Geoff Tate: 'Metal as a Genre Is Incredibly Limiting'

"It explores very few emotions, angst and violence being predominant," former Queensryche singer explains.

Geoff Tate: 'Metal as a Genre Is Incredibly Limiting'
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Former Queensryche singer Geoff Tate recently revealed not being a big fan of the genre labeling, as he finds the musical genres themselves artistically limiting.

"The way I feel about 'metal' is I just don't like genres in the first place," the singer told Rock River Times. "I think genres are limiting and are kind of like wearing handcuffs for a person who's a writer or who is creative, because that means there is this box that you have to conform to.

"Like I said earlier, Chris [DeGarmo] and I were never interested in being confined by other people's vision. Our vision was the one we wanted to explore in, and I think that's a very healthy place to be."

Focusing on the heavy style, Geoff added, "Metal, as a genre, is incredibly limiting - it explores very few emotions, angst and violence being predominant. Once you've written from that point of view, there's only so many other ways that you can fashion and write music in order to express yourself.

"That's what I've always been interested in, exploring all those different facets and all those different emotions of humanity through music. We just didn't feel it was necessary to only spend time creatively exploring anger and violence [laughs]," he concluded.

In recent Tate news, the singer has announced plans to lay low and "disappear" from the music scene for a while. As reported, Geoff has recently lost the Queensryche lawsuit, only keeping rights to "Operation: Mindcrime" and "Operation: Mindcrime II" records.

