Queensryche
Operation: Mindcrime II


3.5
great

Review

by scissorlocked USER (35 Reviews)
July 31st, 2010 | 24 replies | 4,795 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sequels: A Mindcrime or not?

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Sequels. We all face them with a bittersweet grimace which only exposes our innermost thoughts about them. We all deeply want them to live up to the expectations, to stand proudly next to their truly covetable cousins, that took our hearts away. But then…then we all face the naked truth. Sequels really suck. Gone are the smart ideas, the innovative structures, the brilliantly shaped characters. So what do we have to expect from them?

The important thing always is to raise the right question: Is Operation Mindcrime 2, the sequel to one of the greatest prog metal albums, good enough so as to stand up next to its 18 year older brother?And is this the right question?

The answer is simple: NO.

Operation Mindcrime 2, simply can’t encounter the band’s magnum opus in terms of lyrical content, songwriting, and musical performance. But wait. Think twice and remember: Which other album can encounter Operation Mindcrime in all these within its genre? Well, I don’t think anyone can find more than 3 or 4 answers. And so, under that prism, the criticism that this sequel took was too harsh. So, let’s ask ourselves again: is Operation Mindrime 2 an enjoyable listen?

Of course it is. So let’s begin anew:

Operation Mindcrime 2 is a fine-crafted metal album, which continues the story of Nikky who has been blinded by his terrible want of revenge against the evil Dr X. Yes, it seems clichéd , but Tate always has some good lines to deliver, and make a plain story showing genius. However, in this case, there is nothing truly genius , but the album flows well and the songs are generally smart and simple, baring Queensryche’s unique formula.

The whole thing revolves around the famous junkie’s revenge, and the consequences of his actions. It’s a clever way to start, and especially from an album which raised so much questions. Revenge here is not so similar to the sardonic way it is portrayed in Kill Bill, or in the famous Park Chan-Wook movies, nor in the way ancient Greeks had in mind(arrogance, blindness, nemesis). Nikky was the victim and he just wants to revenge for all the years he spent rotting in prison, for the death of Mary and for so many demons a junkie with such a crumbled life can have, ultimately haunted by his sinful past. Tate is given the chance to criticize once again specific things through the eyes of his hunted character. His pen indirectly targets the government or the legal system for which Nikky still bares resentment. Tate’s lyrics are decent: they have surely lost some of their older sharpness and lyricism, but they are well written, and adequately interact with the music.

In this field, you’ll find no specific changes at all. Operation Mindcrime 2 follows the first album almost blindly. This is not a bad thing, if you consider that the band wanted to keep the original atmosphere, so these 2 albums can be heard the one after the other with a level of resemblance. The band even used older instruments in order to capture the original sound. In this point, Queensryche have done a splendid work. The production is good, and the sound is totally reminiscent of the band’s golden age and the atmosphere of the Operation Mindcrime. However, convincing you that the record holds the Mindcrime sound is nothing on its own, and without Chris Degarmo in the band’s lineup,(who literally owns half of the first Mindcrime) the songwriting may easily fall apart. Fortunately, this isn’t happening at all.

The bassline from “The Hands” is brought straight from the old times, leading a song that can easily be a classic. Ed Jackson’s bass work is omnipresent as always used to be, and Scott Rockenfield’s drumming may not have progressed that much, but it’s solid and technical. The faster tracks like “I’m American” or ”Signs say no” , stand next to slow paced pieces like “Hostage”, and moody ballads like “If I could change it all”. Pamela’s Moore voice in the latter, makes it unique, as also happens in the vocally driven “The Chase”, where Tate’s duet with Ronnie James Dio make it the highlight of the album. However, the album’s quality slowly diminishes after the first half. Trying to recreate a nostalgic and dark ambiance, the album exhausts the listener with long interludes and choir sections. The album carries on with an extended dialogue between Nikky and Sister Mary(disguised as his consciousness) through the last songs. ”Fear City Slide” could have been better and “All the promises” ends up being nothing more than just a decent ballad. The album gives the feeling that the band was somehow bored during the last section. Furthermore, the possible grandeur of the standout tracks will eventually diminish quite soon. Sadly, there is no perpetual flame here.

So, what Operation mindcrime 2 truly is?

Partly flawed, that’s what it is. And maybe that’s also the true face of the band in the 21st century. Queensryche’s attempt is a brave one, and compared with their other works in the post-Hear in the New Frontier era, it is also their greatest. A last glimpse of a band that used to be a milestone in the metal universe, this album never wanted to be anything more than decent closure to a more-than-heavily-discussed story. Nikky is free at last, and maybe that’s what matters. Now remember. Remember how it started.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
scissorlocked
July 31st 2010



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just thought this also needed a positive review.And because I kinda enjoyed the album,this is my opinion.


