Operation: Mindcrime
QUEENSRŸCHE

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QUEENSRŸCHE - Operation: Mindcrime cover
4.41 | 123 ratings | 12 reviews
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Album · 1988

Filed under Progressive Metal

Tracklist

1. I Remember Now (1:18)
2. Anarchy-X (1:27)
3. Revolution Calling (4:39)
4. Operation: Mindcrime (4:45)
5. Speak (3:42)
6. Spreading The Disease (4:07)
7. The Mission (5:46)
8. Suite Sister Mary (10:41)
9. The Needle Lies (3:08)
10. Electric Requiem (1:22)
11. Breaking The Silence (4:34)
12. I Don't Believe In Love (4:23)
13. Waiting For 22 (1:07)
14. My Empty Room (1:30)
15. Eyes Of A Stranger (6:38)

Total Time 59:14

Line-up/Musicians

- Geoff Tate / voices, keyboards
- Chris De Garmo / guitars
- Michael Wilton / guitars
- Eddie Jackson / bass guitars
- Scott Rockenfield / drums & keyboards

- Pamela Moore / guest Vocals
- Michael Kamen / Orchestration

About this release

Released by EMI. Reissued in 2003 with the following bonus tracks:

1. The Mission (live at The Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1990) (6:11)
2. My Empty Room (live at The Astoria Theatre, London, 1994) (2:43)

Reissued in 2006 with a bonus disc recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, England on November 15, 1990 with the following tracklist:

1. I Remember Now (1:12)
2. Anarchy-X (1:28)
3. Revolution Calling (4:51)
4. Operation: Mindcrime (4:16)
5. Speak (3:47)
6. Spreading The Disease (5:13)
7. The Mission (5:50)
8. Suite Sister Mary (12:04)
9. The Needle Lies (3:27)
10. Electric Requiem (1:16)
11. Breaking The Silence (4:34)
12. I Don't Believe In Love (4:29)
13. Waiting For 22 (1:12)
14. My Empty Room (1:27)
15. Eyes Of A Stranger (7:53)

Total Time 62:58

Thanks to negoba, colt, Lynx33 for the updates

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Operation: MindcrimeOperation: Mindcrime
Extra tracks · Remastered
Capitol 2003
Audio CD$5.98
$1.31 (used)
Operation: Mindcrime IIOperation: Mindcrime II
Rhino 2006
Audio CD$8.18
$0.45 (used)
Operation Mindcrime / Queen of ReichOperation Mindcrime / Queen of Reich
Import
Axe Killer 2004
Audio CD$10.71
$10.01 (used)
Operation Mindcrime & Queen of the ReichOperation Mindcrime & Queen of the Reich
EP · Import
Axe Killer 2008
Audio CD$13.20
$28.96 (used)
Operation: Mindcrime [Emi] [Japanese Import]Operation: Mindcrime [Emi] [Japanese Import]
Audio CD$94.59
$8.76 (used)
Queensrÿche: Operation Mindcrime / Queen of the ReichQueensrÿche: Operation Mindcrime / Queen of the Reich
EMI / AXE
Audio CD$234.99
$187.99 (used)
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QUEENSRŸCHE OPERATION: MINDCRIME reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
A milestone in the progession of metal! By successfully combining their NWOBHM influenced traditional metal with the asthetic atmospherics of Pink Floyd, QUEENSRYCHE created a metal masterpiece of the sort that combined all the drama of an opera with a storyline about a disillusioned recovering drug addict named Nikki who joins a revelutionary group and all the twists and turns that such dramatic events involve.

The storyline is succint and to the point and doesn't get off on any tangents. What impresses me more than the storyline is the music itself. The tightness of the band and the perfection of Geoff Tate's vocals make this album feel like one continuous track. Every moment seems like it fits the mood and the added cast characters, choir and sound effects make this one of the best albums of all the 80s if not of all time. The one thing that bugged me for the longest time is that the last track “Eyes Of A Stranger” begins sounding almost identical to the progressions in “Welcome To The Machine” on Pink Floyd's WISH YOU WERE HERE. I have come to terms with it realizing it to be a simultaneous nod to both the band and the theme of a song since both convey healthy doses of paranoia. It only lasts until the band begins to play so I got over it and it does sound really well done.

