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

OPERATION: MINDCRIME

Queensr˙che

 

Progressive Metal

4.23 | 741 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Although somewhat regrettably Queensryche would ultimately fail to deliver upon the huge promise shown by this defining concept-album, thanks, in part, to the limited confines of the metal genre, few groups in the burgeoning prog-metal scene can lay claim to creating such a renowned and influential piece of work as 'Operation: Mindcrime'. Released in the dark and very un-progressive days of the late-eighties, 1988 to be precise, this unsettling album blends the bruising power-metal typically found in NWOBHM outfits Iron Maiden and Judas Priest with arty and deceptively-complex Marillion-and-Pink Floyd-style instrumental chops, crafting their potent new sonic brew into a complex, bizarre and darkly-satirical sci-fi themed tale of paranoia, mind control and sinister totalitarian governments that casts an ominous atmosphere over the fifteen interlocking tracks. Almost an hour long, this is fairly extreme yet really ambitious stuff, obviously influenced in some part by Pink Floyd's similarly-toned 1979 opus 'The Wall'. However, whilst this is not quite at the same level, Queensryche have not forgotten to insert catchy, anthemic hooks into their cerebral material - something the Floyd almost forget about when creating their double-sided tale of rock star excess - thus pulling off the savvy trick of making a potentially pretentious concept album remarkably accessible. Tracks such as the fist-pumping opener 'Revolution Calling' find vocalist Geoff Tate pulling off his best Brice Dickenson impression, all the while backed by screeching guitars, whilst the ultra-heavy riffs and funk-pinned bass-lines of the follow-up title-track show a group flush with confidence. The thunderous pace slacks off slightly during the album's latter half - the ten minute epic 'Suit Sister Mary' takes a while to heat up - yet when listened to from beginning to end(which uis obviously the point here) 'Operation: Mindcrime' proves an engrossing, if slightly brutal, listen. Conversely, when listened to separately, the individual tracks power is somewhat diluted, yet ultimately, and thanks to the overall quality running through the album, it's a moot point. Compared to today's prog-metal exponents it may all sound a mite tame - this critic is no metal expert - but surely that's one of the main reasons the album has proved to popular over the years. Certainly one of the (very) few prog-metal albums that appeals outside it's immediate fanbase, 'Operation: Mindcrime' is an impressive beast indeed.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 4/5 |

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