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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Album
Already a huge fan of the original, i just had to get the sequel and to be honest on the first play i was disappointed, there were no stand out tracks and Tate's vocals seemed strained, after a few more listens i decided it would probably be one of those albums i would only play every so often unlike the original which has a heavy rotation in my cd player. The other day i...
Published on 30 April 2006 by Roxy

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Queensryche - Mindcrime II
The most anticipated conceptual metal album in years rises to the occasion.... Back in 1988, progressive metallers QUEENSRYCHE brought the rock world to its knees with the classic Operation Mindcrime. In the way of sonic hooks and the lyrical plot itself, Mindcrime remains the bona fide concept album benchmark - so how fascinating then, that the band have taken the...
Published on 17 May 2006 by James


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Queensryche - Mindcrime II, 17 May 2006
By 
This review is from: Operation: Mindcrime II (Audio CD)
The most anticipated conceptual metal album in years rises to the occasion.... Back in 1988, progressive metallers QUEENSRYCHE brought the rock world to its knees with the classic Operation Mindcrime. In the way of sonic hooks and the lyrical plot itself, Mindcrime remains the bona fide concept album benchmark - so how fascinating then, that the band have taken the massive task upon themselves of unleashing a follow up...

Track by track :

Freiheit Overture - Instrumental opener, classically orchestrated. Sets the scene respectably, but neither striking or melodic as Anarchy X (intro on Operation Mindcrime).

I'm An American - A rousing rocker, it's a fitting number to open the plot with. Marking his release from prison, I'm An American also features a shout-y, ANTHRAX style middle section.

One Foot In Hell - Awe inspiring harmonised intro is a dazzling reference to the original ...Mindcrime, although the rest of the track firmly pins down the bands intentions of making a modern sounding record

Hostage - Delicious acoustic guitar work, wonderful harmonies and an alternative-esque chorus make Hostage a firm highlight. Also Recalls Electric Requiem with Geoff Tate's concluding scream.

The Hands - The first single is one of the few compositions present that could have sat comfortably on Operation Mindcrime album, both in terms of musical likeness and quality control itself.

Speed Of Light - LED ZEPPELIN's Kashmir riff springs to mind, but unfortunately there's no seventh heaven here. Indeed, the track only really gets going when it ends, courtesy of guest female vocals and the 'Don't worry, I'll kill the bastard' line, referring to Dr X.

Signs Say Go - While verses genuinely rock courtesy of fine melodies, the shout-y chorus disappoints.

Rearrange You - A mysteriously haunting vibe coupled with a grand chorus brings things back upon a high note - and with Geoff Tate finally hitting a few himself, he almost sounds like a shadow of his former self.

The Chase - Featuring the legendary Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals (starring as Doctor X), this is a highly theatrical number gets double thumbs up.

A Murderer - Probably the heaviest song on the album, Geoff 'the black hand of death' Tate's vocals and rip roaring solos make this sinister number an absolute killer, (as victim Dr X would only too well know...)

Circles - A little effort made up mostly of instrumental noise, The Sound Of Silence or Silence Is Golden may have been a more appropriate title.
If I Could Change It All - Minimalist verses impress, female vocals purr like a Cheshire Cat and Geoff Tate even gets round to sounding like his old self in places, although the operatic conclusion ends the song lifelessly.

An International Confrontation - Makes up for the lost momentum at the end of If I Could Change It All, but really this should have remained as part of the song rather than a separate number. Loaded with drama, thunderous guitars and gripping female vocals make this an inspired choice of listening.

A Junkies Blues - Spoken dialogue makes way for bluesy verses and an orchestrated Anarchy X esque conclusion. Filling the time, ultimately, it lacks magic.

Fear City Slide - Featuring a mammoth chorus with some of the finest riffage present, this is a strong number with predictable but effective solos.

All The Promises - An unconventional QUEENSRYCHE ballad, this acoustic driven duet is, as Bernard Matthews might say, beautiful. A sharp reminder of the hostage's love for Mary, it's his longest lasting - and harshest - memory.

Despite its subtle reminders of the original, Operation Mindcrime II is a modern sounding concept album, and one that will please QUEENSRYCHE fans.
It impresses with its flow, and does deliver some magic moments (Hostage, The Hands, The Chase, Fear City Slide) but on the flip side it lacks heavyweight material and begs for more vocal power. Geoff Tate can still offer excellent melodic output, but his trademark range has all but disappeared - when he goes up a little, it still sounds effective, but just not as powerful as the Tate of old.A solid plot assures Mindcrime II's lyrical ability, and while not instantly accessible, this is an album that, after repeated listens, is cetainly a worthy cause.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, 30 April 2006
By 
Roxy (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Operation: Mindcrime II (Audio CD)
Already a huge fan of the original, i just had to get the sequel and to be honest on the first play i was disappointed, there were no stand out tracks and Tate's vocals seemed strained, after a few more listens i decided it would probably be one of those albums i would only play every so often unlike the original which has a heavy rotation in my cd player. The other day i decided to play it again to see if it was really that bad and i was blown away! it was great! The songs were strong, the guitars great, and Tate's and Pamela Moore's vocals together gorgeous! it hasnt been out of my cd player since. If you already know the original play this cd with an open mind, were they right to go back to mindcrime? probably not to a lot of people, but the result is a great accompaniment to Mindcrime I, aswell as a great album in its own right.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back, Ryche, 20 April 2006
By 
Simon Joensen "Soulbender" (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Operation: Mindcrime II (Audio CD)
This one took a few listens before getting me hooked. This is usually a good sign of a record that I will stick to. Once you have heard the tunes a few times, the songs really grab you and you can almost see the storyline being acted out on a stage.

