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Queensr˙che - Take Cover CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

2.15 | 115 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Why oh why oh why. should they not enjoy themselves?

It is easy, not to say tempting when a band releases an album of cover versions to be precious or sanctimonious about such a project. They've sold out, the originals are better, they've run out of ideas, why oh why oh why did they do it, etc. Sometimes though, it is better just to see the exercise for what it is, a bit of harmless, self indulgent fun.

Here we have Queensryche taking time out from the rigours of writing a new album from scratch, to "salute" their favourite songs. OK, so the point of the exercise is more likely to be to afford the band members themselves the chance to let their hair down, rather than as the noble tribute implied, but the end results are the same.

Most of the tracks here will be familiar to the majority of rock fans, but there will be a few which are less obvious. Each of the songs is given a new arrangement by the band, rendering it totally recognisable but significantly different from the original. Take "Heaven on their minds" for example. This song from the "Jesus Christ Superstar" rock opera is transformed into a heavy monster with a metal rhythm section and chiming guitars. As such, the song takes on a whole new identity while retaining its familiar melody.

The treatment of Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the machine", which opens the album, may be less radical, but the replacement of most of the synthesiser sounds with lead guitar once again makes for an entirely different song.

In a slightly bizarre twist, we have consecutive tracks originally by Crosby Stills & Nash and Buffalo Springfield. The CSN song, "Almost cut my hair" lends itself nicely to the heavier arrangement. "For what it's worth" is probably better known to many as "What's that sound", a title used by Art when they covered the song. The version here is among the lightest on the album.

In another unforeseen twist, the O'Jays "For the love of money" is selected for the Queensryche treatment. The song retains its underlying Philadelphia feel through the funky beat and inclusion of a brass section, the flavours actually blending reasonably well with the Queenryche style. Perhaps more predictably, a Queen song, "Innuendo", appears. For me, this is a good choice, as the song is perhaps the most under-recognised of Queen's epics and well overdue for a reappraisal. This is understandably the most faithful of the covers here, the differentiation being almost exclusively through the vocal style.

Ronnie James Dio era Black Sabbath's "Neon nights" is another easy choice, the metal roots of the song requiring little adjustment of the arrangement. The only question here is, who's voice do you prefer?

Perhaps the most unusual cover of all is of the quasi-operatic "Odissea" by Carol Marrale and Cheope. Here, Geoff Tate takes the opportunity to put on a his tuxedo and sing poshly in Italian. He is no Pavarotti, that's for sure, but he does make a decent stab at something well beyond his comfort zone. The result is a track with more than a passing resemblance to one of Rhapsody's more pompous outings.

Towards the end of the album, three of the four songs come from the pop arena. The Police's "Synchronicity 2" is a less well known album track of theirs and not one of my favourites. Peter Gabriel's "Red rain" is a much better choice from my point of view, the song allowing the band to take a breather and deliver something tastefully mellow. The album closes with a 10 minute live version of U2's "Bullet the blue sky", originally from their fine "The Joshua Tree" album.

In all, while this album should not be taken too seriously, it is thoroughly enjoyable. OK, so there's an absence of originality, but that is the whole point of the exercise, and in any event a considerable amount of thought has clearly gone into the arrangements.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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