Singer Geoff Tate and his former bandmates each have new albums due later this year under the Queensryche name.
Music from both versions of rock band Queensryche has now hit the Internet, supplying fans who are sharply divided about the state of the Seattle group with audio ammunition in the "Which is the real Queensryche?" battle.
A full-length recording of the song "Redemption" by the majority of the original band—featuring guitarists Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren, drummer Scott Rockenfield, bassist Eddie Jackson and new singer Todd La Torre—was released this evening. Ninety-second samples of the tracks on "Frequency Unknown," the upcoming album from singer Geoff Tate's version of the band, arrived March 13 on iTunes.
Two versions of Queensryche exist because, despite a pending lawsuit in Seattle's King County Superior Court, Judge Carol A. Schapira determined that both Tate and his former bandmates are permitted to work under the moniker until the suit is settled. Tate and his wife, Susan Tate (who previously managed the original act) filed the lawsuit last June after Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson fired Tate. The Tates are contesting the legality of the firing and request, among other remedies, that Tate's severance package include the rights to the band's name. Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson are counter-suing the Tates, accusing the couple of creative obstruction and questionable business practices, and Tate himself of violent behavior. The lawsuit goes to trial on Nov. 18.
Tate announced in January that his Queensryche album would arrive later in the year on Cleopatra Records. However, after the news broke March 4 that the remainder of the original band had signed an album deal with Century Media with a project scheduled for a June 11 release, Tate announced later that same day that "Frequency Unknown" would arrive April 23. The album contains 10 new tracks with such titles as "In the Hands of God" and "The Weight of the World," plus four rerecorded versions of classic Queensryche songs: "Empire," "Jet City Woman" and "Silent Lucidity" from the band's 1990 multiplatinum set "Empire" and "I Don't Believe in Love" from 1988 concept album "Operation: Mindcrime."
Whether the title "Redemption" reflects how the first Queensryche feels about the situation is total speculation. Tate made his feelings clear with the artwork for "Frequency Unknown": It pictures a fist wearing rings with the initials "F" and "U." The press release accompanying it read, "'F.U.' might be perceived as a fitting tribute and salutation . . . ," as well as, "Coincidental abbreviation? Unlikely."
Tate's Queensryche features brothers Rudy and Robert Sarzo (on bass and guitar, respectively), Randy Gane (keyboards), Kelly Gray (guitar) and Simon Wright (drums), who have all played in a variety of metal/rock bands. "Frequency Unknown" includes guest appearances by such metal celebrities as Judas Priest's K.K. Downing, King's X's Ty Tabor and former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland.
For its Century Media album, the previous Queensryche has reteamed with producer/engineer James "Jimbo" Barton, who helped guide the band on "Operation: Mindcrime," "Empire" and 1994's "Promised Land." It premiered a teaser trailer in November, as well as a 90-second sample of "Redemption" on Eddie Trunk's "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on Feb. 22.