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

OPERATION : MINDCRIME II

Queensr˙che

 

Progressive Metal

3.25 | 185 ratings

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CCVP
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Imma Merrican with one foot in hell

Eighteen years. That's the amount of time that separates the original Operation: Mindcrime and its follow up, cleaverly named Operation: Mindcrime II. In that timeframe a lot has changed, both in the music scene and in the band that released those albums, and that shows (a lot, by the way). The band has changed from one of the chief representatives of progressive metal, a high profile band with either respectable or very impressive releases with respectable sales, a real a spokesman of a (then) new genre of music to a somewhat decadent band living off a rabid following that tried to get a hold of new trends as it could.

Operation: Mindcrime 2 comes to put an end to that latter period of the band's life. At this point in time, Queensr˙che is trying to get a hold of itself once more and, wile purging away its demons from the passing decade, attemp a return to their old form. That, however, does not come easy. Many have become distrustful of the band's direction and a bit less than a decade of alternative music has left its scars in the band's music. From time to time you can still sense or feel that they are struggling not to drive into that road, that the band is strugging to go back to their old style.

Beyond that, there is also the time problem: the bandmembers have gone older ald the weight of time has hit vocalist Geoff Tate with a specially hard hit: his vocal abilities no more can match the potency and the range of before and that can be felt through the whole album. His voice, without a doubt, became older. That can be seen really clearly when Dio, who is more than 15 years older than Tate, appears in the album as Doctor X in the tenth song , The Chase, and shows his voice. The comparison is brutally cruel and for Tate.

Another problem with the second comming of Operation: Mindcrime is the running time of the album. Although in the original release nearly one hour of music seemed just right, the 2006 version, in spite of having nearly the same length, is too long for its own good. The band is clearly not in their creative peak anymore (that was almost two decades ago), so to thaw the album lenth would have been a great. Less time would theorically give less space for mistakes or bad ideas and would make the good ideas shine more, what unfortunately does not happen.

Though having many downsides, Operation: Mindcrime II is not without qualities. The first I would point is the songwriting itself, which, in spite of not being the best piece of progressive metal composition out there, is pretty decent. The band actually managed to bring back some of their old style and the early 90's feeling to their music. As I mentioned before, however, this does not comes without some bad turns and twists along the way.

The storytelling is also very well done. It is not as metaphotical and artsy as in the original 1988 album, however. It is a much more direct and straight to the point storytelling, as if in a rock opera in the likes of Jesus Christ Superstar. The listener , this time, sees the story even more in the eyes of the protagonist than the first time and, at times, it seems to be just besides him.

As for the instrumental work, it is also very well done overall, but there are some uninspired parts through in the middle of the album. Operarion: Mindcrime II stars very well, then it gets predictable, then it good again, then boring, good, bad, good. . . it feels like a roller coaster ride at times. As I said before, the album would be much better if it was simply shorter, but in the end the good parts do outnumber the bad parts.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Operation:Mindcrime II suffers from a seriouscondition: the back-to-form syndrome. The albums that have this usually suffer from other problem as well: rejection from outside the fanbase. In other words, this is an album for Queensr˙che fans, most of all.

For me it is undeniable that, in the end, this piece of music is very good and interesting, but then I really like this band and even so I still had some problems fiding my way through it for the firsts times I played it. But rest assured, if you manage to see through the less favorable parts of this album, it is very rewarding, since most, (but not all) of the goodies are kept in the first and last five songs of Operation: Mindcrime II.

Keeping that in mind, 4 stars for this criminally underrated release.

CCVP | 4/5 |

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