Operation: Mindcrime

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Operation: Mindcrime
Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime cover.jpg
Studio album by Queensrÿche
Released May 3, 1988
Recorded 1987–1988
Studio Kajem/Victory Studios, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania
Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec, Canada
Length 59:14[1]
Label EMI Manhattan Records
Producer Peter Collins
Queensrÿche chronology
Rage for Order
(1986)Rage for Order1986
Operation: Mindcrime
Singles from Operation: Mindcrime
  1. "Breaking the Silence"
    Released: 1988[2]
  2. "Eyes of a Stranger"
    Released: April 1988
  3. "Revolution Calling"
    Released: 1988[3]
  4. "I Don't Believe in Love"
    Released: 1989[4]
Audio sample
"I Don't Believe in Love"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[5]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal 9/10[6]
Metal Forces 9.5/10[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[8]

Operation: Mindcrime is the third studio album by the American progressive heavy metal band Queensrÿche, released on May 3, 1988. The album was re-released on May 6, 2003 with two bonus tracks, and in 2006 as a deluxe box set.

A concept album and a rock opera, its story follows Nikki, a recovering drug addict who becomes disillusioned with the corrupt society of his time and reluctantly becomes involved with a revolutionary group as an assassin of political leaders.[9] In January 1989, it ranked at No. 34 on Kerrang! magazine's "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time".[10]

The album was certified by the RIAA as 'gold' a year after its release, and it was certified as 'platinum' in 1991. A sequel, Operation: Mindcrime II, was released on April 4, 2006.


In the United States, the album was certified Gold a year after its release, and certified Platinum in 1991.[11]

The band shot a one-off promotional video in 1988 for the song "Speak" using performance footage. It did not include a dramatization of any of the story's concepts.

The song "I Don't Believe in Love" was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1990 in the category "Best Metal Performance".[12]

During the tour promoting the 1990 album Empire, Operation: Mindcrime was performed in its entirety. The stage show featured video, animation and guest singer Pamela Moore as Sister Mary. A recording was released as Operation: Livecrime. The story was initially explored in a series of video clips for MTV in the 1989 VHS video, Video: Mindcrime.

A sequel, Operation: Mindcrime II, was released on April 4, 2006, with Ronnie James Dio taking over the role of Dr. X. The subsequent tour consisted of the band performing both Operation: Mindcrime and its sequel in their entirety, back-to-back, with actors, props, an elaborate stage set, and a video screen. The live act from that tour also portrayed Mary's death clearly for the first time. It was later released on the 2007 DVD Mindcrime at the Moore, which included a recording of Dio's only live performance of "The Chase".

In 2006, Operation: Mindcrime was re-released as a deluxe box set, containing the 2003 remaster, a live CD with the album played in its entirety at the Hammersmith Odeon on November 15, 1990, and a bonus DVD containing the 1989 Video: Mindcrime and bonus clips.


The album begins with the protagonist, Nikki, in a hospital. He lies in a near catatonic state, unable to remember anything but snippets from his past. Suddenly, Nikki's memories come flooding back in a torrent. He remembers how, as a heroin addict and would-be political radical frustrated with contemporary society due to the economic inequality, corruption, and hypocrisy around him, he was manipulated into joining a supposed secret organization dedicated to revolution. At the head of this organization is a mysterious political and religious demagogue known only as Dr. X, who manipulates Nikki through a combination of his heroin addiction and brainwashing techniques to become an assassin.

Whenever Dr. X uses the word "mindcrime", Nikki becomes his docile puppet, a state which Dr. X uses to command Nikki to undertake any murder that the Doctor wishes. Through one of Dr. X's probable associates, a corrupt priest named Father William, Nikki is offered the services of a prostitute-turned-nun named Sister Mary. Through his friendship and growing affection toward Sister Mary, Nikki begins to question the nature of what he is doing, seeing that Dr. X has his own nefarious agenda. Dr. X takes notice and, seeing a potential threat in Mary to his cult of personality, orders Nikki to kill both her and the priest. Nikki goes to Mary's church and kills the priest, but, after confronting Mary, he fails to comply with the command to murder her. He and Mary decide to leave the organization together, and Nikki goes to Dr. X to tell him that they are out. Dr. X, however, reminds Nikki that he is an addict, and that he is the one who can provide him with his daily fix. Nikki leaves, conflicted and uncertain, and he returns to Mary only to find her dead.

