Monday, September 28, 2015

Operation: Mindcrime - The Key (2015)

Geoff Tate, what a fucking hypocrite. After a juridical dispute with his former band Queensrÿche that seemed to never end, Geoff said that he was completely done with the band and was going to make music that had nothing to do with them. I call bullshit on that statement. First off, he re-names his new project Operation: Mindcrime, literally taking the name of the most famous Queensrÿche album ever made. Then, he releases a album just before his former band does, which is more or less a statement in itself. Oh, and let us not forget the fact that several members of this band is also former Queensrÿche members as well.

But the biggest reason to why Geoff has not let go of his past is in the music. It is exactly the kind of music he has been doing for his entire musical career! Nothing different from anything else he has done. Okay, it may have some more fire and passion behind it than what his last couple of Queensrÿche albums had, but it is still the same. I am absolutely not surprised over this, just disappointed that he did not come up with something more creative.

The only way he could really put his former band in place is if he wrote a killer album, a album that puts the foot down and screams "You will be sorry for kicking me out". Is "The Key" that album? Absolutely not. It does have some interesting intentions, but it is not a album that kills its opponents, mostly because it is so uneven. "Burn" is the definition of the word bland, while "Discussions In A Smoke Filled Room" is the most useless interlude ever (god damn I hate useless interludes). Also, "On Queue" is a fine song if you like slow jazz, something I do not. It just makes me sleepy, that's all.

The good stuff is there though, starting with the confusing title "Re-Inventing the Future". While Geoff has said that he would do no such thing, the song does live up to its name, being a good, modern Queensrÿche tune with solid riffing and smooth melodies. "Life or Death?" continues in the same direction, while the following song "The Stranger" takes a heavy turn, and it almost feels like Geoff is trying to get out his inner thug while still staying true to his sound. A surprisingly cool combination that may sound weird, but works out well.

The thing I enjoy the best in "The Key" is the excellent instrumentation in all of the songs. It is mostly subtle, but still well organized, creating the right mood for each of the songs. I especially like the riffing from Kelly Gray and Robert Sarzo, and also the nice saxophone in both "On Queue" and the epic finisher "The Fall". A nice little touch that gives the album a nice closure. And Geoff? How did he perform? I say ay okay.

In the end, Geoff Tate will always have that A-hole stamp on his giant, shiny head, but put it aside, and you will find a decently talented musician that can make a fairly decent album when he actually wants to. "The Key" may not make anybody fall backwards with excitement, but it does have that typical Queensrÿche groove to it, so some old fans should be satisfied in the long run. I was one of few that actually felt that the debut "Frequency Unknown" was a decent album (even if it was highly disrespectful to the original band), and I think "The Key" is another small step forward. Leaving Queensrÿche behind him? HA, good luck with that!

Songs worthy of recognition: Re-Inventing The Future, Life Or Death?, The Fall

Rating: 6,5/10 Strangers

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