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OPERATION: MINDCRIME

Queensr che

Progressive Metal


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Queensr che Operation: Mindcrime album cover
4.23 | 741 ratings | 98 reviews | 54% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Remember Now (1:17)
2. Anarchy-X (1:27)
3. Revolution Calling (4:42)
4. Operation: Mindcrime (4:43)
5. Speak (3:42)
6. Spreading The Disease (4:07)
7. The Mission (5:46)
8. Suite Sister Mary (10:41)
9. The Needle Lies (3:08)
10. Electric Requiem (1:22)
11. Breaking The Silence (4:34)
12. I Don't Believe In Love (4:23)
13. Waiting For 22 (1:05)
14. My Empty Room (1:28)
15. Eyes Of A Stranger (6:39)

Total Time: 59:16

Lyrics

Search QUEENSRYCHE Operation: Mindcrime lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search QUEENSRYCHE Operation: Mindcrime tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Geoff Tate / voices, keyboards
- Chris De Garmo / guitars
- Michael Wilton / guitars
- Eddie Jackson / bass guitars
- Scott Rockenfield / drums & keyboards

Releases information

Lp/Cd. EMI AML 3126 / Lp. EMI SPRO 143637 (????) / Cd. EMI CDP 7-48640

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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QUEENSRYCHE Operation: Mindcrime ratings distribution


4.23
(741 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(54%)
54%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
26%
Good, but non-essential (12%)
12%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

QUEENSRYCHE Operation: Mindcrime reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 01, 2004

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2004

Review by 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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Posted Friday, January 28, 2005

Review by 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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Posted Friday, March 04, 2005

Review by 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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Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Review by 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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Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Review by 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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Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005

Review by 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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Posted Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Review by 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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Posted Monday, August 29, 2005

Review by 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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Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Review by 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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Posted Friday, January 06, 2006

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
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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Posted Thursday, April 13, 2006

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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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Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Review by 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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Posted Saturday, October 21, 2006

Review by 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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Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Review by 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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Posted Monday, June 11, 2007

Review by 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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Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Review by 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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Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Review by 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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Posted Monday, October 29, 2007

Review by 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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Posted Friday, January 18, 2008

Review by 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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Posted Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Review by 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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Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Review by 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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Posted Saturday, September 13, 2008

Review by 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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Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008

Review by 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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Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008

Review by 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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Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Review by 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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Posted Saturday, April 04, 2009

Review by 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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Posted Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Review by 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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Posted Monday, September 21, 2009

Review by 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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Posted Monday, October 19, 2009

Review by 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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Posted Saturday, December 05, 2009

Review by 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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Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009

Review by 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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Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review by 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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Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review by 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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Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011

Review by 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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Posted Friday, February 24, 2012

Latest members reviews

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 d ... (read more)

Report this review (#1075929) | Posted by siLLy puPPy | Tuesday, November 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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. He ... (read more)

Report this review (#951853) | Posted by Friday13th | Tuesday, April 30, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#949566) | Posted by bonestorm | Friday, April 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 lead ... (read more)

Report this review (#830226) | Posted by SwimToTheMoon1928 | Friday, September 28, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 d ... (read more)

Report this review (#797220) | Posted by progbethyname | Monday, July 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#755289) | Posted by Gentlegiantprog | Saturday, May 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#491200) | Posted by bassgeezer | Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 s ... (read more)

Report this review (#431358) | Posted by darkprinceofjazz | Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#415237) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, March 13, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#325101) | Posted by BlindGuard | Thursday, November 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#278804) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 re ... (read more)

Report this review (#260126) | Posted by Ovidiu | Saturday, January 09, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 massi ... (read more)

Report this review (#237361) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, September 05, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 remembe ... (read more)

Report this review (#220894) | Posted by pgfan92 | Saturday, June 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#215295) | Posted by LSDisease | Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 roc ... (read more)

Report this review (#209008) | Posted by HammerOfPink | Friday, March 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 approache ... (read more)

Report this review (#201016) | Posted by RedProgDog | Thursday, January 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#189557) | Posted by MrEdifus | Sunday, November 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 do ... (read more)

Report this review (#180624) | Posted by Alitare | Saturday, August 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 cour ... (read more)

Report this review (#176671) | Posted by Nhorf | Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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