operation: mindcrime






The New Reality

(Frontiers Records)

     When Progressive Metal icons Queensrÿche 'parted ways' with multi-octave frontman Geoff Tate under less-than-amicable circumstances, few could have accurately predicted the mudslinging tirades that would follow. Mired amid a flurry of inflammatory accusations and personal attacks, the disturbingly blood-thirsty litigation for the right(s) to the group's legacy would ultimately lead to the Todd La Torre-led group retaining the rights to the name and Tate forging ahead under the Operation: Mindcrime moniker. Quickly assembling an impressively diverse array of musicians including guitarist Kelly Gray, Disturbed bassist John Moyer, keyboardist Randy Gane (the voicemail message from the “Empire” single) and ex-AC/DC/Dio drummer Simon Wright, the group delivered The Key (2015) and Resurrection (2016) in rapid-fire succession. Now, with the release of The New Reality (2017), Tate is poised for the final chapter in what was once an entirely unthinkable career revitalization.

     On the stellar The New Reality (2017), an expertly assembled twelve song collection of Progressive Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the maddeningly infectious lamentation “Wake Me Up” and the emotionally-charged, deliciously staccato “It Was Always You”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved, myself most definitely included. Wasting little--if any--time driving home each key focal point via a seamless, multi-dimensional barrage of soaring vocals, searing fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms, Tate 're-delivers the goods' without, believe it or not, overwhelming the proverbial average listener. Attempting--or so it would appear--to capitalize on the veritable tidal wave of momentum initiated since the release Frequency Unknown (2013), the group fires on all cylinders early and often. Stylistically differentiating himself from his multi-Platinum past, Tate refuses to abide by the repugnant, tried and true 'formulation' of yore.

     Continuing with the smoky, semi-autobiographical 'confessional' “The New Reality” and the oft-rumbling instrumental exercise in Prog synth grandiosity “A Guitar In Church?”, the newly-rejuvenated combination of vocalist Geoff Tate (ex-Queensrÿche), guitarists Kelly Gray (Myth, Slave To The System, ex-Queensrÿche) and Scott Moughton, bassists John Moyer (ex-Adrenaline Mob, Art Of Anarchy, Disturbed) and Tim Fernley, keyboardist Randy Gane and drummers Brian Tichy (Billy Idol, Foreigner, Whitesnake) and Simon Wright (ex-AC/DC, Dio, Rhino Bucket) steamrolls ahead at what can only be described as a carefully calculated pace. Having repeatedly proven himself more than capable of mastering the conceptual Progressive Metal sub-genre (the unabashed classic that is Operation Mindcrime, 1988 or, for that matter, Operation: Mindcrime II, 2006), the marked depths and intensities of Tate's efforts will come as no surprise to those aware of his lengthy lineage.

     Co-Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Tate and Gray, the duo's collective efforts leave little doubt of their (and, as a result, the whole of the 'all-star' group itself) ability to truly prosper and succeed. Accordingly, other standouts, including the pulsating, Electronica-laden “All For What” and the equally impressive, cinema-esque closer “The Same Old Story”, only further solidify Tate's steadfast reputation as a bona fide creative force not to be ignored. While not necessarily groundbreaking and certainly not revolutionary, much of The New Reality re-examines--and, in some cases, fully re-imagines--the improbably long-running vocalist's position within the fabled hierarchy of the Progressive Metal genre. While those unfamiliar with Tate's previous works may find my incessant admiration for his efforts precariously approaching a 'fanboi'/'otaku' histrionics, you will only have yourself to blame for not embracing the diapason of his occasionally furious, multi-dimensional audio offerings.

     Is it Rage For Order or Empire v2.0? Absolutely not. But then again, that's the point, now isn't it? With the majority--if not all--of the decidedly tuneful wares contained herein find Tate forging into previously uncharted territory without entirely disavowing his Gold and multi-Platinum past. Once seemingly plagued by the absence of his former Queensrÿche bandmates (i.e. Wilton and Rockefield), the frontman now appears wholeheartedly confident in a true leadership role. Easily his finest post-Promised Land (1994) effort to date, the end results of his efforts make the mighty The New Reality one of the finest new releases of the already rapidly waning year. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a unique, thought-provoking reprieve from the painfully mindless, Pop, Hip-Hop and sample-fueled din and clatter that is so often the proverbial 'mainstream', then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane salve for what ails you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Select Geoff Tate Discography

The New Reality (2017)

Resurrection (2016)

The Key (2015)

Frequency Unknown (2013)

Kings & Thieves (2012)

Dedicated To Chaos (2011)

American Soldier (2009)

Mindcrime At The Moore (2007)

Take Cover (2007)

Operation: Mindcrime II (2006)

Tribe (2003)

Geoff Tate (2002)

Q2K (1999)

Hear In The Now Frontier (1997)

Promised Land (1994)

Operation: Livecrime (1991)

Empire (1990)

Operation: Mindcrime (1988)

Rage For Order (1986)

The Warning (1984)

Queensrÿche (EP) (1983)


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