Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums :
Artist : Queensryche
Album : Operation Mindcrime
Released : May 3, 1988
Metal Mofo Album Rating : 5/5 (One of the Holy Grails Of Progressive Heavy Metal Music)
It’s always irritated me when people talk about the Seattle music scene how Queensryche continues to be disrespected. Years before bands like Nirvana, and Pearl Jam supposedly put Seattle on the map, Queensryche had already become one of the most respected bands, with the body of work to back it up. As a matter of fact, their third album was one of the huge blows to what the music scene had become in the mid to late 1980s. At a time where style and hairspray were much more important than substance, they came out of nowhere with what many people feel is one of the greatest concept albums, not just in Progressive Heavy Metal, but of all time.
Sadly, some of that seems to be forgotten now. Granted, part of it is their own fault. With having two separate camps now using the Queensryche name it’s done considerable damage to their legacy, which is truly a shame. The body of musical work that the band recorded in the 1980s, and early 1990s is some of the most musically rewarding. Albums like The Warning, and Rage For Order, had a style all their own. A style so unique actually that music fans didn’t know what to truly call it, yet would still be impressed with the music. Little did anyone know though at the time that they were about to record an album that would take things to a whole new level, and eventually be considered the “Dark Side Of The Moon” of the 1980s decade.
Their third album “Operation Mindcrime” was proof to the music industry that a complex record with a great storyline could still work. And that is what makes the record so great, is not only the amazing playing, but the story. While listening you feel like you have a movie going on your head. Like all great concept records, or rock operas, it offers twists and turns that keep you interested in the end. It’s not an album you can play on shuffle, or even just certain songs, because it won’t make sense. It’s one complete thought. The story itself too is a brilliant one, about a recovering drug addict who becomes part of an Revolutionary group to Assassinate what he feels are corrupt political leaders.
Following this record the band was never compared to any hair, or pop metal bands again. Their record company fought them all the way through the making of it. They figured it would be commercial suicide. What it did prove was the musical climate was one again slowly starting to change, and that Heavy Metal, and Hard Rock Listeners wanted some substance. Queensyrche would never approach the greatness of this record again. Yes they would sell more records, and would even try a part 2, which wasn’t terrible but just didn’t have the same magic. That’s ok though, because the original Operation Mindcrime continues to age like a fine wine, and proves that it’s one of the landmark albums ever released in any genre.