The argument of whether this is progressive or not doesn't matter to me. This is great music. I would call this for the most part melodic traditional metal with some clearly progressive tracks (“Suite Sister Mary” being the most so). One of the best concept albums ever to emerge in any genre.
Kingcrimsonprog
Operation: Mindcrime was the third full-length studio album by the Progressive Metal band Queensrÿche. The multi-platinum album is the band's most famous work, it is considered a must-own and is constantly appearing in magazine and fan countdowns of best-ever-metal-albums. If you haven't heard it already but think it might be up your street, then I advise taking a shot on it, it'll more than likely pay off.

The album, which was released in 1988, mixes classic metal influenced by the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest with the scope and scale of Progressive Rock bands like Genesis, Pink Floyd and Rush. The band use the lyrics to create a narrative that runs throughout the album, assisted by additional sound effects and voice overs from actors.

The story tells the tale of a shady figure named Doctor X who exploits drug addicts into committing crimes that further his political agenda so as to get what he wants without implicating himself, and is told from the perspective of one such helpless youth. The lyrics primarily deal with his conflicting emotions and the consequences of his actions in a surprising and interesting way.

Operation: Mindcrime is an example of the rock opera format done right. The story isn't too basic to be uninteresting but nor is it needlessly convoluted, there are non-musical voice overs and sound effects thrown in to drive the story but they do not take over the album or get in the way of the music and most importantly of all it is a good album anyway; there is no filler, everything flows well together and the album doesn't tail off in quality towards the end.

It could be argued that Operation: Mindcrime is one of the best concept albums anyone has released to date for those reasons, it is tight, concise and free of needless excess.

Overall, Operation: Mindcrime is an entertaining and expertly crafted album that mixes the attitude of prog with the sound of metal in a brilliant and flab-free way. If you usually like concept albums and rock operas then this is an album that you should consider checking out, if you usually like classic heavy metal then you should seriously consider checking it out and if you usually like Queensrÿche themselves then you really ought to own it already and should get yourself a copy as soon as you can.
Warthur
After the rather transitional and forgettable Rage For Order, Queensryche went the full-on concept album route with Operation: Mindcrime, which is much-acclaimed in progressive metal circles but falls rather flat with me. Part of it is that a lot of the time the material just isn't that progressive, or even interesting - like Pink Floyd's The Wall, the band weave in sound effects and snippets of dialogue at points to create the impression of a narrative but the actual music you get between those bits is just fairly standard, straight-ahead fare.

Another issue is that the album is one of the first metal concept albums to take advantage of the longer running times available on CDs - except this means that a lot of it feels like filler. Had this been a 40-minute album, perhaps it could have sustained my interest, but as it is the ideas presented seem rather thin on the ground (and the political angle to the story is really quite laughable, on the level of a bad Steven Seagal movie). On the whole, I just don't get the appeal of this one.
Time Signature
Revolutions calling...

Genre: progressive metal

After a couple of good releases in the form of the "Queensrÿche" EP and the "Warning" and "Rage for Order", Queensrÿche release the concept album "Operation: Mindcrime", which is heralded by many as the band's masterpiece. And I think that the 'masterpiece' predicate is fully deserved.

The music is progressive, modern and different, yet with an accessible and recognizable sound and lots of rocking energy. There is an overall catchiness to the riffs on this album and many of the vocals melodies are of the sort that just stick to one's brain forever. Geoff Tate's performance is no less than impressive on this album, as he shows off his incredible vocal range, going from a deep booming voice to soaring high vocals (just check 'Speak).

Apart from the fillers, there are no weak tracks on this album, and tracks like 'Revolution Calling', 'Operation: Mindcrime', 'Speak', 'Suite Sister Mary' and 'I Don't Believe in Love' are outstanding.

This is a classic conspiracy-themed rock album recommended to any thinking person with a weakness for rock 'n' roll.
Conor Fynes
'Operation: Mindcrime' - Queensryche (9/10)

Here we have it, one of the most critically acclaimed progressive metal albums of all time. This is the album that brought Queensryche from being a very underground, relatively unknown band to one of the most intriguing and innovative bands in metal.

It's not hard to see why.

'Operation: Mindcrime' is a brilliantly written conceptual piece dealing with pleasant and cheerful topics such as cults, assasination, political radicals, prostitution and crack addicts. Not exactly an album you would buy for Mother's Day, but all family holidays aside, it comes together to forge a dark and psychological saga that by the end of the story, actually has you feeling sympathy and pathos for the characters, as if 'Mindcrime' was a very well-written book. There are very few rock operas that can evoke that sort of reaction, and it really works to the album's favour.

