Thursday, December 7, 2017

Operation: Mindcrime - The New Reality (2017)

So after only two short years, we have finally reached the end of Operation: Mindcrime's album trilogy, and the end of a story that centers around stock trading and virtual currencies. Man, when I first got into the story, I thought it was fairly decent and that it had an opportunity to evolve into something spectacular, but then I remembered, it is stock trading we are talking about. Kind of hard to make an exciting story out of that, don't you think? Anyway, good old Geoff has done his fair share to make it as good as possible, wish I could say the same about the music.

To my surprise though, "The New Reality" is a big step forward in the music department. Okay, it is not a revolution or anything close to that, but you can say good bye to the boring and uninspired bland rock that "highlighted" "Resurrection". The entirety of "The New Reality" just have a completely different aura to it, an amount of energy that I have not seen since the provoking "Frequency Unknown", but this energy is not directed to Queensrÿche, it is instead used for more sensible reasons. Huh, maybe Geoff has moved on after all.

The other members get more room to shine too, showing off some of their skills. The drums flows really nicely, while also having some nice technicality to them (although they are a tad bit loud in the mix). The guitars are actually memorable this time around, not being demoted to background noise to the vocals. And yes, the vocals are of course as well versed as you would expect from a Tate release, but they do not take too much space, they take just enough to run the show, but not overtake it. The balance between the band members is surprisingly even, something I certainly did not expect from this release.

But while "The New Reality" feels more balanced and more passionate, it still does not feel like the epic finish of a conceptual trilogy that one would expect. It is still a fairly slow effort that takes its time, never rushing anything, and it is both an advantage and disadvantage. Especially the ending of the record is very slow and dull, it never feels like the band is reaching the climax of the story, so you would think that they would gear up for a fourth release. That ain't happening though, in fact, this is the last release we will see from Operation: Mindcrime, period. Apparently, this was just a short lived project, and Geoff wants to move on to other things. Not a big loss, but a curious decision nonetheless.

The first half of the record is strong though, and it is certainly some of the best material we have seen from the band. I really love the energy in "Wake Me Up", and the instrumentation in "It Was Always You!" and "Under Control" are simply fantastic. And while the "wut wut wut wut wut wut wut wut" part in "The Fear" makes me laugh hysterically, it is quite a serious song, and a staple in the story, another good piece in the first half. Once again, not anything spectacular or anything, but still, pretty enjoyable.

So yeah, Operation: Mindcrime ends on a high note, even if that note is not too high. "The New Reality" is without a shadow of a doubt the best album of the trilogy, but it is not saying that much, because while this album is fairly good, it still has some blind spots that drags out for too long, and the music is not all too inventive. It is a fine record that does not stir up any rash emotions, but lots of kudos to the guys for finishing this massive project. Now we will wait and see where Geoff Tate will take his voice next.

Songs worthy of recognition: Wake Me Up, It Was Always You!, Under Control

Rating: 7/10 Tidal Changes

More reviews of Operation: Mindcrime
The Key

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