Album Review: Operation Mindcrime – The New Reality

By Andrew Catania

Band splits are always mysterious beasts and Queensryche’s division, which resulted in the band carrying on with Todd La Torre and Geoff creating ‘Operation Mindcrime.’ It seems so far the former are being favored over Operation Mindcrime. In truth, despite the talent involved in the first two parts of Tate’s intriguing trilogy, ‘The Key’ and ‘Resurrection’ were in the most underwhelming musically and in the eyes of your average fan rather dull.  By contrast, Queensryche with Todd La Torre on board grabbed the bull by the horns and delivered some kick ass music.

The New Reality’ is the third and final chapter in that trilogy and arrives just over a year after part two.  ‘Operation Mindcrime’ the band is conceptually grand  –  exploring as it does international politics, the world economy, and social justice, but it’s also as opaque as the album of the same name, and the music is just as sweeping, but it lacks that immediacy that came from the guitar and still lacks that essential bite. It smacks of a band that wants to be recognized for making ‘grown-up’ music when all most of us want to do is rock out and escape for a while.

The New Reality’ is just bland and utterly boring.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that Tate and his collaborators recorded all three of the albums in the trilogy at the same time and it’s only Frontiers that chose to split the recordings up and release one yearly.  Tate also confirmed to All That Shreds that this would be the last record for the Operation Mindcrime project

The album starts with electronica meets early-Genesis beginnings of ‘A Head Long Jump’ and the synth-fueled hard rocker ‘Wake Me Up’ is difficult – this is an album meant to be sleeping music, and there are no obvious ‘singles. ‘It Was Always You’ adds more electronic sounds, sax and synth, while  ‘The Fear’ begins much like the last and again synth and electronic sounds are prevalent and all the while Tate does his best ‘Bowie.’

The New Reality relies on too many samples, synths, and electronic noise. Some of this to be sure does contain a fair smattering of guitar but it never really gets out of the mix.

In conclusion, this is a very disappointing album from such a talented musician like Tate.  Tate has surrounded himself with talented musicians.    If these three records are Tate’s way of diversifying his music, he’s going to alienate his fan base and have La Torre carry the Ryche flag.  If he wants to WOW Ryche fans, get together with Chris Degarmo and rekindle some of that magic that gave us Queen of the Reich and Rage For Order.  Not this elevator music that’s torture to the human ear.  6/10 stars

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