Every song on this is fantastic to listen to, and each could be considered a 'highlight' in their own right. However, the cream of this crop (for me, at least) would be the heart wrenching 'The Mission' and the grim epic 'Suite: Sister Mary,' which clocks in at almost 11 minutes long.

While I'm not going to say this is a super-progressive album (despite the epic) I will say that the music is intelligent and effective all the way through. As opposed to a focus on complex, polyrhythmic arrangements, Queensryche steers clear and instead focuses on a more melodic based brand of prog. There are elements of prog, but the magic can always be traced back to the excellent core of songwriting.

This is the best work by one of the best progressive metal bands. It's in the top three prog metal albums of all time, up there with my other two contenders, 'Metropolis Part II: Scenes From A Memory' by Dream Theater and 'Remedy Lane' from Pain of Salvation (all three being concept albums, coincidentally.)

Powerful and moving; everything that music should be. An essential masterpiece.
AtomicCrimsonRush
This is a bonafide masterpiece.

I first heard Queensryche online and methodically and systematically collected all their albums after this introduction. Nothing else QR have done can touch this absolutely brilliant concept album. The concert experience on DVD is even better as you can really understand the concept as you watch the visual animation. Geof Tate's vocals are amazing, he has to be one of the most powerful, accomplished vocalists on the planet. Every track on this album is part of the whole but it is possible to enjoy them individually. Here's some quick thoughts on my favourites:

I Remember Now, Anarchy-X and Revolution Calling - what a way to begin an album, with a nurse visiting a patient with vindictive attitude. The guitars crash out of the speakers until we get to the melodic, metal 'Revolution Calling'. It has such a catchy chorus it is impossible to forget. Operation: Mindcrime - simply a great song that sums up the main themes of the album. Speak - my favourite track, once heard, never forgotten, and Tate is brilliant on this, he performs so well in concert too as if he is the victim and is reliving the storyline. Spreading The Disease - another very good track with high powered vocals and great lead breaks. A concert favourite I noticed too. Suite Sister Mary - I love the way it changes time signature and the female vocals are very well executed, in particular the performance on stage is a sight to behold. The Needle Lies - a classic track that is once again a popular concert track. Breaking The Silence - has a Def Leppard feel, as its radio friendly, but it still has powerful guitars from Chris De Garmo.

I Don't Believe In Love - the single from the album ready for radio airplay. Very catchy and the lyrics are powerful. You will find it on the QR compilations.

Eyes Of A Stranger - an excellent way to end the concept album. Very memorable and wonderful musicianship.

I will not waste any time with this review. If you do not have this. Get to the CD store now and grab it. It knocked me out when I first heard it and it is comparable to other great prog concept albums such as PF's The Wall. The second part to this OM concept was recently released and is great but does not hold a candle to this.

I say it again, 'Operation Mindcrime' is simply a masterpiece.
arcane-beautiful
This is another one of those albums that is incredibly acclaimed and maybe a little too hyped. But to be honest, it deserves it.

This is one of those very perfect albums that have no flaws, every song is memorable and you can tell that a lot of work and effort went into making the music.

This album is also a massive landmark for putting Progressive Metal as a serious and respected genre.

The concept is also quite good, with the teenage outcast fighting for revolution and drugs, but later failing in his dreams, e.g. the death of his only love, Mary. Every time I hear the name Dr. X, it reminds me of Action Men.

1. I Remember Now - An interesting narrative. The bit where the nurse curses makes me laugh every time.

2. Anarchy-X - Chanting and a whole load of hoopla.

3. Revolution Calling - An amazing song to start the album with amazing catchy verses and chorus. Geoff Tate can hit some amazing notes. 4. Operation: Mindcrime - Again, a very catchy song and the lyrics story like mode is very interesting. If you're not singing any of these songs at the end of listening, then there is something wrong with you.

5. Speak - I love the baritone vocals in the chorus. Again, some great lyrics. I love the juxtaposition between drugs and religion.

6. Spreading The Disease - I have a feeling this song also may be about AIDS. Some profanity used and also dark Christian imagery. Great song.

7. The Mission - One of their most prog like moments, with some amazing twists and turns and an amazing vocal performance.

