QUEENSRŸCHE — Operation: Mindcrime (review)

QUEENSRŸCHE — Operation: Mindcrime album cover Album · 1988 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Modrigue
Operation: Progmetal

What an evolution since "The Warning", released only four years before! Initially considered as an IRON MAIDEN rip-off, QUEENSRŸCHE has simply offered to the world one of the very first metal concept album. Later, vocalist Bruce Dickinson himself will admit that MAIDEN's most progressive album of the 80's - the very good "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" - was not as elaborated as this opus. Furthermore, people often even assimilate "Operation: Mindcrime" to a heavier version of PINK FLOYD's "The Wall". Indeed, the compositions are ambitious, elegant and refined. However, is this comparison really justified?

The lyrics narrate the story of Nikki, a former junkie frustrated with contemporary society. He will become part of a secret revolutionary organization, led by a political and religious leader nicknamed Doctor X. This mysterious demagogue manipulates Nikki with his heroin addiction and brainwashing for a political murdering operation called 'Mindcrime'. How does all this musically translate?

After the short spoken introduction "I Remember Now" comes "Anarchy-X", a powerful instrumental opening. "Revolution Calling" is a great heavy metal achievement with its uncommon drumming and beautiful guitar solo. The title track is an enjoyable mid tempo 80's hard metal with a cool bass line, whereas the aggressive and complex "Speak" is just a prog metal little gem of and features numerous changes. Then arrives "Spreading The Disease", both threatening and epic, followed by "The Mission". I'm not a big fan of this song which I find rather average.

The second half is bit darker. Longest and most progressive track, the 11 minutes theatrical "Suite Sister Mary" alternates dark and haunting atmospheres. Undoubtedly the highlight of the disc! The band's initial IRON MAIDEN roots are still slightly perceptible with the energetic "The Needle Lies". After the short ambient sung transition "Electric Requiem", "Breaking The Silence" is heroic and touching, due Geoff Tate's typical plaintive singing. "I Don't Believe In Love" is also pleasant, while the short interludes "Waiting For 22" and "My Empty Room" are calm, pretty and floating. The record concludes on a sinister and pessimistic tone with "Eyes Of A Stranger".

"Operation: Mindcrime" is just one of the most important albums of the progressive metal genre. Although a little pompous at times and still sounding very eighties, it provides sophisticated compositions, rhythm changes, and the inspiration is overall constant. Is this an "heavy metal opera"? Maybe... If so, this deserves to be transcribed in a movie, like "The Wall". Maybe this will be already the case when you'll read this review...

Now that we talk about it, how does this disc finally compare to PINK FLOYD's well-known double opus? Well, here the music only borrows 70's progressive elements, as the palette of instruments and ambiances are not as wide and varied. The short interludes and tracks complexity can remind "The Wall" in the spirit, but I find the general comparison a little too exaggerated.

Neither similar to FATES WARNING's dark tortured style nor to DREAM THEATER's, "Operation: Mindcrime" still remains QUEENSRŸCHE's summit and a major influence of the genre. Highly recommended to prog metal fans!
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Unitron wrote:
1 year ago
I love this one too, one of the best concept album's I've heard.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
1 year ago
Definately their brightest moment. Why not 5 stars? I can't find one flaw on this one
UMUR wrote:
1 year ago
I like Queensrÿche, although I don´t consider myself a major fan, but this particular album is incredibly great.

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