Geoff Tate – ‘Kings And Thieves’

I suppose it could be argued that the timing of the release of Geoff Tate’s second solo album is somewhat fateful. What with him being publicly (and embarrassingly so) fired from Queensrӱche earlier this year and the subsequent high profile squabbling which has ensued between the singer and the former bandmates with whom he worked for the better part of three years – well, working on the age-old theory that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, you couldn’t really ask for more timely profile…

So, with Tate himself admitting that band-related events had perhaps flavoured the final stages of the recording of his sophomore opus, and that the title could be seen as somewhat of an analogy for the most recent events in his career, how does his solo differ from what we’d expect from a Queensrӱche album ‘proper’?

As opener ‘She Slipped Away’ kicks into gear, the initial response is to say “not much”: it’s a fairly standard mid-tempo hard rock song which evokes memories of the likes of ‘I Don’t Believe In Love’, but without the pomposity. But, this is where the album immediately evolves its own identity, as it’s a lot more stripped back than anything Tate’s previous full-time employers have produced – a point emphasized on ‘Take A Bullet’, which is much more in the vein of latter-day swing metal, while ‘In The Dirt’ lives up to its title in terms of being a tribute to the sleaze rock that Queensrӱche were so much the antithesis of.

But, from here, the album goes downhill, and very rapidly, albeit for a thankfully short period: ‘Say U Luv It’ is (very) below average nu-metal while ‘The Way I Roll’ would struggle to find itself onto Kid Rock’s rejection list. ‘Tomorrow’ has the potential to be so much better than it is, with its subtle harmonic guitar and bass line, but suffers from Tate’s ego firing his unimpressive vocal too far forward rather than letting the song breathe around it.

The damage is repaired somewhat with ‘Evil’, which again enters classic Queensrӱche progression, with its chopping riff and one of Tate’s best vocal performances on the album, mainly because of its understatedness. ‘Dark Money’, unfortunately, is mediocre, but ‘These Glory Days’ has a certain hip-swinging feel to its bluesy riff that gets around its otherwise predictability, while ‘Change’ is truly cringe-worthy and closer ‘Waiting’, while featuring a rather pleasant acoustic harmonic is its opening section is ultimately anti-climactic… something, which, unfortunately sums up an album which has the potential to be so much better than it actually is.


Track list:
1. She Slipped Away
2. Take A Bullet
3. In The Dirt
4. Say U Luv It
5. The Way I Roll
6. Tomorrow
7. Evil
8. Dark Money
9. These Glory Days
10. Change
11. Waiting

‘Kings And Thieves’ is out now on InsideOut:

About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff