Title: “Operation Mindcrime II”
Label: Rhino Records
Release Date: 4/4/2006
Genre: Progressive Rock
Do you remember how it started? Do you remember that he was only doing what they told him? Well a full 18 years have passed and Nikki has returned to give us the second chapter to his tale which began in the classic “Operation: Mindcrime”. A lot of their original fans might lambaste Queensryche for choosing to revisit the themes of their most popular release but since so many years have gone by there is an entirely new audience available to their music. I admit at first I was one of the detractors who screamed “How could they do this”, fearing that the original release and its premise would suffer as a result but after a couple of listens I am happy to report that I was wrong. “Operation: Mindcrime II” picks up almost two decades later as Nikki now out of prison goes seeking revenge on the man who both put him there and was the cause of all his problems in the first place. The mysterious Doctor X. appears on the album in the form of the legendary Ronnie James Dio but his talents are sorely under utilized. He appears in only one song and could have been effective at least in dialogue in other areas of the album. Pamela Moore returns as Sister Mary (whether in his mind or in spirit I have not determined yet) and she shines on a number of tracks. After so many listens to Ms. Moore as this character I am interested in hearing her solo work. Tate is once again on top of his game proving that his pipes are still able to deliver even after over 20 years in the business. I also found the band to be above par and playing the best that I have heard them do in a number of years. Guitarist Mike Stone seems to have really stepped up for this release and is no longer relegated to the shadows left by Chris DeGarmo who left the band a number of years ago. As one might expect, members Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson do not disappoint at all.
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