GEOFF TATE CONTINUES HIS RESURRECTION WITH OPERATION MINDCRIME
Operation Mindcrime: 'Resurrection' (Frontiers Records)
Geoff Tate's new band, Operation Mindcrime, released their debut album, 'The Key', in September 2015, and this was the first instalment of a musical trilogy. As Tate explained at the time, the story centres around the character of H and it's "an international story, set in a number of different countries throughout the world, [with] some central characters, who are involved with an international incident. And some of it has to do with virtual currencies and internet banking and stock trading."
Fast forward twelve months and Tate (and the rest of the band, which still includes past and present members of Megadeth, Whitesnake, AC/DC and Disturbed) have released the second album, or chapter if you will, continuing the story of H. "With the missing encryption key of the first album now recovered, it gives H the opportunity to launch his long awaited project called 'The New Reality'. Or does he..." muses Tate.
All well and good I'm sure you'll agree, but as you immerse yourself in the world of 'Resurrection', the story becomes less clear and to be honest, less important. It's the songs and especially Tate's vocal performances that shine through here. We're not here to go through Tate's past but in the last couple of years he's now ruling the roost and is able to take control. He's also surrounded himself with a wealth of talented musicians who once again appear on the album and that's what gives it the musical strength – everything is the best quality from the playing to the production and you end up caring less about the story and concentrating more on the music.
The first four tracks are short ones and they don't really add much to the album, but when you get to track five, 'Left For Dead', this is when the album really comes alive. The whole track is bathed in keyboards that are trying really hard to sound orchestral but just seem to fail at the final hurdle. It's a great song and with a real orchestra it would be outstanding, but the keyboardy sound takes the edge off it.
Tate's vocal performance, on the other hand, is impeccable. Indeed, that's really the story of this album – despite his recent past and the insults and abuse hurled at him from various quarters, he's still a great songwriter and still a great vocalist – you can't deny any of that. You just can't.
'Healing The Wounds' further down the line is another great track. The bass guitar intro sets things up nicely for this slower paced number and it provides a solid base (no pun intended) for the rest of the track as well as coming back into prominence later on, but the real highlight of this track is the guitar solo. There are subtle touches of guitar throughout the track but nothing really prepares you for the main guitar solo, which is just outstanding.
An undisputed highlight is 'Taking On The World' which features the Trinity of singers – Tate joined by Blaze Bayley (Wolfsbane and ex-Iron Maiden) along with ex-Judas Priest and Iced Earth frontman Tim 'Ripper' Owens'. These guys are all firm friends, so much so that they're touring the US under the 'Trinity' name later this year, and the appearance here is what spearheaded that tour.
It's Tate and Bayley who get the lions share of the sounds with Owens ultimately relegated to more of a supporting role but then again maybe his voice just isn't as distinctive as the other two. It's a faster paced number, for a change, and if you add in another top notch guitar solo, you have everything you need for a future classic track – something this album is sorely lacking.
We know that Tate loves to tell stories but the story here ends up being a whole lot less important (and let's be honest, lost in translation) than, say, the first album. Who knows, everything may come together when the final piece of the puzzle comes out (presumably in September 2017) but until then, the story doesn't make a lot of sense, so why not just enjoy the songs as separate tracks as opposed to one joined up piece – it makes it a lot more enjoyable that way.
The forthcoming tour across Europe will see Geoff performing a very special night of story telling and acoustic songs spanning his thirty-five year career. He will play songs from seventeen different albums including 'Rage For Order', 'Empire', 'Operation Mindcrime' and his new 'Resurrection' album. Each night of the tour, he'll be backed by a six-piece all acoustic band in an up close and personal, intimate setting.
Further dates are due to be announced shortly, so keep checking back to MetalTalk.net for the latest tour news.
When All Falls Away
A Moment In Time
Through The Noise
Left For Dead
Healing My Wounds
Taking On The World
A Smear Campaign
Which Side You're On
Into The Hands Of The World
Live From My Machine
The current Operation Mindcrime studio line up includes:
Geoff Tate – Vocals/Keyboards/Saxophone
Tim 'Ripper' Owens – Vocals
Blaze Bayley – Vocals
Mark Daily – Vocals
Kelly Gray – Guitar/Bass Guitar/Vocals
Scott Moughton – Guitar/Keyboards
Nick Greatrex – Guitar
David Ellefson – Bass Guitar
John Moyer – Bass Guitar
Randy Gane – Keyboards
Simon Wright – Drums
Scott Mercado – Drums
Brian Tichy – Drums