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




Progressive Metal

4.24 | 981 ratings

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3 stars Arguably the first prog-metal album of all, and still one of the best I think, although I can see how the lack of instrumental prog would put many off. Conceptually this might well remind you of Pink Floyd's The Wall as it has a similar mix of drugs, sex, mental illness and political commentary. If you're a new prog-metal fan expecting a classic you will be disappointed, but this album is a real sentimental favourite with many folks from my generation.

On to the music itself ... I Remember Now is a spoken word track that sets the scene in which the protagonist wakes up in a mental institution and starts to recall his past crime. Anarchy X is a brief and rousing overture, before the awesome Revolution Calling bursts out. Geoff Tate's voice powers over everything else (and when you consider the power of Scott Rockenfield's drums that's quite a feat) it's a bloodthirsty call to arms that resonates to this day. The monster title track is a creative piece of metal, with common-enough heavy verses (and a funky bass fill I always look out for that occurs twice during the song) and a recurring sinister riff that carries the song for me. Speak, Spreading The Disease, The Needle Lies, I Don't Believe In Love are all fist- clenching anthems.

The Mission is one of the album's focal points, with an acoustic beginning leading into the band taking off with bold synths, and a riff to die for. The gothic Suite Sister Mary offers one of the main arguments for dubbing this album prog-metal. Baying crowds, atmospheric guitars and keyboards, gradual build-up. The closing track Eyes Of A Stranger also has nice riffs, but is strangely poppy (read Def Leppard/Whitesnake) during its verses, nonetheless builds up to an epic conclusion, which of course brings the whole album full circle.

This is great metal with a progressive concept, but it's rarely prog-metal and the Chris De Garmo guitar solos really don't hold up well. Musically, it's difficult to separate Queensryche from King Diamond and I distinctly prefer Iron Maiden (both of whom were also recording concept albums around the time this came out). My fondness for this album is probably due to the context in which I head it. I heard this album soon after it came out, when Queensrchye's reputation wasn't carved in stone yet. It seemed new and fresh and it's been with me a long time. Dream Theater, Tool and the rest of the prog-metal brigade will never quite enjoy that advantage. The fact that I agree with a lot of the incisive comments on politics and religion expressed by the band certainly didn't hurt either. ... 61% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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