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Queensryche Operation Mindcrime 2 Rhino Records
· Produced By: Jason Slater

· Running Time:

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released: WORLD

· Musical Style: Progressive Hard Rock

· Links: Queensryche
80%
Songs: 70%
Sound: 90%
Review on this occasion by Mick Ward.

Typically full of twists and turns, the plot line for Operation Mindcrime II is rich intricate and involved. Whether you love or despise this incarnation of Queensryche is beside the point, for what the band has delivered here is quite the effort, dressing this sequel up in what resembles the sounds of an 80's era Queensryche while continuing to evolve and not duplicate themselves. A daunting task and first impressions would have the listener convinced that the band have succeeded in remaining faithful to the original in both story arc and its delivery. Yet while the plot should enthrall, the music and song delivery require closer examination.
Too often the melody lines which Geoff Tate sings veer on the side of pop, reminiscent of those on his Geoff Tate solo album and distance themselves from the obvious attempt by the musicians to put some metal back in the band. Also, on too many occasions a strong opening riff gives way to a softer song or, for want of a better word a ballad. Regardless of the story lines' requirement for these moments of fluff, MCII is flawed by the inclusion of too many of these softer moments.
MCII is less metal and more hard rock with a creative edge. However, having said that, the venture into new territory is occasionally quite extraordinary. The unfamiliar style of Re-Arrange You is absolutely wonderful, its exceptional chorus and driving verses leave you wanting more. Fear City Slide reeks of Empire era Queensryche and, aside from its rather unusual, bordering on awful pop sing-a-long chorus, the song is quite the number.
The idea of sharing vocals with Ronnie James Dio on The Chase, in theory is brilliant, but the reality should have challenged its performers so much more, the song lacks in dynamic and by no means does it showcase either vocalist's true ability. Good but could have been so much more!
When seeking the reason behind such a subdued performance, consideration needs to be given on how this album came about - allegedly Tate made use of storyboards to structure the story preparing it for a more theatrical presentation. So perhaps here lies the problem. Whereas the first Mindcrime captured you with its sensational songs and musicianship whilst at the same time working cohesively with an intricate and compelling story, MCII puts the story first and has instead been drafted from concept to song, thus resulting in a more crowded and at times forced atmosphere, the story getting caught up in its very own theatrics and leaving less room for the music to breathe.
Thankfully many of the tunes push through this small barrier, tracks such as the dark and brooding Hostage and the catchy and sharp delivery of The Hands send the listener on a definite trip down metallic memory lane proudly giving a wink to anything from the Rage for Order to the Promised Land eras. Put simply both tunes are brilliant!
The slightly fumbled yet kick ass I'm American launches the album out of the starter gates and while it reeks of a deliberate attempt at capturing the spirit of the first Mindcrime, it is a galloping rocker in its own right. Rejoice!
One also cannot ignore the intensity and uniqueness of Murderer, perhaps too obscure for the casual listener; Murderer borders on chaotic but its driving bass and progressive style make for one of the strongest moments in Queensryche history.
Thankfully there are plenty of guitar solos and some shared, although unlike the songs from which they come, the solos fail to ingrain themselves in your head daring you to duplicate them on your own six string like those of years gone by, which leaves the album a tad unfulfilling in this regard, but they do complete the songs and its damn pleasing to hear 'em none the less.
Unfortunately, being the prime architect for the album, Tate will likely take the brunt of any negativity that comes their way but on a positive note his performance is flawless. Regardless of less range, he relishes the emotions of MCII and hasn't sounded this dark, angry or convincing on a release since the release of Promised Land.
Executed to perfection with a fat production that dabbles in yesteryear while staying very in the now and giving MCII the dramatic effect it requires, the band have indeed thrown down a worthy album. If it's the Mindcrime tag that has caused this sudden darker and much better Queensryche to appear or re-appear, whichever way you see it, then for that we should be thankful. With the changes the band has had to endure, newcomers Mike Stone sharing guitar duties with Michael Wilton and Jason Slater taking on production values finally sees the band settling into a sound and style which most fans should embrace.
The Bottom Line
Not as convincing or near perfect as the first Mindcrime (seriously, did we really expect it could be?), MCII should be taken on its own merits. It is a well rounded and well executed album, an album from which I personally would have preferred more metal and/or anthems, (or at the very least more songs in the vein of Hostage and I'm American), but aside from this and all its flaws the band prove yet again that they still have plenty of that creative juice. Unlikely to regain many lost fans but more than catering for the loyal, Queensryche remain a very unique and valid band who on MCII offer many many moments of brilliance, something too rarely seen in today's music industry.
Masterpiece? Dramatic swansong or a rebirth of sorts? Time will tell.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Queensryche
· The Warning
· Rage For Order
· Operation:Mindcrime
· Empire
· Promised Land
· Hear In The Now Frontier
· Q2K
· Tribe
· Operation Mindcrime 2

Line Up:
· Geoff Tate: Vocals
· Michael Wilton, Mike Stone: Guitars
· Scott Rockenfield: Drums
· Ed Jackson: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
· Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime
Track Listing
· Freiheit Ouverture
· Convict
· I'm American
· One Foot in Hell
· Hostage
· Hands
· Speed of Light
· Signs Say Go
· Re-Arrange You
· Chase
· Murderer?
· Circles
· If I Could Change It All
· An Intentional Confrontation
· Junkie's Blues



01/05/07: dj - smokepod15@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
GReat album like everything else this band does

19/07/06: Nun Yo Business - Nun_Yo_Business_1@verizon.net
Rating: 20
Way back in the early 80's while sitting off the coast of Iraq (Navy Time)a friend of mune introduced me to a band called Queensryche, It was the EP, I remember putting the tape in my player and hearing "The Lady Wore Black" and thinking Holy Cow this is some killer stuff. When their first full length came out I was again impressed and have been right up until "Promised Land" each disc since that has shown that the band is floating rudderless in the music world. Will they ever make another LWB no will they ever recapture their past glories not unless they bring back Chris DeGarmo and really sit down and try to write a song that celebrates their past not run away from it. Yes it's hard out in the music world but for your real fans you don't need to run away from it but embrace it we have been there since the beggining we just hope that the band doesn't end on this sad note. Come on guys lets get the music right and stop making substandared discs.

18/07/06: Madmeavy - madmeavy@gmx.de
Rating: 65
I've listened to that recording so many times now, and it's not a bar recording, I like to listen to it, but none of the songs stays in my mind. So I can't give it a higher rating. In my eyes "Promised land" is the last real good album for that group. I don't think that they will ever be as good as they were in the beginning of the 90's. I think it's time to close this chapter and do something new!

14/07/06: dp - dpeter1234@aol.com
Rating: 40
Trying to get the average rating percent where it really belongs. This 40 hopefully will get it somewhere in the 60 range. I could live with that because I know anyone reading this to help them make a decision on whether to buy or not will be warned. Don't expect the glory days.

12/07/06: Torsten - torsten.buck@t-online.de
Rating: 95
Just listen to this album over and over again. Then you will see how much big songs you can hear on it. For example "Hands" or "The Change" or "I`m American" and so on. I have listened to it for over 60 times now. I always discover something new. I had the change to see Queensryche live in Europe three times in a week. The new material kicks ass a lot live. Queensryche still rules and I am sure, that in ten years or earlier OM2 will be classified as a No1 hardrock/heavy metal album.

15/06/06: Danimal - thenuge1@aol.com
Rating: 82
Good album...better than I expected. Much better than Tribe or Q2K. I cant wait to see these guys this September to hear both Mindcrime albums back to back. Gonna be a good show.

08/06/06: Brent White - baw91@gmail.com
Rating: 60
Tate needs to decide if he wants to do theater or write good music. He's got a great band. Use it to the fullest!

The tour - we saw OM performed last year (and in 91). Why would we want to see it again? And get rid of the political crap.

