Geoff Tate does not view Resurrection, the second release of an album trilogy by his Operation: Mindcrime project, as a rock 'n' roll The Empire Strikes Back. Because he has been working on the entire futuristic saga at once, it feels more like The Lord of the Rings to the former Queensryche frontman.
"I kind of put the whole thing together at one time," Tate tells Billboard. "It seemed like the most logical way to approach it since I had all the ideas rolling, as it were. [Resurrection] has been done for a while, and I touched up things over the year between releases, and I'm actually just finishing up the third one now."
Resurrection (due Sept. 23 on Frontiers Music SRL) follows The Key, 2015's introductory installment. The new set continues to track Tate's protagonist, H, as he continues his quest of bringing a project called The New Reality to fruition. "I wanted it to be what happens next, of course," explains Tate. "The first part was kind of set up where you see a little bit about what's going on with the characters; the second one is what actually happened, then how do the characters get out of it." Compared with when he wrote Queensryche's two Operation: Mindcrime epics, Tate says that he's "probably more conscious now of what's going on in the big picture of things within the story, kind of dropping hints and little bread crumbs along the way so people can follow it -- but not making it too easy to follow and fill in the blanks, I suppose."
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As with The Key, Tate had plenty of all-star help making Resurrection, including singers Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-Judas Priest) and Blaze Bayley (formerly of Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden). They joined Tate to perform on the hard-rocking track "Taking on the World" from Resurrection and also appear in the song's video, which is premiering exclusively on Billboard now. Watch it below:
Other guest appearances on Resurrection include bassists Dave Ellefson of Megadeth and John Moyer of Disturbed. "They're all people I've played with over the years and people I would consider friends and people I share musical sensibilities with," says Tate, acknowledging that Operation: Mindcrime is more a project than a band. "It's hard to explain what I'm thinking about in regarded to the albums and having a revolving list of players; I just started this project out of wanting to tell the story, musically, and I didn't want to be in a band again. So I just wanted a group of people that could get together and play and write without all the politics that goes on with being in a band."
Nevertheless, Tate and Operation: Mindcrime will return to the road after he plays the eight-date Trinity tour in November, where he will reunite with Owens and Bayley to perform songs together from all of their respective catalogs. O:M's touring will most likely start during December in Europe, then wind through late winter/early spring back in North America. The shows will mix songs from The Key and Resurrection with some Queensryche material, but Tate is most looking forward to getting the third part of the trilogy out so he can mount a full-scale performance of the story.
"It's always been a dream of mine to perform it all at once, perhaps a limited engagement or something," he says. "That's kind of down the road, I'd say probably in a few years. It's kind of a touchy thing, playing new music for audiences. They have to digest it for a while before they become enamored with it and more accepting, so I want to reach that point before I do something as ambitious and intensive as doing the whole thing in one show."