The album, which was released in 1988, mixes classic metal influenced by the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest with the scope and scale of Progressive Rock bands like Genesis, Pink Floyd and Rush. The band use the lyrics to create a narrative that runs throughout the album, assisted by additional sound effects and voice overs from actors.
The story tells the tale of a shady figure named Doctor X who exploits drug addicts into committing crimes that further his political agenda so as to get what he wants without implicating himself, and is told from the perspective of one such helpless youth. The lyrics primarily deal with his conflicting emotions and the consequences of his actions in a surprising and interesting way.
Operation: Mindcrime is an example of the rock opera format done right. The story isn’t too basic to be uninteresting but nor is it needlessly convoluted, there are non-musical voice overs and sound effects thrown in to drive the story but they do not take over the album or get in the way of the music and most importantly of all it is a good album anyway; there is no filler, everything flows well together and the album doesn’t tail off in quality towards the end.
It could be argued that Operation: Mindcrime is one of the best concept albums anyone has released to date for those reasons, it is tight, concise and free of needless excess.
Overall, Operation: Mindcrime is an entertaining and expertly crafted album that mixes the attitude of prog with the sound of metal in a brilliant and flab-free way. If you usually like concept albums and rock operas then this is an album that you should consider checking out, if you usually like classic heavy metal then you should seriously consider checking it out and if you usually like Queensrÿche themselves then you really ought to own it already and should get yourself a copy as soon as you can.