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

OPERATION: MINDCRIME

Queensr˙che

 

Progressive Metal

4.22 | 779 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Queensr˙che's Magnum Opus!

When people often think of Queensr˙che, an average 80's hair metal band comes to mind for most people. That's initially what I had thought as well. After only hearing "Silent Lucidity" on MTV, I kind of dismissed them. I though it was a good song that just didn't really grab me much. I never did much research into their music, and discover how great Queensr˙che really is.

I can't say what prompted me to do this, but one day while browsing through the metal section in my local record store I saw "Operation: Mindcrime" in the bargain bin. This was a fairly long time ago. I wasn't really into metal at the time, and I had just recently discovered progressive rock. Genesis was my true love at the time, and that completely dominated most of my time spent listening to music. I liked Dream Theater and Metallica, but other than that I didn't have much of a background in metal.

So I bought Operation: Mindcrime not really knowing what to expect. When I first put it on I was blown away. The high amount of energy, great vocals, and memorable melodies immediately captured my attention. I'm still not sure if I would categorize this as "prog" or not, but who really cares? It's an excellent heavy metal album that should be heard by anyone interested in the genre.

The progressiveness lies in the fact that this album moved heavy metal as we knew it to a new level. I believe progressive metal had been "discovered" in 1985 by Watchtower, but this album is what popularized the genre. While not progressive metal in the vein of Dream Theater or Pain of Salvation, this has a unique blend of Queensr˙che's American take on NWOBHM, some symphonic structures, and a concept-driven layout. That is why this is prog-metal. Not because there are 20 minute shred-sessions in every song! It's because of the intricate details that really make a difference.

If you are going to listen to one Queensr˙che album before you die, hear Operation: Mindcrime. This is one of the most popular and influential albums in the progressive metal genre, and with good reason. Each song is great in its own right, but this really is meant to be listened to as one epic concept album.

THE MUSIC:

"I Remember Now"- The album opens up with a short spoken-word opening. Near the end it has an ominous keyboard sound.

"Anarchy-X"- The first actual "song" is an instrumental, overture-like track. It has pounding bass, cool keyboards, and great rhythm. It has a well-performed guitar solo near the end, making for a great opening track.

"Revolution Calling"- This has one of the most killer riffs in heavy metal. This is one of those songs that just gets you "pumped" so to speak. Geoff Tate delivers an excellent vocal performance, and everything about this song is absolutely perfect. This is one of my favorite Queensr˙che songs.

"Operation: Mindcrime"- After the mostly light and upbeat previous track, the title song is a little darker. The bass playing from Eddie Jackson is great, and it shows why he's one of my favorite heavy metal bassists. The chorus is catchy and upbeat, and I think that's definitely a strong point for Queensr˙che in general. They have the ability to create excellent choruses. To be honest, every song on Operation: Mindcrime has a memorable chorus. This has a good guitar solo near the end as well.

"Speak"- This opens up with a fast guitar riff and an energetic bassline. This is a pretty standard verse-chorus-verse song, but all of the verses and choruses are perfectly executed. Again, this has a classic Queensr˙che chorus, with Geoff Tate's excellent vocals.

"Spreading The Disease"- A drum rhythm opens up this song with a powerful guitar riff. The verses sound similar to Iron Maiden, with a galloping bassline. Geoff Tate delivers another excellent vocal performance, and I think in the late 80's and early 90's he was one of the best heavy metal vocalists. The chorus is catchy and counteracts with the verses well.

"The Mission"- This opens with a short sound effect and spoken word passage. It is followed by a haunting acoustic guitar. It soon builds into the classic Queensr˙che sound, with a cool orchestral-sounding keyboard melody. Some great chord progressions with an excellent guitar solo serve as an excellent bridge. The song structure of this song is spectacular.

"Suite Sister Mary"- At almost 11 minutes in length, this is an epic track that is the longest on the album. It never tires or disappoints, and I think this is a satisfying progressive metal song. It features a dramatic twist in the story of the album as well. This mostly has a dark and moody feeling, and it represents the story well. This has an operatic feeling, and the choir helps contribute to that. This has some killer riffs as well, and this 11-minute tour de force is a highlight of the album for sure.

"The Needle Lies"- Despite it's brevity, this is one of the finest songs Queensr˙che has to offer. The absolutely wonderfully crafted riffs and chorus are absolutely magnificent. This sounds very much like Iron Maiden, which is a good thing in my book. Geoff Tate delivers another great vocal performance.

"Electric Requiem"- This song is a haunting keyboard-driven track with a repetitive drum beat. It has some nice guitar near the end.

"Breaking The Silence"- This song is a standard verse-chorus-verse song, and it never much appealed to me. The chorus is pleasant enough, though.

"I Don't Believe In Love"- Pretty much a "power ballad", with some really great moments. I love the chorus here, and it has that distinct Queensr˙che sound. This song is exceptionally melodic. The guitar playing from Chris De Garmo and Michael Wilton is very good on this track.

"Waiting For 22"- This is a short instrumental piece that builds off of a guitar melody with some soloing. It fits the mood of the album well.

"My Empty Room"- This is another short track, but I think it's absolutely wonderful in the concept of the album. It never gets heavy or anything, but it is an excellent piece. Geoff Tate delivers a powerful vocal performance right before the grand finale in the next song.

"Eyes of A Stranger"- The last song on this album is one of my favorites for sure. It is a pretty epic finale to the album, and I think it is a solid closer. The bass is powerful, the keyboards add another layer to the music, and the vocals are great. This has a good variety of moods, and I think that's what makes a good ending in a concept album. I absolutely love the chorus to this song. This is a trademark Queensr˙che song. It is so powerful and beautiful. Absolutely perfect!

Conclusion:

Operation: Mincrime is fully worthy of my highest recommendations: a 5 star rating. Let's face it. This is THE most influential album in progressive metal. This is the best Queensr˙che album, and it transports you to another world. This is absolutely essential listening. I'm not sure if this is 100% "prog", but who cares? This is one of the finest albums I have ever heard, and that's saying something. This is a five star rating without a doubt in my mind.

5 stars.

J-Man | 5/5 |

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