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When i started to think about what album i wanted to be my first review for this site, i got together a few releases which, over the the past 20 years, became very important to me. "Operation : Mindcrime" was one of them.
Thinking about which album i should choose, it became more and more obvious that "Operation : Mindcrime" was the only right choice, simply because it is the album that defined my taste in music the most. Even though i already started listening to metal a few years earlier and i knew the most important bands by the time "Operation : Mindcrime" was released, this album did 100 % fit my view of how metal should sound.
So, what does make this album so special to me and thousands of other fans? I guess everyone does have his own explanation of that question, since everyone does experience music in his own way.
In my opinion it's the fact that "Operation : Mindcrime" at the time, and even today fifteen years after his initial release, it's the perfect symbiosis of the lyrics/storyline and the music. And in a time when a certain "faster, heavier and louder" mentality took place in the metal scene - first by all the speed/thrash metal bands and later through the death/grindcore movement - Queensryche managed to compose interesting music by varying the speedy and melodic parts and creating their own style. By doing that they created a timeless masterpiace, which is still able to fascinate alot of fans. They simply were able to perfectly transfer the feelings of the lyrics into the way of playing the music. By listening to the music you are basically able to feel the hate,anger, desperation, fear etc. which Nikki (the main person of the lyrical story) goes through during the 60 minutes of the album.
The compositions on "Operation : Mindcrime" offer almost everything a fan of good music (and i'm not just talking about metal my friends) should like. From faster parts/songs like "Speak" and "The Needle Lies" to songs with balladesque parts "The Mission" on to progressive (almost classical) structures in a song like "Suite Sister Marry" - this album offers everything . Actually i shouldn't have taken out specific songs, since the whole album only works perfect as a union. Of course every song on the album could speak for himself, but only by listening to the whole album, reading through the lyrics you will find out what a fantastic piece of music Queensryche created at the peak of their career.
The lyrics of "Operation : Mindcrime" reflects a fictionous story about a guy called Nikki who is getting in touch with Dr. X the leader of a religious/political underground organization. Nikki is becomming a tool of Dr. X's organization that uses him as an assassin to kill political and economical leaders of the US Nikki. At first Nikki, who probable is unemployed person with drug/alcohol addiction, believes in the goals of Dr. X and his organization. But after he got the order to assassinate the person he loves, Sister Mary, he begins to rethink his situation and starts to realize the wrong path his life has taken. He, for the first time, doesn't follow Dr. X's orderes because he wants to safe Sister Mary's life. Mary gets killed by somone else, leaving Nikki in his desperate sitution.
Within the storyline of the actual album Queensryche managed to "hide" some critical lyrics such as the middle part of "Spreading The Disease" :
Quote : " Religion and Sex are powerplays, manipulate the people for the money they pay, selling skin, selling god, the numbers look the same on their credit cards, politicians say no to drugs, while we pay for wars in south america, fighting fire with empty words, while the banks get fat and the poor stay poor and the rich get rich and the cops get payed to look away as the one percent rules america".
Even though those lyrics were written 15 years ago, they contain lot's of true facts that still have validity nowadays. Some critic once described Queensryche's style as "thinking mans metal" by reading this small part of the lyrics you may understand what that critic meant.
What else to tell you about this monumental album ?
Well, the musicians especially vocalist Geoff Tate delivered their best work and displayed them as the most perfect union.
Now back to the headline of this review, is "Operation : Mindcrime" the most perfect metal album of all time ?
Well in my opinion it is not, but only because there will never be such a thing as a perfect album.
If there was something like a perfect album, "Operation: Mindcrime" would be very close to that status.....VERY VERY close.
So to all of you out there that might not already know this masterpiece, get out and buy it - i'm sure you wont be dissapointed.
(c) Stormrider 2003