Queensryche
Frequency Unknown


2.3
average

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
April 23rd, 2013 | 170 replies


Release Date: 04/23/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This isn’t a good Queensryche album, and it’s barely passable under any other name.

The new Queensryche album (featuring Geoff Tate) was doomed from the start. Before a single note had been released to the public, Frequency Unknown had already failed. First, the album was totally rushed in an effort to get in front of the ‘other’ Queensryche with material and a tour. Geoff Tate has even bragged about how the album only took six weeks to write, produce and mix and has also mentioned that they used a team of writers in order to meet the deadline. This deadline is also the reason they brought in more guest musicians than the entire Korn discography. There’s also the major fact that the sole remaining original member is vocalist Geoff Tate – the man most responsible for the band’s string of disappointing albums since the mid-nineties. Are we beginning to get the point? If not, there was the brief inclusion of ex-Megadeth guitarist Glen Drover that ended with his assessment that, “[t]he musical direction of where Geoff wanted to go wasn’t what I wanted to go forward with. I’m more into the first five Queensryche albums….”

That statement was confusing because Geoff Tate had been promising a heavy and progressive album; in fact he seemed hell-bent on proving that he could still pull it off. He even slapped a big “F.U.” on the album cover – it was supposed to be on like Donkey Kong. It’s not on like Donkey Kong. It’s a train wreck with crazy conductor Tate insisting that the train is still on the tracks. Frequency Unknown is not heavy or progressive, and it actually sounds less like a Queensryche album than Dedicated to Chaos. Even that release still had the Queensryche flair and the subtle nuances that let you know that it was still the same band; Frequency Unknown lacks that same character. For the most part, this is simply faceless modern rock, no different than any other Chevelle or Breaking Benjamin clone.

The band’s first single, ‘Cold’, is a perfect representation of the album as a whole. Neutered riffs without an identity, a stale basic beat and a total lack of energy. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a market for this kind of music, and it’s not a terrible song, but it’s not even in the minor leagues of what modern rock artists are doing – and that’s really the problem. Even if this didn’t sound like Queensryche, as long as Geoff was finally putting out something good it would have been acceptable, but he rushed through it and churned out a very shallow collection of songs. Ideas feel undeveloped and basic, and the songs suffer from the repetitive mediocrity of it all. The only shining moments seem to be the occasional guitar solo and the song ‘In the Hands of God’ which definitely takes a page from Promised Land’s title track. It’s a dark, moody song that Geoff actually puts a bit of passion into, but it’s the sole diamond on this release.

Of course, with all the controversy, the album’s production issues must be addressed. For those that are unaware, the mixes are already being re-done in an effort to quell early backlash over Frequency Unknown’s sound. The label, in full damage control mode, is trying to justify releasing two different mixes by representing it as a ‘choice’ that fans can make between new and original. First, it must be said, the production isn’t really all that bad. Yes, the drums are kind of flat and the guitars lack any kind of force, but this style of music doesn’t really require a powerful sound. Basically, the album’s sound doesn’t distract from the overall enjoyment of the music.

The other controversial part of the album is the four re-recorded versions of Queensryche classics. The first issue is that this was done as a total money-grab, and it shows. The second issue is that those songs were absolutely butchered by Geoff’s new band and even by the man himself. His band can’t pull off certain parts of the song and Geoff comes off as flat and even misses certain pitches entirely. Anyone that has seen the YouTube videos of Geoff and his band of hired hands butchering classic Queensryche songs while they once again rape their golden goose, Operation: Mindcrime, shouldn’t be surprised, though.

Despite everything Frequency Unknown had going against it, I still hoped that it would turn out to be a great album. I truly hoped that all of the drama would be enough to light a fire under Geoff Tate’s ass and make him enter the studio with something to prove. Frequency Unknown definitely proves a few things, but none of them are positive. It proves that Geoff is willing to rush a subpar product to his fans, and that his separation from the rest of the band was for the best. Re-recording classics for a bigger paycheck only seems to solidify where his heart truly lies; especially when he is arrogant enough to call out his ex-bandmates for playing ‘his’ songs in concert and then records ‘Silent Lucidity’ despite having nothing to do with the creation of the song. This isn’t a good Queensryche album, and it’s barely passable under any other name.



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user ratings (228)
Chart.
1.5
very poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
April 23rd 2013


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

Stream the first single here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzDJHuxBTUw

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2013


21007 Comments


I really have no desire to listen to anything from this.

YoYoMancuso
April 23rd 2013


11151 Comments


it was supposed to be on like Donkey Kong. It’s not on like Donkey Kong


made me chuckle. Nice review, will definitely stay far away from anything with Tate's name on it.

RosaParks
April 23rd 2013


14926 Comments


that single is awful holy shit

LilLioness
April 23rd 2013


2589 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Willie, what is up with that score?

Also, have they put the stream back up? I could use more objectivity.

CK
April 23rd 2013


4930 Comments


Tatesryche

Digging: Death - Human

Nagrarok
April 23rd 2013


8259 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

So this isn't any good; what a surprise. Not wasting my time confirming that either.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2013


19920 Comments


yeah not surprised by the score but the review was ace

Digging: Transit - Joyride

ksoflas
April 23rd 2013


398 Comments


I hope true Queensryche will win in court so Tate won't be able to fuck up the band's name anymore...

DrHouseSchuldiner
April 23rd 2013


5643 Comments


damn what happened to this band : (

LilLioness
April 23rd 2013


2589 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

They probably won't. I can see two Queensryches continuing on for a while.

Willie
Moderator
April 23rd 2013


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

The court is going to award the name to one of the two bands in November.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2013


19920 Comments


lol ya whole thing sounds like a clusterfuk

ksoflas
April 23rd 2013


398 Comments


It's a pity that a great artist like Geoff is such a fucking asshole.

FiveLeavesLeft
April 23rd 2013


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

"must suck for people who were ever invested in this band"

Yeah, I'm one of them :/ Shit's breakin my heart

Mike08
April 23rd 2013


608 Comments


Great review. Still love Operation: Mindcrime

MO
April 23rd 2013


18865 Comments


that album cover omg it's terrible

Willie
Moderator
April 23rd 2013


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

must suck for people who were ever invested in this band
Of course you'd love for them to always be good, but it only sucks for this album (and a few of the past ones). We'll always have whatever releases in the past made us fans in the first place.

LilLioness
April 23rd 2013


2589 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

"Geoff, you're breaking my heart!"

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2013


2005 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

What a shock... Said no one ever.

Hope the judge is a metal fan and gives it to the Todd La Torre fronted group.

Digging: Thank You Scientist - Maps of Non-Existent Places



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