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

OPERATION : MINDCRIME II

Queensr˙che

Progressive Metal


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4 stars First impressions about this long awaited release: Very nice balance between hard, uptempo numbers and slower, more atmospheric parts; Nice flow between songs as in the first part(1988); Geoff Tate in top notch form; More space for Pamela Moore than in part I; Outstanding interplay between Tate and Dio (Yes, quite a nice surprise) in The Chase; Tight playing as usual from the rhythm section and a new found partnership from Wilton and newcomer Mike Stone. In General, at first listen it is a worthy succesor to 1988's magnum opus. Only in a few songs De Garmo is missed from a compositional viewpoint, but others succeed without his participation. Definitely 4 stars, although i think it does not reach the five stars because it lacks in any aspect, but for the high standard that was set by the Initial Operation Mindcrime. Now, it is my first listen, but obviously this album is of those that grows on repeated listenings, and surely will be on every prog-metaler top five list for album of the year.

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Send comments to glaurung (BETA) | Report this review (#71998)
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
intensity_x@H
3 stars It's OK...really nothing special, I can't see it getting any regular play in my CD player or MP3 unit, unlike the original O:M, which still gets listened to at least once a week (and that's been happening since I first got it on tape in 1991!)

They tried to emulate the guitar sound of the original, with mixed results.

There are a couple of decent dual-lead passages, but overall I think the album is a disappointment (and NO, I did not expect them to recreate O:M!)

My problem is mainly with the songs and the sound of the album. Geoff Tate is a good singer, but he can't hit the high notes like he used to. There are almost no memorable riffs on this CD either, except for one track which rips the opening chords from Eyes of A Stranger.

OM2 is by far their best album since Promised Land, but it pales in comparison to OM or anything before it. The production is kind of dry, there's little excitement to it.

The Dio track is enjoyable, but only for novelty's sake. I don't think it's that great.

Just my thoughts, as a long-time QR fan (I'm 31 years old, I know my metal!)

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#72045)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
barrukh@gazet
1 stars That's what everybody will call a degradation of the legend. For the original album deserved its cult stratus, that's for sure. And this one? Chaotic, uncatchy, terribly sung. A disaster. Any pros then? Still, it's not the worst Queensryche album by now :-)

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#73158)
Posted Sunday, March 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not QUITE the essential classic which OMC I was and is, but not far off. It is one of those albums (like most Queensryche) which has to be played again and again to love. I'm currently on the fifth play and its growing on me. Its a powerful album, one of the best Queensryche album in places and also the weakest. Albums since OMC I have lacked raw metal solos ... this one has returned to that vein. The addition of Mr Ronnie James Dio as X on Chase makes that track the best on the album. The track has drama .. it is not hard to imagine the confrontation between the two ... the struggle Nicki has to finally kill 'the bastard' ........ quite a track, quite an album. Queensryche are back (mind you with Empire, Tribe, Promised Land after OMC I they never went away).

WELL DONE LADS THIS IS ANOTHER CLASSIC!!

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Send comments to Mr Merlin (BETA) | Report this review (#73517)
Posted Thursday, March 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow!! This is an awesome release from Queensryche. I'm a Ryche fan and the first OMC is my favorite album. The more I listen to OMC II the more I love it. Yes, it's different than the original, but why do we want to hear the same thing over and over again? Geoff Tate's vocals are chilling as always, the guitar work and drum beats are harder and heavier than I've heard from Queensryche in a long time. Ronnie James Dio as Dr. X on "The Chase" is brilliant. Pamela Moore's beautiful voice as Sister Mary is another treat. "The Hands, Hostage, Re-Arrange You, A Murderer?, Signs Say Go, All The Promises and The Chase are my favorites.... that's practically the entire album! Those who are disappointed I would suggest listening to it a few more times. The more I hear it the more I love it. I was so excited to have Nikki's story continue and I couldn';t be happier with where Queensryche took it. Get yourself a copy and then go see them live!! You will love it all. OMC I & II in their entirety??? Come on!!

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Send comments to Roxiedog (BETA) | Report this review (#74075)
Posted Tuesday, April 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
mbd3675@hotma
4 stars I approached this album with extreme caution after having been a Q fan since the original Mindcrime was flying off the shelves. I watched the band essentially disappear into the alternative rock scene and churn out 3 1/2 horrible albums since Promised Land (it being only half decent). I scoffed at the idea that Q was going to try to recapture their glory with mediocre songwriting covered with a popular title...and just what prog metal needs...another band doing a sequel!!!

Well, immediately, I put all these negative thoughts to rest. This album seemed to fly by, and now at 2:00 AM I'm on the 7th listen today (I haven't listened to an album this much since Scenes From A Memory's release if that says anything and ironc considering the current feud between Mike Portnoy and Geoff Tate). The first real song, "I'm American" grabs you in the same way that "Revolution Calling" grabbed you on the first album. The album never really loses momentum. The songs average close to 4:00 so ideas never grow stale. The vocal arrangements are interesting, and although there is no "Eyes of a Stranger" on this album, Tate turns out a very good performance (shame on the reviewer below for his comments...I'd be interested in hearing anyone try to sing this material).

All-in-all, Queensryche seems to have remembered that they helped to pioneer progressive metal and wisely decided to return to that format rather than the misery they've put out in the past 10 years. The original Mindcrime will always be a better album than this because no sequel is ever really as innocent as the original concept. However, this album is not stale on ideas and doesn't borrow riffs/arrangements from the original and stays true to the approach of the original.

I can't call this a masterpiece at this point because I haven't fully gotten into the storyline. However, if you're disappointed in this album, it's very likely that you have become jaded or are perhaps just too much of a Dream Theater fanboy to overlookthe soap opera drama between Portnoy and Tate.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#74086)
Posted Wednesday, April 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A huge Queensryche fan up to Empire(their "jump the shark" album for me), I was a bit skeptical that they were still capable of pulling this off. That being said, I was wrong. I absolutely love this album start to finish. In todays world of dressed down, detuned, and frankly lethargic hard rock, this album especailly shines. Tates voice may not be what it used to but PLEASE! He is still awesome. The guitar work is stellar. The songs are dynamic and diverse. Production and arrangements are superb. "Hands" is a standout for me as is "Speed of Light" and "Im American" As was the case with Mindcrime 1, it requires several listens to really sink in. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Ronnie James Dio as well. I am shocked that any pre- Empire Queensryche fan would knock this. A must have.

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Send comments to ddaly2112 (BETA) | Report this review (#74424)
Posted Saturday, April 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Most people seem to think that sequals are never as good as originals. Whether that is a true statement will always be debatable. What is not at issue here is that OMC II is not in any way as good as its predecessor. I would go so far as to say that if the music on OMC II had been the original contents of OMC, Queensryche's career would have faded out sometime very soon after 1988. There are no hooks here. No memorable melodies to recall, not even a good lead riff and don't get me started on the production. As for Tate's voice, maybe it's the mix, but when the highlight of an album is the cut that contains guest vocalist Ronnie Dio, that says something about the lead singer.

The success of OMC put Queensruche on the map. Its success gave them the opportunity to go into the studio and create Empire. I guess we should be glad that everything worked out in that way. Since Empire, this band has not put out a single decent album.

I first heard Queensryche in 1984 and I still follow them today hoping for a return to past glories. I thought OMC II would be a can't miss opportunity to continue the thread of that brilliant album. I was wrong. After several listens it still does nothing for me.

This album release came hot on the heels of the announcement of a US tour. I bought tickets. After hearing OMC II and realizing this material will probably be highlighted in the show, I am clicking over to Ebay after I submit this.

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Send comments to gardenwall (BETA) | Report this review (#74448)
Posted Saturday, April 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars it's really difficult to me to do this review. as i see it, operation:mindcrime is the best album ever. my favourite among all. when i heard they would record the sequel i felt a mix of excitation, frenzy, joy but also so much fear... and now here it is. and i have to admit that i spilled some tears while listening for the first time to this one. obviously the peaks of the first part remain over the top but in many moments this album is not that far from the intensity and pathos of the first chapter. i'm talking about the deadly strike of "i'm american", of the reprise of "breaking the silence" in "the hands" (one of the best songs of the whole album). absolutely incredible the duet between geoff and ronnie james dio in "the chase". so many shivers whenever the voice of pamela moore/sister mary comes in, one above all the closing "all the promises". and if you like me have waited so many years to know who killed her, well know that here it is said, not so clearly but perfectly understandable. but i'm not gonna spoil the surprise to find out how the concept evolves, that's up to you. what i can say is that this is without doubt the best queensryche album since promise land and to be honest i prefer it as a whole also to many moments of empire. bow down to the gods once more!

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Send comments to heavydrum (BETA) | Report this review (#74557)
Posted Monday, April 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I heard this was being recorded I was torn between fear and excitement. Queensryche haven't been very impressive in some time, a long time actually. I really think the band started a decline right after the release of "Promised Land" in 1994. The original "Mindcrime" was an a amazing mix of prog and metal that somehow made its way into the mainstream, taking Q'ryche from having a smaller die-hard following to elevating them to monsters of the genre in 1988.

The original Crime was beautifully done!! Tate's vocals were still clean and clear and Mr. DeGarmo was still in a creative mood! When the album was over you had a feeling that you had seen this story taking place...you feel for the characters, you understand the story's progression, you wonder who the hell killed Mary!!!

That's the way it should have ended!!!! We didn't need to know who killed Mary!!! It's like a bad movie sequel that tells you more than you wanted to know. Sometimes the mystery is part of the allure...this is one of those cases. However, this is a music review, not a review on the band's decisions or lack of common sense.

It is heavy folks...heavier than anything they've done possibly since the original Crime. As I was discussing moments ago in one of the forums, heavy is not always a good thing! In my opinon, it feels like the 'Ryche decided to make this album heavy just for the sake of it, just to more closely mirror the original Crime. They failed at re-creating the same atmosphere and even their heavy moments are somehow diluted - the edge is gone, as is the guitar genius of DeGarmo and the voice that Geoff Tate once had.

