Like a kid in the middle of a bitter divorce, it’s up to a court to decide who gets to keep the Queensryche name: vocalist Geoff Tate’s incarnation or the version with Scott Rockenfield, Eddie Jackson and Michael Wilton. And while the version with Todd La Torre was first to get a song out with “Redemption,” Tate’s will be the first with an album out, with Frequency Unknown landing on April 23rd. Now you can finally compare Queensryches, as Tate’s version has released a song called “Cold.” The two versions of the band sound pretty different from each other. This isn’t anywhere near as bad as we thought it could have been. It’s a little more straight-forward and more energetic than either of his solo albums, likely due to ’80s metal vets Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot) and Simon Wright (AC/DC). And no saxophones, either.
Both versions of Queensryche have something to prove. Todd La Torre’s version has to show that they don’t need Tate, and can capture the old school Queensryche fans. Tate needs to win back fans that might have read about his behavior towards his bandmates, and also prove that unlike his cabaret-like solo albums, he can still play to fans of the old Queensryche. The real winner here are die-hard Queensryche fans, since they get to pick which version of the band they like more. They might even like both. On first listen, both songs sound better than anything Queensryche has put out in a while.