If you didn’t pay attention first time around (shame on you!), the Sweet Oblivion project is masterminded by the Italian label Frontiers Music, which has quite a number of successful all-star bands in its roster. This particular project is built around the talent of legendary Geoff Tate, with the help of some amazing musicians from the Italian progressive and power metal scene.
The self-titled debut arrived in 2019, with the music composed by Simone Mularoni (DGM, Sunstorm) and a very warm welcome from fans worldwide. That album displayed a much awaited return of Tate to the sound of classic Queensrÿche, with inspired vocals, fresh, melodic touch and memorable choruses.
When the news about a new Sweet Oblivion album appeared, there was an element of surprise, because the whole team, which has recorded the debut, bar Tate, was gone. Relentless, which will be released on April 9th, is now a collaborative creative effort by guitarist Aldo Lonobile (Secret Sphere, Death SS, Archon Angel) and Tate. The melodic progressive metal of the first album is once again at the songs’ foundation, but the overall impression is of a more cohesive effort, with a bit more identity. Songs like Let It Be, opener Once Again One Sin and Remember Me are the album’s highlights, with a great performance by Tate and some really catchy guitar melodies, enhanced with a tasteful use of keyboards. Another Change is another memorable composition, which is cleverly chosen to shoot a supporting video for. Aria is sung entirely in Italian, which once again shows why Geoff is a performer of such caliber – the song is a reverence to his Italian fans and bandmates.
It could be said that the album’s stronger songs are in the first half, but the overall impression Relentless leaves after repeated listens is of satisfaction. The cover artwork is fantastic and this time the album will also be released on vinyl (hooray!). Sweet Oblivion is obviously a successful experiment by Frontiers Music and I would love to follow how the band develops in future releases. While a comparison with the immortal works of Queensrÿche is too brave to even imagine, Relentless is a collection of music which deserves to bear the name of Geoff Tate on its sleeve.