To wrap this up, Queensryche fans who appreciated the band's career from "Promised Land" through "Tribe" should pick this up! They have heavied the sound up, but the elements of the modern 'Ryche are all present here. For fans of early 'Ryche, have a friend burn this before you pick it up...it's missing the intensity and the drive of early 'Ryche material. Not to mention the story in Chapter 2 really isn't that good anyway!!!!!

This gets ONE star just for balls...as in I give Tate and Co. credit for having the balls to record a sequel to a classic album!! I'm not being sarcastic or mean, I'm serious. It takes guts to revisit a classic, and whether it was done for a carreer kickstart or if it was just time for it, I give them credit for trying. An album like this makes or breaks a band in my opinion.

The other 2 stars are for the music and writing. There are moments were Tate sounds as strong and fresh as he did in 1988. There are several moments that are quite inspired and show you that the 'Ryche can still rock hard when they want to, but there aren't enough of those inspired moments! The duet with Ronnie James Dio is worth checking out and would have elevated this release to a 3.5 if ONLY the female "Mary" vocals didn't sound like bad outtakes from a Bonnie Tyler bar appearance!!!!

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Send comments to silversaw (BETA) | Report this review (#74559)
Posted Monday, April 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars DISCLAIMER: I'm probably going to refer to the legendary Operation: Mindcrime a lot, as it's literally my favorite album of all time. This is going out to be a very detailed review, since there is so much to write about it.

The background:

For years have Queensryche fans been served the mind of a dying giant, the leftovers from some crap pop rock sessions of the masterminds behind such classics as The Warning, Rage For Order, Operation Mindcrime, Empire and even the heavily underrated Promised Land.

And it has been almost 15 dark years where Queensryche, lost in a strange reverie have been trying to find a new personality, never really making it seem like they are being real to themselves. Hear In The Now Frontier featured some of the best Queensryche lyrics ever, and some clever musical arrangements, but on certain occasions it left a lot to be desired. While no one could hate them for turning their backs to metal (that was something they partially had already done in Empire), it was the fact that something from the spirit was missing.

Q2K made it plain obvious that it was probably De Garmo that was missing. Or Kelly Gray making the band his own whore, writing music as a friend, but music that did not tune in with Queensryche.

Tribe was a step in an interesting direction. The concept was there, the lyrics were there, again. But musically, it was not even an ugly brother to Promised Land. It was simply beyond boring. Apart from two tracks, it was such a passable release that the band could have simple released a single titled The Great Divide and they would do better.

And we come to see, at last, a release that dares bare the name of Operation Mindcrime. Have Queensryche decided to humiliate the name of what is possibly the finest release in progressive metal ever?

Luckily, no. They are here to complement it, in an unprecedented way. What Queensryche have finally provided, is an album that re-writes all the mistakes and throws a new huge stone in an ocean of empty and still water. The splash that is about to follow is going to lose them fans, make them new ones, and help some people who have the vision always wanted to share take notice and look in their direction. If Queensryche has always been about being original, progressive and groundbreaking, then there is nothing they failed to do. At last. But there lies one question on hand: Can the sequel to one of the best concept albums ever made capture the magic of the original and bring on the same goosebumb-factor as about 18 years ago?

In a recent issue of a entertainment magazine there was an article about the 50 worst movie sequels ever made. Usually, movie sequels are never as good as the original. With music, though; this is not always the case. Many artists have created sequels to their initial efforts, quite successfully. Usually, they do this in a short amount of time while the original concept is still fresh and inspirational. So why now after 18 years has the aged chemical youth chosen to seduce us with a sequel to the outstanding 'Operation Mindcrime'?

The concept:

According to Geoff Tate, he has always endeavored to make a sequel when the perfect time presented itself. Presently, he is desparately attempting to shop his 'Mindcrime' screenplay to prospective movie associates or theatrical venues. His political perspectives have remained consistent over the years, even if his musical direction has changed drastically over the last decade. Geoff has always kept an active file on the Nikki character, which he has updated every time he felt inspired by designs of social convention. The band always plays classic tracks from the 'Mindcrime' era, so the music has always been close to their hearts.

The story:

The story, which takes place 18 years after Nikki was tried and imprisoned, mostly captures Nikki's state of mind and his encompassing desire for revenge against his former employers, who left him to rot. It also gives a sense of connectedness as both we and Queensryche are also exactly 18 years older since the original 1988 release of "Mindcrime". Nikki is now a free man and has to face a world that is in many respects as evil and twisted as the impulses that landed him in jail. Many of the same players are here, including a good amount of original Mary vocalist Pamela Moore, and there are rain-soaked, eerie interludes, or religio-musical iconography (such as the choral outro to "If I Could Change It All" ) that hearken back to the conceptual sprawl of "Suite Sister Mary" and "Electric Requiem" from the original. Occasional snippets of voices and musical themes prominent in the original "Mindcrime" (such as "Anarchy-X").

The music:

We begin with "Freiheit Overture", a very impressive and extremely technical progressive metal intro, infused with amazing guitar work a fantastic orchestra, that it all sets for a grand opening. We are off to a great start. Convict, you are a free man. > I've missed the magic of the intro in part I, but it finally sounds like a freedom- punch after all these years and it delivers very well that feeling.

"I'm American" will mostly remind of Iron Maiden. It all begins as a thrashier version of classic NWOBHM. Geoff Tate, once again, sounds like he should, and you suddenly have pictures in your mind of the great performer doing what's he is best at. Singing powerfully and emotionally. The song itself is a very straight mixture of Speed/NWOBHM with some very thrashy riff work that will definately make the classic rockers out there headbang through the entire song. The solo (finally, a solo in a Queensryche song!!!) is simply amazing.

And here we are, "One Foot In Hell", with our journey eventually starting. The next track continues in the same idea. With a sound that reminds of late 70s hard rock infused with something taken from "Hear In The Now Frontier", only much better. The music is catchy and as song progresses, new melodies unfold as the song changes into 80s Black Sabbath. The solo (again?!?!) is simply one of the best solos written in the history of Queensryche! So far, we are off to an amazing start. What seemed like the best song ("I'm American") it is already far outdone by an even better one. "One Foot In Hell" is a damn classic!

So, we are already captivated. We've been taken hostages and listening to "Hostage" now. Can the band keep it up? We so far saw them pay a tribute to 70s and 80s music. But are we listening to Queensryche? YES WE DO! Hostage is a classic Queensryche song, and the most progressive metal song so far. With song structures that will (FINALLY!) remind "Promised Land", an amazing melody and a fantastic refrain (the stuff that you will be remembering for the rest of your lives!).. there is nothing missing from the song. Is there? Nope.... how about dual solos finally making a return? They are here and they sound bloody amazing. How about emotional vocals driving the melody? They are here, finally! How about acoustic guitars in the background? Everything's here. Don't worry. Queensryche are back, and they take no hostages. They annihilate.

Moving on to "The Hands" then. And with every song, this is getting even more deeper, even heavier, even more intelligent, even more classic and even more... Queen? Yup, that's right. The album is slowly taking an approach towards Symphonic/Progressive Rock, while keeping an overly metal structure. "The Hands" is not a song that can be described as "typical" in any way or form. Strange but magical song structures that change without notice, from slow to heavy, vocal lines that can make any Geoff Tate fan sing along with pride, and riffs to kill (that's my Wilton!), and one strong refrain. But for one more time, they've been saving the best for the last moment. Dual harmonic solos that lead into a very heavy progressive metal passage. What the hell, why wasn't this material part of "Promised Land"? Because it sure as hell feels like it hasn't been a single day since 1994!

"Speed Of Light" takes us into a trip into classic progressive rock musicianship. Fans of Led Zeppelin will instantly recognise the obvious homage in the melody and the vocals. Yet the song has quite a few things up its sleeve, past the so-so refrain: This song is actually the first step in driving the concept further. After a strange passage, that sounds taken out of the same titled from Promised Land (and sounds absolutely amazing I must say), you are left speechless as a familiar voice comes back after many years. You call this your best? What's you gonna do? Make more excuses? Yup... better get excited. It seems the best is yet to come.

But sadly, not immediately. "Signs Say Go" is an instantly forgettable track. All signs say that the song will go down as yet another boring Queensryche song. This is the first dissapointment of the album so far. You may as well skip it and re- arrange your tracklist because...

"Re-Arrange You" is already one of the best Queensryche songs ever. With an intro to kill for, and a start that will make any Queensryche fan shiver in excitement... the orchestra makes a return. Geoff Tate's vocals are amazingly lead with Scott's drums. The song soon goes to show how amazing riffs Wilton can write if he wants to (Tribe pay attention)! The song structure, for one more time is simply staggering. This song is pure progressive rock/metal and one of the finest examples of the band at it's prime. "It's taken me years to get to this place". No. It did not. They just never tried it. That's what a true Queensryche fan waited for YEARS! A fantastic solo taken out of Nevermore, is only the icing on the cake to seal the deal.

"The Chase" is on, and what hell? This is Dio?! We are off to an amazing start, and I'd rather tell you, this is an amazing track. One of the best heavy metal / progressive metal duets in the history of metal. When you have Dio and Tate on the same song you just know that this is beyond amazing. This metal opera just gets things more interesting. The song itself has a fantastic refrain, a very catchy melody that will remain in history, and there is the orchestra again to fill in all the holes. And suddenly it all starts to remind you of Queen in a more heavy metal form. The solo is simply staggering. There is simply nothing that could get this song sound better. This is a classic.

