Operation: Mindcrime
The Key


3.4
great

Review

by Willie STAFF
September 12th, 2015 | 91 replies


Release Date: 09/18/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Key sounds like Geoff Tate finally cares again. It's no throwback to the glory days, but it's his best modern output.

Geoff Tate just can’t seem to stay out of his own way. There’s no doubt Tate is a talented singer that helped Queensryche achieve the success they enjoyed in the 80s and 90s, but there’s also no doubt that the man believes all of his own hype. That (over) confidence has led to a lot of questionable decisions over the years. Geoff’s decision to call his new band Operation: Mindcrime and release a song that sounded like it was lifted directly from that album is just the latest in a series of strange choices. Releasing that song made it seem like he had nothing more to say musically, and that he was going to end his career milking the Mindcrime-cow to death. However, after hearing The Key in its entirety, it turns out that Geoff Tate does still have something new and worthwhile to say.

In a nutshell, The Key mixes the atmospheric prog of Promised Land with the alt. metal-lite of Tribe, but with modern influences. Possibly even more substantial, though, is that it actually sounds like Geoff and company care about making a quality album. Almost the entire album is full of chill prog rock that features great hooks, subtle background flourishes, catchy guitar melodies, and even a great modern performance from Geoff Tate – the second half of the album is especially good. Furthermore, he achieved his goal to push further into musical territory he never really hit with Queensryche. There’s the 70s-inspired keyboard solo on ‘Ready to Fly’, the electro-goth sound of ‘Discussions in a Smoke Filled Room’, and even some gritty alt. rock vocal styling on ‘Life or Death’.

Of course, everything isn’t all sunshine and buttercups. The story itself is pretty unsubstantial. To be honest, I’m not even sure what it’s really talking about. I’ve figured out that some dude found a key that gives him some cool power over the world, but the story isn’t really front-and-center like on the Mindcrime albums. Basically, at no point does the story feel as epic and world changing as Geoff’s pervious concept album endeavors. The only other issue with The Key is the song ‘The Stranger’. ‘The Stranger’ is Geoff’s attempt at including a heavy track on the album and it fails pretty spectacularly. It seems to take a majority of its influence from 90s alt. industrial bands such as Stabbing Westward, but also features Geoff Tate giving his best rhythmic vocal delivery. To be honest, with a different vocal track, ‘The Stranger’ wouldn’t be that bad of a song; as it is, though, it’s one worth skipping.

When Geoff Tate took on the name Operation: Mindcrime and started spouting off about a prog rock trilogy that would allow him to break new musical ground, I just rolled my eyes. It turns out, though, that he was pretty much able to pull it off. The story itself isn't nearly as compelling as either Mindcrime album, but the album is still pretty damn good. Despite the band name, it turns out that The Key isn't trying to cash in on Mindcrime's sound and direction. What we get with The Key is a chill, atmospheric, prog rock album that should appeal to fans content with the mellower side of bands such as Riverside, Porcupine Tree and, yes, even Queensryche.



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user ratings (31)
Chart.
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
September 12th 2015


17389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4 | Sound Off

Re-Inventing the Future: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX7lRZmt8Hw



Burn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlVE5CvFc9c



The Stranger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbjEBGBaI9M

Digging: Hypno5e - Alba - Les Hombres Errantes

Sabrutin
September 12th 2015


4960 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Honestly I hated both singles "The Stranger" and "Hearing Voices", but the others not so much actually. From what the review gives me, I imagine that the best tracks are the ones I haven't heard yet. If that's the case, I can see your summary becoming my opinion on the album.

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2015


24442 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

just seeing that as the band name pisses me off

Willie
Moderator
September 12th 2015


17389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4 | Sound Off

Yeah. I don't agree with the name either.



--From what the review gives me, I imagine that the best tracks are the ones I haven't heard yet.--



Definitely. I'd say the two you named are the worst two on there.

JesseMechanix
September 12th 2015


87 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good review. I enjoyed "Re-Inventing the Future". Will check this out.

Digging: Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown

Tunaboy45
September 12th 2015


16050 Comments


Wow, thought this would be getting a ton of 1s

Geoff just pisses me off now

Sabrutin
September 12th 2015


4960 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Will check [2]

Ebola
September 12th 2015


2891 Comments


The Stranger is one of the worst tracks of the year and new QR is my jam so I doubt I'll check this.
Also, Tate has pissed me off to the point where I simply refuse to give the man any more money.
Nice review and avatar as always.

Oh, and "it's" should be capitalized in the summary.

emester
September 12th 2015


8205 Comments


Wille did Tate make you write this at gunpoint

Digging: Spectral Lore/Jute Gyte - Helian

Willie
Moderator
September 12th 2015


17389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4 | Sound Off

--The Stranger is one of the worst tracks of the year and new QR is my jam so I doubt I'll check this.--

It's not like a divorce where you have to choose one or the other. I have a feeling that I'll like the new Ryche too, but that doesn't mean I can't like this.

--Wille did Tate make you write this at gunpoint--

Ha ha. No. If you look at my reviews of Frequency Unknown and Dedicated to Chaos, you'll see that I'm capable of not liking a Tate/Ryche output.

Ebola
September 12th 2015


2891 Comments


"It's not like a divorce"
lmfao best response

judasgoat
September 12th 2015


239 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Reinventing the Future is such a blatant ripoff of The Mission and Eyes of a Stranger that it hurts, despite it being a decent song. And The Stranger is comedy gold. But still, I'll probably check this anyway. It can't be worse than Kings and Thieves.



Unless it is, in which case I will probably set myself on fire.

sonictheplumber
September 12th 2015


8521 Comments


great album cover lol

sonictheplumber
September 12th 2015


8521 Comments


good review, prolly gonna skip this. is the new toddryche out yet

Willie
Moderator
September 12th 2015


17389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4 | Sound Off

--Reinventing the Future is such a blatant ripoff of The Mission and Eyes of a Stranger that it hurts--

True, but it's not a bad track. Mostly because it's so much like those songs that how could it not be?



--It can't be worse than Kings and Thieves.--

I didn't like that album.



--is the new toddryche out yet--

This album is out on Friday and new Ryche is out early October.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
September 12th 2015


3044 Comments


As nuts as Tate seems to be, I'll have to give this a spin based on the review. Great writing.

LepreCon
September 12th 2015


5437 Comments


Ugh, the only person in the world who could possibly think this obnoxious tosser is still in any way relevant is himself.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2015


6527 Comments


(edit: fixed)

good review. a lot of reviewers put some obligatory biographical stuff in the review that doesn't add much, but you seem to find things worth saying. this reads really effortlessly. never really read much of your stuff but yeah, good straightforward writing.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2015


7745 Comments


The review intrigued me, I guess I need to check this album at some point.

Titan
September 13th 2015


18536 Comments


there were a few good songs on FU.....that is not the case here



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