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Definitive Queensryche - 90%

1stMetalheads, May 18th, 2008

If you're into prog-metal, then it's just about impossible to not know about Queensryches famous Operation: Mindcrime, and the inevitable praise and hype. Does it live up? Not quite, but it's still a masterpiece.

The members of Queensryche aren't quite as talented as those that followed in their footsteps, but they've got some respectable musicians. Geoff Tate does some soaring vocals, but can sometimes sound silly. The guitarist pulls some memorable riffs and solos. The drummer gives some complicated tracks. All of these people though, really rely on being more than the sum of their parts, as they're nothing special individually. And they deliver.

The album starts off with a short mood-setter and immediately goes into the instrumental Anarchy-X, a nice short piece that serves as a prelude to Revolution Calling. Revolution has a great chorus, and is very catchy, a good choice for the single. Operation: Mindcrime, Speak and Spreading The Disease offer up similar but lesser versions of the same thing while furthering the storyline and establishing Nikkis part in the story.

The album really heats up here however, The Mission gives a new character Sister Mary and gives some doubts in a very emotional piece. Suite Sister Mary continues this, giving the longest and most epic piece on the album. Having two vocalists do the work for each character is a good touch, and the song is particularly affecting, and has good tension. The album gets more incoherent after this point, mostly due to the main character being hyped up on drugs, but The Needle Lies helps to establish why it's that way, and returns to the chorus type of song early in the album.

Breaking The Silence and I Don't Believe In Love show Nikkis distress as he further degenerates, with the following two songs setting up how he came into the authoritys hands. (They're short pieces, just used to stitch it together.) And now, the major single, Eyes Of A Stranger, being the second-most memorable, and having the best chorus, I'd suggest trying this one out first.

This album is very much like the bandmembers, which I said before were 'greater than the sum of their parts', meaning that you can't get the full experience just listening to one song. This album is a riveting soundtrack to a betrayal and immorality-laden story. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to know about prog-metals roots, and while this album fails to distinguish many of its songs as their own, they make an impressive package altogether

Highlights: Revolution Calling, Suite Sister Mary, Eyes Of A Stranger