Can this album get any better? So far the band has been showing an almost perfect showcase of how they can make great music if they want to (with one real exception). Well, the answer is yes. It gets even better and even heavier. "A Murderer?" is taking you by surprise with some semi-harsh vocals, some very noisy/numetal-ish riffs and a very thrash/NWOBHM/Motorhead rythm going on. But this is only getting you started, for when the refrain kicks in, you are suddenly left amazed. You just don't know what hit you. Queensryche are heavy metal again, how strange does that sound? Step down on your knees, explain it to me one more time.... I am talking to Wilton of course. Because the time has come for him to once again step in and play another fantastic solo, the stuff that the fans have been longing to listen to for almost 15 long years. And the solo work is once again immaculate, as if it comes out of the hands of Jeff Loomis or Petrucci.

"Circles" is an interlude, which keeps a very sad and unsettling ambience. I can't explain it, but it is a very interesting track that sets the perfect atmosphere for...

...yes, it is finally time for the first ballad of the album. And as you expected...she is back in one of the most wonderful duets ever. A slow jazzy melody that shows the band's vast musical apetites. Tate is proof that is one of the greatest vocalists of all time (just listen to 0:55 until 1:20), with a performance that is simply great. The refrain is amazing and it sounds like taken out of "Promised Land". An amazing track that words cannot describe. An actual chorus sings near the end taking you by surprise and grandeur. This is total majesty and art at its finest. And it all builds up to...

..."The International Confrontation". Probably the most symphonic/progressive metal track of the entire album. And by far another masterpiece that goes beyond words. Any fans of Dream Theater will simply love this. This is the second part of the duet and it is simply magic. "Am I closer?" "Go back" "Go back to your mountain"... and Wilton goes back to the highest mountain to play one of the best solos in his career, as if he didn't already outdone himself in the entire album already.

"A Junkie's Blues" is 100% Promised Land material. With a sound and a riff that seems born from the "Damaged Universal Mind" (let's see whom of you is a real fan to spot the connection here!), and a melody that is really deep and heavy... it all suddenly progresses to... gospel? Yup, it certainly seems that the band loves to tease us by throwing towards us all kinds of genres. The song then gets heavier again, with a fantastic melody similar to "Lady Jane"... and you suddenly feel that we are slowly coming to an end. And it has been a fantastic trip... a trip worth waiting so many years for.

"Fear City Slide" is sort of like, the final thunder before the end of a storm in the desert. "I feel like I'm falling". "Arise"! This is definately one of the songs that sounds the most like old Queensryche, with very obvious NWOBHM guitar work that is mixed with an 80s rendition of the themes in "Hear In The Now Frontier", it is a very clever and deep progressive rock track. The solo that follows, is once again fantastic. Typical Wilton, but the guy's far from your typical guitarist.

So, did Queensryche gave all that they promised? "All Promises" is a slow, strange and ambient outro (that is wonderful), bringing everything to a closure, with one of the saddest and most melancholic solos ever. It all sounds like "Promised Land" all over again. The magic is here again. And this time, it feels like it will never leave. If this can be the last Queensryche song ever, I will be more than happy to see them go now. At the top of the mountain, throwing that huge rock in the ocean. And everyone else, shall take notice.

"We had it all, but couldn't see anything" "The blind leading the blind through the darkest night" "When you said you loved me it made me feel alive"

A fantastic ballad, and an amazing end to a great album. Not another "Eyes Of A Stranger", but that isn't important, as it delivers a fitting end to this second part of the concept story.

Well, O:M II doesn't capture the magic or neither delivers the goosebumb-factor that the first OM part did, specially because there are not such over-the-top epics like "Suite Sister Mary" or "Eyes Of A Stranger" on it or out-standing earworms like "Breaking The Silence" or "I Don't Believe In Love", which made that first one so stellar. Seriously: It was a thing of impossibility after all these years and without the main-songwriter of the first O:M part, Chris DeGarmo. But if you can get past that, that Queensryche's glory prime days are long, long gone, you will be very surprised by this excellent sequel!

Conclusion:

Yes, Queensryche finally kept their promise! Operation Mindcrime II is an album that cannot be described by words. It is the sound of crystal ryche to the veins of the real Queensryche fans. It is simply, by far, and without any shadow of doubt, not only their best album since Promised Land... but also the best sequel it could have ever been to "Operation Mindcrime".

Not by copying it. By completing it. And that's what a real sequel should do. It's more complex and difficult to understand than the first part but it leads the story towards, without sounding reconstructed. It's not a 5 star-sequel to a masterpiece but an excellent surprise of 2006! Let O:M II grow on you and have a nice time!

Album rating: 8.5/10 points = 86 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#74682)
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I heard about the making of this album - I couldn't eat, sleep or rest waiting for it to be released.The original OM, along with Rage for Order and Empire were and still are amongst the most prized albums in my quite considerable collection.

Did it live up to expectations? Resoundingly YES!!!! I was in my mid-twenties when OM was released - so I feel like an old friend has come back to embrace me again (well maybe even two - welcome Ronnie James Dio).

Yes a sequel is always a hard act to follow and without Chris DeGarmo (we miss you!) but this album is Queensryche back to what they do best!!

(5 stars is not enough!)

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Send comments to rowck001 (BETA) | Report this review (#74990)
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ok, rychers ... I heard about the record being made either last year or earlier In the year. I sort of quickly forgot about it until I was at best buy and Magically saw it out of the corner of my eye. I was looking for ZZ top at the Time, and quickly stopped in my tracks to look at it.

First I looked at the song names. They had a fairly good mix with om: i. I did Wait a few days before curiosity got me and finally bought it.

In listening to the album it reminded me of rage for order, in fact as I write This review it's hitting me that the song "all the promises" and "I will Remember" has sort of the same feel,... And also being the last song on each Of the respective records..... Take a listen you'll hear it

Anyway forget the other Queensryche records ... I have two main problems With the record # 1. The songs could have been tracked in a different order And # 2. Freiheit overture::: it was too short , needs about another minute or two , I think with the collective" right" minds it could have been more dramatic. Or are we missing something .. (or someone??) Also a dual guitar solo from Stone and Wilton may have helped. And it ended just as it was getting good, I can't believe it!!

Now of course easier said than done, right!! But this is a review now... Isn't it) I thought it could have been left off but now looking at it again a Grand opening is needed.

A fast comment on convict... It would have been cooler to maybe have a Newscast announcing the release of Nikki, something very similar to Operation mindcrime and then this short intro.

I always liked this kind of idea also because of a similar opening on the kiss Release ""destroyer"" from 1976. They could have also had feinheit overture As a musical background for the newscast announcement

Track 3: I'm American is nothing more than a strike at the bush presidency. Here's why that's wrong... Maybe it's wrong to assume that every one buying A Queensryche record is against the current war or any other issue facing Our nation or the world. I don't have a problem with the point of view or Expressing it.

But more than this I don't think the song fits into the story of operation Mindcrime very well its not at all as good as revolution calling and rev Calling was commenting on politics, religion and social issues all at the Same time.

This song though does have a terrific vibe of classic queensryche and has Two definite guitar runs/riffs especially at the middle solo that Michael Wilton plays and Chris de garmo would have played if he was on this Record . I read somewhere that wilton was going to consciously keep this Style on queensryche records and throughout the record I was very pleased About the guitar sound. It's too bad that degarmo missed this record by a Year or two as he contributed on the tribe album

After all this it could have continued with one foot in hell which would Have been a good way to segue from the opening into the songs

Love the guitar solo in hostage

I would have liked to see all the promises as a middle song on this album I Think it would have worked well like a ending to side a (this album is also Released on vinyl!!) And a junkies blues as the last song since it king of sums Up the record and has a more of a dramatic ending than all the promies does And has a tinge of the melody from the ending of anarchy-x from operation Mindcrime

There are also songs like signs say go and fear city slide that don't really Fit in with the record in my opinion

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Send comments to BLUESTRAPS (BETA) | Report this review (#75193)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars After being a 'Rchye fan since the mid 80s I was also a bit worried when I heard that they where recording OM2.

It took around 15 listens before it started to 'click'.

Well what an album....I don't think to compair the 2 OM is fair.

After having listening to it all week I just cant put it to one side.

This is a classic....5 stars is not enough.

Let's hope that Queensrche can push the boundaries even further from here....because if OM2 was a flop it would of been time to call it a day

How about a tour of Australia guys??

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Send comments to illawarra_steel (BETA) | Report this review (#75450)
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After 16 years or so of persisting not to continue the story of their epic Operation: Mindcrime saga, Queensr˙che finally gave what most of their fans wanted, the sequel of Operation: Mindcrime. At first I was somewhat skeptic about it, but then I realized that this output might shed some lights to their journey. Judging by the fact how their music had changed during these years, I didn't put too much hope and expectation in regards to the release of Operation: Mindcrime II in 2006. This would be no comparable to the original Mindcrime to name one, of course.

To much surprise, this album to my opinion marks that Queensr˙che is starting to return to their form, after being somewhat directionless during their 1999's Q2K and 2003's Tribe (I like Tribe though). The band really shines throughout the album. Guitar-duo Michael Wilton and Mike Stone are running hot with their duel guitar solos (yes, you read it correct! There are guitar solos!). Geoff Tate also shines bright here. He touched those high notes that he had left since Q2K.

This album comprises of heavy metal tracks with touches of progressive rock elements here and there. Also it has some musical connection to the original Mindcrime that would help you to connect to this new effort. Out of 17 tracks provided, most probably "Signs Say Go" is the only filler. It only fits as a bridge to the following track "Re-arrange You", an example of heavy metal track with progressive rock element (and orchestra!). "The Chase" is one of the highlights where Geoff had a vocals-duel with Ronnie James Dio. The Devilish Dio plays the role of Dr. X while Geoff takes role as Nikki. Pamela Moore was also given more roles here as Sister Mary, appearing as a ghostly form in several tracks ("If I Could Change It All" and "All The Promises" to name two).

