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OPERATION: MINDCRIME

Queensr che

Progressive Metal


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5 stars With a plausible plotline and visions of a bleak future this album is reminiscent of Orwell, and maybe even Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil'. On first hearing the record may seem a little dry, but after repeated listening the sheer depth of this ambitious work becomes clear. Standout cuts: 'Revolution Calling','Spreading the disease','Suite sister mary', 'The needle lies', and 'I don't believe in love.'

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Send comments to rainbowblade (BETA) | Report this review (#23540)
Posted Monday, November 17, 2003 | Review Permalink
alepian79@lib
5 stars If you are among the ones who are in doubt whether going to a rock gig or at the opera tonight, just put this album into you stereo! It's where progressive metal reaches its pick and joins cultured music. If you tolerate the absence of a song officially labelled as 'ballad', the work is perfect: the songs are great ("Revolution Calling", "Eyes of a Stranger"), and the playing unique. Each member of the group gives his best somewhere: Geoff's singing in "Suite Sister Mary", Michael's riffing in "The Needle Lies", the others (expecially Chris) everywhere. I think every rock listener should have it: each of us will find at least ten points where he love Queensryche music!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23541)
Posted Tuesday, December 02, 2003 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars When Queensryche emerged onto the metal scene in the early 80’s they were seen as another glam metal band. With early releases such as The Warning and Rage for Order they proved that they were slightly more than that with a deep political background to many of their lyrics. However it wasn’t until the release of Operation: Mindcrime in 1988 that they truly proved how wrong early assumptions were of this Seattle Metal band.

"Operation: Mindcrime" is indeed a concept album and is even verging on a rock opera. It tells the story of Nikki a street-wise punk who relies on his addiction to keep going who becomes a hit man for an underground group. Mary is a long-suffering girl who after living by a prostitute is seemingly rescued by Father William but once again ends up being left open to abuse. Dr X is an evil twisted leader of an underground group that on the outside is a freedom-fighting group but beyond the publics knowledge lays o dark secret. These characters lives start separately but this story and this concept is knitted together fantastically as the plot develops. To tell you the whole story would take ages, but now more importantly onto the songs.

Track-by-track guide:

01 - I Remember Now - We open with a scene setter “I Remember Now.” Here we hear a half dazed patient confused as the nurse puts him to sleep. His words are haunting and this is incredibly atmospheric and is a perfect to set the mood.

02 - Anarchy X - The mood continues in the short instrumental “Anarchy X” this also sets the scene especially of the political side of this novel as crowds are heard screaming for revolution.

03 - Revolution Calling - It is the first full song and it is by all means a classic and one of the most well known songs from the album. The lyrics are deeply socialistic and incredibly thought provoking. But lyrically aside this is a fantastic song! Vocally Tate is sensational throughout and excels in the chorus. He hits the high notes and they are unbelievably high effortlessly and flawlessly. The guitars are strong and powerful and the song is in general a great one and the anthem of the album.

04 - Operation: Mindcrime - The title track is not one of my favourite tracks but is a strong song none the less. It is another atmospheric track that does a lot of story telling and gives us the background of Nikki. Again haunting lyrically as Nikki’s background and involvement with Dr X begins, all in all a solid piece.

05 - Speak - It starts off with a very memorable riff and doesn’t disappoint in general. This is another deeply socialistic song that also covers the public message of the socialist group. Some interesting ideas are conveyed such as ‘Burning the Whitehouse down.’ With a memorable riff and solid vocals from Tate it is a strong track again.

06 - Spreading The Disease - It is the story of Mary and her life of suffering. It contains another haunting line as to the priests actions “He takes her every week on the altar like a Sacrifice” As well as by the end a full blown political message. This song contains a great riff, with a great quick paced drumbeat to back it up. Tate is vocally at his very best again here and it’s unbelievable how he hits some of the notes here, as it goes from verse to chorus it is incredible how Tate belts it out. Great song.

07 - The Mission - This atmospheric progressive metal piece opens with the words of a preacher and then slides into Nikki’s assassination of the priest. This is another strong song, and again Tate is strong vocally. This involves a great guitar solo too. It conveys Nikki’s confusion and develops the love story that every good story needs perfectly. It shows the way Nikki’s head has been manipulated.

08 - Suite Sister Mary - The album's epic. More subtle vocals from Tate as well as the atmospherics from the backing church coir vocals (!) and musical side is great in the first 3 minutes until it picks up pace wise without losing the atmospherics. Of course this is the big story teller and develops the love story and Nikki’s choice whether he can follow orders to kill his lover or not. The central (master)piece of the album!

09 - The Needle Lies - This speaks of Nikki's confrontation with DR X and the pain of his addiction. It’s refreshing to hear anti drugs from a metal band in the 80’s. The drumbeat is phenomenal again as is Tate’s vocals the guy is absolutely sensational. Again this is powerful, high range singing and as ever the emotion comes out in abundance. This is once again a great song.

10 - Electric Requiem - It is another scene setter as Nikki finds Mary dead in her room apparently she’s committed suicide and again this is incredibly atmospheric. This is as I said a scene setter but it contains a short display of vocals, which are once again incredibly impressive and softer than others in this album!

11 - Breaking The Silence - Conveys Nikki’s frustration and emotion after losing Mary as he calls but no answers. This is one of the more catchy songs and was one that stood out early it is again impressive and solid in every department. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Time and time again I am left in awe of Tate’s vocals and also listen out for a nice DeGarmo solo.

12 - I Don't Believe In Love - Continues the trend and is almost a case of Nikki trying to forget Mary. A real earworm song, without sounding too commercial. In truth it is a sorrowful anthem about losing the belief in love and it's connecting ideals. Again you can’t fault any department and once again Tate’s vocals soar through it and it’s a pleasure to listen to as always. There is also some nice guitar work, with a crunching and catchy riff here and DeGarmo proves he can belt out a solo, without being over the top he makes a tuneful impressive solo.

13 - Waiting For 22 - Next is another scene setter and the second instrumental of the album “Waiting for 22” Sure you would not consider it as a great instrumental song in it’s own right but that’s not it’s design, it’s design is to build up what’s to follow and it does so brilliantly. The eerie tune works wonders.

14 - My Empty Room - Another short interlude, that once again contains speech and a vocal display by Tate, both of these link us to the last song and work wonders building up the ending! Conveying Nikki’s emotion before he’s taken away as we await the ending.

15 - Eyes Of A Stranger - The ending comes in “Eyes of a Stranger” one of the softer and all be it stronger tracks on the album. This closes the story as we are taken back to the hospital where the story begins. All readers of this will be sick of hearing this but we are once again treated to some marvellous vocals from Tate. Haunting, atmospheric it is a perfect closure it’s one of the longer songs to at 6:38. The suspected is confirmed as it is Nikki who was speaking at the beginning, his finishing words while inconclusive are haunting “I remember now”. The end ?

To sum up this is a phenomenal album and is one of my favourite albums of all time. It has everything from a story point of view, you can pick more and more up every time you listen to it. Song wise it has everything: an anthem, love songs, ballads, an epic, short atmospheric instrumentals! Vocally Tate is one of the greatest singers in metal and rock for that matter. The great thing about the music is it doesn’t show off while being impressive, and musically enjoyable to listen to. If you like any of what you’ve heard of Queensryche this is something you must listen to. If you like variety, value the vocal side highly, progressive lyrics, have an interest in politics and want a little bit more form your metal this is an essential album. It is one of the most important albums in metal-history, but whom I tell that?

album rating: 10/10 points = 99 % on MPV scale = 5/5 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 (#23545)
Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars my favorite by Queensryche. Geoff Tate in my opinion is one of the best vocalists ever (only Geddy Lee of Rush is in his league). We have great concept with hard rock/heavy metal songs, perfect arrangments and great production. Get this one, you won't regret.

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Send comments to l-s-d (BETA) | Report this review (#23550)
Posted Friday, February 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
emokid3000@ao
3 stars yeah, I know everybody who likes Queensryche love this album but for me it was a huge regression in the band's sound and even if the songwriting was pretty good I've never been crazy about this one... it's not really progressive (except maybe the long song) and it would have better suited in the queensryche evolution after The Warning and before Rage for Order... a step back but still a nice album by a talented band

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23552)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a kind of rock record that turned an unforgetable one! All here is superb, the concept and ideas, musicianship, songwriting, album art and production. I think that this is their best album by far. Melodies are catchy and closely related to the original plot concept without turning to boring or repetitive ways to sung a story. This showcases the peak of their guitar work and geoff┤s voice is clear and powerful as ever. If you don┤t know that it┤s worth of listen and buying.

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Send comments to fredfontes (BETA) | Report this review (#23554)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
perrymadison@
5 stars I almost could say I , well.. hate... 'hair band' 80's metal... With the high voiced verbrado vocals and double bass drums, and all gutiars sounding like Eddiie VAN HALEN, or Slash. ( Though I LOVE VELVET REVOLVER ) You know, bands like WHITESNAKE, GUNS AND ROSES, etc... Yes, I like the 'Eddie Veder' PEARL JAM vocal style probably the best. I liked much of the 'Grunge' music of the ninetes and stuck with the 'New Wave'/punk/Alt. stuff of the late 70's and 80's, Brain Eno stuff, David Byrne, Bowie.... while I've always also, been a fan of progressive rock bands like YES, KANSAS, and GENESIS. So, to even give QUEENSRYCHE a fair listen is a big deal for me. I read reviews on this site and purchased 'Operation: Mindcrime' out of curiosity. I have to say, it's great. I love the lyrics, especially the political and reigious commentary thoughout. The anger level is just right for me. Once I settle into Tate's vocal style, and the 'Hair Band' sound, I do really enjoy every listen to this album. I'm giving it a 4th listen as I write. It really is a masterpiece of music, mood, and commentary. The 're-mastered' production is fantastic, with great sound effects, narration, newsclips, and choir parts, it really is a trip out of my office cubicle to another world. It's a 'mind movie' on a CD.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23557)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
tpek@hotm.com
3 stars This is a good album, but it's not really prog-rock or -metal. One long song, one song in 7/8 time signature and a theme in the album doesn't change it from 80's heavy metal to progressive rock/metal. Nor do the keyboards.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23558)
Posted Saturday, September 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Bryan
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you've always associated 80s metal with stuff like Poison and Yngwie Malmsteem, and have decided to lump Queensryche in with acts like these, you're making a massive mistake. It's true that they have some definite hair metal qualities about them (their look in particular... easily one of the ugliest bands ever), but the intelligent lyrics and technically stunning instrumentation to be found on Operation: Mindcrime will show that these guys go far, far beyond what you've come to expect from this genre. O:M was their most successful album, and it's easy to hear why. Geoff Tate's vocals are amazing, as his tremendous range is on constant display, his sinister delivery complimenting the lyrics perfectly. Chris DeGarmo is one of the most overlooked metal guitarists ever, and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as anyone in the genre (he's not too shabby a songwriter either).

After a short spoken intro, "Anarchy-X" is an instrumental guitar piece which shows that these guys can play right off the bat. Once the actual songs get going, a headbanger will be in complete paradise. "Revolution Calling" has a ridiculously catchy riff, and while it's hardly the best thing on here, it serves as a great intro to the epic listen that awaits. The title track is where the band's dark, cynical lyrics start to really come alive, but the music doesn't suffer in the least. This may actually be the strongest track on here. "Speak" has a faster pace and an amazing vocal performance, really showing Tate's range at it's fullest. There are very few weak moments from here on, as "Spreading The Disease" is another great rocker, "The Mission" is slower and tremendously powerful, while "Suite Sister Mary" is a dark, brooding 11 minute epic track with haunting lyrics and a frantic feel. "The Needle Lies" is a more straight up and agressive track with some great guitar soloing and Tate reaching a borderline scream with his vocals. From here on in, there are a lot of annoying shorter songs like "Electric Requiem" and "Waiting For 22", but that doesn't keep "Eyes of a Stranger" from being a stunning closer.

There's word now that Queensryche is working on an Operation: Mindcrime 2. With DeGarmo no longer in the lineup, I'm not sure whether this will work out, but what I do know is that this classic first one is an amazing prog metal album, and along with Metallica's ...And Justice For All, shows that 1988 (the year I was born, coincidentally enough) was a great year for the genre. While it's arguable that Rage For Order, Empire and even Promised Land are better records, there's no denying that Operation: Mindcirme was the most successful and influential Queensryche album, as well as probably the best starting point with the band's work. So metalheads who appreciate intelligent, complex music should give it a go, as it's one of those metal albums you have to hear (although not really essencial in the grand scheme of prog).

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Send comments to Bryan (BETA) | Report this review (#23560)
Posted Friday, October 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
davidewata@ya
5 stars Never get bored with this album. A classic, definitely! Conspiracy, religion, politics, mind control. All blended into one conceptual story. Each song has its own signature and power that will end up leave you wondering which one should be the best track :-) Some conceptual story album will lack its power of story telling if you listened to it separately but this album could stand on its own when it comes to it. [davidewata, Indonesia]

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23561)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
jpcrissman@nc
5 stars This album is incredible. While not all of it is exactly progressive, the lyrics and concept are evident throughout. This isn't one of those loose Heavy Metal "concept albums" that many bands tampered with. Every song on the album is incredible, especially The Mission and the epic Suite Sister Mary. While I still think Dream Theater's Scenes From a Memory is better, this comes closer than anything else I've heard. Definately one of those necessary classics.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23563)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
walker65@tisc
5 stars Arguably the greatest metal album ever. Not just the pinnacle of cutting-edge metallic virtuosity but also superb song-writing, a valid concept and some finely-observed political statements to boot. Some package! I'm amazed that this album never went supernova in commercial terms such is its crossover potential, not only in terms of the music but also the excellent summation of the underbelly of American social, religious and political life. Here was a band who pushed the musical barriers whilst expressing a lasting and valid political opinion. Other progressive metal bands may have greater musical dexterity but none have captivated in such a way. Wonderful to see bands such as Queensryche on this site! (Who says you can't listen to this AND Gentle Giant?). Some may argue this is not truly progressive material. On the grounds of the intelligence, musicianship and lasting quality of the material on offer, I would disagree.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23564)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
semismart
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars We're not talking about just any album here. We're talking about Queensryche's 'tour de force', their 'magnum opus' or any other cliche that denotes sheer perfection. Yes we're talking about Operation: Mindcrime, not only Queensryche's zenith, considered by many as the apogee of concept albums and heavy metal in general. Basically we're talking about progressive metal nirvana.

There is a reason that the preponderance of reviewers give Operation: Mindcrime five stars. When it comes to concept albums, it is the standard to which all concept albums are compared, it has no peers. Heck I do it myself, stacking other very good concept albums against the incomparable Operation: Mindcrime.

What is a concept album? It is simply an album where each song revolves around a single concept or story.

In only their second album, Queensryche scored their breakthrough success with this most ambitious concept album, Operation: Mindcrime, which tells the story of an anarchist whose disillusionment with Reagan-era American society leads him to join a shadowy plot to assassinate corrupt leaders. The band plays fabulously and Geoff Tate does both a great acting and singing job and the music as indicated is quite ambitious, featuring, among others "Suite Sister Mary", a ten-minute track with orchestrations by Michael Kamen.

The band released two hit singles "Eyes of a Stranger" and "I Don't Believe In Love" from this album which is basically hard driving heavy metal except for these singles, which are both power ballads. Interspersed within the music are four suites of dialogue and several other cameos of short monologue or dialogue which help tell the story. These certainly add a nice touch in completing this great recording.

Da Story

Operation Mindcrime begins in a hospital ward where a patient named Nikki after a pain shot from a nurse who calls him a bastard, recalls the recent rash of murders he perpetrated at the request of Dr. X. Nikki, you see, was a psychotic, cynical malcontent who was recruited and brainwashed by the nefarious Dr. X, a power crazed evangelical preacher, leader of 'The Order', to be his personal assassin.

After getting Nikki addicted to drugs, brainwashed and dependent on him for his fixes, Dr. X sends Nikki first out to kill an unnamed corrupt politician, then his girlfriend Mary (an ex hooker) and the priest who got her off the streets because they are risks.

After completing his mission but not remembering it, he finds Mary murdered and realizing what he has done, Nikki goes on a drug binge and ends up in the hospital, the victim of a self induced narcotics overdose. From there the songs vacillate to a series of recriminations and rationalizations with "Breaking the Silence" "I don't Believe in Love" and "The Eyes of a Stranger".

My Favorites

It is truly a hard choice on this album but here is my list of the four best songs:

"Spreading the Disease"

For those faint of heart you may want to stay away from this song as it's just loaded with sex and deviancy. It is the sordid tale of Mary a prostitute, whom Nikki tries to save by getting a priest to take her off the streets. This emotive song is set to heavy double base drums at a medium/fast tempo with plenty of metal accompaniment.

"Suite Sister Mary"

A ten minute and forty second masterpiece, this 'piece de resistance' starts out with Dr. X ordering Nikki to go out and kill Mary and the priest after which, "Mary" starts out with a solo melodic guitar and a Choir which goes on to accompany Tate throughout the song. As on the whole album there are sound effects and dialogue thrown in such as thunder and sirens. The music itself is again a highly emotional but variable paced number that is a wonderful confluence of rock/metal and opera.

"I don't Believe in Love"

In this song Nikki denies his love for Mary because he cannot face the fact that he murdered her. It is a sad melancholy power ballad. It is very melodic with a varied pace, the verses being slower than the chorus. This was released as a single because it is quite accessible and it was a minor hit even though taken away from the story it loses something.

"The Eyes of a Stranger"

This is my favorite song after "Mary", it is again very melodic varied tempo piece with a great guitar intro. Tate does some powerful singing here on the choruses. the song picks up speed as it goes on up to about a medium pace. Another single and again a minor hit.

