Queensryche
Operation: Mindcrime


5.0
classic

Review

by PsychicChris USER (116 Reviews)
June 9th, 2013 | 27 replies


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The story might be its biggest talking point but the songwriting and band performances are what truly push it into an ethereal level.

Just about everyone who remembers progressive music before Dream Theater was a thing could tell you what Operation: Mindcrime did for the genre as well as what it did for Queensryche’s reputation. While the following release was the one that truly pushed the band into the mainstream consciousness, this album paved the way for its success and for the fortunes of many groups that sought to follow in its footsteps. But with that said, there are several ingredients to Queensryche’s legendary concept album that its imitators never got quite right and a few more that seemed to have never crossed their minds…

While Queensryche has never been a band that stopped experimenting with their sound, this album is their first that is completely focused. While The Warning and Rage For Order respectively dealt with contrasting styles and throwing every idea against the wall to see what sticks, Operation: Mindcrime combines every idea that they have had and condenses it down to a style that is distinctly theirs. The speed runs on “Speak” and “The Needle Lies,” the epic “Suite Sister Mary,” and the various interludes may be exceptions to the rule, but every song on here operates on a steady formula of a mid-tempo pace, some well placed riffs, and an incredibly catchy chorus.

The band dynamic has also seems to have undergone a few changes with this release. Geoff Tate’s vocal prowess was originally the ace up Queensryche’s sleeve, but the other band members have all stepped up in their game. There are plenty of riffs that are just catchy as the chorus lines, the production really brings out Eddie Jackson’s bass performance, Scott Rockenfield throws out some nifty drum beats here and there, and they even let the guy bring out some of his electronic influences on “Electric Requiem.” Also worth noting is Pamela Moore’s performance as Sister Mary for she provides some effective theatrics despite only appearing in the second half of a single song.

But what really makes this album stand out is the fact that the band still hasn’t lost sight of the songwriting process. Despite having a pretty lofty concept to handle and the interludes to spar with, no segment goes on for too long and each song is an absolute classic that is just as enjoyable on its own as is in context with the others.

With that to consider, the highlights will certainly depend on the listener’s personal tastes. I’ve always found “Revolution Calling” and “Breaking The Silence” to be the most emotionally stirring though the crossover appeal of “I Don’t Believe In Love” is something that just can’t be ignored. Even the interludes manage to be entertaining as “Anarchy-X” serves as a brief but powerful prelude while “Electric Requiem” and “My Empty Room” make for memorable set pieces.

Speaking of sets, the album’s concept of the trigger-happy junkie who loses his way is one that cannot be ignored. While the Manchurian Candidate meets Romeo And Juliet plot may seem simplistic at times, the themes of individual songs are what truly sell it as each one has its own things to say about the needs for social revolution, political and religious corruption, drugs, and relationships. You may not be asking yourself who killed Mary at the album’s end but you may find yourself quoting the political rhetoric on “Speak” and “Spreading The Disease” from time to time…

A few bands like Kamelot and Savatage came close to replicating the song-oriented story formula of Operation: Mindcrime, but it is a release that cannot be topped and just might the greatest concept album that the heavy metal genre has to offer. The story might be its biggest talking point but the songwriting and band performances are what truly push it into an ethereal level. And whether you end up listening to the whole thing or just downloading its singles, I think you just might come out of it at the same level of satisfaction. Just don’t think about the subsequent attempts to cash in on its success…

Current Highlights:
“Revolution Calling”
“Operation: Mindcrime”
“Breaking The Silence”
“I Don’t Believe In Love”
“Eyes Of A Stranger”

Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com



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user ratings (1188)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Joanna van Schaik (5)
    This album is one of the defining concept albums released in 1988, and the accompanying mu...

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

    deflepp0925 (5)
    ...

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

  • D. Anthony Kerr (5)
    "What I know for sure is that Queensryche crafted a magnificently ambitious collection of ...

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

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

    Priestmetal (5)
    ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Titan
June 8th 2013


13055 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

one of the easiest 5's ever and the best progressive metal album of all time

Pestiferous
June 8th 2013


1356 Comments


http://i.imgur.com/G7PME4b.jpg

HorrorBusiness78
June 8th 2013


112 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A true, definitive classic.

conesmoke
June 8th 2013


5444 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

KILL MARY???



...she's a risk.

NapalmCrusader
June 8th 2013


1738 Comments


This needle lies, speak and suite sister mary are some of the best ones

conesmoke
June 8th 2013


5444 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

donnn't ever truuuuuuust



don't ever trust the needlllllee..



Geadom
June 8th 2013


3512 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I pos. good review.



Revolution calling, eyes of a stranger and the title track have NEVER leaved my head since the first time i heard em

Digging: Blood Incantation - Starspawn

conesmoke
June 8th 2013


5444 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah, except the drums on symbolic > ITP

conesmoke
June 8th 2013


5444 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

double post.

Geadom
June 8th 2013


3512 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is a Queensryche review/thread, cone....

conesmoke
June 8th 2013


5444 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lol sorry bro, couldn't resist.

tempest--
June 8th 2013


18914 Comments


haven't jammed this in so long time to change that!

Necrotica
June 9th 2013


10584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

"I've had enough and I want out!"

"You can't walk away now..."

ViperAces
June 9th 2013


12559 Comments


so whats up with th enew one has it leaked yet?

NeroCorleone80
June 9th 2013


33845 Comments


Good review, even better album

Digging: Nina Nastasia - Run to Ruin

ksoflas
June 9th 2013


984 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Monumental!!!

ksoflas
June 9th 2013


984 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Pos'd.

NeroCorleone80
June 9th 2013


33845 Comments


m/

Friday13th
June 9th 2013


5476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ring! Ring! Hello? MINDCRIME.

Digging: Blood Sweat Tears - Child Is Father to the Man

facupm
June 9th 2013


10788 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

best album ever, great review pos'd gonna jam



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