They also beautifully blended their old-school elements with their Tribe musical style in "One Foot In Hell" and "Hostage". While "The Hands" seems to be a much re-fined work of their Tribe era. I think Tribe would have been a very great record if Geoff could let loose his voice as in "The Hands". Another highlight is their first single "I'm American", running fast in the vein of Mindcrime's "The Needle Lies".

This is a recommended to any Queensr˙che fans as well as to new fans that would like to explore their music. I intentionally not discuss their lyrics here. It is for you to find out the surprises there. If you are aware of Operation: Mindcrime, please put out that hat so you can have a fresh mind when get into this record. It is not to compare to the original Mindcrime as this record (I am sure) can stand on its own, musically. (4/5)

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Send comments to ydewata (BETA) | Report this review (#79764)
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Having only just introducing myself to progressive music not too long ago, I had originally heard Empire and Operation Mindcrime as well as parts of PL, HitNF, Q2K and Tribe before this, and admittedly, though it doesn't live up to the awesomeness of the first 2 said albums, it does sound like a step in the right direction from a band who has really lacked much inspiration for their music these past years.

O:M2 opens with the first 2 "songs" flashing by before getting right into the story. I'm American is a great fast paced piece which is followed on well throughout the rest of the album. Notable standouts are I'm American, The Hands, Re-Arrange You, Signs Say Go, The Chase, Fear City Slide and All The Promises.

Some songs can be forgettable at times (One Foot in Hell, Hostage, Circles) but the thought and dedication 'Rhyche have put in to create the best album they could has really paid off in my eyes. The theatrics allow you to close your eyes and let the story take you to its destination.

The best thing about this record is that it is always moving, always changing and most of all, always progressing. You can be about to close your eyes and sink into the melody of one song, then all of a sudden throwing your body around to the dramatic effect of another.

Seeing as how Queensryche is now a lot older and a lot more experienced than their more radical days of O:M1, to think they would recreate the mood of the prequal to O:M2 was laughable. However, this album is, as I said, a good album to sit down and allow to grow on you.

There's definately some old Queensryche left in the tank yet.

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Send comments to Sacrilege (BETA) | Report this review (#79866)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Good idea, but not greatly executed.

I've been a Queensr˙che fan for quite some time and have listened to thier first four albums (if you count the original EP as an album) many, many times. Empire was ok but definitely started their decline, and nothing after that has attracted me until.... the heralded sequel: Operation Mindcrime II. Now I knew coming in that this wasn't going to stand up to the "Big 4," but I knew it would be a lot better than their more recent stuff. The entire band seemed excited about what kind of material they were putting out with this album, and so of course I got pretty excited too. However, once I actually GOT the album, it was quite a disappointment. Sure it's the "return to metal" that everyone hoped for. The problem is is that there are too many PROBLEMS!!! First off Geoff's vocals are not what they used to be. Everyone knows that. I give him credit for trying to keep with his style though. However, he is almost totally understandable (according to my ear and my friends' ears as well) throughout the entire album. What's the point of a concept album if all you can decipher of the lyrics are the choruses?

Another problem is the balance of the album. It seems like the guitars are WAY too loud for what they are playing. It's mostly just boring chords, and yet they drown out the rest of the band! Anyone who expected some great guitar playing like the original Mindcrime had will be sadly disappointed. There is nothing memorable about the riffs (or lack-there-of) and the times when actual talent is needed to play something, they ruin it by having it be a dual guitar harmony every time which gets really dull fast. If the balance was correct this would be a much better album I must admit.

Overall, there is nothing really special here musically either. All of the songs are VERY short, quick, and very forgetable. Thinking back on the album, I really only remember the choruses of the songs and not much else. I remember how Dio outsang Geoff on his own album which was laughable, but other than that no individual song sticks out as memorable. Re-Arrange You is BY FAR the best track on the album though. If there was one song that could've been added to the original Mindcrime that wouldn't have tainted its greatness, it would be Re-Arrange You. The song kicks major butt in every department. It's like Queensr˙che finally pulled off what they were going for with one song. It's seriously one of my favorite Queensr˙che songs now. If the entire album was as good as Re-Arrange You is, it would be a crazy album. However Mindcrime II is also filled with abominations like Circles, which is by far the worst song in existence today. I'm American has a catchy chorus I guess but it breaks into a rap thing in the middle which I'm not so wild about. Maybe Queensr˙che was white for a reason because they don't pull off the rap thing too well. Overall, the album is filled with some decent songs, but nothing I'd listen to really. They just bore me and are totally forgotten by the time the next song comes on (excpet for Re-Arrange you and maybe a couple others if they're lucky). Anyways this album was pretty disappointing for me and I don't understand how anyone could give it a 5 star rating. I'm giving it 2 stars simply because of a few shining moments but overall I'd give it a 1.5/5

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Send comments to KansasRushDream (BETA) | Report this review (#79887)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The original Operation: Mindcrime is one of the great pinnacles of the Progressive Metal genre. I bought a copy of this sequel CD with mixed emotions: excitement that Queensryche would return to their classic sound but apprehension in case the sequel somehow spoiled the good name of the original.

After a first listen this CD was slightly dissapointing but i remembered back to the first time I had listened to the brilliant original with a similar reaction. Let me tell you this CD grows on you in a similar vein to the original, after around 20 listens I have to say that this album is excellent.

1. Freiheit Ouverture: A sinister opening to the album, sets a dark, moody tone for what is to follow. (8/10)

2. Convict: Nikki is released from prison after 18 years

3. I'm American: A catchy song to kick start the album, a little structurally basic for my liking but good nonetheless. (7.5/10)

4. One Foot In Hell: The first gem of the album, brilliant dual riffing mixed with great vocals as we have come to expect from Geoff Tate (9.5/10)

5. Hostage: "Rusted now the scales you hold, the balance tipped by the weight of gold" A great progressive song with thought provoking lyrics (9/10)

6. The Hands: Possibly the standout track on the album. Dual shredding guitars with Tate's soaring vocals and beautiful backing strings make this a classic (10/10)

7. Speed Of Light: A more melodic, slower paced track with great progressive elements and a surprise appearance from Mary (8/10)

8. Signs Say Go: A stellar performance from Tate cant quite rescue this song from mediocrity compared with the rest of the album (7.5/10)

9. Re-arrange you: A fantastic track which starting with strings builds up in timbre, once again great vocals and duel guitar passages (9.5/10)

10. The Chase: A guest appearance from Ronny James Dio singing as Dr X provides incredible vocal harmonies with Tate, the song then moves into an enjoyable instrumenal section (9/10)

11. Murderer?: One of the albums biggest growers, after 20 or so listens i can safely say this is a fantastic song. Chaotic intro mixed with soaring vocals and beautiful melodies make for a great progressive-metal track (9.5/10)

12. Circles: A lovely interlude track with rich haunting melodies and emotive ambience (8/10)

13. If I Could Change It All: The albums first ballad, Nikki and Mary singing in tandom along with subtle musicianship from the rest of the band. The song then takes a twist into the choir sound associated with "Suite Sister Mary" (8.5/10)

14. An Intentional Confrontation: This track seems more like an operatic track than something from a metal band, fits in excellently with the rest of the album however. (8/10)

15. Junkie's Blues: After a period of soft melodic tracks we are treated to a merge between metal and melody with strong progressive elements (9/10)

16. Fear City slide: The heaviest track since Murderer is very enjoyable with a strong chorus and some nice transitions. (9/10)

17. All The Promises: The album finished with an excellent ballad full of depth and sunsual emotion. (9/10)

Overall: 91/100

The best listen I have had to this album was back to back with the original. For fans who think the original is far better, give this an honest try. O:M2 is an excellent compliment to O:M and gives the classic Queensryche album a good run for its money falling just short. Easily the best Queensryche album of the last decade.

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Send comments to Jon_Mc (BETA) | Report this review (#82169)
Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars As another Queensryche fan since the late 80s, I am happy to say that this album is a worthy successor to O:M2. It is nowhere near as good but it is easily the best album from the band in a decade. Others have done a good job summarizing the tracks on an individual basis so I'll just add my general thoughts. The album is good but not great. It lacks the heights of the original and the lows are lower, IMO. It does capture a piece of the original magic (wisely returning to the same key as the original and incorporating many of the same themes) and has a number of very good tracks such as Rearrange-you; One Foot in Hell; The Hands; Hostage and the Chase. The bottomline is that this is a worthy addition to the Queensryche legacy and should be enjoyed on its own merits. Go in with your eyes open (not expecting it to approach the original), and you should enjoy O:M2. I would give it a 75 out of 100.

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Send comments to AtlCatFan (BETA) | Report this review (#82572)
Posted Monday, July 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Queensryche has done the unthinkable and released the sequel to Operation Mindcrime, the 80's metal-prog classic that made them legends. Operation Mindcrime II was a big chance to take. Regardless of the risk involved, they forged ahead anyway and it turned out very well. This release will help to add to the band's legacy and certainly stir up some interest in previous recordings. I love it when a band has enough balls to do something that everyone says will not work and then it works.

The storyline picks up where it left off and finalizes, well almost, everything some 20 years later. I have been following this band for a few years now and listened to the remastered back catalog and can say with certainty that they are rocking harder on this release than they ever have. With steady touring year after year and a consistent lineup with minimal changes, Queensryche has managed to stay on top of their game and release one of the best albums of their long and successful career.

There is tons of energy on this album along with the usual pounding rhythm section and heavy metal guitars ripping away on nearly every track. There are also some special guests; Ronnie James Dio provides his legendary vocals to "The Chase," helping Geoff Tate make it an instant Queensryche classic. There are two female voices in the mix as well, Pamela Moor and Tate's daughter Miranda. They both do an excellent job adding some taste and emotion to the storyline and music.

