Sweet Oblivion – Sweet Oblivion (Frontiers Music)

Sunday, 16th June 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

A metal project consisting of ex-Queensrÿche vocalist Geoff Tate and DGM mastermind Simone Mularoni plus Italian musicians Emanuele Casali on keyboards and Paolo Caridi on drums, Sweet Oblivion could be a return to former glory of sorts. Many in the metal realm have not been happy with the inconsistent output of Geoff since the early 1990’s circa Empire or The Promised Land – although his appearances with Avantasia hint at the man’s multi-octave expertise and professional master class excellence. Recording the album over the internet in satellite studios keeps the focus solely on the music and performances – and as such, there’s plenty to be smiling about if you love Geoff’s early impact he made on the scene.

Simone’s sterling guitar / bass combinations rear back into that driving, pulsating US melodic progressive metal days that open up Geoff to soaring notes and comforting multi-part harmonies – check out “True Colors” and the mysterious, serene nature for “Disconnect” to understand all facets of ability are on notice, captivating even down to the supplementary keyboard parts or emotional and dynamic tempo/mood swings. The layers of twin guitars that segue into a calmer, cleaner verse before the cat and mouse pacing takes over makes “Sweet Oblivion” an obvious favorite – ping ponging between a feel that could be “Eyes of a Stranger” meets “Jet City Woman”. Emanuele also gets a chance to trade licks and neo-classical runs with Simone when asked to – ensuring the record has a bit of a modern progressive flair. Geoff’s penchant for proper phrasing and setting up a storyline that holds interest even through the narrative sequences comes to light on “Hide Away” – Simone carefully crafting a stellar, emotive lead break with the right shred touch. There are current Fates Warning aspects in terms of mood and song mechanics to “My Last Story” that keep Sweet Oblivion from being a total retro-Queensrÿche rehash – it’s just easy to see these gentlemen taking a specific era and relative ‘sweet’ spot musically to concentrate on and execute for these ten songs.

Many worry about Frontiers nature to serve up a specific concept, hire the right musicians, songwriters, and producers, and deliver on the idea to ensure fan interest/buzz. Fortunately for Sweet Oblivion, all signs point to a high-class product – and hopefully deserving of a follow-up.

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