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By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Tuesday, November 8, 2016 @ 1:59 PM

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Frontiers Records

Ever since I’d caught my first (and regrettably only) QUEENSRYCHE concert some 25 years ago during the Building Empires tour, I’d been under the impression that the band’s iconic frontman Geoff Tate would be almost incompatible as the lead singer in any other band. His command of the stage, his soaring vocals and his lyrical contribution to many of the band’s best-known songs that were steeped heavily in social commentary and dark introspective realism certainly made QUEENSRYCHE stand out from many of their other contemporaries by the end of the 80’s and much of the 90’s. Indeed, even when many of those same contemporaries saw a complete reversal of fortunes during the early 90’s when their normally intact lineups suddenly imploded, QUEENSRYCHE continued unabated, releasing a further nine studio albums up until their own lineup came apart in 2012, the result of a highly-publicized backstage fight before a show in Sao Paulo, Brazil which later saw Tate being relieved of his long-standing role as the band’s frontman.

Yet, for many diehard QUEENSRYCHE fans, the split itself was probably less of a surprise than how the scenario leading up to the split had culminated. When did the songwriters and musicians behind some of the most influential progressive metal albums of all time suddenly decided to handle band issues like the Gallagher brothers? And was this animosity between the two parties always present? It often depended on who you asked, but for Geoff Tate, his own side of the story remained untold as he faced allegations of bullying and intimidation by the other members following a heated discussion over the firing of his family from the band’s management which led to the abrupt split. With his former bandmates continuing with the QUEENSRYCHE name and new vocalist Todd LaTorre (formerly of CRIMSON GLORY) following a lengthy court battle, Tate was expected by many to simply retreat into anonymity; instead, he amassed a new lineup for his own new band (including Brian Tichy, John Moyer and Simon Wright) which people had assumed to be a solo career before the project was renamed OPERATION: MINDCRIME. Their debut album The Key came out last year as the first album in a trilogy series and tackled issues such as Internet banking and virtual currencies. At first, the topics weren’t exactly the most riveting of subjects to write about for an ambitious trilogy concept album when compared to the actual Operation: Mindcrime album itself, which was inspired by Quebec separatism of all things, but the concept still worked and got the band’s name out there at least.

If anything, its follow-up album Resurrection would be the album for OPERATION: MINDCRIME to base their official blueprint upon. Yet while it continues its theme from the debut album, it also further covered themes of betrayal and redemption, almost serving as a metaphor for Geoff Tate’s own battle to reclaim his name and identity.

The album kicks off with four short tracks - the title track, “When All Falls Apart”, “A Moment In Time” and “Through The Noize” - all lasting between 30 seconds and two minutes, mostly being small instrumentals. Pleasant and all, but it’s the actual songs that you’ll want to hear instead. The opener “Left For Dead” is straight-up modern-sounding ‘RYCHE at its most earnest, its chorus of “I’ve been left for dead somewhere in America” setting a precursor to the narrative at hand. The DEFTONES-sounding “Miles Away” provides the perfect follow-up with its haunting guitar effects and Simon Wright’s crashing drums on the intro backing Tate’s pained yet humbled vocals as he tries to come to terms with his current surroundings; on “The Fight”, rather than rebel against those who have wronged him, Tate looks inward to himself to find the inner strength to push forward. But it’s the triple vocal attack of “Taking On The World” that ultimately proves to be the album’s zenith, thanks in part to the vocal contributions of Blaze Bayley and Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens on the song’s chorus as it literally brings back the majestic harmonics which personified the early QUEENSRYCHE catalogue.

Other top tracks closing out the album which also hearken back to the early QUEENSRYCHE blueprint include two 7-minute-long tracks: “Invincible” with its catchy rhythm guitar phrasing riff courtesy of Scott Moughton, and the bluesy-sounding “Into The Hands Of The World” which culminates into a spiraling chorus before it abruptly stops. Even the rhythmic “A Smear Campaign” with its neat horn section (and, yes, Geoff Tate’s saxophone solo) recalls the galloping dual guitar harmonies of DeGarmo and Wilton from the early years. And as the album closes with “Live From My Machine”, Tate makes clear of his refusal to be brought down or changed entirely of the experiences he’s endured since the fractious upheaval of QUEENSRYCHE’s partnership.

If anything, the experiences he’s shared on Resurrection mostly serve as a template on personal re-invention. Sometimes we have to die to be born again as demonstrated by OPERATION: MINDCRIME’s second lease on life.

4.0 Out Of 5.0

Pick up a copy of Resurrection in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.

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