on 11 December 2009
Queensryche's masterful concept album Operation Mindcrime is without doubt the peak of the band's career and a milestone in Metal. It sounds pretensious to say this but this album really has an atmosphere to it, the story draws you into Nikkis dark world and the shadowy plans of Dr X. The short sections of dialogue and linking instrumental tracks really add to the overall atmosphere of the album. It's best to listen to all in one sitting rather than diving in and out to get the whole expereince (which i found hasn't dimmed after repeated listening)
Of course none of this would work without good songs and there's no problem there, the whole album is brilliant but if i had to pick highlights i'd go with Revolution Calling, Spreading the Disease, The Mission, The Needle Lies, Breaking the Silence and Eyes of a Stranger. The band are all excellent peformers, but special mention has to go to Geoff Tate who, in my humble opinion, is easliy one of metal's best vocalists. The lyrics aswell as telling the story offer an intelligent commentary on American society, the media, religion, corruption and about any dystopian theme you could imagine.
If you enjoy concept albums this is a MUST have, even if you are not a metal fan you may still find you like this album. Its definetly worth a listen!
on 2 July 2009
I bought this as a 13 year old metal fan in the late 80s, but hadn't listened to any metal or rock from that period in most of the time since (hello DJ Shadow, hip-hop, detroit techno...). I actually bought 'Mindcrime' as a joke to play on my brother. Then I listened to it.
After the brief thrill of nostalgia had passed, I found myself listening to the album in its entirety. It was as though I was hearing it for the first time - it's emotionally immediate, has a sincere story, and is laden with astounding moments of musical drama and showmanship. I got lost in it and was exhilarated when it finally ended.
As planned I gave it to my brother. He also laughed. Then two days later he called me saying, "This an amazing record!" We've since rifled through our large collection of old rock LPs from the 80s in the hope that we'd mislaid other classics of that era; that maybe they were all this good and could still deliver the same punch now as they had back when we were just discovering music. But it wasn't to be - Operation:Mindcrime was exceptional then, and it's exceptional now.
Operation: Mindcrime was the third full-length studio album by the Progressive Metal band Queensrÿche. The multi-platinum album is the band's most famous work, it is considered a must-own and is constantly appearing in magazine and fan countdowns of best-ever-metal-albums. If you haven't heard it already but think it might be up your street, then I advise taking a shot on it, it'll more than likely pay off.
The album, which was released in 1988, mixes classic metal influenced by the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest with the scope and scale of Progressive Rock bands like Genesis, Pink Floyd and Rush. The band use the lyrics to create a narrative that runs throughout the album, assisted by additional sound effects and voice overs from actors.
The story tells the tale of a shady figure named Doctor X who exploits drug addicts into committing crimes that further his political agenda so as to get what he wants without implicating himself, and is told from the perspective of one such helpless youth. The lyrics primarily deal with his conflicting emotions and the consequences of his actions in a surprising and interesting way.
Operation: Mindcrime is an example of the rock opera format done right. The story isn't too basic to be uninteresting but nor is it needlessly convoluted, there are non-musical voice overs and sound effects thrown in to drive the story but they do not take over the album or get in the way of the music and most importantly of all it is a good album anyway; there is no filler, everything flows well together and the album doesn't tail off in quality towards the end.
It could be argued that Operation: Mindcrime is one of the best concept albums anyone has released to date for those reasons, it is tight, concise and free of needless excess.
Overall, Operation: Mindcrime is an entertaining and expertly crafted album that mixes the attitude of prog with the sound of metal in a brilliant and flab-free way. If you usually like concept albums and rock operas then this is an album that you should consider checking out, if you usually like classic heavy metal then you should seriously consider checking it out and if you usually like Queensrÿche themselves then you really ought to own it already and should get yourself a copy as soon as you can.
on 29 March 2011
Queensryche worked hard to build up a following through excellent albums like "Rage For Order"; "Empire" and, released between the two,1988's classic "Operation Mindcrime". Queenryche should really be mentioned in the same breath as the "greats" Black Sabbath; Iron Maiden; Judas Priest; AC/DC but managed to spectacularly implode (possibly) starting with 1994's "Promised Land"........that's a debate that still appears to be ongoing, but let's concentrate on "Operation Mindcrime".