07/06/06: Arney - daveandmel@kooee.com.au
Rating: 85
Most of what I have read about this release paints it in a bad light, so I didn't know quiet what to expect when it arrived in the mail a fortnight ago.Well after solidly listening to this CD since, both through headphones & cranked up on the sound system, I really appreciate what Queensryche has accomplished. This album won't hit you like a sledge-hammer straight off, it will take a few listens & a bit of concentration, but didn't Op MCI take a bit of listening too & alot of concentration to get the story right!I agree that the first album is very catchy & memorable ,whilst it takes the listener upon a roller coaster of emotions a bit more than this sequel. Yet don't write this part of the journey off just yet as after a while it will have you enthralled.I'm a little dissapointed in "Re-arrange you" & "Cicles", but when those songs pass the gems keep rolling out.The Duets are all well written & delivered and the rest of the content is interesting, varied & after a while memorable. This concludes nicely the story of Nikki & is a real compliment to the 1988 release, I recommend anyone to listen to both albums back to back through a good set of headphones & in the dark to get the full impact, after a while one gets so into the story & music that nothing else will matter. Well done Queensryche!!

06/06/06: Jeffrey S. Thomas - jctaudiodesigns@cox.net
Rating: 35
Having been a Queensryche fan for longer than I would like to admit, I had very big expectations of this recording. This record is a huge disappointment. It seems to start off ok, but then drops off really quickly. It’s almost as if they lost steam but where under pressure to finish. If you are going to make a sequel to the great Operation Mindcrime, you had better make damn sure its at least decent. There are a few reasons why it doesn’t com up to par.
1) The absence of Chris DeGarmo. 50% of the Queensryche song writing team is missing. How many times has it been proven that sometimes it’s not one individual, but a team dynamic that is the key to real success and magic. Lennon and McCartney – Steve Tyler and Joe Perry – David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen need I say more?
2) The absence of the original Producer and Engineer. This, I think, is a huge part of the problem, they obviously needed guidance. I am a Producer/Recording Engineer, I can tell you from personal experience that this has a huge part of how the final outcome will sound. The original team of Collins and James “Jimbo” Barton was a fantastic team. Some of the records they did together include Queensryches own “Empire”, and Rushes “Hold Your Fire” and “Power Windows”. A lot of the credit must be given to the mixing abilities of Jimbo Barton who I have worked with several times. He paints a picture with sound. Facts don’t lie, the most successful records Queensryche had, had him at the helm. There was an attempt to try to recreate a little of the sound of the original record, but the attempt failed. I think there are 2 reasons why this attempt failed
A) The lack of Jimbo Barton
B) A lot of acts that had there “hey day” in the 80’s try to distance themselves from the 80’s sound to show how “up to date” they are. Quite often they do this to a fault. So they no longer resemble what made them successful and now there records are to dry and have no character or sense of depth. (Does anyone besides me remember when you could immerse yourself in a recording and get this sense of depth? Just close your eyes and look at the picture that was painted with audio. Quite a bit of everything now it so dry, compressed, and in your face it’s sickening. Has anyone heard a good sounding record lately? Ok, I will get off my soap box)
I really like this band, I wish them all the best, but they really dropped the ball on this cd. It really could have been great.

05/06/06: beau - bmanikoth@hotmail.com
Rating: 69
GEOFFE TATE stated on a recent interview that he did it (made this album) "because the fan wanted it." interesting!

you're a talented singer! why insult us with this less-than-inspired, less-than-mediocre follow-up album? it's an insult. was CHRIS DEGARMO really the true, creative talent of queensryche; because when he left, the music and the melody seem to have left with him? was he really the MAIN force behind queensryche's creative process? as a queensryche listener, this album is a total waste of time.

03/06/06: daryl h - chardwick@nc.rr.com
Rating: 90
i love it im not a fan of the recording( i think it was commpressed to much) cant really crank it up.but i thought it was a nice conclusion to the first.they are playing in myrtle beach in sept and i already have my tickets cannot wait to see them do crimes 2. i cant belive people are complaining ryche has grew up and so did there music. i think its a very very good lp

03/06/06: DP - dpeter1225@hotmail.com
Rating: 60
It's good but not great and not much of a concept album. It lacks what the first album had which was great classic songs and top of the line sounding production. Maybe when played live as a whole it will come off better when all songs are stripped down. I really miss what made the first one great that's from beginning to end the music is great with hooks and that flowed like an open river. This on gives me some nap time and doesn't flow as well. More like a river that hits a few dams along the way out to sea then gets lost in the Bermuda triangle. I know there are no rivers leading to the Bermuda Triangle just like there is no way a band could live up to their past.