Progressive Metal does not get much better than this, Queensryche is hot as a pistol right now, and putting out an album like this will more than likely pull in an entirely new legion of fans, continually adding to their legacy and making their fan base one of the largest in the genre. These guys are the old masters now, not too many bands are as tight and have the following that they do. Is this where the story ends now? Will there be a number 3 someday? You just never know.

İ Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck-www.muzikreviews.com

April 23, 2006

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#86062)
Posted Monday, August 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is by far the most disappointing album I bought this year. Clearly, it cannot stand the comparison with the first "Operation: Mindcrime": songs are pretty straightforward heavy metal (short - around 3 minutes each, basic verse/chorus structure, mostly heavy with a few ballads here and there), somewhere between "Hear In The Now Frontier" and "Q2K". Is the inspiration gone with Chris De Garmo? Well, some of the songs are still great, and the concept is very good, but there are too many forgettable songs on this album.

"Freiheit Ouvertüre" - a nice symphonic intro for this album, balances the heaviness of "Anarchy X" on the first "Operation: Mindcrime". "Convict" - a small spoken bridge (should those 8 seconds really be one album track? I think it should have been included in the intro). "I'm American" - first real uninspired song, sounding like the opener of many Iron Maiden albums. "One Foot In Hell" - a mid paced song, quite forgettable. "Hostage" - here the first progressive elements can be heard with a song that grows from beginning to end. "The Hands" - the first great song on this album, very catchy, in the vein of "I Don't Believe In Love". "Speed Of Light" - starts very smoothly, typical "Hear In The Now Frontier" stuff, until the spoken part when it becomes really boring. "Signs Say Go" - this is "Wot Kinda Man" revisited, totally insipid fast metal. "Re-arrange You" - this song starts the best part of the album, good music work and vocals, fast paced but very melodic, very reminiscent to the old material. "The Chase" - another outstanding track, thanks Mr Dio for the great vocal duet. "Murderer?" - great melodic intro, beautiful mix of emotions, I just don't like the brutal verses, but this song needs this type of contrast to express the feelings of the main character. "Circles" - a small quiet interlude with spoken/semi-sung lyrics, the first Mindcrime had a few of those ("My Empty Room"...). "If I Could Change It All" - the first ballad of the album, I really like ballads and this one is very good, ending with a choir (I just find the choice of the vocalist that impersonates Mary very odd... maybe someone with a higher pitched voice would have worked better). "An Intentional Confrontation" - starts symphonically, a bit like Nightwish meets Pink Floyd ("In The Flesh")... but it's nothing more than a continuation of the song "Speed Of Light". "A Junkie's Blues" - has an "outro" feeling, just like it gonna be the last song of the album (reminds me a bit of "Eyes Of A Stranger" for that). "Fear City Slide" - another forgettable song. "All The Promises" - finally a great closing track, an excellent ballad with male/female vocal duet... and a kickass guitar solo reminding me of the mid part in the excellent "No Stranger To Love" from Black Sabbath/Toni Iommi's "Seventh Star".

Rating: 61/100 (2 stars)

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Send comments to zaxx (BETA) | Report this review (#88522)
Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
WaywardSon
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The first time I listened to this album I felt quite dissapointed. I felt like it was just a cheesy way to cash in and put it aside for about three weeks. Now, the more I listen to it the better it seems to get!

The Producer, Jason Slater has done quite a remarkable job on this album. Listening on headphones, I started to really appreciate the sound of Scott Rockenfield´s drumming (a very underrated drummer) and gradually I began to realize just how much work went into this album. Lets face it, releasing a sequel to Mindcrime was a huge risk! Queensryche is still a band that doesn´t just "go with the flow" and mastermind Geoff Tate is very unpredictable!

The twin lead guitar solos, the duets with Tate and Pamela Moore, Ed Jackson´s dirty bass sound and the catchy melodies are all here on this album. There are some really strong tracks on this album. The opening instrumental "Freiheit Ouverture" sets the scene perfectly for the songs about to follow. "The Hands" sounds like it could be on the first Mindcrime album. Geoff Tate does a duet with the one and only Ronnie James Dio on the song "The Chase" which is simply brilliant the way in which their voices "entwine" around each other. "Fear City Slide" is a very positive song about "Nikki" rising above all his problems. The duet with Pamela Moore on "All the promises" sees Nikki and Sister Mary looking back on their lives and realizing their love for one another was right in front of their noses!

There are seventeen songs on this album which gives room for a lot of mood swings that the band takes the listener through. Starting with Nikki´s release from prison, to his (slowly building up) hatred of Doctor X, to his eventual confrontration, and then killing of Doctor X, finishing up with how he has to carry on with his life and find peace within himself.

But there are also some very average to below average songs on this album, sometimes sounding very forced and trying to recapture the atmoshere of the first Mindcrime album.

The burning question everyone asks is ;Is it as good as the first Operation Mindcrime? No, it isn´t. It´s not bad, but far from excellent.

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Send comments to WaywardSon (BETA) | Report this review (#88756)
Posted Friday, September 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
rjamesc24@hot
4 stars QR has been my favorite band since 1987. When I give my opinion, I don't like to jump the gun so I waited a long time since it's release to give my opinion on OMII. Without doing a long song-by-song breakdown which I for one think are too long and not necessary, I will say that OMII is indeed the best QR output since Promised Land, maybe a little higher. The first Mindcrime is obviously in a league to itself, so that comparison is unfair. If there was never a Mindrime I, then this album would be in the top 2 or 3 by QR, topped only by Rage for Order and maybe Empire, in my opinion. This album took the longest of any Ryche album to grow on me though for some reason. You gotta give the boys credit for having the nads to give this a go. If you like the Ryche's heavier side, then pick it up and enjoy. Standout tracks for me are The Hands, Speed of Light, The Chase, Intentional Confrontation. Sweet stuff.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#92163)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
semismart
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Almost twenty years later, the release of the follow up to Queensryche's monumental creation, Operation Mindcrime had music lovers in general and Operation Mindcrime lovers specifically drooling.

So does Operation Mindcrime II, measure up to the original? That's what I'm here to discuss.

Operation Mindcrime I

Obviously, before Mindcrime II there was a Mindcrime I, so let's revisit I, before we get to II.

Nikki is an impressionable sociopath whom the evil "Doctor X" addicted to drugs, becoming his supplier. The agenda of Dr. X, the leader of "The Order" is unclear but his control of the suggestible Nikki is complete, and he compels Nikki to go on a mini crime spree, even assassinating a U.S. senator in the Doctor's behalf.

Niki is also involved with an ex-whore turned nun named Mary, emotionally and sexually, who is really the only positive influence in his life. The Doctor knows this. Worried that he may have confided in Mary and wanting to eliminate her influence, Dr. X orders Nikki to assassinate Sister Mary and the priest too, which in a drugged stupor, he does.

At first he doesn't remember killing Mary but seeing little flashbacks here and there , Nikki goes into a tailspin from guilt. Eventually, Nikki ends up in a hospital under guard, charged with Mary's murder.

Operation Mindcrime II

After eighteen years in prison, ready or not Nikki is released back into society. Nikki has had years to think about his life and how he ended up in prison and he has one thing and only one thing in mind to use his newfound freedom for. REVENGE! This is obvious when you open up the Cd booklet and the following poem appears on the first two pages :

REVENGE He awoke from a dream. "Where am I?" With his mind like a blank sheet of paper, he sat for hours staring at the television. Maybe something would click. A random news clip announces the successes of Xcide Pharmaceuticals-CLICK!

He remembered the killing. Oh, all the killing. With no faith in humanity, no trust in society and the system, innocence is lost. Is there meaning for such a worthless life?

The doctor, called X, said, "I will give you a mission! I will make you somebody! I'll show you a way into the INNER CIRCLE!" But only morality would make him somebody. Only morality would save him.

The church offered the prostitute Mary a way in with the promise of safety, love, and forgiveness. It was a lie. Like a life on the street, abuse by others happens here too.

And like a flood-it begins. All the memories.

"Kill the priest!" It was done but the satisfaction faded. Need more, something more. Revenge! And the hunt began-to save his soul.

Revenge is an endless cycle of action and reaction with another. To some, a worthy goal, but once attained, how would you feel? What then? Would you finally have peace?

He and Mary had it all-but couldn't see it. True love for another is everything.

The fallout is addiction. Numb the pain.

Immersed in violence. A worthless life? Numb the pain and sleep forever . . . ?

Listen.

And so, Nikki has found purpose in his life. A goal worth living and dying for - the assassination of the evil "Doctor X".

Tracks 1 & 2 - Freiheit Ouvert�re & Convict - A wonderful introduction. One that really fits the mood and tempo of the following story, featuring full orchestration, including string section and double bass drums. The only problem was it length. At only 1:35 I found myself wishing it was a ten minute opus.

3 - I'm American - Is a hard driving fast paced song reminiscent of the third track from the original Mindcrime - Revolution Calling. The fact that Nikki leaves prison with a sense of entitlement is evident in the songs lyrics: " I've got no fear 'cause I've weathered the breakdown, San Quentin to the edge of the Big Town. I'm a man of the people, in the home of the brave, and I'm no man's slave.

Because I'm free, I deserve everything I can get. I'm American. I'm American."

4 - One Foot in Hell - A medium paced song where Nikki is starting to dwell more on the dirt done to him by the maleficent one - Doctor X. " Back streets . . . oh hell, back where I started from there's not a thing . . . but you. When they took you, when they took you from me and left you bleeding on that concrete floor. One man's obsession is another man's trash, and Mary was more than a whore.

And every day I breathe I remember more. I've become something you wouldn't believe!"

5 - Hostage - Is another medium speed song laden with strong guitar work and backup singing, where Nikki is ruminating about crooked politicians and all the injustice in the world. " Culture hostage. I'm writhing in the cold grasp of justice, as she turns away. Blind is she supposed to be but, someone took a razor to her mask.

Rusted now the scales you hold, the balance tipped by the weight of gold. When will it end? When will it ever end?"