CONCLUSION

I have a confession to make. I don't put much emphasis on lyrics and seldom pay much attention to them, especially when they are hard to understand. Operation: Mindcrime is the exception. The lyrics are easily understood and tell a sad if not exciting, suspenseful story. I'm sure everyone will have their own interpretation of this monumental work, in my case I visualized definite similarities to the movie Manchurian Candidate.

In this day of terrorism and runaway fanatical religion this classic album/story gains even more importance.

There are so many nuances in the epic CD that everytime I listen to it I pick up something new. If you haven't heard Operation: Mindcrime, don't you think it's time.

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Send comments to semismart (BETA) | Report this review (#23566)
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Oh boy. 1988. I was sporting a Garfield sweat-shirt, watching Ben Johnson being kicked out of the Olympics due to drugs. 'Pour some sugar on me' by Def Leppard, R.E.M. and the rising on New Kidz on the Block where on heavy MTV rotation. Also, the DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince hits with 'Parents just don't understand' and De La Soul is a newcomer on the rap scene. Ahh, a good time to be alive. Just good times.

But not being a very metal guy, I always stayed away from Poison, Judas Priest and Motley Crue. And Queensryche is, to say the least, a good representation of the 88' sound. Big hair, big voice and hooker leather attitude on scene.

Queensryche, being famous for 'Silent Lucidity' (another super MTV product) never got a high rating in my book. Even if it's prog-metal (or tries real hard to be), this is basically a good idea ruined by overdoing it. The voice is clichÚ, the plot is clichÚ (tough hitman ends up suffering by the loss of his prostitute girlfriendand and having memory loss) the whole package just smells like a more complicated Bon Jovi. Even the singer sounds like a cross between Malmsteen and Nikki Sixx. Getting tired after a (quick) while.

But don't get me wrong, the music part is relatively well done. The sounds is not too challenging or innovative, but the will to relate a story and adding many theatrical bits is cool. They really applied themselves to follow a constant path so the story is, for once, easy to follow. Also a good thing being the short format of the songs, making the experience more enjoyable, putting a tad diversity in melodies and making the story kinda fun to watch progressing.

The musicianship is not as high as the other reviewers state it. It's basically Yngwie Malmsteen back-up band style. You know, your fast-paced bass/drums interplay and layers of Iron Maiden's famous vocals. Nothing new to me, honestly.

Well, if you're really into prog-metal and you want a piece of history real bad, I think this could be the 'grandfather' of today's concept albums such as Ayreon for instance.

You gotta be a fan of that type of sound and attitude, because it didn't aged so well. So grab your leather perfecto, put on a Bon Jovi wig, fuel up on cherry pepsi and let the good times roll.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#23568)
Posted Friday, January 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
chessman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars By the late eighties and early nineties, I was listening to very little 'modern' music. I was disillusioned with the prog scene and had started listening to more blues, (my second favourite type of music). A work colleague, some 10 years younger than myself, introduced me to some new bands he was into. Amongst them were Kings X, (quite different and quite good, but not prog), W.A.S.P. (who need no introduction and are definitely not prog!), and Queensryche, beginning with this album. I found this an excellent record, and, having initially taped it off my friend, I hunted round and purchased the cd. It has been some years since I listened to it, but I still rate it highly. I am sure this album is the band's career pinnacle. The previous two albums, which I heard again through my friend, and the following one, "Empire", also heard through him, I found very disappointing. "Rage For Order" was weak and sounded like they were trying to be glam/rock without really achieving either genre. "The Warning", likewise did little to distinguish them from countless other, heavy guitar driven outfits, being riddled with even weaker material than "Rage". Likewise the E.P. Therefore "Mindcrime" was a refreshing and interesting, well written concept album, having been called, at the time, the metal equivalent of Pink Floyd's "The Wall". I won't go into individual tracks here, as the album should be listened to as a whole. Highly recommended this one. So now, you will ask, why the average rating, when I think such a lot of this. Simply because this is NOT, I repeat, NOT prog! This is metal/rock/balladry, with some extended tracks and link ups. I would put this in the same category as Dream Theater, although this is, admittedly, superior. None of these bands are really prog at all, they are more the type of groups who have teenage followers, watching themselves play air guitar in the mirror. (Doubtless they have many older followers to, who wait for the family to go out before doing the same!) Sorry, but this is just mainstream rock. 4 stars for an excellent album, but only 2 for any prog tendencies. Therefore, 3 stars. A good album though. Judas Priest fans will like this, as Rob Halford has a similar voice.

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Send comments to chessman (BETA) | Report this review (#23570)
Posted Friday, March 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
georgekoulour
5 stars This album is a true masterpiece, the definition of a concept album is; when songs on an album coincide to form a concept. This album goes even further. The story is like a novel when you hear it. You can actually tell what the story is about. That is so difficult to achieve. The incredible part of the whole thing is that each song is better than the previous. I challenge anyone to differ. We are talking about maybe the greatest vocalist in the history of music. I dont mean someone who can go on stage and shake his behind and play with his mike. There are singers and there are true vocalists. This man has tremendous range which no singer has. He is always compared to Halford and Dickinson but I think that his voice is much clearer and vast. He can probably sing Priest or Maiden songs But the other two can't sing Queensryche songs. Rockenfield is one of the best drummers around and De Garmo was a very underrated guitarist and composer. This album will go down in hstory as one of the best albums in the history of music.

I hope mindcrime 2 will be just as good if not better.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23571)
Posted Monday, March 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
eahendrix@amc
5 stars THIS IS THE BEST ALBUM MADE IN ROCK HISTORY!!! Wow, isn't that a little exaggerated? NO!! This is the definition of the concept album in its truest form. This storyline really reads like a thriller about conspiracy, power, weakness, love, and sadness. The songwriting is exceptional and allways sustained by the music of Chris, Michael, Eddie and Scott. It is so well dosed, from very mellow to passages where they really turn up the pace. Whether you're a metal head or a prog-freak, you can't miss this album in your collection. Geoff is delivering his best performance to date with great emotional intonation. Chris proves why he belongs to the best guitar players in the world. And Eddie and Scott provide a solid base on which this diamond rests. I can't come up with more superlatives for this album. Which songs are the best? That's a tough one, because the whole album is at a consistent high level and all the songs are great, and I think that this whole album listens like one song instead of 15 (once you pushed the start button on your cd-player, you can't turn it off anymore, let alone stop). But if I have to name one or two, then my personal favourites are "The mission" and "Suite sister Mary". SUMMARY: THE BEST ALBUM IN PROG-HISTORY, ROCK/METAL HISTORY AND REALLY IN THE HISTORY OF MUSIC.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23572)
Posted Wednesday, March 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
bane88@ptd.ne
5 stars Without a doubt one of the only abulms that is flawless. With a great mix of songs this is a must have for any prog rock or metal fan. This great concept album is rivled by none when it comes to choice of songs and most of all the story line. Operation: Mindcrime achieves perfection with the order of its songs.The album starts off with the very energetic anarchy X and then quickley going into Revolution Calling(my favorite). After that the album does not die down by delivering three exhalerating songs: Operation: Mindcrime, Speak, and Spreading the disease. The Mission and Suite Sister Mary deliver somwhat of a dark gothic like sound. From there its a musical revalation from the NeedleLies to Eyes of a stranger. Make no hesitation in buying this album, it is the choice for just about any music fan.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23576)
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
kloft.subscri
5 stars No less than brilliant. Queensryche seem to have their unique style of prog rock. This album has been rated as one of the greatest concept album ever as well. Not only do queensryche have great music, they have great concepts too. I can't wait for the release of Operation: Mindcrime II later in 2005 :

www.dbloss.com/2004/08/040802_operation_mindcrime_2_announced_for_2005_release.php

www.queensryche.com

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23577)
Posted Thursday, April 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars QUEENSRYCHE's famed album Operation: Mindcrime gets rave reviews from many here, but I think that it may be best suited to a selective audience. Specifically, this ideal audience should be into a hard-rock sound and not expect music that's too innovative, and preferably should be very interested in the lyrical and conceptual ideas of PINK FLOYD lyricist ROGER WATERS. Both artists share the tendency towards bombastic, leftist conceptual albums, a knack for incredibly good sound production, and also a knack for coming up with incredibly shocking, often politically-charged statements...although QUEENSRYCHE takes that last one to a whole other level. Before I continue, I'll suggest that if you think very highly of albums like PINK FLOYD's The Wall and ROGER WATERS' Amused to Death, then you will like Operation: Mindcrime. If not, then you may strike out with this one, just as I did.

Musically, this album is not that impressive, but certainly not awful either--the focus is squarely upon the album's concept. The music itself I would describe as hard rock...but to me it lacks the punch that I associate with metal. Certainly as a historical forerunner to the metal genre I can see why this album is so acclaimed; some riffs particularly remind me of DREAM THEATER's Scenes from a Memory, most particularly on "The Misison". GEOFF TATE's vocals range from beautiful and emotive to completely and totally overblown in full 80's style. The opening suite, from "I Remember Now" to "Operation: Mindcrime" proper is probably the strongest section on the album. Past that point, however, the album starts to suffer from variable quality, and ultimately falls down towards the end, with songs like "The Needle Lies" and "Breaking the Silence" seeming redundant and boring. By that point, the interstitial pieces like "Waiting for 22" and "Electric Requiem" actually begin to be better than the full songs, in my opinion, and this was the first reason for docking Mindcrime a star.

In some ways, Mindcrime seems derivative of The Wall, even down to a musical level in some places. Most strikingly familiar to fans of PINK FLOYD should be the use of sound effects and voices to complement the music--and I've got to say, the sound production is truly stunning, especially for when this was released. Audiophiles should be quite pleased. Musically, you may notice some similarities during the darker, moodier, and quieter sections of the album. The opening of "The Mission" evokes the intro to "Nobody Home" thanks to the use of the television clips, and "Electric Requiem" is very suggestive of tracks like "Stop". The cycling from beginning to end, though, is possibly the most FLOYD-like aspect of the execution of this album.

To continue my comparison to The Wall, Operation: Mindcrime has been kicked up to a much greater level of vulgarity. That was what ultimately turned me off of this album. The irony is, I actually listen to musicians like OPETH who create much harder music than this--the difference is that OPETH doesn't make a habit out of the disgusting comments and outright slams that QUEENSRYCHE seems to revel in. Hard music (to my mind) does not have to mean spiteful lyrics and a lot of swearing--and unfortunately it's bands that do things like this that get the entire metal genre a bad name. I can live with a bit of swearing and the occasional lurid statement with no problem--used sparingly, such words can have great, powerful effects. But with the kind of overkill you find here, it just becomes grating and unpleasant. As such, I am personally displeased with this album, and it definitely cost the other star.

Just like WATERS, QUEENSRYCHE's most common targets are Christianity and America. "Spreading the Disease" and "Suite Sister Mary" are probably the most outrageous lyrics-wise, but there are numerous examples of statements guaranteed to offend one group or the other. Now, just like ROGER WATERS, I've got to give it to QUEENSRYCHE's lyricist...he is talented, and you're guaranteed to find many clever turns of phrase. Unfortunately, just as WATERS started doing as he progressed in his career, one could say that the QUEENSRYCHE lyricist has quite a tendency to "use his powers for evil". If you do not care for highly political, anti-religious, or vulgar lyrics, this is not for you. If you don't mind, then you may be interested in picking this one up for the talented writing.

Overall, I think this is one of those albums you should consider carefully before buying. For fans of ROGER WATERS, this would probably be the logical next step after exhausting WATERS' catalogue. But for those who take a more escapist philosophy towards music, such as some fans of AYREON, this may not work out. Personally, I recommend reading the lyrics first. If you can live with what is said, fine, but if not, perhaps this will save you some money.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#23578)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Operation Mindcrime two words so close to divine any more. Queensryche gave something to the world which has equal value with what Prometheus gave to humanity (fire). Many will said that this album is not progressive, but i have one thing to tell them: Progressive is not composing by artists, it's just excist in there hurts and there minds and this thing is transmiting to us, the mortals who delight the music in our hurts and our minds.

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Send comments to rycher-x (BETA) | Report this review (#23581)
Posted Friday, May 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Arguably the first prog-metal album of all, and still one of the best I think, although I can see how the lack of instrumental prog would put many off. Conceptually this might well remind you of Pink Floyd's The Wall as it has a similar mix of drugs, sex, mental illness and political commentary. If you're a new prog-metal fan expecting a classic you will be disappointed, but this album is a real sentimental favourite with many folks from my generation.

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

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

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

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#23583)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars If this album is not rated as Essential for any prog rock collection then no album should be ranked as Essential. It is a groundbreaking album that stands on its on against all albums of all types of music. A close second for albums of this type and high on my list of altime greats is Streets - A Rock Opera by Savatage also essential on many levels. Check them both out you will not regret it.

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Send comments to mkilgore1968 (BETA) | Report this review (#23585)
Posted Saturday, May 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Operation: MindCrime is nothing less than a masterpiece by a once overlooked and unappreciated band. This is the album that first turned me on to Queensr che in the first place, and my copy has been played so much, the sound quality has dropped noticably in spots.

I would be so bold as to say that Operation: MindCrime is the best concept album out there, edging out such classics as Pink Floyd's "The Wall", The Who's "Tommy" and Rush's "2112", which is certainly no easy task. This is an album that must be heard from beginning to end, just to let the music, the lyrics and the story sink in. It did leave a couple of questions unanswered, but thankfully Geoff Tate decided to finish the story with the upcoming sequel after looking at a possible screenplay.

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Send comments to Revelation 23 (BETA) | Report this review (#35215)
Posted Saturday, June 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply put - this is one of the great albums in any musical genre. This is the height of Queensryche's career with a concept album that sounds like a rock opera as much as a rock album. Tate's often imitated vocal stylings are outstanding and DeGarmo is at his height in this album. A hard rock opus that is highly recommended as an essential album for any prog fan.

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Send comments to AtlantaCatFan (BETA) | Report this review (#35314)
Posted Sunday, June 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
Fishy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Honestly, "Operation Mindcrime" is no progressive at all. It's got some progressive moments but most of the time you're listening to a melodic metal album but nevertheless.it's a great record. "Operation Mindcrime" finds the band at his peak. After they released this, they only did a couple of albums which were worthwhile of checking out. This is a concept album but I can't figure out the whole idea of the lyrics. I suppose this is the story of a guy who gets involved in some kind of political underground movement. Suddenly he gets orders to kill the person who looked after him. Finally he's getting depressed of all the dirty jobs he has done. Anarchy, revolution, religion and sex are the main themes in the lyrics. If you'll take a close listen to the lyrics you'll notice interesting idea's concerning the American society in 1988 which may still be relevant today. All tracks are bound to each other by sound effects similar to those Pink Floyd used on "The Wall, almost like in a movie. The progressive elements are in the complexity of the story, the music and the sound of some guitar lines, string keyboards and especially in the wonderful epic which clocks over the 10 minutes. "Suite sister Mary" is the dramatic highlight of the album. The formula of using an orchestra, a choir and a fantastic duet between male and female voice may not be that new, the way it sounds is highly original even after all those years. Awesome !

No real bad tracks can be found but other highlights are the powerful "Revolution calling" with its progressive intro "Anarchy-X" and the ending section which consists out of 4 emotional tracks that shouldn't be separated. Although this is not a ballad by any means, "I don't believe in love" has emotional melodies that are absolutely stunning but like on "Eyes of a stranger" I noticed some pop influences but not in a bad way. In the first verse Geoff Tate almost sounds like David Bowie but nevertheless the sound is getting rough later on and the melodies have never sounded better. "Spreading the disease" has some outstanding industrial influences in the thigh sounding rhythm section. Maybe this track sounds the least outdated. "The mission" is the most accessible track on OM, like on "Suite" the dramatic elements show themselves in the vocal lines and string keyboards which makes it suitable as part of a soundtrack. The sound of this album is extremely polished as you can expect from an album of 1988. Fortunately it never gets slick or too commercial.

Although the issues in the concept are a heavy weight, Queenr che manages to make it sound amazingly accessible. The intriguing idea's are interesting, the political conspiracy's are credible and the storyline is fascinating. But most of all the music is exciting. "Operation Mindcrime is extremely recommended for everyone who likes powerful melodic rock. I would like the band to top this masterpiece with the upcoming sequel but I don't think they ever will/can do it.

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Send comments to Fishy (BETA) | Report this review (#36881)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Jack_Gilbert@
5 stars Best prog metal (and general metal) record of all time - point. More authentic and song oriented than Dream Theater, more original than Fates Warning and with the best lead voice ever! If you haven't heard songs like Eyes Of A Stranger, Breaking The Silence, I Don't Believe In Love, Suite Sister Mary, The Needle Lies, just to call some examples, it's time to make it happen. Operation: Mindcrime is the best example for a perfect concept album and many bands tried to copy this, but finally never reached the brilliance of this flawless masterpiece. This album only works when you hear it full length, because than it opens the closed doors of the story behind. Lyrically nothing can reach this release, simply the most brilliant lyrics ever written when you are really in this and hear the lyrics together with the music. How Geoff Tate interpretates the music in songs like "Breaking The Silence", "I Don't Believe In Love" and "Eyes Of A Stranger" is highest worldclass and unreached! Thinkin' Man's Metal - that's Operation: Mindcrime!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#37050)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion this is the best concept album in heavy metal. Having a rich sound with mix of prog and power metal elements, Queensryche release their magnum opus. The story here is a deep cut to the problems of modern american society. Each song is a part of the story which gets your interest by the time you pay a litle atention to the lyrics. Musicaly the power metal of the 80's is transformed to something else here by using some progresive parts. Icould compare the sound of the album with the sound of Crimson Glory's Transedence but Queensryche here seem to have a stronger personality. Melodic guitars, excelent solos,and a very impresive rythm section lead by the magnificent voice of Geof Tate. Maybe the best performance by one of the best metal singers. Overall a must have for prog metal fans.