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    Jazz1992
    "it explores very few emotions, angst and violence being predominant" I'm sorry, but this is completely wrong. It's sad when people who play metal don't even understand what it's about. Metal cannot limit you, it's you who can limit yourself within it if you start to lack creativity.
    Scourge441
    It's especially ridiculous because Queensryche themselves disprove his point. We're talking about the band that wrote Silent Goddamn Lucidity. The new Todd La Torre Queensryche album has some happier songs on it as well, not that Tate has listened to it.
    FireReaverX
    Lol, what? How in the hell does "Silent Lucidity" disprove his point? That's not a metal song at all. It's only by branching out from metal and exploring other stuff that they were ever able to write a song like "Silent Lucidity". Also, the heavy songs on the TLT album are totally full of angst. You gotta be kidding me.
    the_bi99man
    Silent Lucidity isn't metal? Oh, you're another person who thinks that "metal" just means "heavy and aggressive". Okay then. Sorry, but "metal" is defined by composition, not by guitar tone.
    FireReaverX
    Yeah, bro. Let's be contrary for the sake of being contrary. Even though it's not heavy and aggressive, "Silent Lucidity" has all the other traits of a metal song. Anyone can hear that. I mean, Pink Floyd's composition style had always defined metal music as we knew it in the early days and was the very template for metal bands writing songs in 1990. Right on.
    anthony.bryant.
    Yeah, man, let's be a d*ck for the sake of being a d*ck instead of arguing logical points. It's okay to disagree, but it's not okay to argue petty crap. Good metal can be very melodic instead of centered around heaviness and aggression. Just look at Over the Hills and Far Away by Nightwish, the overly popular Through the Fire and Flames by Dragonforce, or even Crazy Train, which has an entirely political message and nothing to do with rage whatsoever. Better yet, look at Jag Panzer's concept album Thane to the Throne, which is entirely centered around the Shakespearean play Macbeth. Or look up Axel Rudi Pell, a German power metal band which even does heavy love songs, and has covered the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah in heavy metal form masterfully.
    Absurder22
    Don't worry guys, this is just Geoff Tate's only fanboi, white knighting his gay love for him and had come to defend his douchnozzle ass like he does in every thread about Goof Tate. How anyone could possibly defend him is beyond me, but.
    Abacus11
    It sounds like Tate hasn't paid much attention to metal over the past... 20 years or so. We didn't need this article to know that though.
    Barricade_28
    He's right. If you limit yourself to one genre then you're pigeon-holed into that genre. Look how many people freaked out when Metallica released Load, definitely not thrash metal, more blues/hard rock.
    bobmarley_fan
    It's really the labels that Pigeon-hole a band into a genre, so they can be marketed. But look at Faith No More, one of my all time favorite bands. They are not really pigeon-holed in any genre. They have touched on a LOT of genres on their albums. A Great Band finds a way to make it work...Plus Billy Gould is a freaking genius.
    jordo246
    There is only one band needed to make everything he is saying sound like total bullshit Opeth.
    Oates_Moustache
    Yes, Opeth are apparently a 'broad' and 'creative' band because they use acoustic guitars sometimes.=
    jordo246
    Someone's only listened to about 3 Opeth songs.
    TheLiberation
    I don't know what Opeth songs you'd have to listen to to seriously get a conclusion they're a generic metal band with just acoustic sections thrown in.
    Oates_Moustache
    I've listened to Blackwater Park, My Arms Your Hearse and Heritage. Could you recommend an album where they have another idea?
    jordo246
    How have you listened to MAYH and Heritage and still have not come to the conclusion they're extremely creative?
    TheLiberation
    I think how bullshit his opinion about metal is is already being said by everyone, so instead I'll say the other obvious thing: because pop-rock which repeats every existing pop-rock cliché ever (poppy backing vocals, simplistic and predictable song structures, 4-chord riffs, you get it) is an INCREDIBLY mind-opening and broad genre. And that's the only thing he's been doing for the past few years.
    Mahoru
    Exactly. It's funny that he thinks metal is limiting, while he's the one that since he took over Queensryche has been putting out pretty much the same tasteless crap for over 15 years. As everyone said already, metal isn't limiting (in fact, it's one of the broadest genres); skills and talent are the limits, and Tate has been out of both for a very long time. If the stuff he made Queensryche play had been good, even if it wasn't metal people would still like it, but the problem is that it's crap, regardless of the genre. But that's what he doesn't get.
    Jyuuga
    I can't believe how big of a douche you are. Let me rephrase what you said about pop-rock; because metal which repeats every existing hard-rock cliche ever (aggressive vocals, distorted guitars, double bass drums, you get it) is an INCREDIBLY mind-opening and broad genre. Rinse and repeat for every genre. It's funny how most guys on are don't see metal as limiting and are offended by it and yet make cliched statements about other genres. Butthurt much? @Jazz1992; 'Metal cannot limit you, it's you who can limit yourself if you start to lack creativity' well this is something that differs from person to person, as you're saying yourself, what you're saying is not exactly an unbreakable rule. Calm the **** down people. Some 300 million people in the world don't have food. Syria's in a civil war as well as Ukraine's stuff isn't looking too good, as well as a bunch of other things. But it's so goddamn important to complain about what somebody said about a genre. WAKE UP from your own little world.
    TheLiberation
