Queensryche
Operation: Mindcrime II


3.0
good

Review

by PsychicChris USER (47 Reviews)
June 22nd, 2013 | 24 replies | 792 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: At least Ian Anderson had the good sense to release Thick As A Brick II under his own name...

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Operation: Mindcrime II should not exist, at least not as an album released under the Queensryche name. The fact that it is a sequel to the greatest prog metal album of all time was puzzling enough when it was first released in 2006, but a few more details that have come to light since the band’s 2012 schism make it even more frustrating. Despite being another attempt to pander to disgruntled fans after the failed DeGarmo reunion, Operation: Mindcrime II is the first collaboration that Geoff Tate and producer/writer Jason Slater released under the Queensryche name and features a slew of session musicians instead of actual band members. From what I’ve gathered, longtime guitarist Michael Wilton and drummer Scott Rockenfield aren’t even on this damn thing!

What makes this revelation painfully ironic is that the second Mindcrime is the first album that actually sounds like Queensryche in a decade and might just be their most metal-oriented release since the first one. Granted the focus on slower tempos means that “I’m American” and “Signs Say Go” are the closest things that we really get to old school “The Needle Lies” style speed metal, but whoever is playing guitar got their tone to closely match the original shine and they even squeezed in a few actual metal riffs on songs like “One Foot In Hell.” They even upped the ante by reprising a few musical motifs, working in some orchestral elements, and having a few special guest vocalists on select tracks.

But in doing this, they seemed to forget that the original Mindcrime succeeded due to incredibly catchy songs and writing that put each member on equal standing in terms of showing off their skills. The songwriting on its sequel is rife with sluggish executions, meandering structures, and faceless instrumentals that merely set the stage for the vocal performances with very few chances to shine.

Queensryche’s first three releases showed us that this dynamic isn’t necessarily a bad thing but that idea is immediately thrown out the window when the listener realizes that the vocals on here sound like ***. All signs of deterioration that have popped up in the wake of Promised Land finally culminate to this single performance as Tate delivers his awkwardly constructed lines in a grating sneer, botches drawn out wails, abandons his lower range for dull spoken word, and generally makes one wonder how much sooner we would’ve noticed this if he hadn’t been coasting by on grunge for the last decade. Fortunately, all is not lost as Pamela Moore gives it her all as the ghost/hallucination/whatever of Sister Mary and metal master Ronnie James Dio upstages his former apprentice as Dr. X on the otherwise anticlimactic “The Chase.”

Speaking of which, it goes without saying that the story is as directionless as it is implausible. While a story featuring the loveable Nikki escaping prison and seeking revenge for Mary’s death would be a neat character study, the story we got falls flat as the brainwashed junkie is somehow paroled and goes off to die whimpering after an anticlimactic victory. It doesn’t help that going into his thought process is much more forced than it was in the original Mindcrime and that it immediately forgets about the social commentary that made its ancestor so inspiring. Seriously, this was released in the middle of the War on Terror; how did they pass up the chance to talk about that?

But with all this bitching to consider, the album’s first half actually manages to be pretty decent. In addition to “The Hands” being a legitimately good song and “Hostage” making for a decent bluesy number, other tracks like “One Foot In Hell” and “Signs Say Go” make for entertaining rockers once you get past Tate’s warbling. I also gotta give props to “Murderer?” for its excellent opening and wonder how things would’ve worked if it had been the closer instead of the twenty minutes that follow it. It wouldn’t have exactly been “Eyes Of A Stranger,” but it would’ve ended things on an intense, ambiguous note as opposed to a dull one.

In the end, Operation: Mindcrime II is one of those albums that I should hate on pure principle but isn’t totally devoid of value. It attempts to justify its existence by means of a decent start, passionate guest performances, and neat callbacks but ultimately falters due to the band’s disassociations as well as a declining creator’s misunderstanding of his own creation. Perhaps it could’ve worked if it had been released at a more favorable time or if the band members actually gave a damn, but this looks to be another case of what could’ve been. At least Ian Anderson had the good sense to release Thick As A Brick II under his own name…

Current Highlights:
“I’m American”
“One Foot In Hell”
“Hostage”
“The Hands”
“Signs Say Go”

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



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2.5
average
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Titan
June 21st 2013



4799 Comments


I don't care for this review at all. Of course Wilton, Rockenfield, and Jackson played on this! As far as the songs go, some are bad for sure, however, the best songs on this album are on the second half and aren't even mentioned in your review.

This album begins at Signs Say Go.

sonictheplumber
June 21st 2013



3884 Comments


I'll tell you what doomed Ryan and Romney - the fact that they're both right-wing corporate queefheads who want to do nothing more but suck on the chodes of the rich.

Titan
June 21st 2013



4799 Comments


thanks for telling me!

facupm
June 21st 2013



5620 Comments


Good review

Digging: Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf

PsychicChris
June 21st 2013



194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Following the split between Geoff Tate and the rest of Queensrÿche in 2012, it was revealed in a sworn declaration by producer Jason Slater that the album received very limited contributions from the band members aside from Tate and Mike Stone. Much of the music was recorded by studio musicians, due to conflicts between Tate and his band mates.[6] Drummer Scott Rockenfield did not play on the album at all, while most of the guitars, including Michael Wilton's tracks, were re-recorded by engineer Mitch Doran.[7] Some of the bass tracks used are demo recordings played by Slater, while the drum track to "I'm American" is a MIDI recording made by Doran that was not originally intended for use on the final album.[7]"

Got this from Wikipedia and the court documents from last year go into even further detail. The second half is okay but it just doesn't sit well with me.

sonictheplumber
June 21st 2013



3884 Comments


hahaha titan

Titan
June 21st 2013



4799 Comments


Oh damn, sorry then Chris.......I stand corrected!

sonictheplumber
June 22nd 2013



3884 Comments


dam :/

Titan
June 22nd 2013



4799 Comments


I wasn't aware of all that drama obviously........the normal band members are listed in the liner notes of the album itself

PsychicChris
June 22nd 2013



194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It happens, I wouldn't have guessed it myself with the way the album is presented and how hard they're desperately trying to sound like the first one.

Titan
June 22nd 2013



4799 Comments


The liner notes are a little tricky as well the way they have the information listed. It never says the associated instruments with the band members names, doesn't reveal writing credits (although wiki does), but does have each band members 'thank you's' at the end.....

dannyboy89
June 22nd 2013



7845 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Album has its misfires, no doubt. Still have
doubts with my rating.

@PsychicChris: What time is it at your
country?

Digging: Agalloch - The Mantle

PsychicChris
June 22nd 2013



194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, they did manage to hide it pretty well and the session guys have only started talking about it in the last year. It always was one of those albums where something just didn't feel right in its presentation but you couldn't quite put your finger on it.

Titan
June 22nd 2013



4799 Comments


With that, pos'd dude

sonictheplumber
June 22nd 2013



3884 Comments


Yep.

facupm
June 22nd 2013



5620 Comments


mindcrime 1 >

KILL
June 22nd 2013



67082 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

neck

NapalmCrusader
June 22nd 2013



1737 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Average as fuck, enjoy a lot tracks like I'm american but tracks like speed of light are awful

ksoflas
June 22nd 2013



268 Comments


Pos'd for sure. Good job man.

scissorlocked
June 24th 2013



3479 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review

I really like this one despite the general hate it receives

Digging: Fantastic Mr Fox - Sketches



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