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Queensryche: Operation: Mindcrime (Remaster)

Finally! Not only have I bought the CD long after someone stole my cassette at a high school graduation party in 1988, but it's been remastered as well. I'm sure most are familiar with Queensryche as they were perceived as saviors of heavy metal during the seemingly endless parade of hairspray and makeup pop metal bands that were partially responsible for ruining the genre. Long saddled with the tag "thinking man's metal group" Queensryche actually achieved their greatest commercial success with Empire, and even enjoyed a hit single with the excellent "Silent Lucidity". But it is Operation: Mindcrime that will remain the band's most important legacy. It is a concept album steeped in the fear and mistrust of Reaganomics, which put so much dread into those of us leery of corporate conglomerates. It's also a great story of espionage, science fiction and drama. This is clearly not your typical Motley Crue album! Of course it helps that the band's influences have always been Pink Floyd and Yes as well as Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest.

There is no point in getting into a track by track review. The CD works best when you put aside an hour and simply enjoy the show. Though I've never cared for Peter Collins' clinical production on Operation: Mindcrime or his work with Rush, the remaster squeezes out every ounce of sonic power and dramatic subtlety that has been missing in previous editions. Likewise, the packaging is very attractive. All those illegible fonts on the original issue have been replaced with a very nice design as well as a couple of essays on the project, plus a storyboard on the Mindcrime concept! Add to that a couple of live bonus tracks and we have a remarkable presentation of one of the most important and influential landmarks in all of progressive metal history.

Added: May 26th 2003
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Official Queensryche Website
Hits: 7428
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Queensryche: Operation: Mindcrime (Remaster)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-04-02 09:40:51
My Score:

Queensryche's third full-length album would be the bands magnum opus and long receive the acclaim of being a Progressive Metal masterpiece. A lot of people did not get the premise of "Rage For Order" which was a really good album as well, but now with "Mindcrime" the group has brought experimentation from the last release along with the technical detail of their debut and proven just how talented this band is. A rich and detailed storyline filled with intrigue, mystery and politics is the premise of "Operation: Mindcrime" which finds the story's "hero" Nikki detailing the recent events of his life. The album also introduces us to Dr. X, the villain of the story and Sister Mary, the reluctant heroine of the tale. From start to finish this is an amazing album and it's difficult to absorb the level of detail just from the first listen. I remember when it was released at how the college radio stations would play the full side one to give the listener the full effect. It was one of those releases that you would find yourself buried in the lyric sheets as you read word for word to better grasp what was happening. Given the story running along the whole record its difficult to skip around (but it can be done after your first listen). With this album we find a Queensryche that shows no complacency or signs of slowing down the pace and for many fans of the band this entire album is their favorite and not just a couple of songs. I believe that this is due to the level of song writing on the piece as Geoff Tate and Chris DeGarmo pulled out all the stops. While I am also guilty of the full enjoyment my favorites fall to "Suite Sister Mary (the song that launched a career for Pamela Moore), "I Don't Believe In Love" & "The Eyes Of A Stranger". The level of musicianship of Tate, Wilton, DeGarmo, Jackson and Rockenfield is superb as well and should be applauded.

Originally released in 1988, the album was ahead of its time for Metal music; the still new Queensryche was taking quite a risk by unleashing this on the public but to their credit it worked and still works today. The remaster provides a lot of extra information on the album and the times of its release and offers a great selection of photos. Lyrics to the story are also provided to enjoy along with an amazingly clear production level. The remastered Queensryche catalog is perhaps one of the best released as new technology brings their music a bright new life. Bonus live tracks are also given on this release but they don't add much to the mix given the already powerful nature of this recording. If you don't own any Queensryche then this is the album to buy and begin your collection.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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