    Congratulations on writing probably the dumbest post of May... The "metal clichés" apply pretty much only to the most generic, uncreative bands who indeed follow the same patterns and sound over and over again. Except they're just a percentage, and for the most part, these bands hardly ever get any popularity . Some of the most popular and famous metal bands of the last decade: Meshuggah, Opeth, Gojira, Cynic, Devin Townsend's one million projects... Damn Metallica rip-offs, all of these. On the other hand, most of Tate's recent material is the perfect cliché pop-rock. And it's not just general ideas ("aggressive vocals, distorted guitars, double bass drums" - you've described 90% of the ENTIRE metal AND hardcore genre, because these are incredibly versatile tools), pop-rock can also be done differently, but his take was that exact cheesy [I hate this word but it fits well here], self-parody type which is the worst. I'm not sure why I actually replied to this in a serious way, but then I won't reply to the last paragraph for sure until I know what stuff are you smoking.
    Jyuuga
    Hey and thank you too. 1. Same goes for pop-rock. 2. I didn't say, mention anything about Tate's material. What I posted was meant to understand what he is saying. 3. You don't understand why I think people should care less about these comments of this guy Tate than for actual, real problems? What stuff are YOU smoking?
    TheLiberation
    1) Er no, the most popular pop rock bands are the same shit repeated over and over and over again. Nickelback has been doing that for I don't know how many albums. (Although they're at least better than Tate's recent material.) 2) And I was, that was my original point in the first place. 3) I don't know how many different strawmen you've created with this one, but I think every possible one. Do I even need to answer this?
    anthony.bryant.
    Um. There's a bit of irony in that statement. I mean you're criticizing them for focusing on petty stuff when more important things are going on around the world? Isn't that awfully petty in itself?
    aureliusgtr
    you're right, there's exponential ways you can use palm-muted open chords under useless sweeping arpeggios...all joking aside, he is right that sticking to one genre, regardless of genre does limit your creativity by definition....leave it to metal fans to be butt hurt that someone has legitimate criticism about the genre...it must be blasphemy!!!
    the_bi99man
    That's not why everyone is upset. Obviously, it's true that sticking with one genre and never branching out is limiting yourself. But that's limiting yourself. Not being limited by a genre. And besides that, the fact that he singled out metal is just bullshit through and through. Because metal is actually among the least limiting genres there is, and the music that he's famous for himself (the reason he even has a soapbox to stand on to say shit like this) is among the best examples of how diverse metal can be. If he had said, "crappy modern bands with no variety or creativity are incredibly limiting", it would be impossible not to agree. But to say "metal as a genre is incredibly limiting" is simply not true, and laughably ignorant, especially coming from someone who should absolutely know better, having been directly involved in making music that completely disproves his own statement.
    vikingman369
    lol, that comment was so funny, i just had to log in to retort. while Geoff Tate is a cheap bruce dickinson impersonator and Queensryche will always be a second rate iron maiden, he is right. just think about the last band that you considered to be "good". i swear that any band you find will not be the ones who are genre-pushers (like Ulver, Metallica or Megadeth), but bands that recycle the same shit over and over and over (like slayer, opeth, iron maiden, children of bodom and pretty much every other black or death metal band out there)
    Mahoru
    I can agree about Slayer, Maiden or Children of Bodom, but Opeth recycling the same shit over and over? LOL There are plenty of bands nowadays pushing the limits of the genre they've been put into, which are the proof Tate's wrong: Opeth, Mastodon, Leprous, Haken, The Safety Fire, Between the Buried and Me, Cynic, Devin Townsend, Ihsahn... and those are just a few.
    TheLiberation
    "Opeth recycling the same shit over and over" could also work as the funniest quote of May. Also, besides a good post, upvoted for Leprous.
    anthony.bryant.
    Actually I consider bands who push themselves and the genre to be better than bands who stick to their comfort zone. That's why I'm not a huge AC/DC fan. They really don't branch out stylistically. To me complacency like that is just a shame.
    sotp
    Dawh, he's trying to justify his new Jazz-Fusion album!
    LazerMoose420
    Thats a shame for him, I always saw metal as the genre where I could express any emotion with as much or as little intensity as I saw fit!
    Zanary
    I think everyone "lost" the Queensryche lawsuit, especially the fans...but the band hasn't been the same without DeGarmo, so maybe it was inevitable. Anyway, as for metal being "limiting"...I can't disagree. Someone above used "Silent Lucidity" as proof that metal wasn't limiting, but I remember when that song came out...and man, the usual bellows of "SELL OUT" were going on, just as can be expected. Metal has its limits, even with all the sub-genres involved. Its fans have snarled openly at Metallica since the Black Album, and the way thrash tapered off in the early 90's showed that it needed a reboot. I like a lot of metal, but I'll always prefer "hard rock", because no one complains if a hard rock band has a metal song, a bluesy song, some sleazy tunes, and a ballad on the same album. Metal bands get accused of everything from selling out to being artistic failures if they deviate from their "direction"...and that's putting artists in a box. Metal is great, but songrwriters have moods just like everyone...and fans need to understand that. Historically, many of them don't.
    the_bi99man
    That's all true, but it doesn't mean the genre itself is limiting. It's not. Closed-minded "fans" place limits on themselves, regarding what they are willing to listen to and enjoy. That doesn't mean the genre is limited. Just ignorant listeners.
    eGraham
    Do fans not, in some significant way, define a "genre?" In the end, I think it's important to note that the music business is still supply and demand based.
    TheLiberation
    I'm pretty sure that getting rid of Tate was exactly what the band needed. American Soldier was a potentially good album massively weakened by unnecessary poppiness, Dedicated to Chaos is one of the greatest self-parodies ever. It's scary to think what would come next. And compare to what they released without him. Seriously, every genre has stupid, close-minded people who won't accept evolution. Listen to any prog rock? Have fun dealing with the "all-knowing" group of "fans".