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THE METAL OBSERVER - Review - QUEENSRÿCHE - Operation: Mindcrime

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Queensrÿche - Operation: Mindcrime (10/10) - USA - 1988

Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: EMI Music
Playing time: 59:05
Band homepage: Queensrÿche


  1. I Remember Now
  2. Anarchy-X
  3. Revolution Calling
  4. Operation: Mindcrime
  5. Speak
  6. Spreading The Disease
  7. The Mission
  8. Suite Sister Mary
  9. The Needle Lies
  10. Electric Requiem
  11. Breaking The Silence
  12. I Don't Believe In Love
  13. Waiting For 22
  14. My Empty Room
  15. Eyes Of A Stranger
Queensrÿche - Operation: Mindcrime
When talking about concept-albums, almost inevitably the name of QUEENSRYCHE and the title "Operation: Mindcrime" is heard. In the year 1988 the quintet from Seattle released this album and cause a big stir, not only within the scene.

They tell the story of a man, who, without orientation, falls in the grasp of a future revolutionary leader named Dr.X. Through drugs and pathetic promises he is turned into a killing machine and finally falls in love with the nun (!) Mary, who is his only contact, who brings him the drugs. Fate then decides to turn the moment he gets the order to kill Mary...

Musically QUEENSRYCHE transfer the story in breath-taking fashion, when you read the lyrics while listening to the album, you can almost see the pictures before your mind's eye. After the intro "I Remember Now", "Anarchy-X" comes over atmospheric, with speech-samples of a big crowd and a military rhythm, if short. "Revolution Calling", clad in mid-tempo-sounds, convinces by its brilliant arrangement and culminates in an irresistible chorus. The story tells us how Nikki feels attracted to the speeches of Dr.X and decides to follow him.

The following title-track is taking on dramatic dimensions and conveys the lyrics perfectly, the main character is fed with drugs and made a one-man-death-machine. "Speak" is a good bit faster and more aggressive and shows Nikki in his mission as death angel, who does not questions the new system, but already is satisfied with his projected enemies and the propaganda fit, before "Spreading The Disease" tells the life-story of Mary in driving mid-tempo. She has run away from home and earned her money in a live-show in New York's underground, before a priest saved her and brought her to god, but she has to pay a bitter price for it...

"The Mission" again turns dramatic, because Nikki despairingly realises his situation and turns more and more towards Mary, who feeds him with drugs and her body. The next track is the centre-piece of "Operation: Mindcrime", "Suite Sister Mary". More than ten minutes long it is a roller-coaster-ride of emotions, after Nikki had received the order to kill Mary and he tries to convince her to feel with him, leaving the cruel reality behind. He shoots the priest, who had saved Mary, but at the same time brought her pain again...

With "The Needle Lies" we then get the fastest and heaviest track of the album, in which Nikki realises how Dr.X had manipulated him with drugs, what the needle had done to him, but the addiction is too great to shed it. The short instrumental "Electric Requiem" then shows that not only the priest was left for dead, but that unconsciously Nikki also had followed the order of Dr.X, to kill Mary. "Breaking The Silence" shows that he breaks inside, as his only support, Mary, had broken away and his world is crumbling to dust. "I Don't Believe In Love" is an absolute classic by QR, the story tells that he had been arrested by the police and now awakes inside a prison cell. He feels lost, betrayed by life and tries to negate his own feelings for Mary, trying to distance himself from his deed.

Nikki despairs inside his cell, which is brilliantly conveyed by Geoff Tate in short "My Empty Room" and during the closing "Eyes Of A Stranger" Nikki awakes time and again, haunted by his memories, to realise that Mary looks into his eyes again and again, into eyes of a stranger that he sees in the mirror.

With "Operation: Mindcrime" QUEENSTYCHE had created harsh social criticism, which tells a story in each dramatic detail that you automatically start to think, how often this has indeed happened in reality and how often it still does happen. Packed into a crystal-clear production the musical transfer is the perfect setting to music of the moods, the deeds, the plot, which has secured "Operation: Mindcrime" a place in the Olympus oRock and Metal!

Alexander Melzer

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