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Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime II (CD)

Operation: Mindcrime II
by Michael Dalakos at 12 March 2006, 10:03 PM

Thanks to Emu… oops, I mean Warner's Greek branch, I now have the chance to do a review of the brand new Queensryche album. Every Queensryche album is a special one but imagine my shaking hands when it comes to the sequel of Operation: Mindcrime! Those of you who know me in person are aware of my passion for this band. The first Mindcrime is in position No. 2 in the top ten of my heart. I consider it to be a complete waste of time to start babbling about the significance of the first album so I will cut to the chase and try to be as specific as possible. Let's start with some facts.
Fact: Mindcrime II is by far the best album the band has released since 1994 (when the mighty Promised Land was released).
Fact: It is also the heaviest album since 1994.
Fact: Queensryche is not the same band they used to be back in 1988 (the year the first album was released). Chris De Garmo is long gone (where is he?).
Fact: Tate can sing up to a single note. Sorry to hear this but at least he sings really well (still).
So how good is the new Mindcrime album? The fact that it is better than the last three studio albums doesn't mean a lot since we all know these albums sucked big time. DON'T try to compare this to the first album. It is pointless (not to say sacrilegious). It is a good album.
First of all once again the guitars play a very important role, the trademarked harmonies are here once again. Forget all the pointless grunge experimentations. When the band plays Metal, the guitars do sound as guitars of a Metal band! What do I mean when I say when the band plays Metal? I praise Queensryche for not forgetting their last 12 years of existence. This means that there are many elements the band introduced us to during those last 12 years. Some alternative parts for example. But there's more. There's Blues moments, some interesting classical music passes and lots more. I highly respect that they didn't try to imitate their 1988 sound. That would have only caused laughter, I guess.
There are a couple of songs that I dare say that they could have been on the first album. Finest example of them all is the song The Hands that simply sounds like a leftover (but a great leftover) from that era. Also I'm American and Signs Say Go are in general terms excellent. The rest of the songs without being something amazing are all on a very high level with many interesting ideas that I didn't believe a band like Queensryche had to offer: it's simple, I couldn't believe they have something new to say in 2006 and I only hoped this album would not be a copy/paste of glorious days gone by.
Operation: Mindcrime II has a growing feeling. It takes time for the listener to get in the mood, and though the very fast (almost thrashy) I'm American grabs you by the neck, the rest of the songs demand lots more of your time to reveal their beauty. Once again Pamela Moore plays the role of Sister Mary. Just for a twist, Mr. R.J. Dio (respect) delivers a paranoid interpretation of Dr. X.
To be honest, I expected a better, fresher production. The drums sound weak but at least everything is clean enough to make the listening enjoyable. So, the bottom line is that Queensryche, in 2006, can still stand even though with the help of their past. They released an album that balances somewhere between the past and the present of their sound and I admire that. I only wonder: how many Mindrcime albums can this band release?

3 Star Rating

I'm American
One Foot In Hell
The Hands
Speed Of Light
Signs Say Go (Will I Surrender?)
Re-Arrange You
The Chase
A Murderer
If I Could Change It All
An Intentional Confrontation
A Junkie's Blues (Everything Will Be Alright)
Fear City Slide
All The Promises
Scott Rockenfield - Drums
Mike Stone - Guitar
Geoff Tate - Vocals
Eddie Jackson - Bass
Michael Wilton - Guitar

Guest Musicians:
R.J. Dio as Dr. X
Pamela Moore as Sister Mary
Record Label: Rhino Records


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Edited 06 February 2023

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