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Send comments to freddie (BETA) | Report this review (#41158)
Posted Monday, August 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Waiting for days longer. Till sister comes to wash my sins away. She is the lady that can ease my sorrow. My love for her. Will help me find my way" . [nice and melodic segment] ."They'll say my mission saved the world ." - The Mission

This album was my first introduction to the band sometime in nineties, I think. It happened accidentally, actually, because I intended to read a review (on the net) of Marillion's concept album "Misplaced Childhood" and found this album was also reviewed adjacent to the Marillion review. That's about right because the two were founded around the same period even though their music is completely different. Queensr che was formed in Seattle in 1981 when Geoff Tate (vocal) met Chris De Garmo (guitar), Michael Wilton (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums) who were in a band called The Mob. Their first recorded material was a self named four track EP, released on their own 206 label in 1983 (the same time with marillion's full debut album "Script for A Jester's Tear"). One track titled Queen of the Reich inspired the band with its name and is still a live favourite until today. The band signed the deal with EMI in late 1983.

"Operation: mindcrime" was released in spring of 1988 and it was the band's great success as it received gold in the US. This concept album was recorded during the spring and summer of 1987 and it took place in various studios in the US, Canada and Holland. The album has been considered as brilliant concept album of all time, musically as well as lyrically among such legendary albums as Genesis "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", Marillion "Misplaced Childhood", or Pink Floyd "The Wall".

The album revolves around a story - that's why it's called a concept album - about corruption in government. It's all about a young man named Nikki who is disgusted with the corruption in government and organized religion plaguing America. He joins an underground revolution called "Operation: Mindcrime" which is led and organized by the mysterious Dr. X (sounds similar with some detective story in silver screen?). The order originally meant well, but it turned out into the grasp of organized crime, with Nikki in the eye of everything. I have to admit that the band has successfully brought together many complex issues in this album. It's a short of socio-political issues. It addresses complex psychological issues such as personal identity, care, love, relationship, abuse, obsessions, roles, and greed. Well, I'm not gonna tell all the story song by song as my colleague collaborator semismart has put it nicely here.

Musically, the album comprises fifteen separate tracks which is best enjoyed in its entirety instead of playing track number such and such. Yes, I recommend you to enjoy the music from beginning setups, i.e. two tracks namely "I Remember Now" (1:17) and "Anarchy-X" (1:27) , that basically set the ambient of the concept album. The true musical story really starts with third track "Revolution Calling" (4:42) through the blast of orchestral arrangement, guitar riffs and drumwork followed with full blown music in hard driving rhythm style and energetic mood. Geoff Tate voice is so powerful combining high and low points excellently. He is one of the best rock singers I have ever found. And this track serves like a raising a flag about the first socio-political issue mentioning the appearance of Dr. X. The music of this track is really rewarding and most importantly: it rocks man! Yeah!!!!! The following track "Operation: Mindcrime" (4:43) continues the stream of beautiful music in similar vein with the previous one - this time with more musical accentuation. I think the band makes their effort to describe the event when Nikki joins the underground revolution. You can hear inventive bass lines combined with stunning guitar solo and powerful voice line here. The music flows wonderfully to another excellent track "Speak" (3:42) and "Spreading The Disease" (4:07) .

A true adrenalin exploder (for me personally) is when the track reaches track 7: "The Mission" (5:46). This track is musically perfect as it blends the elements of melancholic melody, great and simple orchestration and heavy metal music. You know why this track is an adrenalin exploder? Get your CD (oh, you haven't owned the CD yet? Come on .get out and find it from your local CD store - because it's an excellent record, I tell you. Satisfaction guaranteed.) and play this CD with me, observe when this track 7 reaches minutes 2:52 (approx) . Yes! That's what I mean man! That simple orchestral arrangement that happens shortly is the place that triggers an adrenalin explosion. That part is repeated again at minute 4:44. Nice, isn't it? Of course, this must be enjoyed with the song in its entirety. "Suite Sister Mary" (10:41) is another great track with relatively long duration and it's the most theatrical or operatic in nature especially combining a dialogue between Nikki and Mary (whom to be killed). This track is really great. Especially after I watched the DVD live set of this album. So stunning. "The Needle Lies" (3:08) is performed in full rock music style in relatively fast tempo. "Electric Requiem" (1:22) provides musical break with a simple arrangement. "Breaking The Silence" (4:34) brings the music back into rocking/ metal atmosphere. "I Don't Believe In Love" (4:23) is a nice track with solid bass lines and high register voice notes. The album concludes with the final track "Eyes Of A Stranger" (6:39) with a medium tempo rock music. The end of the track Nikki says again like in the opening track "I remember now ..".

Summary

It's a brilliant concept album with adventurous story combined with excellent flow of rock / metal music with changing tempo. It should be enjoyed in its entirety to get the full soul and nuance of the album. It's a recommended record. I even imagine that this album can be expanded into a movie and I think it's gonna be a great movie. What do you think?

Progressively yours, GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#41354)
Posted Tuesday, August 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
fystikis07@ya
5 stars I was just thinking that no one should be doing a review on this one.This album should be in every single man's discography who says that he likes music.So, there are two things that need a review here.Firstly, the music, secondly the concept..Excellent guitar work once again by Mr DeGarmo and Mr Wilton..Fascinating drumming by Mr Rockenfield..Charming bass playing by Mr Jackson..But here comes Mr Tate to give some lessons in singing!!Anarchy X,the first music track of this album is instrumental and give you the idea that you're in a march for people's rights! Revolution Calling comes down and smashes your face showing that heavy metal and especially progressive can be bonded with revolutionary lyrics.Operation:Mindcrime is a tremendous one starting to give you clues about the story of the concept. Speak The Word is the fastest song until this moment starting to take over your mind and with the help of Spreading The Disease you're blown away. The Mission is starting to give you more emotional moments. Suite Sister Mary which is Pamela Moore is actually a very good vocalist.This song has a lot of feeling in it with Nikki talking to Sister Mary. The Needle Lies,in spite of being the weakest song in my opinion is real good one giving advices about the needle. Electric Requiem is a brief song so it can mix sorrow with fear. Breaking The Silence is rocking a lot..You see the album starts with powerful songs and it ends up with more emotional ones. I Don't Believe In Love takes you back to the 70's for a while.Pay attention in this one,it has a very confusing atmosphere. Waiting For 22 could make you cry if you're a guitar player.Perfect co-operation from the two guitarists of this band in this brief instrumental masterpiece. If you liked the concept you will love My Empty Room. Eyes Of A Stranger is the last song if the story with very nice guitar work and nice lyrics. This album is a very good attack to the government of America.But there's something beyond that.It is stucked in your heart and if you are of a small age,you will easily realise that most people around you,don't want you to succeed,so you have to react.If you are older you will just feel that you have something to share with,the shape of society..Because America,the last years is a little image of the world..People crying and dying and others laughing and making more money which they don't even need.. Revolution Calling...

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#44315)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After hearing "Silent Lucidity" on MTV2 i was blown away buy that song and instantly got "Operation:Mindcrime" as it is recommended to be their best album. I was heavily disapointed when i listened though. This album doesn't have the passion of SL, it's a very cold sounding concept album, with very little metal influence in it. It is rather cheesy and all the sound effects in the album spoiled the music for me.

This is one album i will never really get into. There are too many filler tracks, IMO this album could have been shortened by about 20 minutes and sounded better. Perhaps I have misunderstood this album very much but this is a weak excuse for prog metal in my opinion, and an awkwardly flowing concept album.

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Send comments to frenchie (BETA) | Report this review (#44692)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
platinumblond
1 stars Operation Mindcrime seems to be seen as a classic here and i have no idea,as its probably their most commercial release ever and is as far removed from prog rock as anything they have ever recorded."The Warning" is their best ever simply due to the fact that it is totally original and the most progressive thing they ever released,The Warning is their opus and all their other releases just follow.

Operation Mindcrime is just Boring,Dull,Tedious Metal that when listened to today sounds dated and slow.I mean what a let down after listening to The Warning,which is like listening to Iron Maiden on angel dust.Then you come to this lemon,its like coming off cloud 9,the cover art work sums it up.Operation Mindcrime is basically dated like nothing else and is the most popular Queensryche album for all the wrong reasons,"Total and absolute overrated boring dross",dont even bother with this lemon.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#46200)
Posted Saturday, September 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
thegyrations@
5 stars Operation:Mindcrime simply put is the greatest concept album of all time. I know there are those out there that for some reason hate it. They call it cheesy hair metal? That doesn't even make sense. "Their sell-out alnum" these guys got to be smoking some hard [&*!#]. It's an epic that really can never be duplicated by anyone. As we say Queensryche and Green Day attempting to do. Yeah that's right Green Day's American Idiot is inspired by Operation:Mindcrime. On to the songs, every single song on this album is superb. Even the short transition songs serve to better understand the plot. This intense plot leaves you hanging on te edge of your seat the whole time. It's so involved and powerful. The music and lyrics are mystifying. Never have I heard such indepth lyics by a metal band. It really shows off their progressiveness in this album. The music is just breathe taking. It's impossible to pick a favourite song because there are so many amazing ones. Anyone who thinks Silent Lucidity is Queensryche's best song shouldn't be listening to prog in the first place. If that's all you like that's great, glue your face to the t.v. and watch Mtv all day and eat bon-bons.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#50134)
Posted Wednesday, October 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
Raff
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Perhaps lovers of traditional, symphonic prog will think this record far too metal for their tastes, and therefore give it a miss. This would be a pity, though, for "Operation: Mindcrime" has much more in common with "real" prog than with out-and-out, mindlessly bludgeoning heavy metal. First of all, it's a concept album, and what a concept: a dark, convoluted, positively dystopian tale out of Orwell's "1984", whose world view is best summed up by the chilling lyrics to "Spreading the Disease".

In 1988, when the album came out, Queensryche were at the top of their game: an extremely tight outfit spearheaded by the immensely talented guitarist and composer Chris De Garmo and the exceptional pipes of Geoff Tate, one of the very few vocalists in the genre to prove himself much more than a simple screamer in the Rob Halford mould. They showed the world they were not afraid of pushing the envelope by creating a record which flew in the face of most heavy metal stereotypes, with lyrics that made you think accompanied by powerful, brilliantly executed music - miles away from the nihilistic violence of many thrash metal outfits or the empty posing of hair- metal bands.

The highlight of the album is also the one track which comes closer to 'traditional' prog, that is, the 11-minute long, hauntingly beautiful "Suite Sister Mary", which also includes a choir and an orchestra (directed by Michael Kamen) performing Verdi's menacing "Dies Irae". The remaining tracks are more aggressive and energetic, but intelligently so, with a special mention for the rousing "Revolution Calling", the above- mentioned "Spreading the Disease" with its disturbing, half-whispered middle section, and the two closing songs, "I Don't Believe in Love" and "Spreading the Disease".

There's been a lot of talk lately about "Operation: Mindcrime 2". This piece of news has been greeted with a mixture of hope and scepticism. Only time will tell, though I don't really think Queensryche (especially without De Garmo) will ever be able to replicate such a perfect album.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#57597)
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Wow!! A lot of 5 star reviews for this album - not only here, but net-wide, it would seem.

A concept album from the late 1980s - this was getting to be quite fashionable, after Marillion stunned their fans with "Misplaced Childhood" - an incredibly daring move in a world that was so anti-Prog Rock. Then there was THE other concept album, "Master of Puppets" by Metallica.

But this is two years after both of those luminaries. In 1988, Metallica unleashed "...And Justice for All" on the world - the greatest step forward in metal since "Master..."; a double album of songs densley packed with complex rifferama.

In comparison, then, "Operation Mindcrime" sounds very dated - and very similar to Iron Maiden with a large dash of Judas Priest thrown in... hang on... didn't I say that in another review about another album...?

The lyrics don't really drag me in - I find them somewhat bald; Lacking any of the intensity of "Master of Puppets" and any of the raw emotion of "Misplaced Childhood", they seem to have sprung from the likes of Motley Crue or Guns 'N' Roses.

The song writing is completely unspectacular also - average (and even many above average) early 1980s heavy metal riffs in standard rock song structures do nothing to create the feeling of anything progressive.

Where a metal fan might get confused that this might be somehow a Prog album is in the details - the frills around the main body of the song.

These frills include the plethora of additional "noises off", such as the introduction, and playing details; The bass sound is rich, and the bass does not always follow the riffs, the drum sound is big, but with that typically 1980s snare sound - but over-precise, taking almost all of the Rock feel out of the music.

While the earlier two albums felt kind of fresh, despite the Priest/Maiden roots, Operation Mindcrime is somewhat stale, being much more of the same - a humdrum collection of riffs and razor-precision playing that raises a real yawn.

To be fair, there are moments when the riffs come together that jump out from the otherwise wallpaper feel of this album.

It's not the groundbreaking masterpiece that many set it up to be - you only need to hear Queensryche's previous albums to realise that they're doing nothing new; ie not progressing in any way.

Compare them to Metallica, from the same time, and you realise that Metallica were the truly progressive band - each album was markedly different from the last.

Queensryche merely formed a progressive kind of sound on their debut, and stuck rigidly to it.

Operation Mindcrime, while not a bad album in any way, falls so shy of being actually progressive, let alone Prog Rock, that it gets 2 stars - for collectors or fans of this kind of music only - NOT for fans of Prog Rock.

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#63364)
Posted Friday, January 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
oneofsix1958@
4 stars THE number of times I've been through this CD to weed out the weak songs for a compilation CD to send to a friend to introduce them to the band..........

OR for the car.........

IT is quite difficult once the music starts, to split or separate these songs one from the other. There IS a CERTAIN flow to the music that does NOT like to be interupted. You find yourself saying..... "Gotta have that one......." "CAN'T leave that one out...."

THIS IMHO is their best CD song for song......... BETTER than Empire........ and the rest. WORTH the cost of the purchase to say the least. FINE music whatever moniker you feel you must stamp it with. ALWAYS worth the smile that comes from listening to GOOD tunes.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#65073)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Operation : Mindcrime... you have to love it or hate it. Well, I'm maybe among the few in the middle... The story is great, it is without doubt a nice concept album. However, concept albums usually mean nice moments and fillers. And indeed there are a lot of great songs on this album, but also some weak ones.

Highlights on this album would be the title track, a good rocker, "The Mission", where the emotion starts to take place, of course the epic "Suite Sister Mary", very operatic song with nice vocals and diverse music, "I Don't Believe In Love" and "Eyes Of A Stranger" (QUEENSRYCHE are really good at making those emotional songs).

Rating: 79/100

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Send comments to zaxx (BETA) | Report this review (#66305)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
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3 stars A well planned crime?

Often held up to be Queensryche's "Dark side of the moon" or "Close to the edge", "Operation Mindcrime" does indeed find the band at the peak of their creativity. The "Dark side of the moon" connection continues in terms of the album's concept, although the story here is somewhat darker. (Coincidentally, this is the second album in a row which I have reviewed which deals with disturbing themes, the other being "Island of misfit toys" by Timothy Pure.)

Full credit to Queensryche for the effort they have made in putting together the concept here and for the eloquent way the tracks link together. Having said that though, it is wise not to prod to deeply into the album, as doing so reveals it to be rather ordinary. Most of the tracks here, when heard in isolation, are straight forward metal numbers which could easily be mistaken for those by a plethora of other bands, most notably Iron Maiden. The Iron Maiden similarities, especially on tracks such as "Revolution calling" and "The needle lies", are exacerbated by the vocals on many (but not all) of the songs.

The centrepiece of the album is undoubtedly the 11 minute "Suite Sister Mary" which is far more prog than the majority of the album with operatic vocals, and a rock opera feel. It could however have done with more in the way of instrumental passages, to break up the lengthy vocal sections. For me, the best track is "Breaking the silence", which is more of a ballad, with a different vocal style and some fine guitar. The closing "Eyes of a stranger" builds nicely to some catchy Saxon like choruses but it does sound just a bit too familiar.

