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Operation: Mindcrime
December 2000
Released: 1988, EMI
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Rick

Classic Pick of the Month

Its late on the day that reviews are due and here I sit, writing one last review. EvilG asked me to do a classic review and I pondered on what CD I should write. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Why not review the best concept CD ever created?! When I ran it past EvilG this is what he had to say..."The last GREAT Queensryche album by which all other Queensryche is measured". Well I wholeheartedly agree. This is one monster of a CD and when it came out in 1988 it blew my mind. I happened to see a couple of videos for the album on Much Music’s Power Hour and thought that they were damn cool. I got the cassette and when I realized that it was a concept CD I was greatly interested. When I figured out the story I was in metal heaven. Murderers, mind control, prostitute turned nun, sex in churches. Metal Rules!!

The story starts with a guy, Nikki, in the state mental hospital for many murders. He starts to listen to his favourite tape on his walkman and begins to retrace his past. Recently, Nikki had heard Dr. X speak at a political rally. Nikki is now the central pawn in an evil game called Operation: Mindcrime. Dr. X controls Nikki through his drug addiction and by subliminal messages over the telephone. Mary was a young girl who worked the S&M shows in times Square. She met Father William who took her off the streets and helped her get into a convent. The price for "saving" her life? She would "sacrifice" herself to him on the altar once a week. Nikki is confronted by Dr. X who tells him to kill Father William and Mary, Nikki’s secret lover. Nikki kills the priest but instead tries to kill Dr. X. He instead finds Mary dead. He goes insane and rushes into the streets like a mad man where he is arrested and sent to the mental hospital to await murder charges.

Now is this a cool story of what? How much more metal can you get than this? The story is backed up by some awesome songs that flesh out this story. I only touched the tip of the iceberg. To get the full effect you have to listen to the whole thing. There are many outstanding songs including the title track, "Speak", "The Mission" which deals with Nikki’s love for Mary, "Suite Sister Mary". My personal favourite song on this disc. This song is a duet with Pamela Moore who portrays the character of Sister Mary. The CD closes with 2 great songs in "I Don’t Believe in Love" which shows Nikki dealing with the death of his lover and "Eyes of a Stranger" where Nikki looks into the mirror and doesn’t recognize the person he has become. What an awesome story!!!!

This is the quintessential Queensryche CD to own. The next release was Empire and though I liked it a fair bit it doesn’t stand up to Mindcrime. Queensryche were building up to this album with some of their earlier releases such as The Warning and Rage For Order. Mindcrime is where it all the proper elements came together to create one of the best CDs in the history of metal....
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