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Queensryche's Operation:Mindcrime was one of a small handful of CDs that introduced me to the metal genre. About 7 years have passed since then, and I am still listening to it at least once a month. It is not far off from being a perfect album. The songs are ingenious; they are insanely catchy, but still maintain this dark undertone that helps progress the story.
The storyline is the driving factor of the album, it's what listeners come to remember above anything else: brainwashing, corruption, drug addiction, prostitution, the works... It flows like a movie, as if each track were just a scene, one part of a whole. But the most amazing part of it is how well the story is told through a series of 15 tracks; each song is so well written and thought-out that they could stand alone, outside the Operation:Mindcrime storyline and still be an awesome song.
The guitar-work is awesome throughout the whole album; just about every track has a riff that will make you want to pick up your guitar right then and there and play along. Geoff Tate's voice is inarguably one of the best in the industry; he has an insanely impressive four-octave range, which you will hear a good chunk of on Operation:Mindcrime. Then, of course, there are the unorthodox drum beats one would expect to find in a progessive metal album. Musically, everything is well placed, balanced, flawless. Operation:Mindcrime also has a few dialogues or spoken parts by its characters, which I usually dislike in my music, but here, they are well done, non-obtrusive, and even welcome.
Queensryche's biggest success is a milestone in metal history, and there are few who would argue with that. It takes music to a whole new level, where it is not just'pleasant sound', but substance and thought-provoking art. It is easy to listen to, yet it is also deep and emotional. Plus, it has one of the best replay values of any CD in my collection. Highly recommended to fans of heavy metal, or fans of almost any branch of metal.
Highlights: Suite Sister Mary, Breaking the Silence, Eyes of a Stranger