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Queensr˙che - Operation : Mindcrime II CD (album) cover

OPERATION : MINDCRIME II

Queensr˙che

 

Progressive Metal

3.24 | 191 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

MrMan2000
4 stars Man, did I approach this release with a lot of trepidation. On the one hand, we're talking about a follow-up to perhaps my all-time favorite album ever. Operation Mindcrime had always begged for a follow-up but the band had avoided it, always wanting to move on to new ideas. That's understandable.

However, since 1994 QR had largely become irrelevant, releasing disappointing, sub-standard albums (HINTF and Q2K) and parted ways with OM mastermind Chris Degarmo. The relase of Tribe in 2003 showed signs of life, their best release in over 10 years. Now, the announcement of OMII...and I'm not sure what to expect. Will this be a bastardization of the orginal masterpiece?

Luckily, the answer is no. OMII succeeds because it adds to, rather than detracts from, the OM legacy. It is not revolutionary or powerful, as the original was, but it is definitely a worthy addition. First, this is a loving embrace of the prog-metal sound of the late 80's, with the same dueling guitars, prog song structures and theatrical story-telling. Second, the songs are the strength here, with most standing strongly by themselves. The clear highlight of the disc is the four song middle section of Signs Say Go - Re-Arrange You - The Chase - Murderer. The opening section of the disc is solid, but not as strong with a predictable musical intro (though Convict is the best, heaviest rockin' song QR has put out in almost 15 years). The final section is also a mix-match of good solid parts and some questionable decision-making. The most disappointing part is the failure to bring clear closure to the story, instead leaving it up to the listener to decide the exact fate of Nikki - while it's clear he's dead and has joined Mary in the afterlife it's not clear how. On the other hand, A Junkie's Blues and Fear City Slide are both great pop-prog songs.

One truly weak aspect is the segues between songs and use of ambient sounds. The original OM was accented by between song dialogue and sounds that fleshed out the story-telling in a remarkably successful manner. Those elements are clumsy and ineffectual here. Also, the production is spotty and it's revealed so in the second half of If I Could Change It All, with a choral that sounds straight from a Moog synth. On the bright side, new guitarist Mike Stone bring some much-needed energy and new chops that shine throughout but especially on Murderer.

All in all a satisfying follow-up...if not quite up to the remarkably high standard of the original.

MrMan2000 | 4/5 |

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