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Sequel To A Classic From Queensryche…And A Bit Of Digital

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For reasons of all things Easter (in the UK that means two bank holidays, i.e., no post), my in-box is rather slim this week. However that is not to say I do not have quite a bit to write about.

CD Review

Queensryche: Operation Mindcrime II

It’s the sequel to one of the best heavy rock albums ever done. Operation Mindcrime is damn close to the top five concept albums ever recorded and the first one I consistently place in my top ten albums of all time. Operation Mindcrime II had a hell of a lot to live up to and was pretty much guaranteed to fail. And to be honest, it’s nowhere near as good as Empire. There is nothing here on the scale of “I Don’t Believe in Love” or “Eyes of a Stranger”; nothing that I could see released as a single. It rather feels like one of those TV movies that wraps up a well-loved TV series a decade after it ran.

Yes, it does finish off the story and make for good listening. I just know the bloody thing will grow on me because it is that sort of CD. It might not have helped that I have been listening to the debut of “Slave to the System” in addition to the QR release. Ronnie James Dio showing up as Dr X is a nice touch that gives the whole thing a touch of class.

But then again, the best bloody thing about this album is that it will get the band out on the road. Not only that, but the band is touring the album and playing its predecessor in its entirety. The trouble with this CD is there is just nothing that makes you go “wow” as with the last one. I would have to say there is probably nothing of the quality of some of the tracks on Empire, either.

I so didn’t want to not really like this album, but I have to say I rather doubt I will be whipping it out for a play in ten or twenty years’ time.

Digital Matters

Into the digital world we go again. There have been some rather interesting developments in the digital-only world in the UK.

Crazy, by Gnarls Barkley, before even being released in hard copy, has made it to number one simply by downloads alone. Granted the song was plugged on Radio 1 and used in an advert, but it is still the first time a single that has not been released in the shops has made it to number one. Last year, for the first time, digital downloads on places like iTunes were taken into account for number one singles. Downloads have reversed the downward trend of single sales. The beauty of downloads is that you pay £.89 for just the track you want instead of £3.99+ for the track you want plus other tracks not good enough to be singles on their own and their packaging and promotion.

Those not wishing to use the huge corporate edifice of Apple’s iTunes or wait for their tracks to show up on the sea of other services can sign up for Musicane. With this service, an individual or band can sell their own MP3s for whatever price they wish with 60% of the amount going to themselves. There is a free option as well as an option for $20 a month, which allows one to sell up to 250 mb of MP3 and one receives 70% of the sale amount. The good thing about this service is that it allows a band that is not well known to sell their MP3s at a lower price than can be had on iTunes. Mostly useful is that one can upload one’s tracks and covers oneself without having to wait for some techie to get it done.

This gives a band an option of having a lower access level that might encourage those who do not know the band to give them a try. Musicane is sponsored by Epiphone, a leading guitar/bass manufacturer and is recommended by Garageband. I found out about the site via an email from Garageband.

Granted the site is brand new and we have experienced a few teething problems. However, the tech support people seem to really care and were communicative with us. They managed to sort the problems rather quickly and things are now working smoothly. It is quite a thrill that you can now buy tracks (or the whole EP) from our band digitally.

It has been a very interesting week in the music business, both online and offline, despite having a holiday in its midst.

Next week I have a whole mess of stuff to review; another case of when it rains it pours.

Keep a-rockin’ and keep it safe.

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About Marty Dodge

  • REZA BAKtar

    You should do your homework a little more. MCII is a sequal to Mind Crime ot Empire!

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    That is not what I wrote…an editor must have changed it. Oh well I will fix it. Doh…these things happen.

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    BTW there is no reason to be so obnoxious with your comment. It is obvious what I meant anyway from the text.

  • Guppusmaximus

    I like your article,”Digital Matters”.That Musicane site sounds pretty cool and you were very informative because I didn’t have to visit the site to get an idea,but, your review of Queensryche’s OM2 isn’t anything new.It’s a shame that so many people on this site actually bother to give this poor release a review. OM2 is an atrocity from a band that used to impress me. If these critics actually spent some time doing research on decent up & coming metal acts, then this site would progress in an area that so many lack but I guess I will have to stick to http://www.aversionline.com & http://www.willowtip.com for any interesting metal reviews.

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    GM I think you are being a wee bit harsh on the album. It is far better than their recent output and it is good in bits. If you read my column you will find my reviewing stuff that sometimes does not get reviewed in other places. I try to have a nice mix of mainstream metal/hard rock and smaller label stuff. There is some pretty amazing stuff out there these days like Fatal Smile. Next week I will have a nice pile of CDs from Escapi Music. EM seem to be doing a better job of putting out good stuff…it has been a bit patchy at times.

  • Guppusmaximus

    Sorry I didn’t reply sooner,but I have been thinking about this CD for sometime even after OM1 was released because I always thought it would make a killer soundtrack for the movie just like King Diamond “Them”. But, I have listened to newer bands that have released concept albums that are such masterpieces and this one lacks in so many ways in comparison especially to OM1. It really isn’t harsh especially when you have Ayreon “The Human Equation” which blows the doors off OM2. You guys talk about the Duet with Dio. Now I love Dio but Ayreon utilizes the talent of James Labrie,Michael Akerfeldt,etc; these guys can still whale and not just for one duet. Ultimately, this album is a poor release from a band that used to dominate with such powerful tracks as “I Only See in Infared” and “Eyes of a Stranger”. I have pulled away from the progressive scene since 2004 because I started getting back into the real heavy sh!t like ARSIS,Neuraxis,DIM MAK,Between The Buried and Me,etc… But, I’m pretty sure there are still some newer progressive releases that would place shame on this legendary band’s offering.

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    GM points all well made. I am very inclined to agree with you on all points.

  • Guppusmaximus

    Well Thank You, Mr. Dodge… I’m looking forward to your upcoming reviews. Escapi Music has pretty cool releases from some “old school” bands.