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Friday, May 19, 2017

982. Operation: Mindcrime / Resurrection. 2016. 1.5/5

I guess we can be brutally honest about this. There must be someone, somewhere out there, that thinks that what Geoff Tate is doing in his current musical field with his band Operation: Mindcrime is the equal of or better than what is happening in the Queensrÿche camp. I don’t know any of them mind you, but there must be fans out there who are enjoying this stuff. And what it shows is that the split between the two should have happened a long time ago, and let Geoff do this without dictating to others what should work best for them.

You can’t argue with his work ethic though. Albums keep coming forth on a regular basis, and he tours as he feels it necessary. The fact that he celebrated the final parting with Queensrÿche by christening his new ‘band’ by the title of its most famous album, and then engaged in writing and releasing a concept album trilogy, of which this is the second chapter, makes it even more thought-provoking as to why he stuck with it for so long. No doubt the name of the band was making more money.
And so on to Resurrection, which is Part Two of this story that apparently details virtual currencies, internet banking and stock trading. Honestly I haven’t listened to the lyrical side of the songs hard enough to garner that information out of them, I just found it on Wikipedia and threw it in here. And was it not for the addition of Spotify into my life, I am quite sure I would never have heard this album because the utilising of virtual currencies, internet banking or stock trading to purchase this album was out of the question given the two albums that preceded this. So I had no illusions going in. I was probably going to hate this.
Is hate too strong a word? Having now listened to this album in full on a number of occasions, it probably is. But is there anything likeable about it? Very little as you can probably imagine, and that is simply because it is nothing like any kind of music that I do like. It’s like asking me to review anything by Justin Bieber – I don’t like his music, so any review or rating is going to be coloured by that. Resurrection more or less takes up from where The Key leaves off. It is dreary. It’s like listening to the rain at the end of Queensrÿche's “Della Brown” and expecting to hear “Another Rainy Night” but instead getting “The Queue” from the previous album. Honestly, this album goes for over an hour, but it feels like an afternoon. There is little to distinguish between the songs, they all roll into one another. Geoff’s vocals all remain monotonic for great passages, even when layered on each other. There’s more synth than guitar or drums. It almost redefines a progressive rock genre into something far less, almost into easy listening. Most of it will lull you off to sleep if you allow it. It’s not that it is all terrible, but there are parts that cannot bring out any other adjective apart from that. “Taking on the World” is the closest this album has to a hard rock song, and having brought on Tim “Ripper” Owens and Blaze Bayley to take part as guest vocalists for this one song should make it the centrepiece of the album. The fact that it is, even though it doesn’t allow Ripper to actually unleash his powerhouse vocal (perhaps for fear that it would overshadow Tate’s degenerating vocal abilities) is a shame. This is the one song on the album I can almost get on board with, and I would be lying if I said it was for any reason except for Ripper and Blaze’s appearance.

The fact that Tate has struggled gain the Operation: Mindcrime name seems absurd given that the albums are practically still a two man show, with himself and Kelly Gray doing the bulk of the instrumentation. Why not just stay as Geoff Tate or The Geoff Tate Band? Is it so necessary to market himself based on his past with his other band? Despite this, the music will still be what he is judged on, and so I come back to the way I started this review. There must be people out there who like what Tate has been writing, both here and in the last ten years of his time with Queensrÿche. I’m just not sure who they are. This album is probably a little more interesting that The Key. That’s about the best I can say about it.

Rating:  One long monotone.  1.5/5
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