|Classic Review: Queensrÿche - Operation: Mindcrime|
Year released: 1988
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: April 13, 2006
Reviewed by: Ulysses
Rated 4.51/5 (90.11%) (87 Votes)
There are several varied opinions on this album. As you can see, our Lord Requiem scored 3.5 on this while Sargon the Terrible gave it a remarkable 5+. I'm going to review this album so I can be a medium between the two and give the album what I think is suitable. I was never around the time to say at what time Queensryche sold out or not, so I have no knowledge of that and I will not scratch points off of the album for that reason. This is the second offering I had heard of Queensryche's material (after the absolutely appalling sequel to this very album) and I can honestly say I wasn't expecting an album of such astounding musicianship and concept.
Many people had claimed this to be an album of Progressive Metal brilliance, standing next to classics like Dream Theater's Images and Words and Symphony X's V. When I had taken their words for it I gave it a listen I was a bit perplexed. It was good, but I have to say that it isn't very progressive at all. Sure, the concept of this album is something you'd expect in a Prog Metal album, and their music is rather detailed with the sporadic technical riffs and time signatures, but there are many other aspects of Operation: Mindcrime that would make it fall under Heavy Metal, or maybe even a rock opera too. Regardless the songs are catchy and very melodic, I couldn't think that they could've done a better job at building the atmosphere of the album's story with such superb tracks. They're not all perfect, sometimes they seemed a bit odd and tedious in small instances but there are songs that are just hallmarks of brilliant Metal, and not only that but effective storytelling too. A thing about concept albums is that you can do two things when creating one: conjure an album of epic proportions or have an absolute colossal cock-up. With a plot like this, it's rather obvious what Operation: Mindcrime falls into.
The plot follows the journey of a troubled heroin addict named Nikki who joins an underground organization led by Doctor X that seeks to control the nation by using our protagonist as an instrument for executing politicians and prominent leaders in the United States at a time of crisis and revolution within the nation. Nikki follows the organization's beliefs blindly, as long as Doctor X can supply Nikki his needle-juice. The story also tells a story of a prostitute-turned-nun named Mary who was saved from the streets by Father William… Who works for Doctor X. When Nikki was ordered to kill Mary and William, he had slaughtered the priest but could not hurt Mary. Nikki began to think differently of the organization and vowed to kill his leader. Nikki failed to kill X and he had been driven insane by the death of Mary… This leads to the conclusion of such an emotionally tragic story. By hiding some critical points in the plot such as manipulation of the church by the government and the corruption of politics, these points still have a basis of truth that still contains validation in today's society.
When this album is looked at for more than the music, it can truly be something to behold. I recommend Operation: Mindcrime to those looking for something incredible and a story that is majestic in concept and passion.
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