Queensryche
Operation: Mindcrime


5.0
classic

Review

by Jorn van Schaïk USER (172 Reviews)
March 13th, 2007 | 1705 replies | 53,212 views


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This album is one of the defining concept albums released in 1988, and the accompanying musicianship is class. Not so much a blunt attack as a subtle criticism of society, it hits home on every level.

17 of 17 thought this review was well written

Before Dream Theater singlehandedly decided to put Progressive Metal on the map, there were other bands in the genre that were already playing the style. Progressive music had faded out of interest in the 70s, being labeled as pretentious and overblown, and full of musical wankery without the decency to create a proper song. However, Queensryche's album, Operation: Mindcrime, released in 1988, started the rekindling of interest in this genre. They released an album that would inspire countless of others musicians, be hailed as one of the greatest concept albums ever, and for good reason... I think that anyone who calls himself a fan of progressive ought to own this no matter what... it may even be my favourite album of all time.

The first thing I notice about this album is the emphasis on guitar solos and riffs. The riffs don't have that thrash-metal quality, it's clearly influenced by the likes of Iron Maiden and such. The soloing is also present everywhere on the album, providing interludes between the songs, but never ad nauseam; every song except the closing track and Suite Sister Mary clocks in at less than six minutes, with the only other song breaching the five minute mark being The Mission. Queensryche are progressive maybe, in a sense, but they tone down senseless instrumental wankery to a minimum and keep everything short and sweet. No ridiculous 12-minute instrumentals, no sir. Well-crafted, well-thought-through, it's planned to be this way.

Geoff Tate has a voice which is very much reminiscent of Bruce Dickinson et al., being able to hit these high notes with ease, he gives off a splendid performance during the record, plus his lyrical antics are nothing close to cheesy. The whole album has a theme, a concept, a narrative, and every lyric despite being clear has some sort of hidden meaning, while all serving to advance the narrative Revolution Calling is a clever attack on the capitalist/communist lifestyles, Spreading the Disease attacks the life of prostitutes, The Needle Lies hits home on drugs, I Don't Believe In Love reflects on a failed relationship, proving that lyrically this album is more than just a story. It's a reflection on society as a whole, subtly underling its flaws rather than spitting them in your face the way punk rock likes to go about its business. That's another reason I enjoy this album so much: despite being easy to listen to and a fun record, there's a sense of intelligence and brains behind it. This is the kind of disc and lyrics you could write your English final essay on. There is a double meaning to everything, and still it ties into a coherent story. That's what lyric-writing is all about, folks.

And the music is not inferior. As I mentioned the guitars are topnotch, with some terrific solos all over the place, especially on the short instrumental interludes such as Anarchy-X and Waiting for 22. Not a note is out of place, all these vocal-less moments enhance the flow perfectly. The drumming isn't as over the top Mike Portnoy-esque progressive, but it's excellent and a lot of the fills kick ass (double-bass on The Needle Lies anyone?). The bass is a bit low in the mix, but it never strays or goes amiss. The keyboards just enhance the atmospheres perfectly, and Tate's amazing voice tops the whole thing off. Musically AND lyrically this band is at the top of their game on this record and shooting their load on all possible fronts.

And despite all this the album still is more than a sum of its parts. Most bands that have these skills tend to be a little too pretentious, but this album has a perfect flow from beginning to end. It never bores or tires or gets repetitive, every song flows perfectly into the next, every placement makes sense, it all just fits into place like a puzzle being solved. Nothing is too late. It all climaxes in the grand Suite Sister Mary, which is a 10 minute plus track showing off all the best characteristics of this band: heaviness, melodic approach to music, Geoff's operatic voice, excellent narrative... It's almost too perfect to be true.

The only problem this album has is that it hands clean blows everything else in the band's discography out of the water, puts it down about five notches, and stands supreme as one of the best albums ever released. This belongs up there in your classics collection without doubt. It's so much better than all the other things they've ever released. It fits perfectly next to Number of the Beast and Master of Puppets on your heavy metal side, or The Wall and 2112 on the prog side, it blends both these worlds into one. This is a must have for anyone who calls themselves a fan of music. It's worth the bucks, 100% guaranteed. A timeless record.



