Operation: Mindcrime – “The New Reality” (Frontiers Music)
On what must seem like an epic (if cathartic) journey for Geoff Tate following his acrimonious split from Queensrÿche, comes this final album making up the concept trilogy created by Operation: Mindcrime, the musical collaboration that he created. Recorded as part of a mammoth studio recording session 2 years ago where Tate invited a series of guests including John Moyer of Disturbed, Simon Wright (ex AC/DC, Dio, UFO) and Brian Tichy (ex Whitesnake, Foreigner) to contribute to creating fantastic albums that told stories, as exemplified by the likes of “The Wall” by Pink Floyd (who themselves experienced a similar fracture), “The New Reality” mixes material of familiar sounds along with plenty of experimentation that could be a future indication of where Tate might like to go? Whatever the style though, his voice still retains its remarkable capability, resonating powerfully but also delicately across the 12 tracks here in continuing to prove his stellar presence and why he is still very much sought after! On ‘Wake Me Up’ he does exactly that with a punchy grunge number that contrasts its hard driving back beat with metallic clanging melodies, funky guitar breaks, trippy solos and of course, his own soaring tones with plenty of sustain while on ‘Under Control’ its definitely a case of back to Queensrÿche with its suave n brooding tone allowing Tate to hit those passionate highs that he is so renowned for – truly impressive indeed. As for the new material, ‘All For What’ starts off with an ambient mix of synths and spoken word before building through Randy Gane’s keyboards, along with piano and orchestral strings to explode into a heavy, epic piece graced naturally by Tate’s power and highs once more, but equally his more sultry and subtle tones (including the odd wind chime). With some of the other tracks bringing in jazz, saxophones and samples along with electronic beats and more, Geoff Tate has completed his 3 year musical quest with breathtaking magnitude – the question now is, where will he go to next?