Review by Andy Houghton for MPM
Sweet Oblivion is a project created, overseen and directed by Serafino Perugino (President and A&R director of Frontiers Records), and features former Queensrÿche front man Geoff Tate.
‘Relentless’ is the second album to emerge from the project, the first being a self-titled debut album released to somewhat mixed reviews in 2019.
With the exception of Tate, the line-up for the new album is entirely different. While the production and main songwriting on the previous record were handled by Simone Mularoni of DGM, this time the production was instead handled by his fellow Italian metal maestro Aldo Lonobile (Secret Sphere, Timo Tolkki’s Avalon, Archon Angel).
Not only does Lonobile produce and handle the songwriting, he is also featured on guitar. Other musicians appearing on the album include Michele Sanna on drums, Luigi Andreone on bass, and Antonio Agate on keyboards.
The album makes a promising start with ‘Once Again One Sin’, a well-crafted prog/symphonic metal track that brings to mind Nightwish. ‘Strong Pressure’ is even better, and an early standout.
Tate’s distinctive vocals are powerful and clear, and the instrumentals are a step up from the 2019 album, with weightier riffs and stronger solos. ‘Anybody Out There’, another highlight, is the album’s most varied and well-rounded track, and delivers a nice but all too brief guitar solo.
Tate asked Lonobile to draft a song for him (‘Aria’), which he would ultimately sing in Italian. The song also features guitars from Walter Cianciusi and Dario Parente, who are now also in the Operation: Mindcrime live band. I’m not sure it works – I don’t think I recall hearing Italian lyrics in a metal song before, and now I know why. It lacks punch, and the operatic-sounding vocals are all a bit Eurovision.
As the album nears its end, ‘I’ll Be The One’ is a little insipid, but ‘Fly Angel Fly’ wraps things up with a welcome final punch.
Fans of Queensrÿche pre-‘Promised Land’ will find a lot to enjoy here, much of the album providing a nostalgic treat for those early days when Queensrÿche was arguably at its best. It doesn’t break much new ground, but it does mark a very welcome return for Tate to a style that he made famous along with his former band.
- Once Again One Sin
- Strong Pressure
- Let It Be
- Another Change
- Wake Up Call
- Remember Me
- Anybody Out There
- I’ll Be The One
- Fly Angel Fly
‘Relentless’ is released on April 9th, 2021 via Frontiers Music s.r.l.
Geoff Tate | Vocals
Aldo Lonobile | Guitars
Luigi Andreone | Bass
Antonio Agate | Keys
Michele Sanna | Drums
Stream: https://orcd.co/sweetoblivion |