6 - The Hands - The third medium tempo song in row, all good but sounding a little alike. On the Hands, Nikki's psychosis is beginning to show in the lyrics, which are very good: " When I'm lost . . . I find a way. I hear voices. I feel them surround me, pull me from the edge. I close my eyes and . . . .

my luck keeps holding strong, even when the boot comes down. Waiting for the revolution but there's no one around except the . . . hands out of nowhere, saving me again. There's always something there watching out for me, if I'm suffocating, it gives me air."

7 - Speed of Light - This song reminds me a lot of the original Mindcrime. It is a medium tempo number in which Nikki's mental questions are answered by his inner voices. Toward the end Mary asserts herself as one of the voices and Nikki assures her, "Don't worry, I'll kill the bastard!" " Wonder where'd the time go? There it was, gone in the blink of an eye. See how much life is left staring back in my face? But I know it now as clear as, clear as a window."

8 - Signs Say Go - Is an interesting if not exceptional song. Songs Say Go is a hard rocking fast speed song that sounds like the 'Ryche' of the eighties. The lyrics again feature the bantering between Nikki and his inner devils. " Imagine if you will, what it means . . . this worthless life. Tried my best to the scratch the surface got bloody broken fingernails.

Convincing stories of achievement, lies. All expectations smashed, never could comply. Generations come and go. And what will I be, the failure they see here?"

9 - Re-Arrange You - Is one of the best songs. It is a fast-paced song in the old Queensryche style featuring full orchestration and some truly interesting riffs. Although relatively short at 3:11 it has a big impact and displays there progressive tendencies. The song discusses how Nikki is closing in on Doctor X and it's inevitable that he will get him. "Last time, missed my chance but never again. The further away you slip, the more I'll dig in. All things come around again and this time I'll be ready and waiting. You can't imagine dedication that I now possess."

10 - The Chase - A hard driving varied paced number with a catchy chorus and violins in the background, this is where Nikki confronts the nefarious Doctor X. Ronnie James Dio playing the part of the nefarious Dr X and Geoff Tate spew back and forth a tirade of vitriolic aspersions in one of the highlights of the album. The Chase allows the listener an intriguing observation into Dr. X manipulations of Nikki, showing him to be just a tool in X's convoluted scheme. " You think you're smart, inventive because you've figured out my game? Pride is a handy substitute, when you've got only yourself to blame. All my dreams I've realized while you . . . were indisposed. While you've spent eighteen years watching TV, I've watched my fortune grow."

11 - Murder - Is a rather strange song that I only rate as average. Starting with an acoustic guitar and a cha cha beat, it morphs into heavy percussion indictment of violence. The second half of the song picks up speed and intensity but the damage is done for me. " Lost my faith in humanity and I don't trust in society I'm numb, cold, ready.

No one else dies today . . .

What did you do? I don't remember . . . Murderer! They say I'm a murderer!"

12 - Circles - Another strange song. The four lines below are the entire lyrics of this mostly instrumental, ethereal journey with a discordant electric guitar " I walk around in circles, up all night. I wish there was something in my life that turned out right. I'm waiting here for reasons that used to be clear. What I thought I needed so bad was always here . . ."

13- If I Could Change it All - Is a truly great bluesy ballad with a dialogue between Nikki and long dead Sister Mary that evolves into the blues being backed up by a choir. Sounds strange? It is, but it's wonderful as well. Then the song segues right into another powerful bluesy song "An Intentional Confrontation." You almost have to think of these two songs as one, " She said, "Baby, where you been? Why'd you have to leave me? I'm on the other side . . . just looking in." I've been so high; I climbed to the mountaintop, looked at myself and . . .

I'd tell you anything you want to hear. And I'd desert you when I'm through. I'd say anything because true love don't mean a thing to a man, who's not a man, but a fool."

14 - An Intentional Confrontation " Where are you now? Feeling small. Can't live without it? You call this your best? I made my life a mess. And everyone but you sees it. What a fool. What are you gonna do, make more excuses? Why don't you tie it off? Hang myself? End your pathetic little life!"

15 - A Junkie's Blues - Is another excellent song. It has an long heavy introduction but settles down into a powerful philosophic ballad, with some of Tate's strongest vocals, backed by the orchestra. " I still have questions with no answers. I'm alive . . . but I'm not living. I don't have much time left . . . I just know this: I've lived a violent life. I might as well be dead.

I just want to sleep forever and forget . . ."

16 - Fear City Slide - Is a medium tempo song with a catchy melody and chorus. It's another song reminiscent of the older 'Ryche'including a strong ending guitar solo. " Come on, come on gotta take a ride, Fear City slide. Last chance @ suicide.

Come on, come on leave your head outside, you've built a lie. Last chance @ suicide."

17 - All the Promises - Is a soft sad acoustic ballad between the former lovers, the long dead Sister Mary and Nikki. Does Nikki commit suicide? Who knows? I couldn't figure it out. Maybe we'll see an Operation Mindcrime III. " Is there some other way out of here? Somewhere I could find myself? Can't sleep enough, can't stay high. All the promises . . . just another lie.

I've always been afraid except . . . in the moments that I loved you. The only time I felt strong was when you stood next to me. I could make a stand if . . . I could hold your hand again . . ."

Conclusion

So, is Operation Mindcrime II (OMII) as good as the original? I don't think that anyone would argue that OMII is as good or better than the original. Rarely does an album reach the lofty heights achieved with the original Operation Mindcrime, which I have suggested on several occasions, is the ultimate concept album ever produced.

That's not to mean that OMII doesn't have merit. It is a good album. In fact, it is a very good album and Queensryche's best album since Empire. It's just not OMI, but then again ninety-nine percent of the albums I have are not as good as OMI.

The good news is that after several listens and after writing this review, I have decided that Operation Mindcrime II is both a worthy followup to the original and a great stand on it's own album. The older Queensryche sound (translates into good) is back and Tate's vocals are both emotional and inspired.

The beginning of the album is great and the end is excellent. In addition three of the best songs are in the middle. If you are a Queensryche fan you shouldn't be disappointed. If you're not a Queensryche fan, you shouldn't be disappointed.

Killer songs are: Freiheit Ouvert�re, I'm American, The Hands, Signs Say Go, Re-Arrange You, The Chase, If I Could Change It All, An Intentional Confrontation, A Junkie's Blues.

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Send comments to semismart (BETA) | Report this review (#94017)
Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Like many other people I was quite skeptical about this release. Queensryche had become a parody of its former glory. The move away from their metal roots and a string of what were quite frankly crap albums over the past decade made them a joke in the metal world.

So my expectations were not high. Having listened to this album quite a few times now, I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised. Operation Mindcrime II is a quality release, the best since Promised Land.

Queensryche brings back a lot of the metal that has been missing for so long. There are some great riffs, solos and you really get a sense of the dual guitar battle between Wilton and Stone. The musicianship is much improved, and the most impressive stuff we've heard on that level quite possibly since the original Operation Mindcrime.

Some of the stand out tracks are I'm American, The Hands, Hostage, The Chase, Murderer?, Re-arrange You, All The Promises and Fear City Slide. Ronnie James Dio is awesome on the track The Chase I wish he was used more on this album. Pamela Moore is back as Sister Mary and is used to great affect, particularly on the closing ballad All The Promises.

This album in no way competes with the brilliance of Operation Mindcrime and really you'd be a fool to expect that. From the release of their 1983 EP and 1990's Empire Queensryche produced some of the most essential metal of that golden era of the genre, putting them up there with the great thrash acts of the 80s like Metallica, and the British legends like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. And they gave us the new genre of progressive metal which would give us monumental bands like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Psychotic Waltz, Riverside and Pain of Salvation. We should all be forever grateful.

Operation Mindcrime II proves Queensryche still have much more to offer, and gives me hope that if they could produce a quality release after a decade of disappointment then so can Metallica.

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Send comments to Hrvat (BETA) | Report this review (#97945)
Posted Thursday, November 09, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the very long awaited sequel from the album under the title "Operation: Mindcrime". The range of the released date between "Operation: Mindcrime" and "Operation: Mindcrime II" is 18 years. What a time!!! As you know, "Operation: Mindcrime" was released in 1988 and I myself newly born in 1989!!! So, I can imagine how the metal fans, especially the Queensryche's fans have to be patient for so long.

Automatically, Queensryche has changed their line-up since "Operation: Mindcrime" 1988, Chris De Garmo was replaced by Mike Stone. Including here in this album is a guest vocalist Ronnie James Dio. My favorite songs from this album are "I'm American" and "All The Promises". However, after I listened to both of them, I think that "Operation: Mindcrime" is better than the sequel, "Operation: Mindcrime II".

Finally, as metal fans, this album totally can become your good collection, but of course you better buy "Operation: Mindcrime" first. For me, I just hope that they will release the "Operation: Mindcrime III" and I hope the result will be better and of course, it doesn't take me a long time to wait!!!

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Send comments to Fernandi (BETA) | Report this review (#98251)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars QR had rebounded off of the double failure of Hear in theNow Frontier and Q2K with the lyrically excellent Tribe. The pressure was on to deliver, and, once again missing Chris DeGarmo, announced they were releasing a follow-up to their finest and, in my opinion, prog metal's finest album, Operation Mindcrime. The fan community immediately split between those who believed messing with such a masterpiece after the band had passed it's prime was blasphemy and those who were intrigued.

When I picked up OMII, I wasn't impressed at first. I gave it one or two spins then moved on to some other albums I had recently purchased. Then, I saw QR live and they performed OM and OMI back to back. The theatrical nature of the show explained parts of the concept that hadn't clicked yet fell into place. I went back and listened to the album and suddenly, it blossomed. The albums sound as if they were recorded bsck to back with the exception of Geoff's diminished voice, though he acquits himself nicely. The guitars and drums all bring back memories of classic Ryche.