I first heard "Operation Mindcrime" being played in a Southport record shop in 1988 and was immediately drawn in by the unique musical style and production. I didn't realise that "Mindcrime" was a concept album on that first hearing. On concept albums there are usually many filler tracks to string the story together, but from start to finish "Operation Mindcrime" has quality in abundance in both the songs and the rather excellent, sinister storyline.
Where do I begin with the individual songs ? Well I guess everyone has their favourite tracks but I must admit that the only mistake made was not to release "I Don't Believe In Love" as a single, a song that's wrought with emotion and a killer melody.However,I must admit I'm struggling to differentiate between all the songs/links,the album's that good - everyone's a winner !!!
Ok, in my "musical quandary" I'll concentrate on the style. Queensryche's earlier material (particularly the "Queen Of The Ryche" EP") wasn't too dissimilar to Judas Priest, but by "Operation Mindcrime" the band had definitely developed their own style unlike any other band that I can think of ! Is it melodic hard rock; progressive heavy metal; classic rock with a tinge of techno, I'm not sure but it's definitely Queensryche verging on the edge of mega-stardom which they consolidated with their next release "Empire"!!!!
So how did it all manage to go so pear shaped ? If it ain't broken don't try to fix it - discuss !!!!
on 14 June 2000
I think Queensryche knew when they made this record that they'd never reach these heights again. Geoff Tate's soul bared itself over a collection of powerful, raw (as far as Queensryche's production is ever raw), emotion-charged songs. It's rare to find an album without a weak song and the reason you won't here is that there is just only song: It changes tempo, changes mood, but doesn't let up. I defy anybody to sit down and just put on their favorite track. It doesn't work like that. Start at the start, end at the end, and don't miss a beat in between. The band recognised this themselves and actually played the entire thing live.....I've said enough - Just buy it.
on 17 May 2007
This is supposedly the album that Queensryche is known by throughout the world, and I can see why. Each song on here is a masterpiece to me, and it gave Queensryche the right to be one of my favorite bands of all time.
Lead vocalist/keyboardist Geoff Tate is the dominant element of the music on this CD. His intense yet surprisingly calm voice is perfectly fitting on this incredible album. Queensryche drummer, Scott Rockenfield, would have to be my favorite drummer in the history of music, standing alongsides other drum legends like John Bonham. Absolutely amazing bass line by bassist Eddie Jackson, especially found in "I Don't Believe In Love." Guitarist Chris DeGarmo is one of the main writers of the songs on this album, and is one of my favorite guitarists. His shredding riffs and solos are what I most anticipate throughout the record.
I won't spoil any of the story on the Mindcrime album, but there are several highlights. However, the one I was most impressed with was the opera/progressive-metal "Suite Sister Mary." The song opens up with some dialogue, and then eases into a slow operamatic soft rock verse and quickly fires up with some great riffs, drums and bass and plenty of vocals and headbanging mess. An essential song and the one I most recommend you get if you can't get your hands on the others. Apart from this one however, others are the high-energy "Speak" and the thrashing "The Needle Lies," both excellent songs to add to any prog/metal playlist or collection.
All in all, Operation: Mindcrime was one killer concept record. Highly recommended and a great addition to any metal CD compendium. 5/5
on 22 October 2009
I bought this on Vinyl way back when (Ahem!)it was 1st released and recently bought it again on CD. Still brilliant and sounds as good as when I first heard it! So ahead of it's time. Like Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon', Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours', Metallica's 'Black' and Muse's 'Absolution' - Absolute Classic! Even the lyrics are as relevant today (more apt today probably with corruption and crime in politics, Religion, Sex sells ....) as they were back in '88/89. The band are faultless and Jeff Tate's vocal ranges are alternatingly rocking, melodic and operatic (Like Bruce Dickinson with classical balls!!) according to the emotive direction of the song.
Seen them that same year on tour '88/89? - 1 half Mindcrime, other half their other songs. Wow, It's up there in my top 5 gigs along with AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Metallica and Muse. They're just a great band who deserve to be a whole bigger and mainstream than they are.
If you like great music - buy it. A concept album that you don't want to turn off with each song (rock, melodic, metal, haunting strings in turn) linked to the next in narrative. Even if you don't like rock/metal this should still appeal as just a truly great piece of stand alone music. Oh, almost forgot to add - Jeff Tate: still hot, still rocks!
on 26 May 2006
Starting with an odd story, Queensryche have put together a concept album at least equal to greats like 'The Wall' in terms of music, storytelling, and identity with the characters.
Nikki is a disillusiuoned street punk drawn into an underground movements that murders religious figures. He falls in love with a nun-whore also embroiled with the movement and is drawn in too far. Yeah, sounds TOO odd? Doesn't once you go into the album.
The main way it works is through the way vocals (Geoff Tate) and lead guitar (Chris DeGarmo) create atmospheric, tense, melancholy and chaotic emotions through their music. They take you through Nikki's contempt for society, love, tension in the terrorist group and his ultimate loss. This is one long journey and they make you take every step with them.
High points include the opening instrumnental 'Anarchy X', 'Suite Sister Mary' with its latin choristers and utter confusion of the characters. Then there's the single 'I don't Believe in Love' and the masterpiece 'Eyes of a Stranger', a non-ballad lament.
There's great music, but the album demands attention, its not just background music. One of those albums that once discovered, it's raved about - and with good reason. Very few albums have the ability to immerse the listener to this degree, and other bands must have listened to this when it came out and wished they'd had the skill, idea, and one of those times where it all went right - and created this masterpiece.
This is easily in my top three albums of all times, and I also think it's one of the top five most complete, absorbing, entertaining and brilliant rock albums ever written. A classic that deserves at least six stars.
on 25 October 2005
firstly, this is not a concept album about "a disillousioned bounty hunter...What? this is an album that tells a story of a a abused schizophrenic spiralling into his own personal pit of hell....ok yes, i know its only a music album....but boy what an album!
Queensryche were unfortunate in the fact that they wrote one of the finest conceptual albums of all times and never bettered it, yes "empire" was as good a rock album as any that were produced around that era, but "mindcrime" tells a scary, uncomfortable, spine tingling story of madness, lust, abuse, and murder that even in todays world of mass murder and mayhem, still make you uncomfortable when you close your eyes to go to sleep after listening to it... the lyrics themselves are astounding in their content alone, but add the musical arrangment, then the special sound effects (Police sirens, gunshots, whiperings, rambling cries of pain and lust...) and you will be haunted by what you hear (Try sitting in a DARK room between two speakers....no, not headphones....speakers! ....trust me...it works...) Tates voice tears at your nerves in so many ways, on so many levels, one minute a soaring, glorious voice, screaming hatred, the next moment heart rending pain and self loathing (remember this is supposed to be the mind of a tormented soul...). Then there is de'garmo's guitar...oh my life that alone strips layers of nerve endings away...the hairs still stand up on my arms and the back of my neck....
I remember the very first time i heard this album, the day it was released, I sat between those speakers,in the dark, and felt the anger,and the fear...mostly mine!!! i have again today done the same thing....and yes...this album still scares the hell out of me...
on 13 July 2003
I must agree with an earlier reviewer - you cannot listen to just one song off this album, you have to listen to it from start to end. The vocals are so gripping that listening to it is exhausting - especially when you sing the entire album on a long drive!! It draws you in, sweeps you off your feet and leaves you completely exhilerated at the end. The video is fantastic too, but having to listen and watch can be just a little too much for my now aging senses (oh, to be 20 again!!). I would also recommend an album by WASP called 'The Headless Children' if you like this. If you don't already own Mindcrime, you must buy it today!