In all, an enjoyable album which has clearly been crafted carefully by the band. The performance is superb, if a little safe when it comes to the guitar breaks. Where the album tends to fall is in terms of musical originality.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#74867)
Posted Thursday, April 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
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3 stars Queensryche come with this rather long concept album. The tracks are pretty short (between 1 and 6 minutes, except for an epic one lasting more than 10 minutes). Is this record progressive metal? I think it might be a source of debate, since the sound is firstly often more hard rock than metal; secondly, the air and rhythm changes are not numerous on most of the tracks. I think this record is seen as progressive metal because Queensryche has a metal status, because this record is conceptual, and because of the numerous intros/outros a la Pink Floyd: indeed there are numerous sound effects, conversations, crowd ambience, screams, footsteps, ringing phone, motorcycle, clock, that make a pleasant transition from one track to another. The production is well made, but I think there is much better regarding progressive metal, especially bands like Symphony X and Shadow Gallery, among others. Well, the extreme rarity of the keyboards does not help at all; I like the miscellaneous electric guitar sounds without distortion, but unfortunately, they are not employed enough: that's why I think the tracks lack a bit of finish. The epic & haunting "Suite Sister Mary", lasting more than 10 minutes, is the best and the most progressive track of this album, so that it is an exception here: the band should have oriented their compositions more into this direction. Geoff Tate's excellent & varied lead & backing vocals are a strong point on this album. After all, maybe this record inspired prog metal bands like Dream Theater and Ayreon.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#75554)
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I wasn't too sure about getting Queensryche Cds after hearing some songs that were well a little too hair metal for me. However though no matter how 80s sounding it was i decided to listen to some samples from Operation: Mindcrime and well i wasted no time i got this album as soon as possible as this album made me understand why Queensryche is another great band that started the revolution of prog metal. A definite masterpiece by these guys with an awesome story of the concept album it really surprised me how dark the lyrics were which made me think that Geoff Tate knew what he was doing when he made this album. Each song really has its own personality to it from adreline inspired riffs with REVOLUTION CALLING, OPERATION: MINDCRIME, SPEAK, SPREADING THE DISEASE to the more experimental background souds of THE MISSION, EYES OF A STRANGER, and SUITE SISTER MARY. I love how the choir is used on SSM it really gives off the mood of the song plus its 10 minutes long which makes it better. To the more melodic but heavy songs like BREAK THE SILENCE, THE NEEDLE LIES, and I DON'T BELIEVE IN LOVE. Plus the bandmates really do a fine job in making this record shine like Geoff Tate for example. With his brillant mind of create awesome lyrics, a phenominal storyline, and AWESOME metal like vocals in the vein of Geddy Lee, Dio, and a bit of Rob Halford (maybe), then the grand guitar duo of Chris DeGarmo and Micheal Wilton these guys are a grand combine that have amazing riffs and so many great solos that i can't even of any off the top of my head there are just so many. Kinda makes me sad that DeGarmo wouldn't be in the 2 mindcrime but i can live with that. Plus what really surprised me about this disc is the rhythm section i mean its not the best i've heard but both Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield aren't that bad. Jackson really surprised me with that fat juicy bass line sound well he just strums that rhythm which is something i love about Bass players. Rockenfield isn't a bad drummer but he isn't one of my favorites but not a bad performance on this album. I will say thought he has some sicks stuff on I DON'T BELIEVE IN LOVE. So if you wanna get into Queensryche than get this album it is definitely one of their finest albums. A great disc for fans of all grand genres of metal such as heavy, progressive and some hair metal. 5 stars

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Send comments to Progdrummer05 (BETA) | Report this review (#80570)
Posted Tuesday, June 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Operation: Mindcrime is perhaps Queensryche's Magnum Opus, their definitive sound and their definitive work. The inspiration for this conceptual album came initially from Geoff Tate, his Progressive tendencies were beautifully married with the metal elements from the rest of the band, notably Chris Degarmo, producing some of the finest music and most thought-provoking lyrics in all of the Progressive Metal genre. In short this album is a masterpiece.

As a story Operation Mindcrime is excellent and reflects many of the social and political ideology present at the time. I am not going to spoil what happens as it is rewarding to discover for yourself.

I Remember Now: Nikki is in prison and tries to recall events leading up to his present wherabouts.

Anarchy-X: sets the tone for what is to follow...a mixture of metal, melody and socio- political unrest. (9/10)

Revolution calling: Dual guitars, subtle melodies, powerful riffing, soaring vocals, progressive elements... a classic. (9.5/10)

Operation: Mindcrime: The pace subsides slightly for the title track and we are treated to a stellar vocal performance from Tate and more excellent guitar work. (9/10)

Speak: An excellent starting riff sets up this excellent track, very nice drum work from Rockenfield throughout. (9/10)

Spreading The Disease: Lyrically thought-provoking, musically brilliant another excellent Progressive Metal track. (9/10)

The Mission: A Progressive Metal masterpiece, one of Queensryche's finest songs. Lovely ambient string sounds beneath dual guitars. (10/10)

Suite Sister Mary: Arguably Queensryche's finest epic. This song has it all: choir arrangements, unbelievable vocal performances, progressive structure. Another Masterpiece. (10/10)

The Needle Lies: A little structurally basic but excellent lyrically and an excellent solo make this a great song. (8.5/10)

Electric Requiem: Inredible energy is unleashed with this transitional interlude (9/10)

Breaking the Silence: Another excellent song, Standout musician is Eddy Jackson on bass for dictating the rhythm and melody of this track (9/10)

I Don't Believe In Love: A classic Queensryche song with an excellent chorus and vocal performance (9.5/10)

Waiting for 22: Dark, sinister, emotive, beautiful (9/10)

Empty Room: Interlude track to the rhythm of a clock (8.5/10)

Eyes Of A Stranger: The Anthemic Masterpiece, probably my favourite track on the album, this is a work of genius (10/10)

Overall: 95/100

One of the greatest concept albums of all time. Operation Mindcrime is simply mind blowing in its entirety, however it is an album which grows on you with repeated listens, dont expect to fully appreciate this work until after at least 15 or so listens. The best listen I have ever had of this album was back to back with the recently release of Mindcrime 2 which compliments this album beautifully in my opinion. Two hours of Ryche Genius.

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Send comments to Jon_Mc (BETA) | Report this review (#82650)
Posted Tuesday, July 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Spring, 1988. I'm sitting in my one room college apartment in San Antonio, Texas. I'm practicing for an oral presentation, Constitutional Law, intense stuff. The phone rings. My friend frantically telling me to turn the radio on (at this point I'd pretty much given up on the radio). "It's new Queensryche!" she screamed....I jumped to the stereo, dialed the station and the two of us listened to "Breaking The Silence" together, not speaking. Melodic power riffs, soaring vocals...duel guitar solo.....signature QR alright.

That was Saturday night. At approximately 10:30 AM on the following Tuesday I walked into the local Sound Warehouse to pick up my copy of Operation: Mindcrime, the album that would become my unquestioned all time favorite. In my opinion it's the single greatest album ever created. Gotta admit I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in the store. Greeting me was a fairly large cardboard display, with a message something along the lines of: "Over 64 minutes of musical theater from the masters of progressive music". Whatever...gimme the album!

I returned to Trinity University and the radio newsroom. I was the News Manager at the station so I secluded myself in Studio 2 to record the album. I had class or something to attend so I arranged for the recording to be completed by a colleague didn't actually listen to the album until later that night. And when I did you can bet that, as with previous QR releases, I secluded myself, properly sedated myself and prepared for an in-depth listening experience. And what an experience I had!

From the acted-out intro to the sonic collage finale it was clear from my very first listen this was a masterpiece. I was literally stunned at the depth and far-reaching ambition of Operation Mindcrime. It was clearly a concept album with each song linked together, moving from one to the next naturally...with the end of each song a perfect intro to the next song. Most are now familiar with the story of Nikki...a disillusioned heroine addict lured into an underground world of terror. He becomes "a hitman for the Order" and starts knocking off high-ranking politicians and religious leaders. He's inextricably linked to Sister Mary, a former prostitute also in the clutches of Dr. X, the mysterious man urging both of them to action. Woven throughout the story are statements about our modern society, the role of television and media, politics, religion....there really isn't a major topic that ISN'T touched upon on the album. This is more than a musical statement...this is a social statement. Which is why it's better than other noteworthy concept albums like The Wall or 2112.

The disc kicks off with a great thematic opening that SLAMS into Anarchy-X, a driving, creative instrumental that segues naturally into Revolution Calling. Each of the first four "songs" Revolution, Operation, Speak and Spreading are all fast, hard rockers that complement each other perfectly. They constitute the greatest 18 minutes of opening music to be found (in my humble opinion). From there the rest of the album never lets down.

Suite Sister Mary ranks as one of my top five QR songs ever. The mood set by the song is amazing...it perfectly reflects the bewildered, slightly euphoric feeling Nikki feels after another killing. The guitar effects used to create police sirens are so real I thought the police were outside on my first listen. Needle Lies hits the listener in the head like a shot of heroine and conveys the anger of a man who's lost control. Electric Requiem, written by drummer Scott Rockenfield, represents the total originality that QR brings to much of their music: drums as the centerpiece, electric guitar that sounds (to me) like an electric chair would sound, if an electric chair made sound.

Really, there isn't a single song or musical piece on OM that ISN'T awesome. The songs stand alone as great individual efforts, each a complete and satisfying offering. The "musical pieces" I write of are the five "songs" that aren't really songs. I Remember Now is the album's opener and perfectly introduces us to the story and then segues into Anarchy-X. As mentioned, AX is an instrumental and a damn compelling one at that; a beautiful, powerful drum and guitar driven 90 seconds that PERFECTLY introduces the album's first real song, Revolution Calling. Electric Requiem, Waiting for 22 and My Empty Room are all short, instrumental heavy songs. Despite the absence of many lyrics, these songs play key roles in the progression and telling of the story by setting appropriate moods and bridging various storylines. This talented piecing together of the story is another ingredient that makes OM a true masterpiece. While the individual songs ARE great alone, combined they are still something greater. They not only tell the story of Nikki and his descent into drug-addicted killer, but each song compliments the song before and after so that together, they create a greater sum than the individual parts.

I guess there's not much more to add. The greatest album ever: a terrific story; a social and political statement; superb musicianship; wonderful songs and the finest moment of my favorite band. About the only negative (and the reason the album doesn't rate as a 100) is the last seconds. Eyes of a Stranger finishes by slowly melding into a sonic stew of sounds....it's a little vague and unsatisfying. The band corrected that on the live version where they completed the circle by transitioning into the album's musical opener Anarchy-X. This version is MUCH better and would have been a better ending than the studio version. Anyway, pretty small complaint. Operation: Mindcrime, the best album ever.

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Send comments to MrMan2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#85146)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars What is this? Prog? Symphonic metal?

Well, in my book it's more of the latter and a bit less of the first. I have listened to the album a numder of times and recently gave it another shot. And I must say that this is actually a very good album.

PROG: Well, it's a concept album, that's for sure. Part from that it is not very proggy at all, symphonic yes, but prog? No!

THE MUSIC: Nicely written and performed music that in some sections really grab hold of me. Some of the songs are very catchy and easy to fall for (the needle lies, i don't believe in love and eyes of a stranger), other are a bit more complex (suite sister mary). The sound is time typical and i see no reason to complain about that. This is an 80┤s album, it's as simple as that.

THE PERFORMANCES: Overall good and the vocals are just right for this kind of music.

THE STORY: Well, the plot itself is good but the lyrics doesn't tell the story straight out in some sections. I found some explanations at the queensryche homepage and was able to pice it together from that. Don't get me wrong, a concept album doesn't have to have a really easy story to follow. But on this album i find that the story is so critical that it would benefit from being a bit more straightforward. Without the story its just another heavy metal album. Just as with "the wall" the album ends as it started. From what I can understand it should symbolize that Nikki's mind goes spinning around very fast and that he is reliving the story over and over. Interesting, but at least for my primitive mind hard to understand just from listening to the album.

OVERALL: As a prog record I wouldn't give it much of a score but as a symphonic metal album it's really nice.

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Send comments to GrimReaper (BETA) | Report this review (#89070)
Posted Wednesday, September 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars "I remember now....."

So, what can be said of this critical album in the history of progmetal? Well, a couple things. Firstly, in my humble opionion (or IMHO to all you internet oriented types out there) it isn't that progressive, at least in the light of what progmetal is considered today (and by old school prog standards). However, that much said, it is still some fine music indeed, and still proves to be a turning point in the foundation of progmetal (the other two in my opinion being Fates Warning's "No Exit" and Dream Theater's "Images and Words", as well as the protoprogmetallers themselves, Rush). Onto the music, shall we?

1. I Remember Now- more story than anything, sets up the rest of the album with a sense of supsense- N/R

2. Anarchy X- An instrumental with some rally type yelling over it, too incomprehensible to decipher. This continues the sense of suspense and acts as an overture of sorts (Think Overture 1928) A few cool riffs, but overall not terribly engrossing. 7/10

3. Revolution Calling- Christ, the chorus for this one'll be in your head for weeks, with its shoutalong catchiness. And the opening harmonized lead may seem very 80's, but I can't help but admire how cool it sounds. Tate's signature vocals come in, and the story starts off right off the bat, ranting and raving about the media and society and the flaws of both. Now, I won't divulge the story, because the lyrics seem to be narrative enough by themselves. 9/10

4. Operation Mindcrime: Great opening riff, but, one must notice with this and the previous tracks, it's almost 6 min into the album, and not a hint of anything other than thematic metal. The song in general reminds me of a machine for some reason, fitting enough for the lyrics. 8/10

5. Speak- another problem with this album is for some reason or another that all the choruses for each song start to sound veeeerry similar. That said, it's still a catchy and great metal tune, the only problem is its just that, nothing more. So far, there hasn't been much of any progression on this album 7/10

6. Spreading the Disease- um...didn't I just hear this song?After a while all these songs start to blend together. So, as such, about the same merits as the previous track 6.5/10

7.The Mission- FINALLY! a different song! A good one too. Dream Theater fans may notice the huge influence it had on their one (sorta) hit "Pull Me Under", although it isn't a ripoff, it is definitely recognizable as similar. Complete with a badass intro (bells and everything), this song is definitely a highlight of the album, possibly the best song on it. And it actually PROGRESSES from part to part! - 10/10

8. Suite Sister Mary- the epic of the album, sprawling over 10 minutes, is also the most progressive song on the album, not in the sense of technical skill or weird time signatures, more or less in the sense of being multiple parted. Starting off with a narrative, the beginning gives off an epic feel. The choir, the whole buildup througout the song is fantastic 9/10

9.The Needle Lies- where does one go after such a track as the previous? Only downhill, it seems....this is an uptempo track, but a little reminsicent of the previous shorter tracks on the album, although the speed of it makes it more interesting 8/10

10. Electric Requiem- a short little instrumental interlude, not an actual song per se, a little spoken part overtop, very melodramatic, but works well within the confines of the story N/R

11. Breaking the Silence- baaaack to the sameness of the first few tracks, actually sounds like a sped up Operation Mindcrime musically, whether this was intentional or not, I do not know. The vocals are a bit more soaring and emotional, however, so it stands out, albeit slightly 7.5/10

12. I Don't Believe in Love- Ironic, isn't it, that I'm becoming redundant in saying that this album is getting redundant. Sadly, however, this is true, as this song has the same exact feel to it, right down to almost interchangeable choruses. Gotta love the anthemic cries of Tate though, one of my favorites of the album, just points off for sameness 7/10

13. Waiting for 22- actually, only a guitar solo interlude, again, not technically a song, although quite an emotional solo it is N/R

14. My Empty Room- acts more as an intro for the next track, not a song in and of itself N/R

15. Eyes of a Stranger- this track is one hell of a closer, and one of the more progressive tracks on the album, nice intro recapping sound clips from previous parts on the album, More cool dual guitar action on lead, however 80's it may sound. The whole chorus and fadeout into the haunting recap of the beginning is just epic in feel, great way to close the album 10/10

Overall: Not very progressive, redundant at times, but still nonetheless a great metal album that set the stage for further progmetal albums and bands. On a nonprog based scale, it'd probably be more like a 4 star album.

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Send comments to heyitsthatguy (BETA) | Report this review (#94007)
Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
maani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Founding Moderator
4 stars I am not a huge fan of prog metal. And a band like Queensryche would not normally be on my listening list. However, this album has always been much discussed or mentioned on this site, so I thought I should at least give it a listen. I'm glad I did.

Operation Mindcrime is arguably the first prog metal concept album. Indeed, as Marc Baum notes, the album actually verges on rock opera, having as much in common with The Who's Tommy as it does with Pink Floyd's The Wall (which I did not hear nearly so much of as other reviewers apparently did, other than the use of sound effects in and between songs).

As others have described, the story is about a proto-totalitarian quasi-theocracy in which a seemingly benign leader (Dr. X) turns a drug addict (Nikki) into a mindless killer in order to assassinate the leader's rivals. Keeping Nikki under control (by feeding his addiction) is an ex-prostitute (Mary), who herself is being "used" by the priest (Father William) and controlled by Dr. X. When Dr. X tells Nikki to kill Father William and Mary, he reluctantly kills the priest, but cannot bring himself to kill Mary, since she is the only person who ever cared about him - and the only person he ever cared about. However, he returns to find Mary strangled by her own rosary. Distraught over her death, he is either caught or turns himself in, and ends up in a (mental?) hospital. The story is bookended by Nikki's ambiguous comment from his hospital bed, "I remember now..."

Some reviewers have questioned whether the album is truly "progessive." Although it only has a couple of non-standard time signatures (and only one instance of shifting time signatures), there is no question that the overall approach and effect are progressive. Indeed, although Floydwright mentions that certain riffs remind him of Dream Theater's "Scenes From a Memory," I would go much further and say that Operation Mindrcime is the TEMPLATE for DT's masterpiece. In fact, although DT admits Rush as one of its primary influences, you cannot listen to Operation Mindcrime and NOT hear how much DT was influenced by Queensryche, both in general and, most specifically, by this album. Indeed, there are quite a few similarities between Operation Mindcrime and Scenes From a Memory, including that: both are bookended in similar fashion by the narrator; both have political overtones (admittedly more overt on OM); both have a murder mystery at their core (Did Nikki kill Mary? Who killed Victoria?); and, as noted, even some of the music on Scenes is similar to some of the music on OM (though admittedly far more progressive and technically amazing).

The album's lyrics are simple, yet amazingly effective in telling the story. And as Fishy points out, some of the lyrics (written in 1987) are as relevant today (if not MORE so) than they were then - especially considering that the U.S. is moving closer to a proto- totalitarian quasi-theocracy now than it was almost 20 years ago. Consider the following, which could have been written about the Bush Administration and the socio- political climate in the U.S.:

"Seven years of power, the corporation claw, the rich control the government, the media, the law. To make some kind of difference, then everyone must know, eradicate the fascists, revolution will grow. The system we learn says we're equal under law, but the streets are reality, the weak and the poor will fall. Let's tip the power balance and tear down their crown, educate the masses, we'll burn the White House down."

