Tuesday, April 04, 2006

QUEENSRYCHE `Operation: Mindchrime II'

Rhino/Atlantic (2006) Band website

The follow-up to one of the metal/rock genre's finest albums `Operation: Mindchrime' that was released back in 1988 – my how times flies! In between times Queensryche's fortunes have risen (via the marvellous `Empire') to falling to the poor selling and frankly very average `Q2K' album. So there is a lot riding on this release and does it deliver? Just ever so! Taking the story on from where it left off looking at the fate of Nikki and how after all these years his thoughts of revenge would be bottled up and how this would affect him. Pamela Moore is back recreating her role as the whore turned nun Sister Mary (although in spirit form as Sister Mary was bumped off in the original album). Then of course Dr X gets a voice and what a voice as Ronnie Dio takes on his character.
Musically it is very similar to the original less the very 80's snare drum sound so popular at the time and there is a very good use of strings throughout the album, especially on the grand instrumental opener `Freiheit Overture'. Song of the album though has to be the vocal trade off between Geoff Tate and Ronnie Dio on `The Chase' – simply stunning. `I'm An American' is a no holds barred rocker and the lead single. The lyrics are tinged with irony and it is not the all out patriotic song you'd expect from the title. Pamela Moore takes the limelight on `An Intentional Confrontation', whilst `Murderer?' gets the listener thinking. I won't spoil the outcome of the album as it does answer some questions left open from the first album but then does open a whole load more!
Musically the band are on top form, with Scott Rockenfield in particular drumming up a storm when needed. Simply buy this album and enjoy, that's all you need to do.


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