8. Suite Sister Mary - Very epic, the choir and the female vocals add to the mood. One of Geoff's best vocal moments. That girl in it is also amazing.

9. The Needle Lies - I love the layered vocals in this song. The key change at the end of the song, you would swear that's Bruce Dickinson singing.

10. Electric Requiem - The death of Mary basically.

11. Breaking The Silence -Maybe the most emotional song on the album. Very epic chorus.

12. I Don't Believe In Love - An amazing anti love song. Again an absolute belter of a chorus.

13. Waiting For 22 - Very ominous, wooo

14. My Empt y Room - Why do interludes come in 2's in this album. Again very ominous and the vocals add to the atmosphere.

15. Eyes Of A Stranger - What an amazing way to end an album. This song is very Iron Maiden and you can see the Bruce elements of Geoff's voice. The last few seconds do scare the hell out of me, especially when you're headphones are turned on to loud.

CONCLUSION: It's a landmark of modern music. That's all I really have to say.
Negoba
Simply the Best Metal Album Ever Made

In 1988, there was no prog metal. There were no metal rock operas. Glam and thrash were the reigning genres of metal. Queensryche was a hardworking band that had impressed opening on multiple tours and whose reputation was slowly growing. Operation: Mindcrime was immediately applauded by critics across the scene, but its success with the fans took time to slowly grow. First there were videos to "Eyes of a Stranger" and "I Don't Believe in Love" on MTV. Then the band toured in support of Metallica. It was actually when the band played the entire album during the headlining Empire tour 3 years later that the album really start solidifying as one of the best metal records ever.

I picked up the album after a feature in Guitar Magazine, and new from the first listen that this was something different. Though there were a few allusions to Iron Maiden, the band had now created something their own. Michael Wilton and Chris Degarmo had altered their guitar tones specifically for the album, and film composer Michael Kamen was enlisted for orchestration. Clearly this was an ambitious project, and it paid off.

The basic storyline is that two urban lost souls, Nikki and Mary, get caught up in a revolutionary insurgent organization. Sex, religion, power, everything is fair game in this story. It's a little over the top, but for a cynical teenager, it was like preaching to the choir. "Religion and sex are power plays. Manipulate the people for the money they pay. Selling skin, selling God, the numbers look the same on their credit cards." Sadly, it wasn't just the Yuppie 80's that feels the bite of those words.

On the original record / tape, the album's first side was a much more coherent whole while the second side wrapped up the story with more encapsulated single songs. It is the first side that still seems so perfect even 20+ years later. The opening refrains of "Revolution Calling" is simultaneously dark and envigorating. "Speak" and "Spreading the Disease" continue the intense and dangerous ride, leading up the epic "Suite: Sister Mary." This song's theatrics, mood and guitars still form part of my memory of what that time period was all about. The Carmina Burana style vocals were still relatively fresh at the time, and the film noir in dark color feel of the story wasn't even captured on film at that point, let alone on vinyl.

Though the level of virtuosity in metal would increase substantially in the next decade in the post-Vai/Malmsteen and Dream Theater eras, all of the members of Queensryche were extremely strong at their instruments. Degarmo and Wilton upheld the twin guitar tradition of Priest and Maiden and even upped the ante. Of course, the star of the band was always Geoff Tate, one of the best traditional metal singers ever. In 1988, his pipes were still at their peak, and his melodramatics still were full of youthful energy. Scott Rockenfield's toms fuel some of the most intense bridge sections, and Eddie Jackson's just ahead of the beat thump kept the urgency strong throughout.

Most of all, Queensryche at the time of Mindcrime was a band. Though Tate was the frontman, he was still clearly one of the team. The riffs and orchestration are just as important as the vocals on this masterpiece.

This album is probably in every metalhead's library that bothers to go back into the 80's. It should be. If you don't know it, get it.

Members reviews

SwimToTheMoon1928
(Originally written for Prog Archives by me)

In 1988, Queensrÿche released Operation: Mindcrime, a concept album widely praised as one of the best in prog metal, and Queensrÿche's best work. The story concerns a drug addicted young man named Nikki who is manipulated into joining a secret organization bent on revolution. Brainwashed by the leader of the society, Dr. X, Nikki is led to assassinate various political leaders in America. On to the music, Operation: Mindcrime has some of the catchiest songs I've heard in a long time. The many riffs are excellent, staying catchy and accessible while still being proggy. The album has a very nice sense of dynamics, and everything flows together smoothly. None of the songs overstay their welcome, all of them being just the right length to hold your attention. Geoff Tate is at his prime on this album, capable of some very strong and emotional singing. All in all, Operation: Mindcrime is very deserving of it's praise, and is certainly one of the most essential prog metal albums.