Or this, which is probably truer now than it was in 1987:

"Religion and sex are power plays, manipulate the people for the money they pay, selling skin, selling God, the numbers look the same on their credit cards. Politicians say no to drugs, while we pay for wars in South America. Fighting fire with empty words, while the banks get fat, and the poor stay poor, and the rich get rich, and the cops get paid to look away, as the one percent rules America."

The music on OM is amazing in its relative simplicity. I have rarely heard a band get more out of fewer chords and chord progressions. And yet there is no point at which it becomes repetitive in any serious way.

The musicianship on OM is also fairly simple, yet highly effective. The band is clearly very proficient at what they do, even without the technical virtuosity of a band like DT. And vocalist Geoff Tate does a fabulous job of "performing" the story, keeping us both engaged and in anticipation of how things will unfold. Tate's voice ranges from an almost sonorous baritone to a "classic" metal "scream." (Indeed, Tate's tenor and "scream" registers were almost certainly an influence on James Labrie - yet another way in which Queensryche influenced DT.)

Although not quite "perfect" enough to be a masterpiece of prog, Operation Mindcrime is without question a must-have for any serious progressive rock fan, because of its early entry into prog metal, its concept nature, and its influence on later bands and albums.

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Send comments to maani (BETA) | Report this review (#95329)
Posted Saturday, October 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Progressive metal is surely one of the most "love it or hate it" sub-genres. While Queensr che may not be the most prolific prog metal band, in my opinion their 1988 album Operation Mindcrime is the start and the end of genre. Even though it was released back in the late Eighties before the genre had fully taken off, to me it represents the pinnacle of progressive metal.

As a concept album, it works tremendously well. Set in a futuristic dystopian society with corrupt leaders and politicians, and the tension between them and the underground rebellious groups which the protagonist Nikki had joined. The plot is full of twists and turns and it really begins to capture the imagination after a few listens.

Musically, the group is on top form. Screaming guitars, growling basslines - and to top it all off, the amazing vocals of Geoff Tate. I've never been much of a fan of prog metal vocalists, but Tate is the exception, he has incredible range and his vocals really help to bring the story to life. The production seems excellent throughout - The 2003 remaster can't be faulted for sound.

The epic story really does cry out a full listen - so playing the album from start to finish is a must. Nevertheless there are many stand-out songs which work just as well if listened to on their own. "Revolution Calling" and "I Don't Believe in Love" are great rock songs with plenty of power. On the other hand "Eyes of a Stranger" and "Suite Sister Mary" are slow and haunting. The latter should appeal to many prog fans - an epic 11 minute journey with great guest vocals from Pamela Moore.

Operation Mindcrime really does deserve five stars. A true masterpiece, and not just for prog metal fans.

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Send comments to East of Lyra (BETA) | Report this review (#102471)
Posted Sunday, December 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A special album for me, REALLY special. It was the album that triggered my "switch" to prog. It kinda caught me by surprise as a matter of fact.

Music have always been a big part of my life and at that time I was completely immersed in heavy metal. The faster it went, the more I liked it !!!

Then came 1988. Then came Operation: Mindcrime.

I already knew the band of course since the self-titled ep but failed to follow their career. So one day I found myself at my local record store and looking at the album I remember thinking "Now, what a lame album cover that is". I bought the album nonetheless and...THE CHANGE happened...!

I can honestly say that this particular album (along with Iron Maiden's Seventh Son, of the same year btw) made me see the extra dimension in music. There's power, melody, emotions, and an incredible urge to sing along!

Right from the intro "I remember now" I knew it was going to be something special, that it was going to be one hell of a ride... I mean, everything's in here: Power riffs, spooky intros, choirs, incredible compositions that hold the whole concept so tight and balanced and with an incredible atmosphere.

It truly is a masterpiece in its own right. Even after almost 20 years of its original release, I still listen to this little gem with the same excitement and awe then I did when I first bought it.

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Send comments to Birdman (BETA) | Report this review (#107738)
Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Progressive metal pioneers Queensr che released this magnum opus after taking a break from relentless touring. The Seattle based quintet had a lot riding on their next album. Vocalist Geoff Tate was sitting in a cathedral when a flood of ideas hit him and he wrote a concept album. The record follows the story of a heroin addict named Nikki whose ideological na´vetÚ are exploited by a terrorist organization. The band throws in as many ideas as they can, from a scathing attack on the hypocrisies of religion to love (with a nun which serves a dual purpose). Tate, who was trained as an opera singer, gives downright amazing vocal performances full of emotion. Bassist Ed Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield hold things down while guitarists Michael Wilton and Chris DeGarmo combine straight-forward riffs and solos with progressive time signature changes and bizarre sounds. The band is augmented by a string orchestra conducted by the late Michael Kamen, who also arranged the orchestra for Metallica's live album S&M. Tate is supported by Pamela Moore, who plays the role of Sister Mary, a former prostitute-turned nun who serves as Nikki's love interest and accomplice.

Every song on the album combines progressive compostions with serious yet hook-heavy lyrics and Geoff's piercing cries. The only non-highlights of the album are the short interludes in between songs ("Electric Requiem," "Waiting For 22," etc), but they move the album forward and are expected in concept albums. Amazingly, the farfetched story comes off without a hitch as this stands as the defining progressive metal document. Highly Recommended.

Grade: A

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#114380)
Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Operation: Mindcrime is, hands-down, my favorite album of all time. It is the sound of a band perfecting not only their own sound but the sound of concept albums in general. The songs flow together as one coherent piece of music, the lyrics are nothing short of political brilliance, and the players all play their instruments with a non-showy virtuosity that shows limitless talent but leaves the listener satisfied with their ability to write a good song as well.

Highlights include the upbeat diatribe "Revolution Calling", the epic duet "Suite Sister Mary", and the dramatic closer "Eyes of a Stranger". However, each and every song on the disc is a highlight in its own right.

Perhaps the only thing more amazing than this album at home is this album performed live, so if you don't have Operation: Mindcrime, go buy it, and if you haven't seen Queensryche perform it, do that too.

5/5

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Send comments to DethMaiden (BETA) | Report this review (#120912)
Posted Sunday, May 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A treasure of prog music

We're not talking about just any album here. We're talking about Queensryche's 'tour de force', their 'magnum opus' . We're talking about Operation: Mindcrime, not only Queensryche's zenith, considered by many as the apogee of concept albums and heavy metal in general. Basically we're talking about progressive metal at it 's best. One of the first albums that i own, and one of my all time fav from entire music. Absolut magic album. I will not describe the music here, because is done that already here, and i don't want to boring you with my review, so i will let music do the talking. A must, higly recommended in every way, a classic of prog music and specialy to prog metal. 5 stars for sure.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#125400)
Posted Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Essential album for not just Progressive Metal lovers but for metal and prog lovers everywhere. The story is executed wonderfully, the singing is nearly unparalleled, the guitar work is crunching yet melodic. No idea how else to say this; this album is as worthy of five stars as any.

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Send comments to metalchocobo (BETA) | Report this review (#127846)
Posted Sunday, July 08, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars After their last concert date for the "Rage For Order" tour in Montreal the band went their seperate ways while Tate decided to stay in Montreal for a while. It was there in a church where the ideas came for the concept that would be "Operation:Mindcrime". I was at the concert in Hamilton, Ontario where they opened for DEF LEPPARD, i remember a few friends (who were going to that concert) saying that once they saw QUEENSRYCHE they were going home. And how many times did I hear a DJ say back then that QUEENSRYCHE was "thinking man's metal" ? Another way of saying they were Prog-Metal I guess. The explaining of the concept has been talked about enough in other reviews so i'll concentrate on the music.

"I Remember You" opens the album up with samples and spoken words while "Anarchy-X" is like the short intro song to the concept. It's catchy with samples, great bass and some blistering guitar as it blends into "Revolution Calling". This is where we hear Tate's vocals for the first time. I love this track and the words "There's a revolution calling". This song cooks with riffs and solos after 3 minutes. "Operation:Mindcrime" opens with the phone ringing and then a heavy rhythm comes in and some screaming guitar, and check out the bass ! "Speak" opens with samples and then hold onto your hat because we're going for a ride ! This is an uptempo song except for the chorus with some smoldering guitar solos. "Spreading The Disease" opens with tribal-like drumming. This one has quite the rhythm.There is a blistering guitar solo 2 minutes in and a lot of bottom end to this track. "The Mission" opens with more samples and when the song really kicks in it sounds fantastic ! One of my favourites on this album. The background synths are a nice touch as well.

"Suite Sister Mary" opens with samples and the female vocals really add a lot to the song. You can hear it's raining and the sirens are wailing. This has some tempo and mood changes on it making it the proggiest song on the album. Thunder and rain close out the song. "The Needle Lies" has some killer drumming and guitar melodies. There is a nod to JUDAS PRIEST at one point with the guitar solo. "Electric Requiem" opens with samples again as heavy drums and theatrical vocals come in.The drummer actually plays some keys on this track. "Breaking The Silence" features grinding guitars and pounding drums as Tate lets it rip. This has a great sonic sound to it. Some shredding 3 minutes in. "I Don't Believe In Love" is another favourite of mine. The guitar intro is incredible as bass and drums throb away a minute in. It blends into "Waiting For 22" a similar sounding tune but less dynamic. "My Empty Room" opens with the clock ticking and guitar sounds,the vocals are almost spoken. "Eyes Of A Stranger" really reminds me of PINK FLOYD, especially "The Wall" in the beginning. We are back in the hospital like on the first track as it ends as it began. Tasteful guitars and a great chorus on this one.

It's been a long time since I heard this album and I really thought as I contemplated listening to it again that I would probably give it 4 stars. Well it's even better then I remember. The energy and heaviness is right up my alley, and the vocals are as good as Tate has done.This is a real listening experience that still sounds as fresh as it did in 1988.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#130034)
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the greatest concept albums ever made. It is one of the few to actually tell a coherent story with a beginning, middle and an end. It is a very dark story about drug addiction, mind control, jealousy, murder and loss, all stemming from the manipulation of the central character (Nikki) by the dastardly Dr. X.

Geoff Tate weaves the lyrics that tell this tale and delivers them in stunning fashion using the complete range of his vocal talent. The musical backdrop that underpins the tale is similarly stunning, perfectly evoking the bleak emotional landscape the characters find themselves in. Sound effects and spoken passages are used to great effect as a means of both moving the story along and to enhance our understanding of the plot. Messers De Garmo, Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson are very accomplished musicians and this is reflected by some very technical playing.

In closing, this album is maybe more metal than prog but it still offers a lot to prog fans and is one I consider to be essential listening.

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Send comments to scarista (BETA) | Report this review (#145971)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars There was always a dicussion whether 'Operation: Mindcrime' is the first prog metal album. Sure not! It is not possible to say that after recognizing the fact that 2 years ago *Fates Warning* issued 'Awaken The Guardian'. Anyway, OM is very influential album and I regret that I discovered this album only now, not back then. I simply had no time, I was too busy with other masterpieces.

Let me go a little bit away from the topic and describe you the atmosphere of the year 1988. Surely that year was extremely fruitful for Metal as a whole. The most important album was then IMHO *Helloween* 'Keeper of The 7 Keys. Part 2' (power) which was not only the best their album, but defined the development of power metal for years to come.

The same year *Metallica* and *Iron Maiden* came up with their masterpieces '. And Justice For All' and '7th Son of a 7th Son' accordingly. It was the year of *Blind Guardian*'s debut.

If we speak about Progressive true brilliants were *Fates Warning* 'No Exit', *Dead Can Dance* 'The Serpent's Egg' and *Crimson Glory* 'Transcendence', the latter is frankly speaking rather prog related.

In 1988 'Operation: Mindcrime' was present in the top of the most important metal charts. As I said I understand know it was very influential, even I would score this album less than those which I mentioned above. If I try to make parallels to other artists the first names coming into my mind are *Flotsam And Jetsam*, *Scanner* and *Crimson Glory*. All these 3 bands were classified that time like Speed Metal. Maybe you are surprised and never heard these names but I should tell that these artists have created their masterpieces around that time and were almost gone the same way like it almost happened with *Queensryche*.

At the same time I would never say that *Queensryche* influenced *Fates Warning* or *Dream Theater*. It is clear that these 2 always had their own routes in progressive and did not need anybody's help be that *Queensryche*, *Pink Floyd* (another myth) or anybody else.

So back to 'Operation: Mindcrime'. I was always thinking that good album has to have the energy to hypnotize and bring you in kind of trance. OM has it! In the same way like for example *Dream Theater* 'Awake' or *Bruce Dickinson* 'Chemical Wedding'. *Dead Can Dance* has perfect mesmerizing music as well.

Having said this it makes no sense to divide it into separate compositions and try to estimate them one by one - you will not be in trance if you try to do that!. Anyway, for me 'Speak', 'Spreading The Disease' are for the moment favorite, "Suit Sister Mary' is for sure very strong one. 'Revolution Calling' sounds good but a little bit too pathetic.

So my recommendation is: use your chance to discover this 1988 year album, it is full of power, it is prog related in the best meaning of the word.

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Send comments to Bratus (BETA) | Report this review (#146000)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
FruMp
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Cheesy prog metal but awesome regardless and with a great concept.

Queensryche were one of the pioneers to the prog-metal genre and with their 1988 release 'Operation: Mindcrime' they would cement their place in the foundations of progressive metal with a solid concept album. The music on this album is very guitar based, it's kinda like stadium rock with with Geddy Lee like vocals and cheesy little 80's licks, it's the good kinda cheesy, the kinda cheesy that makes you smile and pump your fist in the air.

'Anarchy-X' is a great little insturmental building track and starts off the musical part of the album very well. The title track is the first clear highlight for me with a very addictive chorus. 'Suite sister mary' is the 10 minute epic on the album and is probably the most mature and melodic song on the album with some great riffs and excellent use of dynamics. 'Eyes of a Stranger' ends the album on a real strong point and is probably the best song on the album, with the most addictive chorus and the best solo.

Operation: Mindcrime is a great little album if you're in the mood for a little 80's cheese yet want to stay within the prog domain then this album is definitely for you.

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Send comments to FruMp (BETA) | Report this review (#146559)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Operation Mindcrime is a groundbreaking release. A concept album with a story line that is actually good. This is the best album Queensryche ever made and will make I┤m sure.

It┤s a mildy progressive power metal album, but really a powerful one. Geoff Tate is an ekstremely powerful singer and he carries every tune on this album all the way home. Not a single bad song on this album. Quite an achivement.

Songs like The Mission and Suite Sister Mary are in the progressive vein, but most songs on the album are just melodic heavy metal at it┤s best. If you think this doesn┤t sound like anything for you, try and listen to the beautiful Suite Sister Mary, very theatrical. This number alone is worth purchasing this album for.

The album clocks in at 59:16 which is a funny detail, as the single LP format could only hold an hour worth of music without losing sound quality. It would be interesting to know if Queensryche had to cut some songs to make the album fit into a single LP ?

Operation Mindcrime is perfect as it is though, and a classic heavy metal album. If you choose to call it progressive it┤s your choice, I just refer to it as one of the best heavy metal albums ever made.

Very essential.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#148021)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars For a long while this metal masterpiece was in PA's top 100 progalbums of all time. And I say METAL masterpiece and not PROG masterpiece. Because even though OM has progressive leanings it demands some imagination to call this one really progressive. If I compare it to a true prog metal masterpiece like DT's Scenes from a Memory you will probably know what I mean. On the other hand you could call this proto prog metal if you feel real prog metal started with DT's Images and Words.

So much for the introduction, now the album. I always felt this is more a metal than a prog metal masterpiece because first of all Queensryche was always meant to be a heavy metal/hard rock band and that's exactly what I hear when I listen to this album. Within the heavy metal world this is indeed a masterpiece because in that world an ambitious concept album like this is more or less unique. And that's why I have a bit of a problem when Queensr che is called prog metal. Maybe they slowly evolved into one but overall their career it certainly isn't a downright example.

The album is no doubt carefully crafted and flows very nicely. By the way for the decade in which this is made you can easily call this one of the greater albums. But seen in 40 years of prog history I don't think this is an essential record. Hence my opening lines. So instead of the 5 stars it would be in plain metal world or in the eighties decade I consider this more a four star effort in prog metal world. And for prog in general it would even be rounded up (3,8).

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#158890)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nothing but a brilliant concept album, that's right, and Queensr che's best work ever (anyway, I like a lot their first album The Warning too, y'see). Plenty of good tracks, no weak songs, a long but fantastic album. Perhaps one of the most brilliant heavy metal albums of the 80's. If you need to own one single Queensr che album, be sure to choose this one.

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Send comments to Zardoz (BETA) | Report this review (#165009)
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
jarhead12343@
5 stars Queensryche was one of the first progressive metal bands. Operation Mindcrime is their best album. Not only is This album the best of Queensryche, but it is one of the best and most influencial prog metal albums of all time.

This album is a concept album which reminds me of such albums as Tommy and The Wall, and is just as good as them.It tells a story about a kid name Nicky who is a drug addict and gets brainwashed by Dr.x to become an assasin. You do not have to listen to the tracks in order, but if you want to grasp the whole story it might be a good idea to. Geoff Tate's voice is amazing on this album. Some of the notes he hits are almost unbelievable. The guitar and drums are also very good. I do not have any favorite tracks, because they are all very good.

All in all, this album is amazing and is a prog metal standard. If you like progressive metal, you must own this album. This album gets a perfect 5 imo.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#165312)
Posted Saturday, March 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great album. A must have in any music collection. Great story, great lyrics: You hear the motor of a carwindow and the muffled sound of an engine. You hear a man's voice, saying: Kill Mary, that's all you have to do .......... and ... get the priest as well. Fantastic stuff!

The album really rocks. There are tracks with pumping rock (such as the song I don't believe in love), but also backing vocals of a choir (in the song Suite sister Mary).

