Operation: Mindcrime -The Key

Former Queensrÿche frontman rediscovers his ingenuity

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Operation: Mindcrime isn’t Geoff Tate’s new band, but he sees this as an ongoing project with ambitions to record a trilogy of conceptual albums, and The Key is the first.

The premise is the former Queensrÿche vocalist’s alternative look at the world and it brings to mind the Operation: Mindcrime era of Queensrÿche. The music is inventive and also has lyrical substance, and Geoff’s voice is dominant, revelling in the freedom to explore his own visions.

He probably hasn’t sounded so convincing for about 25 years, but he’s also helped by a phalanx of quality musicians. Crucial contributions come from guitarist Kelly Gray and Randy Gane on keyboards, the trio hinting at the Queensrÿche style of the late 80s, but never trying to recreate it. Other contributors include Megadeth bassist David Ellefson and one-time Dio and AC/DC drummer Simon Wright. The Stranger and An Ambush Of Sadness meander aimlessly, but mostly, this is intelligently entertaining progressive metal.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.