Nikki cannot cope with the loss, as well as the possibility that he himself may have killed her without knowing it (it was later revealed on the Mindcrime at the Moore DVD that Mary killed herself after Dr. X threatened to kill Nikki[13]), and he begins to succumb to insanity. He runs through the streets calling her name. The police arrive and attempt to subdue him. A gun is found on Nikki, and they take him into custody under suspicion of Mary's murder and the murders he committed for Dr. X. Suffering from an almost complete loss of memory, Nikki is put into a mental hospital, where he sees a news report on the recent spree of political homicides. This jogs his memory and returns us to the beginning where he remembers what has happened and begins to tell his story.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I Remember Now" Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate, Michael Wilton 1:17
2. "Anarchy—X" (instrumental) DeGarmo 1:27
3. "Revolution Calling" Tate, Wilton 4:42
4. "Operation: Mindcrime" DeGarmo, Tate, Wilton 4:43
5. "Speak" Tate, Wilton 3:42
6. "Spreading the Disease" Tate, Wilton 4:07
7. "The Mission" DeGarmo 5:45
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
8. "Suite Sister Mary" DeGarmo, Tate 10:41
9. "The Needle Lies" Tate, Wilton 3:08
10. "Electric Requiem" Scott Rockenfield, Tate 1:22
11. "Breaking the Silence" DeGarmo, Tate 4:34
12. "I Don't Believe in Love" DeGarmo, Tate 4:23
13. "Waiting for 22" (instrumental) DeGarmo 1:05
14. "My Empty Room" Tate, Wilton 1:25
15. "Eyes of a Stranger" DeGarmo, Tate 6:39





Country Organization Year Sales
USA RIAA 1991 Platinum (+ 1,000,000)[11]


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Kerrang! UK Album of the Year[8] 1988 2
Sounds UK Album of the Year[8] 1988 26
Kerrang! UK The 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time[10] 1989 34
Kerrang! UK The Kerrang! 100 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[8] 1998 70
Terrorizer UK The 100 Most Important Albums of the 80s[8] 2000 No order
Classic Rock UK The 100 Greatest Rock Albums of All Time[8] 2001 42
Rolling Stone Germany The 500 Best Albums of All Time[8] 2004 398


  1. ^ CD with EAN 077774864022, time given without pregap
  2. ^ Breaking the Silence (track listing). Queensrÿche. EMI. 1988. SPRO-04048. 
  3. ^ Revolution Calling (track listing). Queensrÿche. EMI. 1988. SPRO-04141. 
  4. ^ I Don't Believe in Love (track listing). Queensrÿche. EMI. 1989. 4JM-50214. 
  5. ^ Huey, Steve. "Operation: Mindcrime - Queensrÿche". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ Popoff, Martin (November 1, 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 275. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5. 
  7. ^ Doe, Bernard (1988). "Queensrÿche - Operation: Mindcrime". Metal Forces (28). Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Queensryche – Operation: Mindcrime". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Reply Declaration of Geoff Tate in Further Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction" (PDF). court declaration. June 12, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Wilding, Phil (January 21, 1989). "Queensrÿche 'Operation: Mindcrime'". Kerrang!. 222. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. 
  11. ^ a b "RIAA Searchable Database: search for Queensryche". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  12. ^ MacDonald, Patrick (January 12, 1990). "Soundgarden Nomination: The Growth of Local Rock". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 
  13. ^ Queensrÿche (July 3, 2007). Mindcrime at the Moore (DVD). Moore Theatre, Seattle, Washington: Rhino Entertainment. ASIN B000PITXRS. 
  14. ^ "Queensrÿche – Operation: Mindcrime". Hitparade.ch (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Queensrÿche – Operation: Mindcrime (Album)". Swedishcharts.com. Media Control Charts. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Queensrÿche – Operation: Mindcrime (Album)". GfK Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Album – Queensrÿche, Operation: Mindcrime". Charts.de (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Operation: MIndcrime Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Queensryche Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  20. ^ クイーンズライク - クイーンズライクのアルバム売り上げランキング (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 48, No. 8, June 11, 1988". Library and Archives Canada. June 11, 1988. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "Operation: MIndcrime Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 

External links[edit]