I've been playing this record ever since the late eighties (when it was first released) and I still like listen to it every now and again.

Highly recommended!

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Send comments to Kanda (BETA) | Report this review (#165385)
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best prog metal releases you can buy. The superb music is accompanied by a clever concept and very good lyrics. Geoff Tate's vocals are top notch. The first 8 tracks are without fail. There are a few fillers after the 10 minute opus Suite Sister Mary but even those sound good. So if you are into catchy prog metal you will find a flawless example here. With this record, Queensryche did everything right here - and rarely was a breakthrough more deserved than with this album. One of the truly indispensable prog metal albums of all time. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to strayfromatlantis (BETA) | Report this review (#165760)
Posted Saturday, April 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Who killed Mary?

It's the most sophisticated murder mystery in prog, a rock opera a clear level above DREAM THEATER's much-lauded but severely flawed 'Scenes From a Memory' that appeared years later. This album may not have single-handedly invented the progressive metal genre, but it certainly popularised it, demonstrating a clear distinction between progressive and straight metal. For this reason alone (and in acknowledgment of its undoubted quality) this ought to be a part of a comprehensive prog rock collection.

But ... I don't know why, this doesn't move me. Despite the excellent dynamics and composition I find myself not caught up in the story. And concept albums stand or fall by their stories. One can hardly argue with the musicianship evident in 'The Mission' or 'Sister Suite Mary'. I'm particularly fond of the choral work in the latter track. I suppose in the end I find myself lacking sympathy for the protagonist. My own personal tastes do not extend to the 80s metal sounds featured here (operatic vocals, harsh trebly guitars; give me something more visceral), but I can hear the compositional quality absent in so many other metal albums.

So, the music is great. It's not something you can listen to piecemeal, but if you have an hour spare to immerse yourself in a (hopefully) unfamiliar world, this will do the trick nicely.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#169988)
Posted Tuesday, May 06, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the handful of albums to which I would give the maximum rating. It is solid from beginning to end, being original and also a natural continuation of progressive, sophisticated hard rock. The melodies, themes and musicianship are all top notch and show a unified band at their peak of creativity. I first heard this album about five years after is was released and immediately regretted having missed out on years of listening pleasure. Operation: Mindcrime is Queensryche's masterpiece.

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Send comments to Sinner (BETA) | Report this review (#174610)
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Despite not being an avid fan of Queensr che, I always thought that "Operation: Mindcrime" would turn me in a fanboy of the band. First of all, because of its marvellous concept, which speaks about Nikki, a guy that has lost his memory and begins to work for a criminal, the famous Dr. X. Of course there's also a love story within the concept: Nikki later meets Mary, a nun, also working for X. One day, Nikki goes to Mary's house, discovering her dead. I won't spoil the story further, so better read the lyrics or search for an entire and detailed description of the concept on Wikipedia.

And most of all, because it is widely regarded as one of the most important progressive metal records ever released. Bands like Dream Theater constantly praise "Operation: Mindcrime" as THE definitive prog metal album, the album that was absolutely essential for the creation of the genre. Well, like I've already said on my review of "The Warning", I really don't get how so many people worship Queensr che as the fathers of prog metal. Yes, their music has some clear progressive elements and touches, but, at least for me, they always were more like a heavy (even with power metal touches) metal band. True heavy metal. Not progressive. If you compare Queensr che with Fates Warning (another influential prog band), everything becomes clear. Fates is one thousand times more progressive than Quensr che, I mean, compare songs like "Traveller in Time" or "Exodus" with, say, "En Force" or "Revolution Calling". Call me ignorant, but, in my opinion, the majority of the songs penned by Queensr che are very straight-forward and relatively simple, structure-wise. Really.

So, anyways, let's get to the music. The most distinctive characteristic of this album is the mindblowing vocal performance of Geoff Tate. While he was good on "The Warning", he here is simply AMAZING. Oh my God, check out "Suite Sister Mary" (a kick-ass song, by the way) for a quick example. He can also sound so emotional sometimes, again, listen to the afore-mentioned song and you'll understand. The man of the record? Yeah, I think so.

As for the guitarists, the guitar playing isn't as raw or aggressive as on the first EP of the band or "The Warning". The riffs no longer scream "Heavy metal!" in your face, but there are still some interesting ones to be found here, as the main one of "Suite Sister Mary" and the first of "The Needle Lies". The drumming is extremely simplified, especially if you bear in mind the technical performance Scott Rockenfield delivered on the debut. Still competent though. Ah, and the bass drums are audible this time, thank God.

The album begins with a little intro, in which we hear a nurse talking with Nikki. There are lots of this kind of interludes on this record and despite I usually hate interludes on concept albums, this time they work very well; they are, most of all, USEFUL for us to understand the concept. Anyways, "Anarchy:X" follows, being a small instrumental, and then "Revolution Calling" begins, being a very straight-forward and catchy song. The catchiness is another characteristic of this record, there are lots of sing-along choruses to be found here, that's for sure.

The title track is another highlight; again, its structure is pretty straight-forward but the song kicks ass, anyways. Great performance by Tate. "Speak" is the first low point of the album, a generic number to say the least. The next track is "Spreading the Disease", ahh, and this one wins the prize for the best song of the album lyrically. Overall, the lyrics are extremely good, but this one is the best of them all, really. "The Mission" is another weak track, before we reach...

The SUITE SISTER MARY. Oh my [%*!#]ing God, this tune is amazing. Perhaps the only true progressive metal track of the record too. It begins with a little spoken intro, between Nikki and Dr. X. Unfortunately, Dr. Faggot wants our hero Nikki to kill Mary. Son of a bitch! Anyways, a soft clean guitar riff is played then, accompanied by the magnificient Geoff Tate. We then reach a crescendo and a heavy guitar riff is played for the first time, the song slowly becoming heavier and heavier, until Tate begins to scream like a madman, woow! Anyways, Pamela Moore sings as Mary on this song, doing a pretty competent work accompanying Tate. After some minutes, we finally reach the outro, in which the clean guitar riff played in the beginning is played again. One of my favourite songs ever, indeed. "Operation: Mindcrime" is worth getting just because of this tune, really.

All the songs after this track are pretty weak though, the strongest may be "Eyes of the Stranger", even though I consider it an extremely overrated take. "The Needle Lies" is a generic speed metal song, "I Don't Believe in Love" a bad ballad, and "Breaking the Silence", a common catchy tune. The interludes present on this part of the album are great though, from "Waiting to 22" to "Electric Requiem", I really have to praise the band for having the ability to pull out interludes that remain interesting after all.

So, concluding, the concept is excellent and so are the lyrics, Geoff Tate never sounded so good, and there are some really amazing songs here. However, there's also too much fillers in; the whole listening experience is harmed and so is the durability of "Operation: Mindcrime". A worth getting album, nevertheless.

Best Moments of the CD: -"Revolution Calling, revolution calling... Triiiiiim". -When Tate begins to sing on "Suite Sister Mary". -Electric Requiem.

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Send comments to Nhorf (BETA) | Report this review (#176671)
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
CCVP
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The most influential album in progressive metal, PERIOD!

So here we are in 1988, days when traditional punk rock has decayed into oblivion, heavy metal is having mainstream attention worldwide and is developing into something else fast, as different metal genres are blossoming as a result of the crossover and experimentation with metal and other kinds of music, such as progressive rock, and here is where my review truly begins.

Just like progressive rock, progressive metal has its milestones, great albums that influenced a whole generation or generations of musicians and bands, that help identify what is progressive metal and what is not (in other words, a good measuring stick) and that help defining the genre. This album is one of those albums. Making a parallel with progressive rock, i like to say that this album is progressive metal's equivalent for King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King, because some consider it to be the first progressive metal album (just like some consider Crimson's album the first progressive rock album) and it is a very important and influential album to the genre's history, being one of its foundation stones.

Queensr che's influence can be seen more clearly in traditional progressive metal bands, such as Dream Theater and Shadow Gallery (Dream Theater had, in numerous occasions, declared that Queensr che is one of their main inspirations). In albums such as Dream Theater's Metropolis part 2: Scenes From a Memory and Shadow Gallery's Tyranny and Room V the influence comes even in the album structure: they are all concept albums, they all have introductions that resemble a lot Mindcrime's introduction tracks: I remember now, Anarchy-X and Revolution Calling (in Scenes From a Memory the resemblance, structure-wise, is enormous: in the first track the protagonist is taken into a journey back to its past; the second track represents the process when the protagonist starts remember its past; in the third track the protagonist sees his former actions and the things he experienced in the past; in Tyranny and Room V, the resemblance in the introduction are only between the first and second tracks with, respectively Anarchy X and Revolution Calling) and both Tyranny and Room V have ending tracks that allow the story to be continued like Operation: Mindcrime's final track does.

In Shadow Gallery's case, the influence reaches much deeper and can be seen even in the concept of both Tyranny and Room V. In Operation: Mindcrime, there is also noticeable Pink Floyd influence from the album The Wall towards its end, probably because in both albums the protagonist snaps and occasionally loses his sanity and both albums picture that with accuracy.

The Concept

The whole concept develops around Nikki, a heroin addict and would-be political radical frustrated with contemporary society, that is manipulated by Dr. X through a combination of his heroin addiction and brainwashing techniques and whenever Dr. X uses the word mindcrime Nikki becomes his docile puppet, being used as an assassin. Through one of Dr. X's probable associates, a corrupt priest named Father William, Nikki is offered the services of a prostitute-turned-nun named Sister Mary with whom he falls in love. Wile his feelings towards Mary grow, he begins to question the nature of what he is doing and, when Dr. X finds out about that, Nikki is ordered to kill both Father William and Sister Mary. After killing the priest, Nikki confronts Mary, but is unable to kill her and so they both decides to leave the organization together. Then, Nikki tell Dr. X that he and mary are out, but is remembered by Dr. X that only he could provide Nikki his daily fix. Nikki leaves confused and conflicted and goes back to Mary only to find her dead. He suffer immensely with Mary's death and with the possibility that it could be actually he the killer and starts losing his sanity.The police finds him at the crime scene and arrest Nikki for the murderer of Mary and his other crimes, committed under the influence of Dr. X but, because of his near-catatonic state, he is put into a hospital, where he starts to remember his story and where the album begins and ends.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

The songs here, unlike many metal bands from the 80's, don't sound dated: they in fact sound pretty much modern (maybe because of its broad influence among important modern progressive metal bands).

The musicianship is also something noticeable and worth some consideration. Although the music here still riff-based, like most metal bands even today, you can notice that the composition style is slowly changing to melodic lines instead of a half dozen riffs used in the entire song. I mean, instead of riffing all song long with a small combination if riffs, they start to open the horizons, building more complex melodic lines and harmonies, and to make the instrumental work round there is Geoff Tate incredible vocals.

Like all (or at least most concept albums) i don't think thins album can be listened in parts, i mean, you can't simply break it to the songs and listen them separately: you MUST listen the album as a whole or else it will lose its magic, its essence, something that all good concept albums have and Operation: Mindcrime also has.

However, there are parts / songs that are better, such as the opening (I Remember, Anarchy X and Revolution Calling), Speak, Suite Sister Mary, The Needle Lies and the closing (Waiting For 22, My Empty Room and Eyes Of A Stranger).

Grade and Final Thoughts

This albums is really a gem. Being, arguably, the first progressive metal album, it is undoubtedly a milestone of the genre and of progressive rock as well. Also it is a great concept album (both in music and in storyline / lyrics) and, for the reasons i expressed above, i REALLY think this album deserves to have the masterpiece grade.

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Send comments to CCVP (BETA) | Report this review (#179421)
Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first prog metal album. This is the album that i was listening to constantly for months straight. i went out and got it right after i heard eyes of a stranger on the radio. This is a great concept album, with skilled playing and deep lyrics. in my opinion, every song here fits its place and does a great job of furthering the story without hampering the music. This is definitely Queensryche's most artistic statement. to me, every track here is a standout favorite. if i had to choose just a few favorites, they would have to be: breaking the silence, the mission, i dont believe in love, and the brilliant eyes of a stranger. this is an essential album for any metalhead or prog fan.

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#180624)
Posted Saturday, August 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars There are albums that are good and make you take notice, and there are albums that transport you to a new place and time. Mindcrime for me is the latter. I bought this album as a cassette after reading an article in Guitar magazine when both were the standards of the day in the late 80's. I had no idea what I was in for.

The second side of the album is some of the best 80's metal ever produced, including the great singles "I Don't Believe in Love," "Eyes of a Stranger," and one of my faves, "The Needle Lies."

But the second side is a pale comparison to one of my favorite musical experience of all time, side one, which to my thinking, should not be broken up. Each song is extremely strong on its own merit, but more importantly is part of the greater story. Perhaps the greatest fault of Mindcrime is that it's climactic moment (Nikki's decision to leave the underground) happens on side one.

"Suite Sister Mary" is the climax of the prog masterpiece that is side one, a clean riff in 7 that includes a gothic chorus that evokes Carmina Burana or Mr. Roboto whether you're forgiving or cynical. To me, it works here perfectly and is the track that Queensryche forever wanted to make. Like much prog, at the time it was criticized for being too pretentious. Similarly, "Revolution Calling" was an overdone protest song that sadly has way too many truths to tell even today.

When this album was released, nothing of it's kind existed. Prog metal as we know it did not exist. There were no metal rock operas. Concept albums were out of style. The only prog giant having any real success was Pink Floyd with Momentary Lapse of Reason. Queensryche changed what could be done with the metal palette created by Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Along with Images and Words, this album that moved prog metal from a fringe idea to a real genre with an audience.

It is an essential part of every prog collection, metal collection, and anyone who claims they like prog metal and does not know this album forwards and backwards has some homework to do.

5/5

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#182382)
Posted Saturday, September 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the story of a man who hates the government. This is the story of a man who loves drugs. This is the album that launched the entire genre of progressive metal. This is Queensryche. This is quite possibly the most pretentious way I've opened a review. Ever.

This is one of my favorite albums, and in my opinion, one of the best concept albums ever made. All of the musicians are very talented, but the obvious star of the show is Geoff Tate. His vast vocal range is put to its full use, and is complimented perfectly by Pamela Moore. Musically, it is very guitar-driven, with the two guitarists churning out soaring solos, with the occasional bit of wankery thrown in, and heavy rhythms that compliment the angry lyrics. The sound is fairly typical of 80s hair metal, but the lyrics are different, more intelligent. Instead of innuendos that cause eye-rolling and cheesy ballads, you get anti-government sentiment, drugs, and insanity. The story is certainly a very morbid one, and the live performances highlight that. But for those who can enjoy that kind if thing, this album carries a huge payoff.

This album, in a way, stands alone out of the many concept albums out there. It is almost the only one I can think of that takes place in modern times and does not rely on fantasy beings, magic, or events occurring only inside of someone's mind to tell its story properly. And for that reason, it is the concept album that I can relate to the most easily.

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Send comments to MrEdifus (BETA) | Report this review (#189557)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Queensryche - 'Operation Mindcrime' 5 stars

The first progressive metal masterpiece, and a concept album as well!

You can find plenty of detailed descriptions of the albums conceptual plot, especially on this website, so I'll just go into how this album presents itself. This concept album nearly reaches the status of a rock opera. 'Anarchy X' starts the album off, musically, in a very 'overture' like fashion. A screaming dual guitar melody followed by a fast chop gets the album going off into the main verse.and it is quite the musical journey from there. The listener can realize the quality of this records sound before then though. To put it bluntly, the album sounds great. The guitar's sound is crisp, and crystal clear. The drums are turned up a bit in the mix, just in time as they are far more intricate then earlier releases. Saving the best for last, Geoff Tate's vocal work is completely overpowering on this album. The songwriting is exceptionally beautiful, the guitar riffs sound great and have the necessary accompaniment from the vocals and drums to make each song a memorable one. While the story can be complex, the listener can get the idea without a lyric book, Geoff is really clear, even with the range and how high pitch he can get, everything is easy and understandable. This album is not dated at all, it still holds it's own, even when mixed in with the bands that changed the face of progressive metal. Surely these guys aren't as fast and technical as those they influenced, but they kept the songwriting and overall sound of the band elaborate as any. An essential record of the progressive metal genre.

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Send comments to ProgBagel (BETA) | Report this review (#190663)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Interesting work. A little overrated with preachy leftist lyrical content. Basically, this sounds like Iron Maiden discovering Rush's 2112...all the while kicking Ayn Rand in the pants. More metal than prog. Fates Warning do a better job at this sort of thing. Worth mentioning is that Geoff Tate is a master at what he does vocally - setting the bar for prog.metal vocalists on _Operation Mindcrime_. This album must be listened to as a whole to appreciate(even better to see it performed live), much like Marillion's _Misplaced Childhood_. If you were to ask me to rate this album in the early '90s, I'd have given this a very high rating. There was nothing quite like it in 1988 in the metal arena, save Voivod's _Dimension Hatross_ which is a masterpiece. In retrospect, I'd have given this a 4 star rating. As of now, I'd give it 2.5 to 3.0 rating. The production of Peter Collins seems to have muffled the cymbal work in the drum department. Everything sounds too compressed or cassette-like...except for the vocals. A pioneering effort worth checking out. Queensryche's _The Warning_ is a better start and quite progressive, sounding more like Rush with Mr. Tate on vocals instead of Geddy Lee.