The album opens with Nikki's release from prison after 18 years (the time between the two albums). He must now try to adapt to modern life, but he wants revenge on Dr. X. Nikki soon falls back on old habits, and the album may be even darker than the original. Songs like "I'm American," "Signs Say Go," and "Re-Arrange You" are urgent, fueling Nikki's desire for revenge. The standout track is "The Chase," which features a vocal battle between Geoff and Ronnie James Dio, who voices Dr. X.

This album is a worthy follow-up to its mighty predecessor. At first, this seems like an attempt to cash in on former glory. However, the album is fresh and the band isn't doing this for money, since fans will buy any album and non-fans and those who have never heard of teh band won't. Fans might be uneasy after DeGarmo's second departure. However, the lyrics are just as sharp. After all, OM was Geoff's brainchild. The musicianship is high without being overwhelming, and new guitarists Mike Stone is a worthy replacement for Chris, unlike Kelly Gray. Overall, this album deserves three stars, but it's very close to four, like a C+. Fans should own this album, but newcomers should hold off until you've gotten the classics.

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#103431)
Posted Sunday, December 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Don't buy this album with the expectation that it will be as good and Mindcrime. Nevertheless, it's the best they've produced since "Promised Land'.

It's a very good album, without a doubt.

Like other Queensryche albums, there are good songs (sometimes only two good songs, as in Q2K), and, songs that are clearly just fillers. This is no expection.

"I'm Amercian" is very good, and resembles Mincrime 1 more than any other songs on this album.

"One Foot in Hell" is not bad. It's not a "bad" song.

"Hostage" is very good. Pretty heavy, and the vocals are quite strong. Nice dynamics too.

"Hands" is probably the best on this album. I really like the bass here in the intro. A strong bass presence "used" to be a trademark of Queensryche, but, has pretty much disappeard. It makes a nice return to form here.

"Speed of Light" doesn't domuch for me. Just, boring.

"Signs Says go" is great. High energy, driving drums and bass, and strong vocals.

"Rearrange You" also is excellent. Nice guitar work in the verse's, good dynamics, very good indeed.

"Chase". Is it me, or, does this sounds like a DIO song? Whether or not, still a very good song. Nice chorus and guitar work.

"Murderer". To me, very boring.

"Circles". Can you say FILLER?

"If I could change it all". I don;t know, this just doesn't do it for me at all. It has reasonable dynamics, but, just plain boring.

"International Confrontation". Can you say FILLER?

"Junkie's blues". Again, very dynamic, good vocals, but, just boring.

"Fear City Slide". Sounds like old Rage for Order Queensryche. I like the guitat work a lot. Very nice.

"All the Promises". A slow song, and easily forgotten.

So, there you have it.

7 songs I really like. 5 songs I can do without. 2 FILLERS.

So, a huge improvement over their last few albums. It's worth buying. Half of the album is great. Just don't expect a return to the old Queensryche.

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Send comments to scevrog (BETA) | Report this review (#106482)
Posted Sunday, January 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I heard that Queensryche were doing a sequel to Operation Mindcrime I had the same feelings as most. What do they think they are doing? How do you add to something that's already perfect. I thought this recording would fall flat on its face. But instead it is a continuation of greatness. I find that this CD is a bit heavier than the first one. It sounds as if it were recorded back in 1988 and just now released. Dio sounds as good as he ever has. Theonly complaint might be that they tried too much to make it sound like the original. The first part of the CD comes out on fire, the middle trails off a bit and the end is a little more subtle. But overall I was surprised at how well the songs were written. It did take a few listens to it and everytime I listened to it I liked it more. This CD will take time to digest. And in 20 years it will be looked upon as one of their best albums they've ever recorded. Only the original is better. I have seen in the previous reviews that people either love this or they truly hate this. People, this is the best Queensryche CD since the original Mindcrime came out. Empire had great songs but was just too pop oriented for me. Queensryche sounds like they did back in the late 80's and thank God for it. If you think that the original was great and you own it then you need to own this one. Was The Godfather Part II better than the original?? There is room to like sequels. This is a must own unless you already have it embedded in your brain that it's gonna suck no matter what. Then stand in line with all of the people who hate this. 5 stars.

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Send comments to Daydreamyng (BETA) | Report this review (#109804)
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Distaste comes to mind whenever I listen to this album. One thing comes to mind when ever this racous music comes on. Hollywood. To me this album felt like a strained attempt to continue a story that should've been left uncontinued. The cliffhanger in the first Mindcrime was perfect in my mind, to me this is just a desperate money maker. But then, when something has a II printed on the label and is a continueation from an epic movie, I always look at it as a downfall. Like Disney sequals for example. There's a foundation that I cannot find, it's just power cords and obnoxious singing. This album is really soemthing I can't get into. I've listened to it, and I knew that this band took a decline, but this kind of didn't help. Their epic story continues on from the first Mindcrime, continuing from an awsome Catholic corruption album to some lady getting out of jail and ready to do stuff. I don't know, their supposed singles never caught me good, and the only song that caught me someone enjoyable was Fear City Slide and somewhat the Hands. Both sound like their roots to me. Their attempts at dialoge didn't catch me interested, plus Tate's vocals didn't catch me to interested. Enough said this is a 2 star label for the fans only. That's why I bought it, I'm a fan, but not big enough to fall in love with this album. Check if out fans, but for hte rest, do as you feel is right.

2 stars, good try queensryche, but I can't enjoy this as much as I'd like.

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Send comments to Xeroth (BETA) | Report this review (#124406)
Posted Saturday, June 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I have always enjoyed concept album because of the brilliant ideas from musicians that emerged into story line. With that story line, the musicians compose a stream of music in the modes that suit the story line. Even though in most of cases I don't really care about what story the musicians try to tell us, understanding the overall theme is interesting to explore for me. The case was true when I listened to Queensryche first "Operation: Mindcrime" for the first time. In fact, that was my first experience with the band because initially I thought that Queeensryhe was not a prog bad, it's typical glam rock bands that emerged aroung the eighties. Thanks to the net that made me connected to the information super highway where I finally found a rave review about "Operation: Mindcrime" album. Since then I explored further the music of Queensryche, even though I was not a gie hard fan. For sure, I like the band because of its clean sound and good composition.

When I heard that the concept album was about to be continued into second part, I did not expect a lot about what would be the final product. Why? It's because I think the band just tried to re-awake the glory days of their past by using the same album name and put "II" to tell the fans that the previous story line was continued right here, at this album. I turned out that this album sounded quite mediocre to my ears and only the first couple of songs that are good songs. Of course, the "Freihet Overture" is an excellent one and it flows excellently into "I'm American". The music is a nice blend of medium to high register notes in relatively fast tempo accompanying Geoff Tate clear and transparent voice. The double guitar work sounds good to my ears. All songs are delivered seamlessly from one track to another and all of them are expected to tell the whole story line. That's a brilliant idea.

But I have a very big problem in my attempt to comprehend the whole album. FYI, I'm not inclined to review some songs but I'm more interested in seeing the album from a helicopter view. I have found that this album does not project any compelling storyline when it comes to how the music supports it. I have not seen the album has a "strong soul" about the music and the storyline. It sounds to me that the music is being forced to be like this way because the band seemed like working very hard to make this second part as excellent as the first part. The result is a music that does not flow naturally. Having been a shadow of critically acclaimed first part, the band has created an incevenient situation where they compose the music not in a Queensryche standard.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#127697)
Posted Friday, July 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
SoundsofSeasons
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This is the most God-awful thing ive ever had the displeasure to hear. From the generic and recycled sound of the band members, to the chalk-board screaching sound of Geoff Tate's voice. "What the hell is this garbage", is the only line i can hear still ringing in my ears after listening to this. What drove them to make this album? I know what, they have fans that would buy it. I truly believe, that for someone to believe this album is any sort of masterpiece should really re-think whether they are rating based on the album, or based on their high pedestal views of the band. If you are a super-fan of this album, you'll probably buy this anyway, but considering the numerous 3 star reviews here, even from fans of the band, you can tell that this album is by no means "excellent". From someone who is NOT a fan of the band, i can say i probably never will be just because of this album. An album with a hellish premise a hellish sound and a hellish value.

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Send comments to SoundsofSeasons (BETA) | Report this review (#130823)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Sequels are not my cup of tea, they´re usually bad imitations of the original concept. This is the case here too. Mindcrime 2 don´t possess the same charme or heavyness that made number 1 so godly. It´s kind of boring in my ears, and a weak attempt to get some "old" fans to buy a Queensryche album again. Well they succeeded in my case, but I will never support them again.

The melodies and the production are weak on this album, and has nothing to do with Operation Mindcrime other than the lyrical concept.

I really tried to give this a chance not wanting it to be bad, but I just can´t seem to find any positives here. Maybe I´ve just grown tired of the band because of their countless bad albums before this one and therefore have a hard time listening to them ? Isolated this is a very boring album though, and I would advice you to keep away and buy the legendary Operation Mindcrime album instead, there you have a true classic.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#148116)
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to MrMan2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#172266)
Posted Monday, May 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Queensryche - 'Operation Mindcrime II' 3 stars

Not on par with 'Operation Mindcrime', but still a pretty good album.

Queensryche adopts a more orchestrational approach fused with a similar sound of the first part. Chris DeGarmo has sadly left again, but his replacement this time was able to hold somewhat up to his standards. Taking in the music on this album can take some concentration. It seems the album is heavily focused on the story, so it has a near theatrical feel to it. There is still some great instrumental moments that are worthy of the title 'Classic Queensryche'. I'm not a Queensryche fan myself but I felt a bit of pleasure listening to this. Any fan of the band would find this an excellent album and deservedly so.