Key tracks: Anarchy-X/Revolution Calling, Operation: Mindcrime, Speak, Spreading the Disease, Suite Sister Mary, The Needle Lies, I Don't Believe in Love, Eyes of a Stranger
bassgeezer
4th March 2011 I started listening to Queensryche as we had booked to go to High Voltage 2011 being fans of Dream Theater. I started with Empire which I loved immediately. Operation: Mindcrime is not as accessible but is ultimately more rewarding. They performed I Don’t Believe in Love and Eyes of a Stranger at the festival and they were amazing throughout their performance which I wish had been longer. This album is for those who take their prog concept albums seriously. This is definitely metal though and full of great melodies. All in all this is a great piece of work.
mjayeh
I saw this tour in 1988 and fell in love with band and have been a HUGE fan of them ever since. I will echo the statements of some many others here ... Conor, "Here we have it, one of the most critically acclaimed progressive metal albums of all time. This is the album that brought Queensryche from being a very underground, relatively unknown band to one of the most intriguing and innovative bands in metal." or Raff, ""Operation: Mindcrime" has often been hailed as one of the 'founding fathers, so to speak, of progressive metal - its intriguing concept and flawless realization more akin to vintage progressive rock than straightforward heavy metal. A dark, convoluted, positively dystopian tale out of Orwell's "1984", whose world view is best summed up by the chilling lyrics to "Spreading the Disease", it is also a strong, stark political statement that goes against the grain of Eighties hedonism and heedless faith in unbridled consumerism. " Every now and the an album hits when the moon and stars are aligned and it stands the test of time and this is one of those albums. If you do not have it in your collection, it is a MUST ADD and you will enjoy how it sucks you in with each additional listen. ENJOY !!!
Raff
"Operation: Mindcrime" has often been hailed as one of the 'founding fathers, so to speak, of progressive metal - its intriguing concept and flawless realization more akin to vintage progressive rock than straightforward heavy metal. A dark, convoluted, positively dystopian tale out of Orwell's "1984", whose world view is best summed up by the chilling lyrics to "Spreading the Disease", it is also a strong, stark political statement that goes against the grain of Eighties hedonism and heedless faith in unbridled consumerism.

In 1988, when the album came out, Queensryche were at the top of their game: an extremely tight outfit spearheaded by the immensely talented guitarist and composer Chris De Garmo and the exceptional pipes of Geoff Tate - one of the very few vocalists in the genre to prove himself much more than a simple screamer in the Rob Halford mould. Though their second full-length album, "Rage for Order", already pointed to a definitely more progressive direction for the band's music, but nothing could have prepared the audience for something like "Operation: Mindcrime". With this release, Queensryche showed the metal world they were not afraid of pushing the envelope by creating a record which flew in the face of most heavy metal stereotypes, with lyrics that made you think accompanied by powerful, brilliantly executed music - miles away from the nihilistic violence of many thrash metal outfits, or the empty posing of hair-metal bands.

The highlight of the album is also the one track which comes closer to 'traditional' prog, the 11-minute long, hauntingly beautiful "Suite Sister Mary", which also includes a choir and an orchestra (directed by Michael Kamen) performing Giuseppe Verdi's menacing "Dies Irae". The remaining tracks are more in a classic metal vein, aggressive and energetic, yet sharply intelligent - with special mentions for the rousing "Revolution Calling" (which opens the album with a bang), the above- mentioned "Spreading the Disease" with its disturbing, half-whispered middle section, and the two closing songs, "I Don't Believe in Love" and "Eyes of a Stranger". Needless to say, the performances of the individual band members are impeccable, with Geoff Tate proving himself as one of the greatest heavy metal singers of all time.

Such a masterpiece was hard to repeat, even for such a talented band as Queensryche - who, in the years that followed, never released anything as powerful or impressive (even if most of their later output is of more than respectable quality). However, "Operation: Mindcrime" is as close to perfection as any self-respecting metal fan can expect, and one of the undisputed landmark albums of the genre. An essential listen.

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