themselves for releasing this train wreck. It is an unfinished product. The songs are not mixed properly whatsoever. You'd think they would have some standards of quality, but apparently not considering they released the album even though they knew it wasn't mixed correctly. They knew that fans would be ripped off, which is why they are now offering replacement copies for any fans dissatisfied with the sound. How about getting it right the first time?

In this day and age this behavior from a record company is abhorrent. it is exactly the reason why the record industry is dying, because of the irresponsible people at companies like Cleopatra records who have no problem shoveling this horrible product out to the buying audience. Disgusting.

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