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Uninspired, overlong and unworthy - 29%

Fatal_Metal, April 6th, 2006

New album? Queensryche? Not much to care about since they turned grunge pop with metallic tendencies after Empire, right? Well, not when it’s called Operation Mindcrime 2. Now this is a rather daring move by Queensryche, especially when they made boring, radio-oriented pop totally ignoring their once proud legion of metal fans now dwindled to the size of say raw kvlt black metal bands. Okay that’s an exaggeration but you know what I mean. They didn't win favor with the mainstream either as they were regarded "Nirvana" wannabes. Every album they released, their standards kept decreasing and decreasing. It took them years to realize that the grunge sound they were playing starting with "Promised Land" was totally outdated.

Quite recently, a trend has developed in modern rock wherein a band goes back to its roots (proved by "Disturbed" stating that they were apparently inspired to resurrect rock by adding solos on their album and "Slipknot" stating "Slayer" as an influence for their latest) without really going back at all as "Disturbed" had only 2 solos on their album (one was decent though while the other wah-ing garbage) and "Slipknot" just sucked a bit less, which meant they only sucked 0.01 less than their usual billion figure. Similarly, this album is only “Operation Mindcrime 2” by name when all it’s just the 40% improved version of the new Queensryche doing their take on the original “Mindcrime”. You’ll find like 7 metal riffs here…for 17 songs.

The music here is uninspired drivel. The soloing surprisingly is halfway there to “Mindcrime”, and the absolute highlight of the album. The first thing you’ll notice though is Tate’s voice, totally uninspired and at times overdramatic, his voice is the most painful thing to hear in this album. Tate doesn’t exactly have the best voice in metal by any means, but his tone, delivery and the emotion he put into his vocals was amazing. He lost all the high-pitched parts to his vocals with his recent work though, but then again he was still decent. Here though, it is apparent that he was totally uninterested in whatever the rest of the band was doing and his performance is completely out of key with the guitars most of the time. Notice, the song “I’m American” for instance, decent riff and it moves along decently untile it reaches that totally gay chorus – omg, Uncle Sam covers his ears, it really IS that bad! The song is decent but far too repetitive for its own good, and to think its just 2:40 minutes long! The whole album isn’t even up to this level with the exception of “The Hands” which is by all means the albums best song, although it sort of meanders and gets old too. Yet, it actually has some riffs and Geoff doesn’t sound like he’s choking on his vomit. Oh, and the soloing is bice too.

The rest? “Freheit Overture” is an excellent intro to the album, very atmospheric but in the end, it is an intro and if the song is as uninspired and average as “I’m American”, the effect gets neutered. “Convict” though raises a doubt; can a guy who has MURDERED so many people be left free that way? Well, I’ll tackle that later. I must say that the vocal performance on “The Chase” is absolutely marvelous – it bears the sign of Dio, how he was convinced to play on this boring wreck of an album is totally beyond me. There’s nothing going on in the background of the song though, and that’s why it loses out. Then “A Murderer?” starts out really nice, excellent atmosphere but then when we get to the actual song, it’s the usual bore, but then again the soloing totally rules. “Circles” is an ambient instrumental, a break from the monotone style of the album but nonetheless it sucks. “If I Could Change It All”, “All The Promises” and “Speed of Light” features the vocals of Pamela “The hag who’s too old to rock, too young to die” Moore. Seriously, her voice is incredibly irritating. “All The Promises” and “Speed of Light” are horrid ballads, the latter is a rip off of “Silent Lucidity” (what else?) and the former is a totally unmoving ballad. Ugh. “If I Could Change It All” is where Pamela actually sounds halfway to decent and the ending operatic vocals are good and I don’t enjoy opera. Maybe it’s because this album sucks so much.

“Hostage” is another boring and forgettable ballad with irritating drumming. “Signs Say Go” and “Rearrange you” are two identical and equally boring songs. “An International Confrontation” actually starts off very nice, but then the song nosedives and Geoff and Pamela only ruin it more. Damn, that intro was epic, get you shouldn’t get your expectations high with small bursts of the old “Queensryche” flame. “A Junkies Blues” is half instrumental and totally milks that riff stolen from a nu-metal band, I can’t remember which, but I’m sure I’ll think of it sometime and the second half of the song is actually quite decent, nice atmosphere but altogether forgettable, especially the way Tate sings it.

The total abortion on the album though I’ve saved for the last, and yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s “One Foot in Hell”. Amazingly boring, I even thought the album was done when this song was over, it’s that damn bad! The nu-metal intro riff to the song just has to be one of the worst riffs ever, the balladic segments are totally off and Tate sucks much more than anywhere else on the album. I wouldn’t listen to that song again even if my LIFE depended on it. Listeners beware.

Regarding the concept, its extremely hard to decipher where the heck the album is going. The lyrics are nothing as good as on the original “Mindcrime” (as is the music) although it does feature some witty lines like “Tried hard to scratch the surface of life, got bloody broken fingernails now”. And yeah, as I mentioned before, a guy who’s murdered several people just cannot be left to go free like that, even if he was left free, he’d be on parole which “Queensryche” don’t indicate. A definite plot hole and one that destroys this entire reality-based concept and throws it into a pool of fiction.

I’m American – 7/10
One Foot in Hell – 0/10
Hostage – 2/10
The Hands – 7/10
Speed of Light – 2/10
Signs Say Go – 4/10
Rearrange You – 3/10
The Chase – 5/10
A Murderer – 5/10
Circles – 2/10
If I Could Change It All – 4/10
An International Confrontation – 4/10
A Junkies Blues – 1/10
Fear City Slide – 3/10
All The Promises – 1/10
Total – 50/170 = 29%

In conclusion, this is a boring as hell album and a tired effort from a band whose years of glory have long since passed. Not recommended unless you’re a die-hard “Queensryche” fan or you like to torture yourself. I only give this a 29, because of the nice soloing and above mentioned decent parts. “Queensryche” are certainly not intending to retain their original sound and now ‘Ryche fans just have to accept that, otherwise we’ll get the new Queensryche doing “Operation Mindcrime 3” and you certainly don’t want THAT do you? Signs say Queensryche go, and I’m inclined to agree.