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Operation: Mindcrime II

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  • I am abolutely stunned how many “fans” are tearing this album apart. The only possible reasons I have come up with for this are: They are expecting a compelete rehash of the first OM…OR they have only listened to the album once or twice. Give this album a chance for God’s sake! One of the “FEATURED REVIEWS” stated that “Murderer?” was an unmemorable, forgettable track…WHAT??!?!? Did you even listen to the song more than once!?! This album is a true grower and an absolutely amazing comeback that I for one was skeptical that they could pull off.
    Their last 3 albums have been very mediocore by Queensryche standard, I think most fans would agree. For me, the trifecta of Operation Mindcrime, Empire, and Promised Land are probably the strongest 3 consecutive albums by any band that I can think of. While the newer albums have had a few good moments, and the live shows were still strong, it definitely seemed the band had lost it’s true greatness.
    I will admit, the first time I popped OM2 into the player, I was nervous. And after the first time thru the disc, I really didn’t know what to make of it. But I knew that I wanted to hear it again to try and make sense of it. Upon repeated listenings, this album has blossomed into a true masterpiece. I really am just in love with this CD. After 3 or 4 listenings, I knew it was good, but I actually now think it stands along with those 3 classic albums I mentioned.
    The story flows beautifully through the album…In some ways I think the story is clearer and more ingrained into every song than on the original Mindcrime. Read along with the lyrics all the way through at least once (after you’ve heard the album a few times though).
    Geoff Tate is in top form here, both vocally and lyrically. It has been a long time since he has shown off those pipes like this. I mean, I am not stupid, I know that his voice is not quite what it once was, but it is still pretty darn amazing.
    The guitars on this album are great! The solos are back, and Mike Stone is absolutely incredible. Whoever says, “where are the old dual guitar moments” isn’t listening carefully, because they are here in abundance. Also, many of the reviews have complained that there are no memorable “hooks” in these songs. Repeated listenings reveal that they are actually all over this album. The drums are outstanding as you might expect.
    There are actually very few weak tracks on OM2, once you really let them all sink in. I would say that “Speed of Light” and “Sounds Say Go” are probably the weakest, but are not bad. Tracks 3-6 are outstanding, particularly “I’m American”. For me the strongest section of the album the middle- tracks 9 to 11. “Re-Arrange You” flat out rocks and does have those memorable hooks. “The Chase” is a GREAT duet between Geoff Tate and Ronnie James Dio. I freaking love this one, the way they bounce lines back and forth at each other is awesome. Then comes what I consider the centerpiece of the album, “Murderer?”. WOW! This ones got everything. EPIC! Keyboard/synths in the beginning sound like it’s gonna be a New Order or Nine Inch Nails song. Then all hell breaks lose. Frantic rhythms and time changes. Tate screaming and then background voices chanting “Murderer!”. Finally erupts into a majestic chorus and then back into chaos. Another chorus. Then, goes mellow and haunting, just absolutely gorgeous. A truly all-time top Ryche song. The remainder of the album is great too, although needs even more listens to grow on you, I think. I really love these songs though, as they feature the female “Mary” vocals prominantly.
    As to any drawbacks, I do concede a couple. Altho the album flows beautifully, I do find the last song to be a bit of an anti-climactic ending. It is a bittersweet love ballad. Its a fine song, but I felt like the album should end with some sort of rousing triumph (or tragic) sound. The other problem, which tons of reviewers have noted, is the production and mixing. It is not AS bad as most people claim. However, the mixing is definitely flawed. Certain parts are mixed way too low, including some of the vocals. And the drums do sound murky at times. But it is not bad enough to strongly detract from the album.
    Overall, give this one a chance. Several chances. Because the best albums are usually the growers, not the immediate hits. It will reward you greatly! THANK YOU QUEENSRYCHE!!!!!!

    Posted on March 1, 2010