The OMC II is very rock opera, with a few duets representing dialog, and describes what happens after Nikki's release from prison.

Personnally, I liked the open ending of the original OMC - it left it up to your imagination to guess whether Mary was killed by Nikki (unconsciously) or Dr. X or if it was suicide. The fact alone that Nikki was left alone, screwed, and with eternity to re-live the nightmarish events was a great anding to me. Therefore, I choose to see OMC II as only one of more several directions to take the story, and this makes it work great since it allows me to still have my own opinion of what took place.

The album is full of catchy riffs with a really tight rhytmic section laid down by Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson - and dual guitar harmonies are back in a big way! As mentioned, most of the songs require a few spins before sinking in, but after that you fully enjoy songs like Re-arrange you and The Chase featuring an excellent performance by Dio!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth The Wait, 10 April 2006
This review is from: Operation: Mindcrime II (Audio CD)
While most people expected a poor re-hash of the first album because of the absence of Chris DeGarmo, Queensryche have managed to provide a truly listenable and great album that has so far spawned two singles stateside (I'm American and The Hands).
There are some rather cool thematic links musically between the two albums (listen out for the keyborad chord progression played by the guitar in the opening bars of The Hands from Anarchy-X)and have also managed to update their sound without losing any of the punch of the lyrics which is no mean feat in itself. Geoff Tate's observations on both the political and social landscape of America is as biting and accurate as ever, but this time tempered with more sympathetic musical backing. My one critisism of the album is that some of the songs are just too short! I found myself willing the riff on Fear City Slide to just go on and on rather than fade into the story.
Do expect to listen to a fantastic album that works as both a sequel and an standalone album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hardest act to follow - Impossible to acheive, 10 April 2006
By 
W. Crozier "crozierwayne" (Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Operation: Mindcrime II (Audio CD)
I am a big Queensryche fan and have been since I saw them on their first UK support tour with Dio, and I was eager to hear what they had done with this the follow up to the greatest concept album of all time. Mindcrime is the best thing the Ryche have ever done and any attempt to follow it would be classed as suicide if it didnt deliver - does this deliver well yes and no. The original album flowed and can be classed as an album that worked on every single level musicianship , par excellance and vocals which any rock singer would be proud to achieve, Mindcrime 2 although probably the best they have achieved musically since "Promised Land" I feel is not the follow up I anticipated. The music is good and I enjoyed listening to it but it cannot hope to follow the first album - the standout cut is the song which features the vocals of rock legend Ronnie James Dio who simply sings the best on the whole album - sheer class, Tates vocals are strong and the actual lyrical content is great - the storyline is excellent focusing on Nikkis post imprisonment and revenge. I would amticipate that alot of Ryche fans will feel the same as me but it was always a bridge to far - a great try but only that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Houston we have a problem, 3 April 2006
By 
Ms G. Steel "Gillian Steel" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Operation: Mindcrime II (Audio CD)
The problem is that this album was simply not meant to be this good. There was too much water under the bridge, expectations were too high, they were down a man on the original line up... however...
Negative thoughts first, the album is at times inconsistent and lacks the momentum of OMC1 and the ending is a bit limp. Saying that though, OMC1 was a grower and 20 years on has stood up as a classic.
Good bits, the variation on this album is greater than anything QR has attempted before. This is far more a prog-rock album than a conventional rock album. There are changes in tempo and mood. It is at the same time some of the heaviest stuff (American) and melodic material QR have ever done. Some of the guitar solos and lead breaks have to be heard to be believed; additionally the work on the drums and bass is far more adventurous than before, while the performances from Pamela Moore and Dio are excellent and compliment the songs well. Feeling-wise it sits somewhere between OMC1 and Promised Land.
This is a mature rock album written, preformed and produced to a very high standard. This is certainly one of the greatest QR albums ever and a very worthy sequel to OMC1. Is it better than OMC1? Time will tell on that...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Queensr˙che - Operation Mindcrime II, 3 Jun 2012
By 
Gentlegiantprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Operation: Mindcrime II (Audio CD)
Operation:Mindcrime II is the ninth full-length studio album by the Seattle-based Progressive Metal band Queensr˙che. It was released in 2006 and was a sequel to the band's popular 1988 concept album Operation:Mindcrime.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall, as long as you can get over the fact that the album has been made in the first place, as long as you don't mind it containing parts of the styles of other less popular Queensr˙che albums too and not just totally sounding like Mindcrime, and as long as you can give it a fair enough chance to allow it to grow on you properly, then I absolutely and whole-heartedly recommend this album to you. I like it an awful lot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Empire Strikes Back, 24 Jun 2010
This review is from: Operation: Mindcrime II (Audio CD)
The signs for Operation Mindcrime II were not encouraging. Following on from the dire Tribe cd and with DeGarmo still nowhere to be seen, it had to be a monumental shift in writing quality from the remaining band members to make it credible. Couple this with the fact that in name and concept it was a progression from one of the greatest metal albums of all time then really the omens were not good. Geoff promised to build on what made Mindcrime I great and in structure and appearance this is what Queensryche have done. Like Mindcrime I the album starts with an instrumental fanfare on Freiheit Ouverture and leads neatly into a fast pace track on the general state of the US (I'm American). The mid section is characterised by the sprawling atmospheric track If I Could Change It All in the vein of Suite Sister Mary, replete with a section of monks singing, and the whole builds to the finale. Visually it apes the newspaper style cover of Mindcrime I and reuses the logo and red/white colour combination to prove the continuity. This is all to the good. However, with the exception of The Hands, which would have slotted anywhere on Mindcrime I, the rest musically is a bit of a departure. Whilst Mindcrime I was slick and glossy in style this is much more raw and immediate, assisted by a production job that is wider and fuller. The album is really a game of two halves, with half time called on duet `The Chase'. The first half is the strongest with confident high octane tracks Speed Of Light and Sign Says Go delivering in spades. The delicate `The Hands' is so like a Mindcrime I song it actually seems a little out of place on this harder and heavier sequel and The Chase is all pure West end with it's sparring duet with the late, great, Ronnie James Dio. The biggest criticism of this though is the second half. Post The Chase there are some positives in the grinding Fear City Slide and but it does feel like a wind down to the truly dreadful closing ballad All The Promises. So where Mindcrime I exalted in its triumphant finale this fizzles out in a schmaltzy and somewhat cheesy duet with the dead nun (I'm not making this up) and it really is as dreadful as it sounds. All in all though this sequel is a fine effort and doesn't scar the memory of its monumental elder brother. It's part of the healing process for Queensryche, a process that ended with the purpose and confidence of American Soldier. In summary this could well have been `Grease 2' but in reality it ended up being `The Empire Strikes Back'!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindcrime II, 21 April 2006
By 
Jody Tate (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Operation: Mindcrime II (Audio CD)
This has been a long awaited album in my view and the wait was worth it. Like a lot of later Queensryche music, it doesn't appeal on first hearing. I found the more I listened to it, the more I heard and the more I enjoyed it. Definately the sort of album that needs to be heard on headphones rather than through speakers - some of the quieter sections are easily missed thus detracting from the overall drama of the whole.

