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QUEEN II

Queen

 

Prog Related

4.35 | 564 ratings

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crimson87
Prog Reviewer
5 stars What a surprise !

I did not expect this type of recording at all by Queen. Sure they are one of the most popular bands ever Here in Argentina they are bigger than The Beatles and only shadowed by the Rolling Stones in terms of massive appeal and fanatism.However most fans know Queen after the A night in the opera phase , and they seem to miss their most proficient output like their first three records.

I came to this record after hearing their debut album and being fairly impressed by tracks like Great king Rat or My Fairy King. Also , the fact that encouraged me about giving a listen to their sophomore release was the fact that , with the exeption of Seven Seas of Rhye none of the tracks was ever included in a greatest hits compilation.

We can come to the conclusion that if there exists a measure unit such as prog density per minute sure Queen II ratio would be terribly high ( specially the black side). Now , it is clear that neither Roger Taylor nor John Deacon were virtuosos like some of their collegues in the 70's but in this album they fullfill their task supporting May & Mercury in their rollercoaster ride of bomabast and pomposity.

The record opens with a short instrumental called Procession which is followed by a mini epic named Father to Son. Queen shows us every single trick they had to offer in this song: Breathtaking solos , emotional lyrics and and layers of gorgeous vocal harmonies ( that aspect will be a constant on the black side so get ready). Sometimes this album seems to have a concept behind , almost all tracks flow one after another and from the lyrics and the sound you can tell it has a dark athmosphere , probably the darkest Queen record.

The album continues with White Queen , a nice acoustic song in which the bands uses some instrumentation beyond rock standards like sitar and a gong to add a mystic touch to the tune. The two following tracks Some day , one day and The loser in the end. This is the lowest point of the album to me since this songs although they are quite good the concept that was built minutes ago seems to vanish.

Now we gat to the cherry of the cake: The black side. Probably I am exagerating but I put the next 20 minutes of music near Tarkus , Close to the edge or Thick as A Brick , pretty high in the prog olympus. Here every tune is very different from one another but since they are all connected and related in the lyrics you could consider The black Side an epic. Ogre battle is the heaviest song of the album and probably the heaviest the band ever did , it has a pretty unique intro consisting of overdubbed vocals. Next song is The Fairy Fellers Master Stroke which was inspired by a painting from Richard Dadd. Here the epic and medieval ambience we could previously tell appears in full regalia , the pomp and bombast this 2 and a half minute piece offers is suddenly interrupted by a little ballad called Nevermore which may be short but it's very emotional still. The purpose of Nevermore is to take a breath during one minute to prepare for the centerpiece of the album The March of the Black Queen

Placing Fairy Fellers... just before The Black Queen would have been too much for us since this song offers a lot of mood changes , ups and downs. It's like a little 6 minute opera. You have to hear it to believe it! This track also has headbanging moments! I just don't know why Queen did not perform these songs in late shows.

Right after a Queen who reigns with her left hand and rules with her right Funny how love is appears on the record. A somewhat naive song but it has so many vocal work that it turns out to be very enjoyable. Finally the album closes with the hit single Seven Seas of Rhye which the band did a previous instrumental version in their debut album.

Progwise , this is the Queen album you must give a listen. An exellent adition to any music collection... or a masterpiece.

4.5 stars

crimson87 | 5/5 |

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