April 13, 2005

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Queensryche, Operation Mindcrime II
Rhino Records, 2006

Pushing 60 by now, Geoff Tate is nevertheless all over the opportunity to put his creaky back into one last push of faux-egghead-metal. It can be joyfully reported that the Suckometer has nothing like “Jet City Woman” to redline about, but elsewise, well, damn — genuine giggles have to be suppressed during the Ronettes-ish balderdash of “An Intentional Confrontation.” Meanwhile, someone turned the old buggers on to the mortally important existence of oi-thrash, as “I’m American” is quick to point out, but from there it’s cobwebbed business as usual, not to dismiss too lightly the Battle of the Giant Egos bluster when Ronnie James Dio pops in for a duet (“The Chase”). The band tinkers disinterestedly not only with Crumbsucker brawling but techno as well (outro track “All the Promises” starts off as a tribute to Air but loses its place and goes out a tourist-bolero ballad). As though transfixed by a wrestling match where their hero is getting clobbered, forward-thinkers hearing this thing for the first time will be silently hoping someone throws Tate a bullhorn to help him get relevant for just one bloody second. C

— Eric W. Saeger


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