A New Reality
In the interest of being honest, I have not been a fan of this trilogy. As a lifelong Geoff Tate fan, I have faithfully followed along and waited for a payoff that I felt would probably never come. While I respect Tate trying to expand his musical horizons, most of it has fallen flat in my opinion. Which brings us to A New Reality, the final album in the Operation: Mindcrime trilogy and the completion of the overall project. Well, my friends, Tate has certainly saved the best for last!
A New Reality isn’t the perfectly progressive Hard Rock juggernaut longtime fans are clamoring for, but it’s a tremendously well thought out album. It’s much more musically dynamic then it’s predecessors and offers a lot more of the energy that this trilogy has sorely lacked, with the riff-laden “Wake Me Up” leading the charge almost from the get-go. On this song Tate sounds like his old self and it features an explosive chorus that really takes you back to the sound he pioneered with his former band.
There are a few highlights here in my opinion. The darker, almost world-beat driven “The Fear” is unquestionably one of them. It takes a while to get going, but it kind of sounds like what I imagine the bastard son of eighties Yes and The Choir would be like musically. Tate experiments a bit vocally here, but it works well because he takes a break every few lines and let’s us have his true voice for a moment. It’s a fascinating vocal approach and adds a lot to the song.
The instrumental ballad “A Guitar in Church” is another moment I really dig. Normally, I’m not much for instrumentals but the synthesizers remind of eighties Yes, one of my favorite eras of that band. It sets the stage for the epic “All For What” very well and the song follows the progressive nature of it’s predecessor. “The Same Old Story” takes the album out on a reflective note, incorporating some Blues and Jazz elements, albeit still through a progressive lens. Tate doesn’t seem to have much to say lyrically on it, but he sounds the best that he has in years, so I’ll take it.
Geoff Tate’s post-breakup output has been sporadic, poorly-produced, and directionless at best. A New Reality isn’t any of those things. In my opinion, this is the best thing Tate has done in his solo career, though I’d still hesitate to call this a classic in his overall catalog. A New Reality offers enough solid evidence that Tate still has some gas in the tank to keep me on board. If you have given up, you may want to visit this album. I doubt you’ll regret it.
Reviewed by mark1340