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Send comments to Gooner (BETA) | Report this review (#190672)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first encounter with Queensr che was an interesting and intriguing experience.It happened with "Operation Mindcrime". Interesting because at that time it was the first material I had ever heard of this band, and intriguing because of the theme of this album and the way the musicians approached it. A concept album was something less common in the rock/metal arena. For me, the mixture of this album's sounds and lyrics signifies if not the born of progressive metal, the raise of it. The story behind this album is exciting, suspenseful but sad and tragic; it's about drug addiction and the power of manipulating people through their weaknesses, about love and deceit, about religion and prostitution, faith and loosing hope, about conspiracy and terrorism ending all in madness. We have to admit that the story is very present nowadays when the idea of terrorism is on high tide and especially what is behind it. Queensr che is no stranger in sending politically-charged statements, and the message of "Mindcrime" is of that sort.

"Operation Mindcrime" is the pearl of Queensr che in terms of musical value. The voice of Tate is ranging high and low and is very distinctive and clear (you can really understand each word). Guitar playing by Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton is at high level delivering good solos. Excellent background rhythm maintained by Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson. A special plus is for Pamela Moore. I can highlight "Suite Sister Mary" as the "piece de resistance" in term of progressive and "Eyes of a Stranger" as the commercial hit of the album.

Being mentioned by critics alongside other notable concept albums like Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and The Who's "Tommy", "Operation Mindcrime" deserves his place as a landmark for the progressiveness of metal. It is a MUST for every listener interested in prog-rock.

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Send comments to RedProgDog (BETA) | Report this review (#201016)
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'Operation: Mindcrime' - Queensryche (9/10)

Here we have it, one of the most critically acclaimed progressive metal albums of all time. This is the album that brought Queensryche from being a very underground, relatively unknown band to one of the most intriguing and innovative bands in metal.

It's not hard to see why.

'Operation: Mindcrime' is a brilliantly written conceptual piece dealing with pleasant and cheerful topics such as cults, assasination, political radicals, prostitution and crack addicts. Not exactly an album you would buy for Mother's Day, but all family holidays aside, it comes together to forge a dark and psychological saga that by the end of the story, actually has you feeling sympathy and pathos for the characters, as if 'Mindcrime' was a very well-written book. There are very few rock operas that can evoke that sort of reaction, and it really works to the album's favour.

Every song on this is fantastic to listen to, and each could be considered a 'highlight' in their own right. However, the cream of this crop (for me, at least) would be the heart wrenching 'The Mission' and the grim epic 'Suite: Sister Mary,' which clocks in at almost 11 minutes long.

While I'm not going to say this is a super-progressive album (despite the epic) I will say that the music is intelligent and effective all the way through. As opposed to a focus on complex, polyrhythmic arrangements, Queensryche steers clear and instead focuses on a more melodic based brand of prog. There are elements of prog, but the magic can always be traced back to the excellent core of songwriting.

This is the best work by one of the best progressive metal bands. It's in the top three prog metal albums of all time, up there with my other two contenders, 'Metropolis Part II: Scenes From A Memory' by Dream Theater and 'Remedy Lane' from Pain of Salvation (all three being concept albums, coincidentally.)

Powerful and moving; everything that music should be. An essential masterpiece.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#206433)
Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is amazing, but not quite amazing to deserve a five, although I do want to acknowledge its influence on the progressive metal genre, much like Metallica's Master of Puppets. It influenced other bands such as Dream Theater.

This album is a rock opera... typical in the progressive rock genre, nothing new. The song's flow into each other, and narrate a story throughout. This album takes old style metal and adds progressive influences to them... not so much progressiveness itself, but heavy metal played in a progressive way. It has the same type of powerful flavor as bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, and it retains lots of different things, such as sounds that tell the story throughout the album. Each song is pretty good, with the exception of a few filler songs, which are just ok, but what can you expect from a filler when all they're designed to do is to lead into the next great song? The songs are very memorable, and have a powerful feel to them. This album is really good, and should be recognized also for its influence on the progressive metal genre.

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Send comments to HammerOfPink (BETA) | Report this review (#209008)
Posted Friday, March 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Perhaps lovers of traditional, symphonic prog will think this record far too metal for their tastes, and therefore give it a miss. This would be a pity, though, for Operation: Mindcrime has much more in common with real prog than with out-and-out, mindlessly bludgeoning heavy metal. -- Raff

Raff is talking about me! I'm a traditional, symphonic prog lover!!

But somehow, I didn't give this album a miss. And I quite like it.

If you are a lover of the music in prog music, this one is acceptable. You won't claim that it's brilliant. You won't be wowed by multiple unusual time signatures, chords that nobody has ever heard or sheer virtuosity. Yet, you will not be dissappointed either. This is a good album from the beginning of the mating of Metal with Prog. It's a sign of things to come musically, not the second coming.

Where this album goes way over the top is the mating of a concept to the basically good musical foundation.

I say concept instead of lyrics. The lyrics are only a part of this. Lyrically a great story is told here, but the music also takes a large part in telling the story in a way that regrettably few concept albums incorporate. The prog in this album isn't from one seperate element. It's a synthesis of the whole.

If this were a rating of the best concept albums ever, this would get five stars. If this were a rating of the complexity and progressiveness of the music this would hit three stars (mostly due to it's historical influence on later prog metal groups and general likeability.) So I'm taking the happy medium and giving this one four stars, mostly because I truly do enjoy listening to this.

Despite being a traditional, symphonic prog guy.

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Send comments to ghost_of_morphy (BETA) | Report this review (#210150)
Posted Saturday, April 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Operation Mindcrime. All the thoughts settle on my heavy partying days. No I wasn't 18. Sure I partied as a teenager of course but the most exploiting parties took place when I was 25. I'm not going to tell you what I was doing because damn it's an album review but all I can say it was really hard. And I listened a lot to Operation Mindcrime at the time. This album has its dramatic side, monumental side, bombastic side but also energetic rock and roll side. Some songs are powerful dramas some hard rock hits in vein of 80's hair metal. Everything sounds pretty unique as for that time. And I think this is timeless record for that reason. Peter Collins worked with Rush on very keyboard oriented albums Power Windows and Hold Your Fire but here the sound is totally different. It's powerful guitar oriented album. Still it doesn't sound like other hard rock releases of that era. The sound is more raw and not so clear (which isn't bad in this case). Due to that even the most commercially oriented songs are not sweet and mushy. Even those bombastic dramas like The Mission and Suite Sister Mary aren't pretentious. Breaking The Silence, I Don't Believe In Love and Eyes Of A Stranger are pure hard rock hits that always bring chills running up and down my spine and I can even repeat after Geoff "I don't believe in love, it's never worth the pain that you feel". Some songs on this release are more metal like Spreading The Disease or Needle Lies. Both awesome btw. Geoff is one of the best singers I've ever heard. He can easily switch from low Presley-like manner into high pitched Dickinson's notes not losing strenght. Eyes Of A Stranger is good example for that. And few words about the story. It's about disappointed of America guy who decided to work for underground leftist organization, became drug addict, fell in love with nun and ended up in mental hospital. Ughh what a story. I think it's very interesting but I'm not about to comment this idea cos I'm not a fan of communism and socialistic drivel. I enjoy the music which is brilliant on this release. Lots of emotions. Who does believe in love?

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Send comments to LSDisease (BETA) | Report this review (#215295)
Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is not Progressive Metal, it isn't even Metal. This is hard rock. Good hard rock. Though I don't care for some of the subject matter. What people find progressive about it may be the sound effects (sound effects and cellos don't make prog, Queensryche didn't use cellos that I can remember, but that seems to be a common misconception nowadays) or the borrowed chord progressions from Pink Floyd. I can understand the borrowed chord progressions. It's very common and you can't copyright a chord progression. Some of the choruses are very good, very catchy. Again, that's not what prog is about. Queensryche, if they were wanting to be more progressive, should've studied a little more what the roots of progressive rock were. They were not Pink Floyd. It's classical music and jazz combined with Rock. Queensryche plays a few sound effects and augmented chords and people say it's progressive. I don't think so. Sub-par album if we're calling it progressive.

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Send comments to pgfan92 (BETA) | Report this review (#220894)
Posted Saturday, June 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
5 stars This is a bonafide masterpiece.

I first heard Queensryche on Progarchives and methodically and systematically collected all their albums after this introduction. Nothing else QR have done can touch this absolutely brilliant concept album. The concert experience on DVD is even better as you can really understand the concept as you watch the visual animation. Geof Tate's vocals are amazing, he has to be one of the most powerful, accomplished vocalists on the planet. Every track on this album is part of the whole but it is possible to enjoy them individually. Here's some quick thoughts on my favourites:

I Remember Now, Anarchy-X and Revolution Calling - what a way to begin an album, with a nurse visiting a patient with vindictive attitude. The guitars crash out of the speakers until we get to the melodic, metal 'Revolution Calling'. It has such a catchy chorus it is impossible to forget. Operation: Mindcrime - simply a great song that sums up the main themes of the album. Speak - my favourite track, once heard, never forgotten, and Tate is brilliant on this, he performs so well in concert too as if he is the victim and is reliving the storyline. Spreading The Disease - another very good track with high powered vocals and great lead breaks. A concert favourite I noticed too. Suite Sister Mary - I love the way it changes time signature and the female vocals are very well executed, in particular the performance on stage is a sight to behold. The Needle Lies - a classic track that is once again a popular concert track. Breaking The Silence - has a Def Leppard feel, as its radio friendly, but it still has powerful guitars from Chris De Garmo.

I Don't Believe In Love - the single from the album ready for radio airplay. Very catchy and the lyrics are powerful. You will find it on the QR compilations.

Eyes Of A Stranger - an excellent way to end the concept album. Very memorable and wonderful musicianship.

I will not waste any time with this review. If you do not have this. Get to the CD store now and grab it. It knocked me out when I first heard it and it is comparable to other great prog concept albums such as PF's The Wall. The second part to this OM concept was recently released and is great but does not hold a candle to this.

I say it again, 'Operation Mindcrime' is simply a masterpiece.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#224050)
Posted Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have not been listening to this album for many years and I thought it was an excellent idea to give it some spins. Some regard it as one of the best prog metal albums of all time. I remember it being the main talking point among metal fans and other music fans on it's release. It was a massive success, if I remember correctly.

I have to agree with that sentiment. It was the first album where I became aware of the idea of "concept albums". Yes, I am a late bloomer. My mother always reminds me about this. I have just been properly housetrained.

Anyway, this album casts some long stares back the the likes of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and the concept albums from the 1970s. I cannot remember the storyline here. But I think it was one of these topical issues from the 1980s. The sound is very typical 1980s and that is my main gripe with it. Besides of that, the songs are very good. The best one is Suite Sister Mary. The music is a mix of metal and neo-prog. Add some Genesis to it and you got this magic album. The vocals are excellent too. The band knows what they are doing. They are not too heavy. Actually; they are more understated than heavy. This album has acted as a blueprint for many bands and was a major wakeup call for many. I think we all owe it our gratitude. I normally cannot stand progressive metal and power metal. But this album is great. A big thumbs up for the melodic guitar solos on this album. Oh yes, I will listen to this album on a more regular basis now. It is a gem.

4.25 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#237361)
Posted Saturday, September 05, 2009 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars 'I used to trust the media to tell me the truth'

This is often considered one of the classics of progressive Metal music. I, however, do not find the music of Queensryche to be any more progressive than that of their main influences Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd. These are all fine bands though, and Queensryche are not bad either! The vocals of Geoff Tate are excellent and quite distinctive and the whole band are indeed very competent instrumentalists up to par with the bands that influenced them.

Operation: Mindcrime is a story based concept album and hidden behind the story line and the way the tracks are linked together by pieces of spoken dialogue and sound effects, we find a mostly ordinary but fine set of well written New Wave Of British Heavy Metal songs. The style of music involved here might perhaps be called 'conceptual Metal' rather than Prog Metal? The operatic, 10 minute plus Suite Sister Mary is the exception that confirms the rule as it is more progressive in its structure than the other songs.

I often find the pieces of spoken dialogue a bit cheesy and the sound effects dated, they sometimes come across as a bit amateurish - like a cheap radio play. For me the dialogue and sound effects brings the music down (even if this is primarily what is supposed to make the music progressive).

All in all, Operation: Mindcrime is a fine, albeit a bit overrated, conceptual Metal album in the tradition of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement and deserves to be heard by anyone with such interests.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#240672)
Posted Monday, September 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The idea and thought that progresses rapidly for their initial music characters. Or, various machine parts and sampling are introduced. These elements might have had a surely progressive flow. Work with the producer who had appointed it while demonstrating the frame of Hard Rock to its maximum would have been appearance of the realization to the selection of nature and music for them. The methodology to their music progressed rapidly in "Rage For Order" of the former work. It was one result of doing with a certain kind of establishment on Neil Kernon. They stepped forward the following one step referring to these flows. The listener might be surprised at the fact that cuts out very much by the music that they should do when "Rage For Order" is compared with this album and directionality and evolved.

The point to have appointed producer's Peter Collins for this album might also include the point of consent and appropriate. Perfect story of idea and album that was necessary for analyzing this album completed as concept album in detail. These albums of men who had greatly evolved the perfection of the story while following a technical part in the former work had this time that had been compared well at that time with the methodology of Pink Floyd and The Who. And, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden also enumerated the name of Queensryche many times at that time. These situations will have been proofs to make the sound and the idea Queensryche had to reflect the frame of Hard Rock in artistry and philosophical thought and the tune very an embodiment. The perfection of this album that it is a concept album and is not the exaggeration to say the lock opera might be almost in the field of Prog rock. It might be an album that should be exactly called a monument with the work that expands the possibility of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal for the history of music. The element with a perfect story appears remarkably in the tune. Perfect composition and lyrics that shift from flow of "Revolution Calling" to "Operation Mindcrime". And, the story is gradually developed and the tension is given to the listener "Speak". And, "Suite Sister Mary" of the highlight of the composition and this album of the tune will lead to much for the hero of the story. The flow of the end by "Eyes Of A Stranger" is also indeed splendid from "My Empty Room". The composition power and the thought of a perfect album might be their exactly tops. And, I will describe the outline of the concept of the album.

Wire-puller Dr.X of the organized crime was manipulating it as a minion of evil brainwashing loose young people who did anything to the heroin hope. He had been employed to Dr.X alone as "Killer" about such a young person as for Nikki. His being actually doing though it is Nikki that resentment is felt in a rotting American society, and I am doing believed that it is a necessary duty for the revolution only kills the person to obtain the heroin. The existence that such he had only trusted was sister Mary. Mary flushes her crime ? Nikki that becomes feelings that believe so and are saved. However, new "Duty" is received from Dr.X when is. It was the one "Kill Mary and the father". Mary was actually a liaison of the organization of Dr.X and it was a prostitute in men of the organization who gave and comforted his body. Father William is a corruption father who has continued to take advantage of the weakness of unhappy Mary and to play with her, and it belongs to the organization of Dr.X. When circumstances that she was filled with own disgrace were confessed, the mind of Nikki was decided though Nikki that loved Mary was suffered in the interstice of the duty and love. , saying that "The father is killed and run away with her". Nikki escapes with Mary successfully shooting him dead though the father tries also to counterattack. Nikki of the white plague starts living new life with Mary while suffering withdrawal symptoms. However, the interlude of Dr.X deprives them of happiness. Mary is killed. Moreover, the suspicion is multiplied by Nikki. It despairs to Nikki that loses the person who loves truly, and the spirit suffers. Nikki by which everything becomes trivial is arrested because of the murder, and accommodated by the hospital as an addict with the memory loss. Similar disabled' Nikki was to have spent every day painfully shouted when the frightening past was sometimes recalled.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#245286)
Posted Monday, October 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Queensr che's Magnum Opus!

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

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

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

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

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

THE MUSIC:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

5 stars.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#254381)
Posted Saturday, December 05, 2009 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars This is the first complete masterpiece album from Queensr che and a real Progressive Metal classic!

Although this album's concept isn't coherent all the way it's actually the songwriting that makes Operation: Mindcrime a real treat for fans of the metal genre. It literally kick-starts with with the screaming guitars of Revolution Calling and doesn't slow down until Suite Sister Mary. After that the album shifts into a darker territory both thematically and musically. This second act is filled with highlights such as Breaking The Silence and finally Eyes Of A Stranger.

The metal scene of the '80s definitely needed some new and innovating ideas in order to maintain its popularity into the new decade and I personally consider Operation: Mindcrime to be one of those landmark albums that shaped the modern Progressive Metal genre into what it is today. Its well-written music and concept, slick production and original take on the genre really made it into the classic that is Operation: Mindcrime.

Although it might not be one of the absolute best concept albums ever made, from a Progressive Rock point of view, I still highly recommend this record to all fans of well-written metal albums.

***** star songs: Anarchy-X (1:27) Revolution Calling (4:42) The Mission (5:46) The Needle Lies (3:08) Eyes Of A Stranger (6:39)

**** star songs: I Remember Now (1:17) Operation: Mindcrime (4:43) Speak (3:42) Spreading The Disease (4:07) Suite Sister Mary (10:41) Breaking The Silence (4:34) I Don't Believe In Love (4:23) Waiting For 22 (1:05) My Empty Room (1:28)

*** star songs: Electric Requiem (1:22)

Total rating: 4,34

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#255720)
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars While this is a very entertaining album, with a cool concept and nice audio artistry in the mostly spoken segues between the songs, I find that it hardly rates as a prog album. Musically, while tolerable to my ears, it sounds like a mixture of styles somewhere between metal and nineteen eighties arena rock.

