OPERATION: MINDCRIME, the new project led by former QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate, will release its debut album, "The Key", on September 18 via Frontiers Music Srl.
Perhaps one of Tate's most ambitious recordings to date, "The Key" examines what one might do if they discovered "the key" to changing the way we view the world, the way we look at time, the way we travel, and could essentially change the human condition... for better or for worse.
Fresh from the creative mind of Geoff Tate, "The Key" features a dozen songs (see entire track listing below) and marks part one of an epic musical trilogy that initiates that very question within a web of international politics, the world economy and social ethos.
A trailer featuring snippets of four songs from the album ("Burn", "Re-Inventing the Future", "Life Or Death?" and "The Fall") is now available below.
OPERATION: MINDCRIME is described as a creative platform that continues in the spirit of the historic album of the same name, spawning concepts as grand as the music, and intertwining the intensity of the former QUEENSRŸCHE vocalist's iconic past with the provocative, progressive mindset that has made him one of music's most resolute forces and frontmen.
"Musically, this album is quite adventurous," says Tate of "The Key". "Of course there are key elements in the music, melody and phrasings that are really identifiable, but throughout my career I've opened my eyes and ears to new standards and arrangements, and that's what keeps things fresh and exciting as an artist — we've thrown out the rules for this record, and it's been really liberating. I'm a fan of old prog, and that music didn't stick to rules. It's inspiring and enjoyable to be able to explore, and it's great being in a position to write without constraints."
The results are a series of albums that don't languish in nostalgia, instead offering listeners an opportunity to delve into a world of ideas and inspiration that Tate has been nurturing for the better portion of the last decade. Instead of asking, "Who killed Mary?", OPERATION: MINDCRIME now asks, "What are the implications of changing the world?"
"Like every album I've ever done, people will hear and experience it differently, and that is something that I look forward to," continues Tate. "Music is an intimate experience — your inspirations are unique to you, and will be heard differently through every set of ears and experiences - but isn't that really what makes art exciting? It inspires us all in different ways and for different reasons, and this album is no different. There are quite a few sections of this album that help propel the story with segues and dialogue, but the lyrics don't lay out a breadcrumb trail and tell the story in a linear fashion, there's a puzzle. We have several characters, and three other people singing lead vocals on the first album. That made it even more fun for me and helps give the album its own special character.
"Musically, there's quite a smorgasbord, we've played with sound and established a sound palate — heavy guitar, obviously, cool drumming... all the music is very sophisticated, and there are interesting time changes, the band is playing with different countings and we switch throughout each piece. We can perform the verse in one feel, the bridge in another, and transition to a new chorus, very challenging stuff and lots of different sounds that people probably haven't heard on one of my albums before - new and different guitar sounds and vocal treatments, very dynamic stuff."
Joining Tate on "The Key" are a hard-hitting cast of familiar faces and new collaborators: bass players David Ellefson (MEGADETH) and John Moyer (DISTURBED, ADRENALINE MOB), drummers Simon Wright (AC/DC), Scott Mercado (CANDLEBOX) and Brian Tichy (BILLY IDOL, OZZY OSBOURNE), guitarists Kelly Gray (QUEENSRŸCHE) and Scott Moughton (Geoff Tate's solo band), keyboardist Randy Gane (MYTH) and vocalist Mark Daly (THE VOODOOS).
Tate makes one point exceptionally clear — OPERATION: MINDCRIME isn't a band, it is a musical project of like-minded people uniting to achieve a common goal. While the songwriting rests predominantly on the shoulders of Tate, Gray and Gane, it's up to every contributor to add their influence and help color the landscape.
"The songs on these records tell a story, and each song is a scene or chapter — every scene is different," Tate says. "The words tell the story, the musical bed, the chord progressions and melodies, they set the pace. That's how I envisioned this album in total, very theatrical and definitely cinematic.
"How do we describe passion?" Tate asks in conclusion, cautiously answering his own question: "Music is a personal journey, and all you can do is write what moves you. That's what passion is - it's so difficult, yet it's such an important human emotion. There are moments on this record that really impact me, the questions raised and the music those questions are set to... I don't know if it will have that same effect on everyone else, but that's where my passion and their passion meet. I do this because I love doing it. I love touring and I love playing live, performing with like-minded people in front of like-minded audiences, and being there in the moment together when all of our passions collide."
"The Key" track listing:
03. Re-Inventing The Future
04. Ready To Fly
05. Discussions In A Smoke Filled Room
06. Life or Death?
07. The Stranger
08. Hearing Voice
09. On Queue
10. An Ambush Of Sadness
11. Kicking In The Door
12. The Fall