Release Date: Sept 23, 2016
Operation Mindcrime (the brainchild of former Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate) returns with the second part of their trilogy for Frontiers Music. While their debut, The Key, was proggy and quirky, it was also pretty rockin’. Resurrection, on the other hand, continues the story but gets completely bogged down by prog elements. Of the 14 tracks here, 10 are actually songs and two of those are iffy as complete pieces in my opinion.
Let’s start with the good. The production here is stellar. It’s got a rich full sound and the mix allows the instruments to stand distinctly from each other (most notably the pretty incredible bass playing). Outside Queensryche Tate releases have been pretty hit and miss in this regard so it’s nice to hear the production stabilize with the two Operation Mindcrime albums.
There are a handful of cool tracks here that I really enjoyed. “Miles Away” is a synthesizer heavy, Blues-laden tune that has all the right ingredients and reminds me a bit of the Hear in the Now Frontier album (which is one of my favorites). The mid-tempo “The Fight” has a nice feel to it too. This is probably Tate’s best vocal performance on the album as well, he sounds very natural, foregoing some of the effects that dominate the album. The acoustic guitar/piano break that launches the guitar solo gives it a nice twist as well. “Taking on the World” is catchy and has a strong Hard Rock bounce to it but vocally, it’s pretty spotty. The bottom falls out when the chorus hits so it never really takes flight as was surely intended.
Realistically, there is a lot to wade through here in order to get to the album’s best moments. The first four tracks are sound clips and prog wankery. In a way, you get frustrated just trying to get to the first “real” song. As a huge fan of Yes, even I have to admit that the prog moments are particularly draining. I believe I get what Tate & Co. are going for but they just can’t transcend their Hard Rock backgrounds. It comes off as cheesy and unnecessary on much of the album. Additionally, Tate’s vocals are way over-processed on the majority of this album, which is confusing to me since he is one of the premier voices of his generation and one of the few who hasn’t lost much in terms of his ability.
Overall, The Key, turned my ears up and Resurrection makes me take a couple steps back. You could chalk this up to sophomore slump or the fact that it’s the middle of a trilogy (it fits both categories), but either way this album feels like a misstep. Hopefully, the trilogy will offer the best for last. I don’t hate this, but I can’t imagine coming back to it very often either.
Reviewed by mark1340