02/06/06: Ralph - firefox6806@yahoo.com
Rating: 60
Queensryche is a band I have loved since the EP, but as time as gone on, the albums seem to get less and less intresting. There was a time when the band really challenged the listener and they stood out among all other bands of their era. Now more than ever when we need a classic band like Queensryche to blow us all away and dominate the radio waves and wipe out this constant crap they call music these days ( hip/hop, rap, etc. ) Now they have come out and disgraced an album that has ultimately gone down in rock as one of the all time greatest albums ever, MC1. MC2 is a very weak attempt to try and bring back some of the outstanding song writing that Queensryche has always been known for. Granted, we can not all have our wish and get Chris back in the band and for whatever reason that Geoff and Chris can not mend thier difference, you truly cannot go back in time and try and resurrect an era that is now gone. Trying to bring back Mindcrime without Chris I feel was a big mistake. Even though there are a couple songs that begin to show some promise on MC2 they quickly drop off into nowhere and leave the listener wondering where this story is really going. I will not part with my Queensryche collection and I remain a fan, but even fan can be disappointed at times.

02/06/06: STEVE15 - sacredspirits@earthlink.net
Rating: 55
THE GOOD THING ABOUT THIS CD IS THERE ALL SOME COOL GUITAR PARTS.
THE BAD THING IS THE SONGS LACK HOOKS.
GEOFF TATE MAY HAVE A GREAT VOICE BUT I MISS HEARING HIM SING CHRIS DEGARMOS LYRICS / SONGS.
I JUST SOLD MY CD ON EBAY...

02/06/06: W87 - w_12335@hotmail.com
Rating: 70
Its not good etiquette amongst hardcore fans to compare old Ryche with the new Ryche (old Ryche ended after Promised Land btw), but this album is just asking for it. The band clearly realised that, in writing a sequel, they would have to make it sound similar to the original classic. But it seems that this was a change of necessity, rather than because they wanted to.

Son on the one hand you get (essentially) metal tracks like I'm American and Re-Arrange You, the atmospheric creepiness of Hostage and The Hands (a sort of mutant cross between Sign of the Times and sp00l). These are very good songs, and are worthy of the MCII tag.

In many ways that makes the rest of it all the more disappointing. Not wanting to admit that their more recent style sucks, the band try and interlace elements of Tribe and Q2K. This just creates songs that have moments excellence overshadowed by embarrassing choruses, forgetable solos and boring harmonies. The lyrics are all very, very good, but the story is insipid.

Dio turns up for a few lines, but its just distracting. Pamela Moore's voice has grown huskier (and a little sexier!) over time, but it doesn't help. Despite being the focus of the story this time round, but her whole presence comes across as being unnecessary. Geoff Tate really only deserves a certificate of participation for his performance, which lacks conviction.

Agree with the MRock review, except for the production score - there's nothing wrong with it per se, but the bass drum and guitar are too pronounced, creating problems with the flow of the faster songs. Its just something that could have lifted the whole feeling toward something a little bit more convincing.

Operation Mincrime II is a promise ultimately unfulfilled.

02/06/06: James - jhowe85@gmail.com
Rating: 90
First off, i don't think Queensryche should have to use the same hooks and furtermore, this is 2006, Geoff Tate wanted to stick to the Mindcrime story but didn't actually intend for it to sound EXACTLY like Mindcrime I, just similar in style from what i read, but did however, conclude the story from the first disc. I think the guys did an AMAZING job on Mindcrime II and i fell in love w/ the song Hands of Time, that song sounded like it would've fit perfectly on Mindcrime I. Ronnie James Dio did an excellent job as well doing vocals for track # 10. I think Mindcrime II basically sums up from Mindcrime I, focusing more on world changes and what has become of Nikki (yes i know he's not real), lol! it is a refreshing new release by them and i plan to get the rest of thier releases!! they are one of the BEST Progressive Hard Rock Bands out there!!

02/06/06: D. - icecreamsandwiches@hotmail.com
Rating: 75
I must say... I rather enjoyed this album. I'm a 'Ryche fan from way back (had the Ep on vinyl). I too haven't been thrilled with their output over the last few years. But I was, of course, excited to see what they did here. I think musically, it's their best in years! I love "I'm American" & "One Foot In Hell". I think where the album fails is in it's story line or lack thereof. If the first Mindcrime was a summer hollywood blockbuster, this one is a late-night, straight to video b-movie.

02/06/06: Christian - sommerhoff@messpunkt.biz
Rating: 20
This is so disappointing. Been a long time i heard such a boring CD. Put it away after the first listen. I remember it took time when I listened to OM 1, I had to listen 5, 6 times and the album became greater everytime. But in these songs there is nothing to discover, like a soulless copy of OP 1.
It seems without deGarma Queensryche is not able to write memorable songs. A waste of money, like "Y2K" too.

02/06/06: Pierre Baugnee - pierre.baugnee@skynet.be
Rating: 45
Queensryche lost the plot after Promised land. I was a big fan of the band but I didn't expect a miracle with Mindcrime II. Geoff can say what he wants but it smells like an ultimate attempt to reach the charts again. And the result is obviously weak. Will they really play the two CD on stage? My god, then you know when to reach the bar ...

02/06/06: Herb - dolphin80@yahoo.com
Rating: 75
There is a snowballs chance in hell that ANYTHING this band does will ever measure up to MINDCRIME. In fact, we can probably pinpoint the exact date that the Queensryche, as true fans knew it, died. That day was the day Promised Land was released. Fans were expecting the sound and music that had become accustomed to with their EP, Warning, Rage for Order, OM-I, and Empire. The icing on the cake was Chris DeGarmo leaving, as he was the one who had that Ryche sound. This new guy does a good job of somewhat copying that sound on this OM-II record.

I totally agree with Mr. Galt. After giving this CD a listen half a dozen times, there is NOTHING that sticks in my head, with possibly the exception of "I'm a Hostage." The music is good, but its lacking any dueling solos, combination solos, or hooks that are memorable. The intro to "Hands" is cool, because its a melody that you're familiar with from OM-I. Its nice to hear Pamela Moore again, but nothing compares to the level of Suite Sister Mary. I can do with or without Ronnie James Dio, but it was cool to hear the Grandfather of Metal on a track or two.
What Queensryche has given us lately:
Tribe had a couple of decent songs
Geoff Tate's solo album sucked
Q2K had a couple of decent songs
Hear in the Now Frontier had maybe ONE decent song
Promised Land = CRAP

02/06/06: Ric - gotaclue4u@aol.com
Rating: 25
reeks of desparation...vain attempt to re-capture the past...if you want to go that route, better bring back DeGarmo...

yes, a steaming pile indeed...save your cash ad go see a good concert instead

01/06/06: John Galt - bowlingjunkiemt@yahoo.com
Rating: 45
Another steaming pile from a formerly awesome band. This time instead of coming up with a new pile of garbage to listen to they attempt to go back to their greatest album ever to try to regain some form. The result does not sound fresh or inspired but more forced and calculated. No catchy songs that stay in your brain for more than the 3 minute of listening. Where are the great riffs, hooks, and lyrics??!!! Stick a fork in this band.

01/06/06: Brad Bowman - bowman1@fuse.net
Rating: 60
The original Mindcrime is a masterpiece, a standard by which all other prog-metal concept albums will be measured by for years to come. By recording a sequel, the boys in Queensryche invite us to use this standard to measure their latest opus. This is too bad because it fails in every regard. Every soong on the original had huge hooks that made them memorable on the first listen. Mindcrime 2 has none of these memorable melodies. The whole undertaking strikes me as a washed up band trying desperately to cash in on their star making past instead of recording something new, refreshing and memorable. I gave up on Queensryche a long time ago and see no reason why they will ever be relevant in the Progressive Metal arena again.


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