MindCrime Reviews #4: Operation: Mindcrime - QueensrÿcheNow it’s time to pay tribute to my all time favorite album, the album that I got my username from, the album that blends all of my favorite things...Operation: Mindcrime.
Warning: This is a concept album, so don’t read if you don’t want spoilers.
Basically, the story is about a recovering heroin addict named Nikki who joins an organized crime agency that claims to be a revolution led by Dr. X, whom directs him to a prostitute turned nun named Sister Mary who gives him a drug that is supposedly heroin, but is actually mind control, and uses him to commit assassinations. In my opinion this is The Godfather of music. It’s got my favorite in metal: prog metal and heavy metal. It’s essentially Metropolis Part II: Scenes From A Memory before that album. I prefer Dream Theater as a band but Operation: Mindcrime is an untouchable album.
Tracks 1&2: I Remember Now/Anarchy X
It opens up with an interlude that isn’t completely pointless, which is very refreshing after suffering through Reign In Blood. It starts the album off, with Nikki not being able to remember anything but small portions of his life. It’s a great interlude, and it starts the story off perfectly. 10/10
Track #3: Revolution Calling
This is when the album hits its stride, very early on. Nikki joins the revolution led by Dr. X after building up anger over the corruption of society and the government. It continues the story of the album in a way that doesn’t seem cheesy or forced. Plus, this song is just awesome. The riff is amazing, and so is the powerful drumming and the thunderous bass. But more than anything, Geoff Tate’s vocals really shine in this song. 10/10
Track #4: Operation: Mindcrime
This track introduces the focal point of the album. Dr. X also happens to be a religious demagogue, and via a corrupt priest named Father William, he meets Sister Mary, whom gives him the “heroin” which is actually the mind control pill. Whenever Dr. X uses the word “mindcrime”, he has complete control over our protagonist. This song, once again, kicks ass. It’s got everything that makes a Queensrÿche song. It’s got that awesome intro with the phone call, that riff, the drums, and, best of all, Geoff Tate’s vocals. 10/10
Track #5: Speak
Nikki continues to assist the “revolution”. That’s really all that happens in the lyrics. Musically, it’s amazing. It’s got that catchy chorus (both of them), Geoff Tate’s powerful vocals, and the best guitar solo on the whole album...simply perfection. 10/10
Track #6: Spreading The Disease
Basically the backstory of Sister Mary. She was a prostitute who turned nun. Again, not much more to the lyrics. The drums in this song are especially good, especially toward the end. Geoff Tate’s vocals get a little deeper in the middle of the song, and it’s sick. The solo perfectly breaks up both halves of the song, and it works perfectly. 10/10
Track #7: The Mission
Nikki continues to become friends with Sister Mary, and also wonders if what he’s doing is moral. He also questions the legitimacy of the revolution. Musically, everything shines here. Particularly Geoff’s vocals. Starting to see a pattern? He delivers top notch vocals throughout the whole album and doesn’t disappoint once. 10/10
Track #8: Suite Sister Mary
And, now we get to my second favorite song on the entire album. Suite Sister Mary, the epic of the album. At 10:42, this is the longest song in Queensrÿche’s discography.
Dr. X orders Nikki to kill not only Father William, the corrupt priest, but Mary as well. It’s got a chilling intro with eerie choir singing and some legitimately scary yet awesome guitar. Then, Geoff’s godly vocals start.
After that intro, yet another awesome riff starts. Geoff’s vocals are at their best in this song, as well as choir backing vocals, which alone makes this the most unique song on the whole album. It also has a woman singing Mary’s parts. So, this song just has everything. It’s 11 minutes long, but it’s with every second. After the solo breaks the song up, it reprises the intro with the chilling guitar and choir. Then, the vocals start again. It continues the story perfectly.
Another thing to mention: every song on this album flows into the next. I’ll get more into that when we get to the final track.
After the song continues, it reprises the intro again and the song ends.
You see why this is my number one album of all time? 10/10
Track #9: The Needle Lies
Nikki sees how much of a mistake this was after Mary commits suicide after Dr. X threatens her that he will kill Nikki. He also realizes how Dr. X has been controlling him via the Mindcrime pill. This is getting confusing. Musically, it’s amazing. Geoff shines yet again, and so do the drums and the guitar. The album continues to flow, both with the story and the songs themselves. 10/10
Track #10: Electric Requiem
This is the first album to have interludes that I’ve given a 10/10. Because the interludes work. Basically a continuation of The Needle Lies. Plus it’s just awesome for an interlude. 10/10
Track #11: Breaking The Silence
Basically, he (Nikki) finds Mary dead and breaks the silence by screaming her name. It’s got some more great lead and some amazing vocals from Geoff. 10/10
Track #12: I Don’t Believe In Love
We’re coming into the Final stretch with my second favorite from the album. It beat Suite Sister Mary for the silver medal. SSM may be more unique, but this just continues the story perfectly while also being a great song that carries a lot of emotion.
Nikki gets handcuffed at the crime scene and screams that he didn’t kill Mary. It’s got some amazing guitar work, and Geoff’s vocals in this song are absoulutely amazing. It really holds a special place for me because it was the first song of theirs I ever heard. And it’s still one of my favorites.
I should mention: there’s a ton of 12 string acoustic guitars and a lot of synthesizers, some of which are guitar synthesizers. And it works perfectly.
It is my second favorite on the album behind only...we’ll get to that in a bit. 10/10
Tracks 13 and 14: Waiting For 22/My Empty Room
Basically, Nikki gets thrown in an asylum. It’s a good interlude to lead into the end of the album. 10/10
Track 15: Eyes Of A Stranger
This...is the best on the entire album. By a mile. Basically, Nikki’s memory is jogged after he sees the news report of the political assassinations he commited under the control of Dr. X. He tells his story to the audience and realizes he is alone with nothing but the memories of the events.
This song carries the most emotion of any song on the album. It has everything that makes this album great. I love Suite Sister Mary, but this kicks SSM’s ass.
He also says “I Remember Now”, which makes it come full circle. I’m getting Octavarium flashbacks here....... 10/10
Overall rating: 100/100
Overall, this is my favorite album of all time. There’s some competition but not a whole lot. Let’s hope it did this masterpiece justice.
I've listened to this recently for the first time, while I don't think it's the best album ever, I must say that it rocks. I find it to sound like a more progressive Iron Maiden with the general style, which is a great thing. Your review is also very good. - kempokid
Thank you. - visitor