This album is so difficult to discuss. It’s so perfect, that is really hard to even try to describe it. In my opinion, it should be enough to tell someone “Just Listen To It!” I still remember the first time I listened to it, from the very first sounds as the record began to roll round the turntable, till the end of the 2nd side. And I assure you, it’s the same feeling every time all through the years, every time I listen to it in its entirety, because I just can’t listen to only one song or a few tracks. It’s meant to be listened to from the beginning to the end and then again and again and again!
Queensrÿche is one of the “Holy Trinity” of progressive metal bands (along with Fates Warning and Dream Theater). Their third full length album is the one that raised them to the very top, and is still a disc-reference for rock albums in general.
Musically, it belongs to the field of classic heavy metal of the 1980’s, but with clear influences from older groups of progressive rock, such as Rush and Pink Floyd. The melodic lines are particularly pronounced with dominant lyricism, and the expressiveness of the singer Geoff Tate boosts the ensemble.
Lyrically and distinctly, this is a concept album that tells the story of a young man, who is recruited by a revolutionary group and becomes a blind executioner – a modern assassin. The group leader, the mysterious Mr. X, reveals to him the next target at a time and he performs without a second thought. Only then will the world will be saved! Of course, so that he never objects, Mr. X ensures that he is another slave to drugs.
The young man falls in love with Mary, a former prostitute, and now a nun, who supplies him with drugs. Mr. X orders him to kill her because “she knows a lot.” And the young man, as an obedient instrument who cannot resist the addiction, fulfills the purpose of the organization, and implements its mandate, despite his opposing emotions, ending up a mental wreck in a hospital.
This is the moment from which the story starts. The young man is trying to remember what happened in his life and to discover who he is, what he did, and why.
During the tour promoting the 1990 album “Empire” (the band’s 4th), ‘Operation: Mindcrime‘ was performed in its entirety. A recording was released as ‘Operation: Livecrime‘.