The best track, in my view, is "The Chase" being an excellent duet with Ronnie James Dio. My biggest disappointment was Pamela Moore whose voice doesn't seem to measure up as well as it did with Mindcrime I.

It would be wrong to pidgeon-hole Queensryche as a rock band, their musical style is far more complex than that.

Like sequels to films, there is always a danger of disappointment with subsequent productions. Queensryche had a difficult job in following Mindcrime. This album reflects the maturity of the band and styles. It comes across as more "polished" than Mindcrime, which had rather a raw and dangerous feel to it, with lots of passion and power behind both the idea and the music. This one is a bit more introspective - the idea of getting out and taking revenge being the starting point, the confrontation and finally the "what was it all for?".

Overall, an interesting mix of musical styles. One for the dedicated Queensryche fan only maybe?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor X.. The Operation...and the Mindcrime!, 3 April 2006
This review is from: Operation: Mindcrime II (Audio CD)
Operation Mindcrime II one of my most anticipated album since i first heard about there being a sequel. Maybe some will be disappointed depending on what your expecting. I personally found it spot on! Just like Operation Mindcrime (the prequel), Mindcrime II shows the overlapping of tracks and are set perfect. The first track we see 'Freiheit Overtüre' which is an instrumental and it all begins. As i don't want to go into to much detail as it will ruin the album for listeners and the story, so i will mention the highlights i found. 'One Foot In Hell' i love the riff and everything about the song, but it's the tracks 'The Hands' and 'Speed Of Light' i thought, wow! It's Queensryche and why i like them so much. The album also features guest Vocalist Ronnie James Dio on the track 'The Chase'.
Overall for me this album wouldn't disappoint, i had a great feeling. With a modern driven sound but still having that whole Queensryche style, Geoff Tate and gang still have it! Long my they reign!
5/5
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