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This is a brand new fresh-out-the-bag outfit featuring the outstanding vocals of former QUEENSRYCHE and current OPERATION MINDCRIME singer Geoff Tate who, with a fine team of Italian Musicians, have produced an album that makes the listener feel they are in a time warp way back in the 1980s with a classy slant on classic sounding QUEENSRYCHE, but with some very modern twists and turns that most certainly keeps the entertainment level very high. 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYsLG2VtTN0&w=560&h=315]

With a line-up consisting of Geoff Tate, vocals; Simone Mularoni, guitars and bass; Emanuelle Casali, keyboards; and Paolo Caridi, drums, SWEET OBLIVION delivers 24 carat rock with their self titled album “Sweet Oblivion

True Colours” gets the album off to a flyer with Mularoni letting rip on the guitar before some hard hitting drums enter the fray. Then with the upbeat tempo set, those distinct powerful vocals of Tate lift the song into a melodic yet attacking track. A perfect extended riff heavy opener, although very modern sounding this track is most certainly aimed at a audience that likes their rock in their face.

The title track “Sweet Oblivion“, with its slower pace and multi layered effect, shows that the hands of time have not affected the majesty of Geoff Tate’s vocals, with notes hitting the stratosphere but not overdoing it in the slightest. Another fine melodic and catchy guitar solo enables this great song to come to a fitting conclusion. 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOYluSKCUIU&w=560&h=315]

A gentle synth like keyboard effect welcomes “Behind Your Eyes“, and it is the first of many twists and turns, with a vocal that’s staggered and a feeling of almost ad-libbing in places. It has a laid back feel whilst still maintaining a crunchy riff and impressive drumming from Caridi, with another fine inclusion is the background spoken word section at the end.

With its soft chimes and gentle strumming “My Last Story” is another head down solid track with a break in the pace to introduce a very catchy chorus which draws the listener in again because you really have no idea where the track is going next. It’s so refreshing to actually play a collection of songs like this and have it incorporate so much. 

A Recess From My Fate” has the burners on full heat with its relentless pace and, once again, it’s so damn catchy as the band all lock in with a shared guitar/keyboard solo that has lots of interaction. The end result is one of the best songs on the album and certainly a track worthy of the great man’s name.

Disconnect” has a quiet vocal intro with a beautiful harmonised guitar on this ballad and what a lovely emotional piece of work its turned out to be. This album is worth the purchase just for this track, everything else is just a bonus and the four guys have some sort of winning formula with everyone stepping up to the mark to produce, easily, the albums stand out moment. 

The Deciever” on the other hand with its double kick drums and floaty keyboards and a riff almost on a par with the mighty JUDAS PRIEST thunders along with more changes in tempo before the listener gets too comfortable. It is a master class in keeping everyone on their toes.

Every song on this album is entertaining in its own right with good production and a wide range of different tempos. Although I will be first to admit that I have lost track of Geoff Tate’s career in the last few years, playing this album has given me a kick up the arse to check out some of his newer releases.

Credit has to go to the whole band with the musicians of SWEET OBLIVION being very classy, without being flashy, and proof of this is in album closer “Seek The Light” with another slow tempo haunting track that keeps on building up the atmosphere with peaks and troughs and a very powerful 5 minutes indeed. The background keyboards add a string-like affect to proceedings whilst the power keeps coming with those insane vocals.

All in all this is one hell of an album and a pleasant surprise to the reviewer – I knew it would be good but never this good. 

Review by Steve Bruty for Metal Planet Music

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