Digging: John Roberts - Ausio

Bfhurricane
July 31st 2010



6194 Comments


Nice review, liked the first couple paragraphs, kind of sums up why I never bothered to check this album out. I'm a big fan of their earlier stuff, love Operation: Mindcrime and even really liked American Soldier. Probably will never end up getting this though.

Astraea
July 31st 2010



13 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I could only ever get into the song The Hands. Everything else is so generic and bland. A real disappointment, as this band has been ever since Promised Land.

Disconnected
August 1st 2010



485 Comments


"A real disappointment, as this band has been ever since Promised Land."

No, Promised Land is really good.


Astraea
August 1st 2010



13 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I considered it nothing more then an average album with a few okay tracks.

scissorlocked
August 1st 2010



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thank you for the feedback!!!

Promised Land is a great album though,and needs many listens to be appreciated

McCopper
August 1st 2010



1367 Comments


I just couldn't not read this with a greek accent :$
Great job, pos'd, although I'm not sure about the rating yet.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2010



5915 Comments


Thoroughly descriptive review. Pos'd.

Well done, πατριωτάκι.

Promised Land was the last Queensryche album that i really enjoyed in full.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

scissorlocked
August 1st 2010



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the support homies!!!

yeah,Promised Land was their last masterpiece.I never really liked Q2k or Tribe,and American soldier dissapointed me

maybe Queensryche really faded when Degarmo left...

McCopper
August 1st 2010



1367 Comments


Seems possible, he was a main composer after all.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2010



5915 Comments


History has shown that great records were recorded only when there were 2-3 strong personalities coming in creative conflict within a band.

Take Psychotic Waltz for example and compare with the Dead Soul Tribe albums, whose quality degraded album after album, because Buddy Lackey was the one who took all decisions, regarding the band's sound.

In Queensryche now, that man is Geoff Tate.

Another example is Dream Theater with and without Kevin Moore.

scissorlocked
August 1st 2010



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The 2 forces behind Quensryche were definitely DeGarmo and Tate.Wilton also contributed when needed.

Tate is a great lyricist but he cannot alone create albums like Operation Mindcrime or Empire,Wilton is skillful and talented but he is not as good as Degarmo in terms of songwriting.

And as for Dream Theater,Kevin Moore was definitely their best Keyboard player ever.The man has written Space Dye vest!!!

LepreCon
August 1st 2010



3591 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Chase is one of my all time favourite Queensryche tracks. I'm also probably only quite partial to this album because it was the first one I heard by them, I was pretty late getting into Queensryche. Good review, I agree for the most part.

lostforwords
August 1st 2010



443 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really really well written review, even though I never liked this record more than a 2.5. And the fact that it bares that name only makes it worse.Also I can't help questioning their honesty behind their decision to create a sequel to "O.M."...
pos of course

Bfhurricane
August 1st 2010



6194 Comments


Whoa, Kevin Moore is not the cornerstone of all good Dream Theater. That would be Mike Portnoy. He pretty much does everything.

scissorlocked
August 2nd 2010



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Kevin Moore wasn't the cornerstone of the band.He was simply their best keyboardist.His style was more simple and emotional and he was also a great composer.Rudess's more baroque style is quite boring.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 3rd 2010



5915 Comments


Whoa, Kevin Moore is not the cornerstone of all good Dream Theater. That would be Mike Portnoy. He pretty much does everything.

That's the problem i described in my earlier post.

Kevin Moore is the cornerstone of all really essential Dream Theater, though.

Without him, Dream Theater's music became unbalanced, with Scenes of a memory being the sole exception up to now.

Willie
Moderator
August 3rd 2010



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

So, let’s ask ourselves again: is Operation Mindrime 2 an enjoyable listen?
This is ok, but it's just not that enjoyable. They should have left Mindcrime alone if they didn't plan on trying to do the first album justice.
No, Promised Land is really good.
Yep.
Promised Land was the last Queensryche album that i really enjoyed in full.
What about American Soldier? That one is actually good.
Queensryche really faded when Degarmo left...
It's a catch-22 because it's also his fault that the band took the left-turn that they did with Hear in the Now Frontier.
Tate is a great lyricist but he cannot alone create albums like Operation Mindcrime or Empire,Wilton is skillful and talented but he is not as good as Degarmo in terms of songwriting.
I'm more inclined to believe that Wilton is forced to stick to certain blueprints when writing for Queensryche because of Geoff Tate's refusal to be "metal" anymore.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Bfhurricane
August 3rd 2010



6194 Comments


What about American Soldier? That one is actually good.


I think American Soldier is criminally underrated. It sounds like a whole new band, it's unfortunate they didn't release that album earlier in their career when they were still relevant.

Willie
Moderator
August 4th 2010



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Yeah, if it had come out after Hear in the Now Frontier and they had blamed that entire release on Chris Degarmo they would have redeemed themselves.



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