Posted by: Dave on April 10, 2006 at 3:01 pm

Empire may have been Queensrÿche’s most commercially successful album, but true fans will always remember them best for the 1988 concept album masterpiece Operation: Mindcrimeicon. With some of the catchiest, most urgent progressive metal ever recorded, plus intermittent dialogue, Mindcrime tells the story of a disillusioned American who is brainwashed by an anarchist group to assassinate religious and political leaders. The killing spree lands him in prison, but his mental state was questionable. This caveat apparently has left room for a sequel. Eighteen years later, Mindcrime II begins with Nikki’s release, follows his quest for revenge against the evil Dr. X and finds him sinking into an abyss of confusion and despair.

Musically, Queensrÿche are in top form. Geoff Tate’s operatic pipes are as strong as ever and the pounding riffs, blistering solos and gothic revolutionary vibe bring you right back to their late 80s heyday. The sound alone makes the first half of the album viable, despite the so-so lyrics and average hooks. But the second half is marred with questionable decisions. Guest vocalists enter the picture (including metal god Ronnie James Dio as Dr. X) and advance the narrative through embarrassing musical theater/rock opera exchanges with Geoff Tate. Plus, the pace is often crippled with overwrought reflections and confessionals. Basically, the storyline gets too heavy-handed and ultimately isn’t as interesting as the original anyway. It’s too bad they chose to work so few dialogue snippets into this sequel, the original’s masterful use of acted scenes is a major part of what made it so captivating. The non-stop barrage of hits helped quite a bit, too. Mindcrime II is a far cry from the original, but at least the first half is decent progressive metal.
Heavy Rotation tracks: none
Medium Rotation tracks:Signs Say Goicon“; “The Handsicon“; “One Foot In Hellicon“; “Re-Arrange Youicon
Grade: C+

(As posted 4/10/06)
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2 Responses to “Queensrÿche Operation: Mindcrime II (Rhino)”

  1. ken57663 Says:

    Operation Mindcrime 2 is so totaly dissapointing from begining to end there are NO memorable riffs or licks no catchy choruses or anything but muddled vocals and dissapointing story lines. The Story and whole disk is anti climatic as well and still the question of “Who KIlled Sister Mary?” was NOT answered. This album dissapoints on so many levels, I was jazzed when I heared that a sequel was out and I really wanted to like this disk but it just is no good, I’m glad I downloaded it for free and did not pay $15.00 or so for it as I would have been too temted to buy it just for the hope of a return to 1988s Original Mindcrime glory. I give it a D-

  2. Dave Says:

    No doubt it’s a disappointment. Epsecially since it’s so inferior to the original. There are no obvious hits or even great songs on here. But still, it is Queensryche. Tate sounds great. The band sounds solid. Yes, it’s far below the lofty Queensryche bar and pretty forgettable. But still they are a great band, and at least they show they still have some solid performance chops…if the songwriting skills and good judgement are strongly lacking.

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