Published on June 24th, 2019 | by Justin G.
Sweet Oblivion: self-titled (Frontiers, 2019)
Of all the things I thought I’d be writing about in 2019, “Geoff Tate’s fantastic new metal album” was not one of them. Sure, he showed flashes of greatness on the last two Avantasia albums, but did anyone really expect to hear a whole album’s worth of material from him that actually made you excited? That’s exactly what we get on the self-titled debut from Sweet Oblivion, which pairs the former Queensryche frontman with DGM mastermind Simone Mularoni.
It turns out, removing Tate from the songwriting process is the key to success here. Mularoni and company have put together 10 songs that are clearly written with the classic Queensryche sound in mind, but that also touch on the melodic/prog/power sound that DGM does so well. Sweet Oblivion is heavy on powerful melodies, heavy rhythms and the kind of electrifying energy we haven’t heard from Tate since the Promised Land days. And Tate sounds absolutely fantastic here, reminding us once again why he’s one of metal’s most dynamic and iconic vocalists. He just needed the right set of songs to showcase his greatness.
Sweet Oblivion is a remarkably strong album overall. “True Colors,” “Behind Your Eyes” and “The Deceiver” all capture the album’s spirit (and that classic Queensryche vibe), and “Disconnect” has a great slow build to a rousing finish. What the album is missing is a massive anthem or two to push it from really good to truly great. It needs its own “Walk In The Shadows” or “Eyes Of A Stranger,” and none of these songs quite scratch that itch.
This has to be the biggest surprise of 2019. First Tobias Sammet and now Simone Mularoni have brought out the best in Geoff Tate. Sweet Oblivion is a very welcome return to form for the singer, and is easily the best thing he’s done in two decades. Between this album and a really solid new Queensryche release, 2019 is a very good year for Queensryche fans.
Summary: Someone made Geoff Tate great again.