Monday, September 25, 2006

Queensrÿche - Operation: Mindcrime

Queensrÿche - Operation: Mindcrime
I hate prog-metal.

My god, there... there is nothing in the world of metal I can think of right now in terms of a music genre I hate more than progressive metal. A bunch of musical snobs going on and on these long intriguet patterns and amazing technical skills, most of them proving they could hold a candle to Vyngviem Malmstein. The reality is, the genre can bore people to tears and the only thing "progressive" about the genre to me is that they can find people who find it interesting, let alone entertaining.

That is the reason why Queensrÿche's "Operation: Mindcrime" is one of the single greatest albums in the history of not just metal, but music as a whole; It may be progressive metal, but it is a damn good album!

When I bought the album last year after hearing rave reviews for it, I was more than skeptical because of everything I just said. That, and albums rarely ever live to the hype I constantly hear being given to them. To me and others my age, we never had to sit through countless days of hearing or seeing the video for a song like "Eyes of a Stranger" a million times, so the band and album can be seen through my eyes as fresh as it was when it first arrived. Concept albums can either rise to the occasion or simply fall flat, the later of which happens a good 99% of the time. This is the exception that proves the rule; an amazingly recorded and executed orchestrated 59 minutes of pure genius!

Opening with the introduction of Nikki, the album's protagonist, waking up in a hospital bed in "I Remember Now", which leads to the "Anarchy-X" where cries of a revolution are heard, leading to "Revolution Calling", creating on of the greatest openings for an album ever, and setting the scene for the rest of the album. Simply put, if you hate these songs, turn off the album and call yourself lame.

The album may have taken place in the Regan-era America, but the album still holds true today,if not even more so. It is simply incredible and mind-boggling to hear Geoff Tate scream "I used to trust the media to tell me the truth, tell us the truth / But now I've seen the payoffs everywhere I look / Who do you trust when everyone's a crook?" in "Revolution Calling".

As the album creeps into "Operation: Mindcrime", you are now slowly learning just what happens to Nikki; he is being brainwashed to commit murder on the enemies of Dr. X.

Taken from Wiki:

The album begins with the protagonist, Nikki, lying in a hospital bed, having a flashback about his past. He remembers how, as a heroin addict, he was mesmerized to join a secret network of rebels who work for a person named Doctor X. As he joins the coup, he becomes hypnotized into a state where when Dr. X says the word "mindcrime", Nikki becomes a puppet on a string (akin to The Manchurian Candidate) to commit any murder Dr. X assigns to him. Dr. X offers a return to Nikki: Through one of his friends, a priest called Father William, he offers Nikki the services of a hooker-turned-nun called Sister Mary. (Details are vague whether these services are sexual or simply emotional.) However, through Sister Mary, Nikki begins to turn back to an emotional human being. Dr. X notices this and, seeing a potential threat in Mary, he orders him to kill her and the priest. Nikki visits Mary, he kills the priest, but fails to comply with the order to murder Mary. He decides to quit the operation and goes back to Dr. X to tell him. X, however, reminds Nikki that he's a drug addict and X is the only one who can provide his daily fix. Nikki returns to Mary, only to find her dead. He can't cope with the loss and succumbs to insanity.

The police, arriving on the scene, find him with the body and arrest him. Since he's in a near-catatonic state, he's put into a hospital, where he starts to remember…

Honestly, there is no better way to explain it since it does it perfectly.

The albums is a non-stop tour through that story, with highlight tracks including "Speak", "The Needle Lies", "Suite Sister Mary", and of course, "I Don't Believe in Love" and "Eyes of a Stranger", the albums two catchiest tracks. If you don't find yourself humming one of those two out of nowhere after hearing this album, you can't be human.

4.9 out of 5!


Operation: Mindcrime (2 CDs + 1 DVD) [DELUXE EDITION]:

Earlier this year, EMI released a Box Set of the album, which included a live disc of the album, recorded in 1990 during the tour for the album. They played it in full live, and it is pratically flawless! It is almost just like hearing the album, only with the added benefit of hearing the crowd get involved, as well as the many flourishes of a live show, like the occasional speeding up of the tempo. Hearing Pamela Moore belt out the parts of Mary live dares to rival hearing it on the album itself!

4.8 out of 5!

No comments: