Album Review: Operation: Mindcrime – “Resurrection”
The last few years have been somewhat of a transition and rebuilding period for former Queensrÿche vocalist Geoff Tate. While Tate may have lost the rights to use the Queensrÿche name, he did win the rights to perform both Operation: Mindcrime albums, and thus Geoff and his band are now known as Operation: Mindcrime. And you thought the two Queensrÿches confused you a few years back?
The band released The Key, the first of a trilogy of albums, around this time last year and received a few scathing reviews, and Resurrection is the follow up, part two of three. The first thing noticeable is that there is little in the way of lyrics for the first five minutes. This is progressive metal, so that’s no great surprise, but when it’s Geoff Tate it’s somewhat of a curveball, suggesting that Operation: Mindcrime are shooting for experimental, even more so than with The Key.
With that being said, instrumental piece When All Fades Away start the album off strongly. Tracks like Left For Dead and Miles Away hark back to the original Mindcrime era, but what has been lacking for years still lacks now. While Geoff does sound better than he has done, he’s missing Chris DeGarmo’s songwriting input, the vocals are there, but the lyrics are hard to listen and relate. This is unfortunate, especially when Tate tries to wear his heart on his sleeve about his dealings with the press in A Smear Campaign, which already suffers from saxophone overexposure.
The Fight will satisfy anyone who appreciated Queensrÿche’s Promised Land era, but the standout track on the album goes to Taking On The World, which would have served well as a lead single. It does resemble the Queensÿche staple I Don’t Believe In Love (especially during the middle section, which also serves as a great example of Kelly Gray’s guitar prowess), but it sounds more like Tate reclaiming the song, as opposed to ripping it off for a new era, and let’s be honest, many bands are guilty of that trick.
Halfway through, the wheels begin to really fall off the wagon. Which Side You’re On tries to cross over to a form of blues metal but it just ends up sounding out of place, while Into The Hands Of The World ventures into prog metal obscurity with so many swerves you question whether it’s the same track. Live From My Machine finishes the album strongly, but I can’t help ponder on the differences that could have been made by taking a little more time to write and produce the album instead of knocking it out in under a year.
Resurrection is a slow starter and a very mixed bag, but it can grow on you after a couple of listens. Operation: Mindcrime are finding their feet, so it’s by no means a classic, but it’s a step in the right direction. If you acknowledge that it’s not a Queensrÿche album, despite obvious comparisons, it’s possible to enjoy this one.