The following update has been posted at QUEENSRŸCHE's official web site:"As the recording of 'Operation: Mindcrime II' progresses, word from the studio is that [Michael] Wilton and [Mike] Stone are in the midst of laying down guitar tracks with vocals shortly thereafter. So far 18 songs have been completed. Not sure if all 18 will make it to the release or not, but it looks promising. So far we know of two tracks: 'I'm American' and 'Hostage'." "Operation: Mindcrime II" — the sequel to their platinum 1988 concept album, "Operation: Mindcrime" — is scheduled for relase in early 2006 on Rhino Entertainment. As previously reported, QUEENSRŸCHE have uploaded "bootleg"-quality live recordings of two tracks slated to appear on the follow-up to 2003's "Tribe". Check out the songs "Hostage" and "I'm American" at Queensryche.com. QUEENSRŸCHE have tapped SNAKE RIVER CONSPIRACY mainman Jason Slater to assist them with production on their new album. Slater's relationship with QUEENSRŸCHE began on the road early last year when the band was supporting its latest releases, "Tribe" and "Art of Live" (2004). SNAKE RIVER CONSPIRACY opened for QUEENSRŸCHE for a few shows, and Jason hit it off with the members of QUEENSRŸCHE so well, he was asked to produce their next record. Since their formation in 1981 near Seattle, QUEENSRŸCHE have released eight studio albums and have sold more than 10 million records worldwide. "Empire", the 1990 follow-up to "Operation: Mindcrime", sold more than three million copies thanks in part to the enormous success of the songs "Silent Lucidity" and "Jet City Woman". Released in 1994, "Promised Land" was certified platinum and featured the hits "I Am I" and "Bridge". In a recent USA Today readers poll, QUEENSRŸCHE were ranked eighth on the list of "Greatest American Rock Bands of All Time."