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Send comments to ProgBagel (BETA) | Report this review (#192059)
Posted Saturday, December 06, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The long awaited sequel, trying to give us answers to the riddles raised in the first epic, is in the melodically line of the last 3 albums in reverse chronological order, but somehow tries to justify his liaison with the great "Mindcrime". Frankly, it is hard for me to say it's a follow-up, maybe in the matter of story it is, but not as sound, as I expected (my mistake). The intro of "Hands" and the last sequences of "If I could change it all" remind us of the old but gold opus, but all other tracks are something else. But we must take into consideration the time that passed since first "Mindcrime", almost 18 years. Naturally, everything is changing in such a period of time, and I suppose is rather improper to expect the same melodically direction. I would like to consider it as a moving foreword of the band, in the land of prog rock, and this is a strong point for the album and consequently for the band, for trying to reach new musical levels and to experiment new fields. As a sum, in my humble opinion, they succeed to put together the old with the new Queensr˙che and present a well wrapped-up product with nice melodies, changing moods from angry to mellow. In the effort of raising the album value we have to hail Ronnie James Dio and again Pamela Moore for contributing. All over the album deserves at least one spin, but I'm sure that if you try more than once you will find a lot of good things. I will give them a 3 + stars, the + is for being Queensr˙che!!

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Send comments to RedProgDog (BETA) | Report this review (#201017)
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Operation: Mindcrime II' - Queensryche (7/10)

Here we are, after two decades of waiting (that's twenty two years!) we finally have the companion to Queensryche's magnum opus, 'Operation: Mindcrime.' I truly love the first 'Mindcrime,' and even though this album certainly doesn't match up in terms of brilliance or complexity, and the storyline isn't even worth comparing to the first one, 'Operation: Mindcrime II' is a very enjoyable record that I've gotten quite a few listens out of.

The main difference between this album and it's prequel is quite possibly the departure of songwriter/guitarist Chris DeGarmo, who alongside Geoff Tate composed the center of the band. While it's a real shame someone as talented as he left, Queensryche was starting to slip in DeGarmo's later years with the band, and this is certainly better than most of Queensryche's 90's material.

It's foolish to expect a classic as worthy as the original 'Mindcrime' but if there are some amazing parts here, including the duet with Ronnie James Dio in 'The Chase.' A great album, and it doesn't dissapoint.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#206749)
Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Last chance at suicide

Luckily, this is not even close to a suicide attempt on Queensryche's part. I feel the album has been obtaining a lot of hate in part due to its name. I say this is a very solid album.

Some of the vigor and youthful vitriol that was found in the original is not found here, supplanted by a few same sounding mid tempo rockers. The operatic moments are still here, though. Some of the songs are a pure delight.

I'm American starts off fast and furious, especially in its cynical attitude towards America. The next few songs are good, but tend to fall into the same sounding mid tempo rock that seems to have been weighing Queensryche down for years. I like it, but it seems so mediocre, and is the only real reason I don't absolutely adore this album. There is a good deal of material here. Picking up momentum at Signs say go, Re-arrange you is forceful and threatening, while the Chase is an absolute album highlight. Vocal duet/duel between Tate and Dio? Magnificent! The latter half of the album goes from heavy rock to Almost Floyd-like. Near the end you get a speedy shot with Fear City Slide, ending with a ballad All the Promises.

The album is very solid. It has varying styles, and is a classic Queensryche album. No, it is not as good as the original... But still quite good. My rating is 5 stars.

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#208751)
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Queensr˙che surprised everyone in 2006 by releasing a follow-up album to their 18-year old masterpiece. Operation: Mindcrime II was initially met with positive reviews and exclamations of Queensr˙che's revival. Well actually the things weren't all that great since I found this release overambitious and eventually quite dull.

It all starts off well with the thematic intro followed by the up-tempo track I'm American. Unfortunately this is where the album runs out of steam since once the story actually begins the music suffers tremendously. There are just no hooks or memorable interplays to keep me interested in the progression and once the album is over and I've learned how the story ends there's just not much replay value. On top of that Murderer? is probably the worst track that the band ever released and it's gonna take great deal of therapy in order to erase it from my brain.

I can't blame the band for not trying since lyrically this is an interesting follow-up but the music is too bland and uninteresting that I could have just as well bought a the booklet and read the lyrics without spending my money on the entire CD.

***** star songs: I'm American (2:53)

**** star songs: Freiheit Ouvertüre (1:36) Hostage (4:30) The Hands (4:37) If I Could Change It All (4:28) Fear City Slide (4:58)

*** star songs: Convict (0:08) One Foot In Hell (4:13) Speed Of Light (3:12) Signs Say Go (3:17) Re-arrange You (3:11) The Chase (3:10) Circles (2:59) An Intentional Confrontation (2:32) A Junkie's Blues (3:42) All The Promises (5:11)

** star songs: Murderer? (4:34)

Total rating: 3,36

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#255728)
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars The operation was a success but the patient was put to sleep

Queensr˙che followed up their masterpiece "Operation Mindcrime" with this offering and I eagerly awaited to hear it like every other Queensryche fan. There is good news and bad news. The good news is it is not half as bad or mediocre as some of the bands discography, the bad news is it doesn't hold a candle to the original. I love the way though it faithfully continues where the first album left off continuing the sage of the assassin who is being mind controlled by deviants. But it does not have the same surprises or star material.

Tate is in full voice and the guitars are excellent at times but overall it does not deliver the goods. There is a great deal of mediocrity on this and there should not be. If you are going to make a sequel of a masterpiece you can at least try to match the excellence of the first album but I feel there is a lot of throwaway filler material such as Murderer?

There are some great moments making this a worthwhile purchase. The intro is dynamic and full of innovation. I'm American is a killer track and memorable. Freiheit Ouvertüre, Hostage, If I Could Change It All and Fear City Slide are wonderful proggy songs with great hooks and fret melting lead breaks, the drums and bass are an effective rhythm machine throughout. Other songs are only half decent such as One Foot In Hell, Speed Of Light, Re-arrange You, The Chase and An Intentional Confrontation.

So I was left a little disappointed, and even Pamela Moore does not measure up, it is forgettable apart from a few shining moments. It grew on me more after a few listens but lacked the power of the original that was mindblowing. Yes, it was a real letdown, but I found the best way to hear this is with the first album and as a rather lengthy conceptualisation the two work together very well. I would love to see a DVD of these two albums performed live as an intriguing project. 3 stars for the excellent moments.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#285323)
Posted Sunday, June 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to CCVP (BETA) | Report this review (#330896)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Operation:Mindcrime II is the ninth full-length studio album by the Seattle-based Progressive Metal band Queensr˙che. It was released in 2006 and was a sequel to the band's popular 1988 concept album Operation:Mindcrime.

The lyrics and sound effects on the album tell the story of the protagonist Nikki from the first Operation:Mindcrime album 18 years later, after having being released from prison. They discuss the state of the country now (modernizing `Revolution Calling'), how he fails to adjust to life outside prison, his decision to get revenge and his feelings for the late Sister Mary. It may sound like a cheesy or silly story to an outsider but it is actually remarkably tasteful, intelligent and well done.

It is easy to be cynical about this record. A lot of people feel that it should never have been made and that following up on a beloved classic album is a bad idea. Some things just don't need sequels after all. It is also easy to be cynical about it when considering it was an oasis in the sea of diminishing returns that bucked the trend of reduced sales for the band.

Considering that the album actually was made however, and judging it on its own merits and not just on the idea of its existence, I feel that Operation:Mindcrime II is not only better than the last few Queensr˙che albums which preceded it, but also a damn good album, straight up. Its not as if it is just good for a late-era Queensr˙che album, it is a good album with no caveat.

Musically, the album is very strong indeed. It isn't just a rehashing of the original with new lyrics or an unnecessary re-recording of old songs. There are tasteful nods here and there, such as choral chants reminiscent of `Suite Sister Mary' and similar dialogue/sound effects segments, but so much more as well. The direction of the album is varied, mixing Alternative moments (`The Hostage' `Speed Of Light') Metal moments (`Murderer?' `Sign Says Go' `The Chase' `Fear City Slide') and quiet moments (`Circles' `If I Could Change It All' `All The Promises'). The music is slightly arty and progressive but still relatively instant and accessible. The concept drives it album a lot, but still at least half of the tracks would work well as stand alone tracks.

There are interesting moments here and there where you think, "That would fit on Tribe" "That riff is a little reminiscent of Rage For Order" "That's the fastest song they've written in four whole albums" or "Geoff hasn't used that style since Promised Land." It does a good job overall of taking bits and pieces from the band's entire career and tying them together into a cohesive whole.

Importantly however, It would still be a good album even if it had most of the same music but no link to Mindcrime. It is admittedly especially good when little bits are reminiscent of the original Mindcrime album, such as when Pamela Moore sings as Sister Mary, but these elements are icing on the cake, rather than the only thing it has going for it like you may expect if you were feeling cynical.

The only problems I can find with the album are small niggles. It is slightly overlong and could have done with loosing two or three tracks so as to come across as a tighter affair, the mix could have been a bit sharper and a few more guitar solos wouldn't have hurt.

Excluding those niggles however; I really, really like the album. I think it is the most varied, vital and energetic album they have made in a while, the songs are mostly memorable and entertaining and it just grabs me in a way their earlier work did and Q2K didn't. Its a grower and the more you listen to it, the more you get out of it. Tracks like `The Chase' featuring Ronnie James Dio, the single `I'm American' and the ridiculously catchy rhythmic number `Murderer?' are great and make the album a real worthy addition to your collection.

Overall, as long as you can get over the fact that the album has been made in the first place, as long as you don't mind it containing parts of the styles of other less popular Queensr˙che albums too and not just totally sounding like Mindcrime, and as long as you can give it a fair enough chance to allow it to grow on you properly, then I absolutely and whole-heartedly recommend this album to you. I like it an awful lot.

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Send comments to Gentlegiantprog (BETA) | Report this review (#763157)
Posted Sunday, June 03, 2012 | Review Permalink

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