Resurrection Review

artist: Operation: Mindcrime date: 10/05/2016 category: compact discs
Operation: Mindcrime: Resurrection
Released: Sep 23, 2016
Genre: Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal
Label: Frontiers
Number Of Tracks: 14
Operation: Mindcrime, the progressive metal band fronted by former Queensrÿche singer Geoff Tate, tries to find some sort of cohesion in the second concept album "Resurrection."
 Sound: 6
 Lyrics: 6
 Overall Impression: 6
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overall: 6
Resurrection Featured review by: UG Team, on october 05, 2016
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Sound: Resurrection: it's something that the heavy metal community wanted to see from Queensrÿche in the years leading up to their heavily controversial split in 2013, in what was more than a decade and a number of studio albums that couldn't hold a candle to their earlier records. Queensrÿche would continue forward with a new singer and have since released two albums that were well received by longtime fans of progressive metal and of staples such as "The Warning" and "Rage for Order." In the opposing corner was Geoff Tate, who put out a rushed album in "Frequency Unknown" which wasn't Queensrÿche in any sense but had it's fair moments, before later stepping forward under the new band name Operation: Mindcrime (yes, like the same Queensrÿche concept album). It may have all been confusing to be a Queensrÿche fan for several years, however the members of Operation: Mindcrime were able to take their first step with the release of "The Key" last year, the first in a planned trilogy of concept albums which focuses on everything from virtual currencies and stock trading to internet banking. Sure, there were some some songs that just sounded out of place, but the album's progressive overtones resonated with fans wanting to hear something different from Tate that was also better than a decade's worth of throwaway Queensrÿche records.

Now Operation: Mindcrime attempt to press forward with the second album in their trilogy, "Resurrection," which does improve upon some of the mistakes on "The Key" and "Frequency Unknown" like avoiding any more serious dives into rap or grunge and introducing a more percussion-oriented sound that's further elevated by choice synthesizers, keyboards and saxophone playing. The first four songs clock in together at around five and a half minutes, acting more as a way to introduce the record before we reach "Left for Dead," a song that definitely shows this band is giving their all and really trying to deliver this resurrection. The mix is still nowhere near where it should be, something that has affected the past two Tate albums. As attentive fans noticed on the latest Avantasia album, Tate still has a strong range and voice yet this album's bass oriented mix pushed the vocals towards the center of the mix, so you can't really delve completely into his performance here.

The vocals are also heavily over processed, which at times fits the album's futuristic science fiction themes however with a different producer, "Left for Dead" could stand out that much more. Turning towards the musical side, a lot has to be said for this lineup; "Resurrection" has the most cohesive sounding band to play on a album with Tate in some time, especially on the Zeppelin-esque "Miles Away" and the atmospheric "Healing My Wounds" which takes on some Pink Floyd elements. Not to mention "The Fight" opens out into a massive chorus that just shines of AOR prowess. Certainly this album has it's share of bright moments, including the climatic album closer "Live From My Machine," however there's also a lack of cohesion found throughout this album which makes the bright moments just that, as there's little holding this album together. While the album tends to give bursts of erratic metal in "A Smear Campaign," the majority of this record is comprised of songs expanding well past five minutes in duration and a lot of ambient playing with over processed vocals makes up a lot of that time. "Resurrection" is without a doubt the strongest title from Geoff Tate in nearly twenty years, however as an album there isn't much holding this together. // 6

Lyrics: Excessive use of studio effects really takes away from many of the moments vocally throughout Operation: Mindcrime's "Resurrection," where Tate demonstrates his ability to use what's left of his dynamic range from earlier in Queensrÿche's career to strong levels. Songs like the aforementioned "Left for Dead" and the heavyweight "Taking on the World" featuring Tim "Ripper" Owens and Blaze Bayley, formerly of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden respectfully, have some respectable vocal performances but the production isn't entirely up to par at times. Tate isn't as cautious when it comes to hitting towards his higher register, however much of that power hasn't been completely maintained and that means there isn't as much of a commanding presentation to be found here. In fact Tate opts for a more breathy approach compared to what fans heard on "Empire," which both complements the album's progressive moments and really damages the prog metal tracks. // 6

Overall Impression: What we find with the new Operation: Mindcrime concept album is far from a resurrection, however it is showing promise for Geoff Tate's trilogy and work as a musician in general. The latter years of Queensrÿche weren't something to place on your resume and not everyone was thrilled with the idea of naming your new band after your former band's career staple, so what Tate has had to do with these albums is prove himself. There was a sense of desperation on previous songs like "Weight of the World" from "Frequency Unknown" and "The Fall" off of "The Key," and without a doubt these past two records have been among Tate's best work in many years. Is it a resurrection of his career? Not nearly, and the lack of consistency throughout this album is a strong example of that, but it's still a good place to move forward from. // 6

- Lou Vickers (c) 2016

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