I've tried to appreciate this album as prog, but it just doesn't make the cut. But again, as a metal concept album, this would probaby rate four or five stars. But since we are grading for prog here, the best I can give this one is three stars.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#258566)
Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE PERFECT ALBUM!Pure and simple,that's all I can say about this monumental album!It's a concept album that influenced thousand of bands and musicians because it has absolutelly everything what a perfect album must have!First of all the concept and the story is catchy and intriguing!We are really interested and curious to see what will happen in the end from the point of view of the story behind the music too!But,musically speaking ,we are mesmerized and fascinated my the mature compositions and the sensational voice of GEOFF TATE,who literally exploded on this album!RAGE FOR ORDER was a very good album,very modern ,almost hi-tec,and with a great impact in the music scene!But,nobody was waiting that QUEENSRYCHE will put the prog metal standards so high with the next album!It was an album that took by storm the metal,prog and generally speaking rock music in 1988!The amazing technical abilities,skills of the musicians and the excellent balance between the power songs and the moments of calm,I think this is also a major charm and advantage for this album!TATE is literally outstanding and his vocal performance on OPERATION MINDCRIME made him to be at the end of the year on position 1 of almost all the metal charts! Many magazines felt the timeless value of this album and offered it the crown of the album of the year-a well deserved position too!IThere isn't much to say more about this album,that it's essential to be in the collection of every people who loves metal and prog ,it's the essential concept album of modern times the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON of modern prog rock!50 STARS for a masterpiece and a regret that QUEENSRYCHE didn'y find anymore such a winning formula!OPERATION MINDCRIME 2 is a parody and a major musical mistake!

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Send comments to Ovidiu (BETA) | Report this review (#260126)
Posted Saturday, January 09, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is another one of those albums that is incredibly acclaimed and maybe a little too hyped. But to be honest, it deserves it.

This is one of those very perfect albums that have no flaws, every song is memorable and you can tell that a lot of work and effort went into making the music.

This album is also a massive landmark for putting Progressive Metal as a serious and respected genre.

The concept is also quite good, with the teenage outcast fighting for revolution and drugs, but later failing in his dreams, e.g. the death of his only love, Mary. Every time I hear the name Dr. X, it reminds me of Action Men.

1. I Remember Now - An interesting narrative. The bit where the nurse curses makes me laugh every time.

2. Anarchy-X - Chanting and a whole load of hoopla.

3. Revolution Calling - An amazing song to start the album with amazing catchy verses and chorus. Geoff Tate can hit some amazing notes. 4. Operation: Mindcrime - Again, a very catchy song and the lyrics story like mode is very interesting. If you're not singing any of these songs at the end of listening, then there is something wrong with you.

5. Speak - I love the baritone vocals in the chorus. Again, some great lyrics. I love the juxtaposition between drugs and religion.

6. Spreading The Disease - I have a feeling this song also may be about AIDS. Some profanity used and also dark Christian imagery. Great song.

7. The Mission - One of their most prog like moments, with some amazing twists and turns and an amazing vocal performance.

8. Suite Sister Mary - Very epic, the choir and the female vocals add to the mood. One of Geoff's best vocal moments. That girl in it is also amazing.

9. The Needle Lies - I love the layered vocals in this song. The key change at the end of the song, you would swear that's Bruce Dickinson singing.

10. Electric Requiem - The death of Mary basically.

11. Breaking The Silence -Maybe the most emotional song on the album. Very epic chorus.

12. I Don't Believe In Love - An amazing anti love song. Again an absolute belter of a chorus.

13. Waiting For 22 - Very ominous, wooo

14. My Empt y Room - Why do interludes come in 2's in this album. Again very ominous and the vocals add to the atmosphere.

15. Eyes Of A Stranger - What an amazing way to end an album. This song is very Iron Maiden and you can see the Bruce elements of Geoff's voice. The last few seconds do scare the hell out of me, especially when you're headphones are turned on to loud.

CONCLUSION: It's a landmark of modern music. That's all I really have to say.

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Send comments to arcane-beautiful (BETA) | Report this review (#278804)
Posted Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Amazing story, great music and well produced album what else needed here? well, nothing. This is probably the greatest effort ever made by a progressive metal band. The album concept is about a junky name Nick who worked for a political preacher and underground leader Dr.x (I also think they could find a better name). Dr.x(lol) hires Nick to assassinate political characters who Dr.X believe are dangerous to the sick american society. He controls Nicky with heroin and the beautiful once-a-whore-now-a-nun Sister Mary. everything is great until Nicky falls in love with Mary and things get a bit complicated - for the rest you should buy and read the lyrics :] The music here is really great combines Hard Rock with Heavy Metal,Progressive Rock and even glam. The Rhythm section is very solid and dramatic while the guitars rocks very hard with flashy solos and high-pitched Ian Gillan style.

Great Album! 5 stars record!

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Send comments to BlindGuard (BETA) | Report this review (#325101)
Posted Thursday, November 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING?

I do not know if it was "Operation: Mindcrime" album really the first definitive history of progressive metal, nor interest me (though the sound here has influenced many prog metal bands, even Dream Theater). The fact is that album is definitely a masterpiece.

The sound here is highly developed for the time, very clever lyrics (tell the story of a young drug addict who decides to do something for society) and each member plays his role magnificently.The musicality refers to the 80┤s, but in the idea of ​​what this sub-genre would be in the years 90.None music is weak, but the first one,"I remember now"(which is basically a bunch of words and sounds).

So I think I should give 5 stars to this masterpiece.Congratulations Queensryche, for this wonderful album

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#415237)
Posted Sunday, March 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was lucky enough to see Queensryche play Operation Mindcrime in it's entirety during the Empire tour. 1990 I believe, Really one of the best live shows i have seen, so good and precise , that we used to joke that they were lip sinking. i cant remember for sure , but the female singer in suite sister mary was their live , and not on a video screen. either way it was killer, I remember the the title track from empire being particularly spine tingling as well. This album is a masterpiece, the haunting mood that the keyboards and other effect provide is remarkable for such a metallic album, part 2 isn't bad either , if not quite to this level. the spirit is there. and that was what i was most concerned about. it amazes me how well this stands the test of time, Dream Theater wishes they could conjure something up this good. 23 years later it still sounds fresh and vital. Tate's voice is unsurpassed in my opinion. really i dont think a better prog metal album has ever been devised.

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Send comments to darkprinceofjazz (BETA) | Report this review (#431358)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Third R che...

The acclaimed concept album which helped put Queensr che on the map.

The Good: The narrative follows a dissilusioned young man who is trying to recall his past life as a political assassin, fueled by a drug habit. Unlike many stories which are horribly cheesy or overpowering, these lyrics blend seamlessly into the album which is to metal what Tommy is to rock. The vocals from Geoff Tate are excellent and the compositions engaging.

Eyes of a Stranger is one of the best album finales I have ever heard.

The Bad: Musically it sounds just like standard heavy metal a lot of the time.

The Verdict: If you only ever listen to one Queensr che album then make sure its this.

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#481273)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4th March 2011 I started listening to Queensryche as we had booked to go to High Voltage 2011 being fans of Dream Theater. I started with Empire which I loved immediately. Operation: Mindcrime is not as accessible but is ultimately more rewarding. They performed I Don't Believe in Love and Eyes of a Stranger at the festival and they were amazing throughout their performance which I wish had been longer. This album is for those who take their prog concept albums seriously. This is definitely metal though and full of great melodies. All in all this is a great piece of work.

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Send comments to bassgeezer (BETA) | Report this review (#491200)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After the rather transitional and forgettable Rage For Order, Queensryche went the full-on concept album route with Operation: Mindcrime, which is much-acclaimed in progressive metal circles but falls rather flat with me. Part of it is that a lot of the time the material just isn't that progressive, or even interesting - like Pink Floyd's The Wall, the band weave in sound effects and snippets of dialogue at points to create the impression of a narrative but the actual music you get between those bits is just fairly standard, straight-ahead fare.

Another issue is that the album is one of the first metal concept albums to take advantage of the longer running times available on CDs - except this means that a lot of it feels like filler. Had this been a 40-minute album, perhaps it could have sustained my interest, but as it is the ideas presented seem rather thin on the ground (and the political angle to the story is really quite laughable, on the level of a bad Steven Seagal movie). On the whole, I just don't get the appeal of this one.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#590138)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Although somewhat regrettably Queensryche would ultimately fail to deliver upon the huge promise shown by this defining concept-album, thanks, in part, to the limited confines of the metal genre, few groups in the burgeoning prog-metal scene can lay claim to creating such a renowned and influential piece of work as 'Operation: Mindcrime'. Released in the dark and very un-progressive days of the late-eighties, 1988 to be precise, this unsettling album blends the bruising power-metal typically found in NWOBHM outfits Iron Maiden and Judas Priest with arty and deceptively-complex Marillion-and-Pink Floyd-style instrumental chops, crafting their potent new sonic brew into a complex, bizarre and darkly-satirical sci-fi themed tale of paranoia, mind control and sinister totalitarian governments that casts an ominous atmosphere over the fifteen interlocking tracks. Almost an hour long, this is fairly extreme yet really ambitious stuff, obviously influenced in some part by Pink Floyd's similarly-toned 1979 opus 'The Wall'. However, whilst this is not quite at the same level, Queensryche have not forgotten to insert catchy, anthemic hooks into their cerebral material - something the Floyd almost forget about when creating their double-sided tale of rock star excess - thus pulling off the savvy trick of making a potentially pretentious concept album remarkably accessible. Tracks such as the fist-pumping opener 'Revolution Calling' find vocalist Geoff Tate pulling off his best Brice Dickenson impression, all the while backed by screeching guitars, whilst the ultra-heavy riffs and funk-pinned bass-lines of the follow-up title-track show a group flush with confidence. The thunderous pace slacks off slightly during the album's latter half - the ten minute epic 'Suit Sister Mary' takes a while to heat up - yet when listened to from beginning to end(which uis obviously the point here) 'Operation: Mindcrime' proves an engrossing, if slightly brutal, listen. Conversely, when listened to separately, the individual tracks power is somewhat diluted, yet ultimately, and thanks to the overall quality running through the album, it's a moot point. Compared to today's prog-metal exponents it may all sound a mite tame - this critic is no metal expert - but surely that's one of the main reasons the album has proved to popular over the years. Certainly one of the (very) few prog-metal albums that appeals outside it's immediate fanbase, 'Operation: Mindcrime' is an impressive beast indeed.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#640613)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Operation: Mindcrime was the third full-length studio album by the Progressive Metal band Queensr che. The multi-platinum album is the band's most famous work, it is considered a must-own and is constantly appearing in magazine and fan countdowns of best-ever-metal-albums. If you haven't heard it already but think it might be up your street, then I advise taking a shot on it, it'll more than likely pay off.

The album, which was released in 1988, mixes classic metal influenced by the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest with the scope and scale of Progressive Rock bands like Genesis, Pink Floyd and Rush. The band use the lyrics to create a narrative that runs throughout the album, assisted by additional sound effects and voice overs from actors.

The story tells the tale of a shady figure named Doctor X who exploits drug addicts into committing crimes that further his political agenda so as to get what he wants without implicating himself, and is told from the perspective of one such helpless youth. The lyrics primarily deal with his conflicting emotions and the consequences of his actions in a surprising and interesting way.

Operation: Mindcrime is an example of the rock opera format done right. The story isn't too basic to be uninteresting but nor is it needlessly convoluted, there are non-musical voice overs and sound effects thrown in to drive the story but they do not take over the album or get in the way of the music and most importantly of all it is a good album anyway; there is no filler, everything flows well together and the album doesn't tail off in quality towards the end.

It could be argued that Operation: Mindcrime is one of the best concept albums anyone has released to date for those reasons, it is tight, concise and free of needless excess.

Overall, Operation: Mindcrime is an entertaining and expertly crafted album that mixes the attitude of prog with the sound of metal in a brilliant and flab-free way. If you usually like concept albums and rock operas then this is an album that you should consider checking out, if you usually like classic heavy metal then you should seriously consider checking it out and if you usually like Queensr che themselves then you really ought to own it already and should get yourself a copy as soon as you can.

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Send comments to Gentlegiantprog (BETA) | Report this review (#755289)
Posted Saturday, May 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hi there. I will keep this short and simple, for all you Progressive-Metal junkies out there. Queensr che's operation Mindcrime is the best concept album I've ever had the pleasure of listening to and your a fool of you don't own this album. Sorry, not to be mean but I just feel that if someone so dearly loves the genre(Prog-Metal) like I do and if you don't have this Masterpiece you are missing out so much. Anyway, I think the only album that can come close to rivaling this conceptual masterpiece is Dream Theater's Metropolis pt2:Scenes of a Memory. Therefore, Kick back grap your best pair of Headphones and just drink in this classic album. It's timeless really. Easily a 5/5

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Send comments to progbethyname (BETA) | Report this review (#797220)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars In 1988, Queensr che released Operation: Mindcrime, a concept album widely praised as one of the best in prog metal, and Queensr che's best work. The story concerns a drug addicted young man named Nikki who is manipulated into joining a secret organization bent on revolution. Brainwashed by the leader of the society, Dr. X, Nikki is led to assassinate various political leaders in America. On to the music, Operation: Mindcrime has some of the catchiest songs I've heard in a long time. The many riffs are excellent, staying catchy and accessible while still being proggy. The album has a very nice sense of dynamics, and everything flows together smoothly. None of the songs overstay their welcome, all of them being just the right length to hold your attention. Geoff Tate is at his prime on this album, capable of some very strong and emotional singing. All in all, Operation: Mindcrime is very deserving of it's praise, and is certainly one of the most essential prog metal albums.

Key tracks: Anarchy-X/Revolution Calling, Operation: Mindcrime, Speak, Spreading the Disease, Suite Sister Mary, The Needle Lies, I Don't Believe in Love, Eyes of a Stranger

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Send comments to SwimToTheMoon1928 (BETA) | Report this review (#830226)
Posted Friday, September 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's rare that an album that tries to achieves so much combines all of its disparate elements so flawlessly. That's what we're presented with here, with Queensryche's "Operation Mindcrime". I'll try not to gush as I pen this review, however this is one of my top 10 albums ever, so I hope that at least a little gushing is forgiven.

I was first introduced to Queensryche through the Empire and Promised Land albums via a couple of friends. It's ironic to me now that none of us had heard of the earlier album, Mindcrime, since it is a far superior work. To be sure, Empire and Promised Land are both good albums; but they pale in comparison to their predecessor.

When I finally got around to Mindcrime several years later I was floored. Even if this were not a concept album, it would be a great metal album. Every song works brilliantly on its own as an individual piece.

Then you put them together. Whoa.

There is a masterfully crafted story to be pieced together across the album. I won't go into a breakdown of the plot, suffice to say that like any great story, there are some twists and turns, and enough mystery left intact to allow the listener room for interpretation.

Every song sets the perfect mood for the relevant chapter of the tale, from "The Mission" and its gloomy moodiness, to the panicked confusion of "The Needle Lies" and the sweet conflicted love of "Suite Sister Mary". It's mind boggling to me how Geoff Tate comes up with such brilliant vocal melodies whilst providing an information dump for the story at the same time. It's exceedingly difficult, but he pulls it off in the most natural fasion across the whole album.

As for the songs themselves, I could talk about the virtues of every track. I'll single out "The Mission" and "Eyes of a Stranger" for special mention. The former has a brilliantly catchy, instantly memorable groove and the latter a fantastic buildup and outro. The perfect end to an album and a story if ever there was one.

It begs the question why the band chose not to do something similar for albums that followed. Perhaps they didn't have the right story, or wanted to do something different. I for one would have loved to hear more in the same style. I know that many years later Mindcrime II was released, and I did listen to it briefly, but it was not compelling to me. I also viewed it as an unnecessary sequel. The original was a perfectly encapsulated story that did not require such expansion.

And so Operation Mindcrime remains the perfect synthesis of story, music, pacing and production. It remains to this day the yardstick for all other concept albums to follow. And I have not heard one to better it.

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Send comments to bonestorm (BETA) | Report this review (#949566)
Posted Friday, April 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars By far the best Queensryche album. Not progressive in a odd time signature, instrumental show off way of Dream Theater, but the story, the songs...it's just all perfect. Stand out singles "I Don't Believe in Love" and "Eyes of a Stranger" have great lyrics and are as catchy as anything out there. Heavy metal songs like "Revolution Calling" and the title track show they can still rock out with good riffs and solos. Tate's voice is incredible and he has a great theatrical performance throughout. "Suite Sister Mary" is the epic and it has very cool gothic choirs. "The Mission" is also a good underrated track which the album is full of. Too bad the band stinks now. Get it and enjoy their only masterpiece. I'd recommend it to all fans of hard rock. prog, and metal.

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Send comments to Friday13th (BETA) | Report this review (#951853)
Posted Tuesday, April 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A milestone in the progession of metal! By successfully combining their NWOBHM influenced traditional metal with the asthetic atmospherics of Pink Floyd, QUEENSRYCHE created a metal masterpiece of the sort that combined all the drama of an opera with a storyline about a disillusioned recovering drug addict named Nikki who joins a revelutionary group and all the twists and turns that such dramatic events involve.

The storyline is succint and to the point and doesn't get off on any tangents. What impresses me more than the storyline is the music itself. The tightness of the band and the perfection of Geoff Tate's vocals make this album feel like one continuous track. Every moment seems like it fits the mood and the added cast characters, choir and sound effects make this one of the best albums of all the 80s if not of all time. The one thing that bugged me for the longest time is that the last track "Eyes Of A Stranger" begins sounding almost identical to the progressions in "Welcome To The Machine" on Pink Floyd's WISH YOU WERE HERE. I have come to terms with it realizing it to be a simultaneous nod to both the band and the theme of a song since both convey healthy doses of paranoia. It only lasts until the band begins to play so I got over it and it does sound really well done.

The argument of whether this is progressive or not doesn't matter to me. This is great music. I would call this for the most part melodic traditional metal with some clearly progressive tracks ("Suite Sister Mary" being the most so). One of the best concept albums ever to emerge in any genre.

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Send comments to siLLy puPPy (BETA) | Report this review (#1075929)
Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2013 | Review Permalink

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