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As this is my first review, I thought it was only fitting that I write it about the greatest album ever: Operation: Mindcrime.
Nothing you have heard about it, or read, can actually prepare you for what you're going to hear. It's thought provoking, insightful, beautiful, and it tells one hell of a story while it's at it.
I suggest all of you who haven't heard it to hear it, because if you don't, you really are missing out on one of the greatest records, ever.
Now that the preaching is out of the way, I can talk about the songs.
The album begins with "I Remember Now", a track that clocks in at just over a minute. It sets the mood, as we meet Nikki, a drug addict who has just woken up from a drug induced sleep, recovering his memory of the events that have transpired.
The next track, "Anarchy-X", starts immediately where the previous track left off. This is the literal beginning of the record, as in the background we hear Dr. X telling all of his minions about the plan he has. This song is instrumental, and it has some very good guitar work, and the drums are top notch. Also of note is this is the first song that we hear an orchestra in the background.(the orchestraton was done by the late Michael Kamen) More than a few of the songs have orchestration in it, and it really adds a since of "Wow, this sounds fucking epic" to the table.
"Revolution Calling" is one of the albums best cuts, and it's where we get to know Nikki, and how he came to meet Dr. X.
"Operation: Mindcrime", the title track, is our first look at Dr. X, and what the whole fucking album is all about. It's a great song.
"Speak" is another strong song, and it shows how Nikki is now basically brainwashed to Dr. X's plan.
"Spreading the Disease" gives us our first look at Sister Mary, Nikki's love interest in the album. She went from being a whore, to being "saved" by a church.
"The Mission" is easily in the top five of the album. The chorus is god like, and the guitar playing is some of the best the band has ever done. This is where Nikki meets Sister Mary, and falls in love with her.
"Suite Sister Mary", the album's longest track clocking in at just over ten minutes, is one of the album's most epic. It starts with Dr. X giving Nikki the order to kill Mary, and Father William. This song is fucking incredible. The duet between Geoff Tate and Pamela Moore is unbelievebly well done, and the choir and orchestra really help flesh the song out.
"The Needle Lies", in my eyes, is the weakest song. I love it, make no mistake, but compared to everything else on here, it's lacking something. This is where Nikki confronts Dr. X, and wants out. But he's the only one that can help Nikki get his fix.
"Electric Requiem" is easily the album's most disturbing track. Nikki finds Mary dead, apparently killed.... but by whom?
"Breaking the Silence" is absolutely fan-fucking-tastic. The chorus is booming, the Chris DeGarmo solo is awe inspiring, and the sense of emotion in this song is breathtaking. Throughout the song, Nikki wanders throughout the city, calling to Mary and not wanting to let her go.
"I Don't Believe in Love" is when Nikki is finally caught. All that yelling got the Cops' attention, and they figured out that he might be connected to the slayings of some political leaders. The song is absolutely wonderful, and features another jaw dropping solo by DeGarmo.
"Waiting for 22" is an interlude to the next track, but it's definately worth mentioning. It's basically an un-distorted guitar and a couple of distorted guitar solos by DeGarmo, but it really sets the mood for what's to come.
"My Empty Room" is next, where Nikki is all alone, wondering what will become of him.
and finally, we come to the album's closer, "Eyes of a Stranger". This is easily the best of the album, and the best song Queensryche will ever write. the build up is amazing, and the song is just something you have to hear. Easily one of, if not THE best closer, ever.
Getting to the lyrics, they're very well written by Tate, and they're sung even better. Geoff Tate will never sound this good again. The story unfolds with such grace, you'll forget you're listening to an album. Almost every track bleeds into each other, which creates a very seamless experience. The ending is sort of a cliff hanger, and to finish the story you'll have to give the soon to be underrated Mindcrime II a listen. That album is very good in it's own right, and kudos to Tate and Co. for having the balls to write a sequel.
Seriously speaking, if you have not heard this album yet, you need to. It's the reason I listen to music.