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user ratings (966)
Chart.
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • D. Anthony Kerr (5)
    "What I know for sure is that Queensryche crafted a magnificently ambitious collection of ...

    PsychicChris (5)
    The story might be its biggest talking point but the songwriting and band performances are...

    menawati CONTRIBUTOR (5)
    Queensryche at the top of their game. One of the best concept albums ever released....

    dannyboy89 (5)
    The essential Queensryche album. If you have not heard this, and you say you're a prog fa...

  • Kenneth E. Rathburn (5)
    Narration, poetry, addiction, tragedy and intrigue contribute to create a powerful, everla...

    Mendigo (3.5)
    This is one of the best known conceptual albums and one of the most important progressive ...

    deflepp0925 (5)
    ...

    Priestmetal (5)
    ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
March 13th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

True, this is an excellent album that, considering its sound, has managed to age shockingly well.

Good review.

Tyler
Emeritus
March 13th 2007



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think the reason it's aged so well is because of how it's been violently plagiarized since it came out.

trustxdialect
March 13th 2007



1502 Comments


Whenever someone mentions American Idiot, someone mentions this album. Almost every conversation has resulted like that. Weird.

Anyway, excellent review. I really want to check this out just because of how much praise I've seen it get.

Tyler
Emeritus
March 13th 2007



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just make sure you don't bother with Part 2. Not even Dio could save that album.

Cravinov13
March 13th 2007



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^^ IMO Dio couldn't save Black Sabbath, so I don't get your reference.

I personally think this album towers over all other concept albums. Period.This Message Edited On 03.13.07

Bfhurricane
March 13th 2007



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This could possibly be the greatest concept album ever, perhaps behind Dream Theater's "Scenes From a Memory." Just an absolutely awesome record, and very good review. My band covers some Queensryche but nothing off of this album.

Cravinov13
March 13th 2007



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My band covered Spreading The Disease... it wasn't as good as the original though (duh!).

Tyler
Emeritus
March 13th 2007



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My reference is that pt 2 is a shitty album and not even the awesome Dio could save it.

Cravinov13
March 13th 2007



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh. Well I agree with Pt 2 sucking at least. :p

Bfhurricane
March 13th 2007



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't plan on checking out Pt. 2, from what I hear. Though I saw a live video of some song that was quite good off of their website.

punknmetal4lyf
March 14th 2007



50 Comments


Dio sucks dude, sorry to say. Just lame shock hair metal.

Good review, thanks to this I'm thinking about buying this album now.This Message Edited On 03.14.07

Stalusk
March 16th 2007



90 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You really hit the nail on the head, a fantastic album in every respect. Anarchy X is a sensational start, just gets you fired up right away.

Listening to some of their other albums it's kinda hard to believe they were able to create something like this. As u said, it towers above everything else they've done and almost everything in the genre.

Yazz_Flute
June 18th 2007



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just got this album

i'm only on track 4, but holy shit this is really, really awesome, i think this is gona rival Metropolis Pt 2 for myy favorite concept album of all time. Hell, its def my favorite 80s album.

Maybe i'm jumping to conclusions too soon, but this really seems awesome.

Digging: Eskaton - 4 Visions

Iai
Emeritus
June 18th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

C'mon, Part 2 was not that bad.

Cravinov13
June 18th 2007



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

but no where near this good!

Yazz_Flute
June 19th 2007



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol

Willie
Moderator
October 5th 2007



15919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

Spreading the Disease attacks the life of prostitutes
I think you missed the point of that song. It's not attacking prostitutes at all. It serves to introduce the love interest of Niki and also to establish how they met, as well as show another corruption within the church, as well as wrap it all up in her sadness.

Good Review... voted, despite it being an old one.This Message Edited On 10.05.07

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

Altmer
October 5th 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It does, if you look closely. The album is not just the story, but also a metaphor for the overly sexual nature of society.

FR33L0RD
October 5th 2007



1461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Its a classic album that i need to buy sooner or later

Willie
Moderator
October 5th 2007



15919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

It does, if you look closely. The album is not just the story, but also a metaphor for the overly sexual nature of society.
That I can agree with. I just don't see it as attacking prostitutes... you're supposed to feel sorry for her in this album.



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