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Queen - Queen CD (album) cover




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3.65 | 484 ratings

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4 stars Between 1971 and 1972 Queen's gitarist brian May worked at the 'De Lane Lea' studio, testing the then new eqcuipement, in the down-time Queen where allowed the use of the studio facilities to record demo's, with these demo's they managed to get a record contract with trident, and they recorded one of their finest albums to date, mainly based on those demo's.

Before the album Queen released a single under the name of Larry Lurex, (Gary Glitter parody name), a cover version of The Beach Boys song 'I Can Hear Music' which attracted some publicity, the Queen album was released to long after that to benefit from that publicity, also the first official Queen single was received with scepticism by the 'serious' rock press, this all led to the debut album to remain in relative obscurity for a year, but with the succes of Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack it became a minor album-chart succes nonetheless.

Queen was a four man band, fronted by Freddie Mercury on vocals and piano, Brian may on guitar, john Deacon on bass and Roger Taylor on drums. The songs on the debut album are mainly written by Freddie and Brian, playing heavy rock, with progressive textures and arrangements, fabulous guitar-orchestrations, and great vocals, a mixture of Uriah heep type choir's and Gentle Giant's use of overlapping vocal lines. Freddie's piano is not as prominent as on later releases, but the times he uses it, it adds to the sound in a fabulous way.

The album starts with 'Keep Yourself Alive' a brilliant guitar intro, it appears to be a straight forward rock song but changes tempo so often and unexpected and the guitar orchestration make it so much more than that, really great.

Doing Alright, written by May with Tim Staffel in the Smile days, starts as a soft ballad, with slow piano melodies, and very sweet guitar passages, with Freddie Mercury singing, absolutely fabulous, after the first minute, slowely the song gets more fast, with a great bass line that propels the music to a more heavy sound, with heavy metal guitar parts, when you hear it for the first time, you'll not hear it coming untill it happens, fabulous, swiftly turning back to a more mellow soft part again, and finishing with a great heavy final, and closing as it began. Great song.

Great King Rat changes tempo at the drop of a hat, fabulous hard rock rhythms, great guitar solo extravaganza. Brilliantly complex and a driving drum beat, the song get's heavier with each beat, slows down a bit with an accoustic part and picks right on up with a fabulous guitar solo from Brian. fabulous song.

My Fairy King, a wonderfull high pitched guitar starts the song, then the piano joins in, and a scream make the intro complete, fast typical Mercurian piano structures, many many changes, with vocals overlapping each other, really fabulous, if ever a song was progressive than this is it, fabulously great song, with a whirlwind of changes.

Liar, The first minute is really a heavy metal piece, after that the song develops from soft and gentle to more heavy structures, with a dominant rol for Brian May's guitar orchestration above the pounding drum and bass play of Taylor and Deacon, and the vocal wizardry of Mercury, with a typical Queen change which leads us to a Gospel like middle section, but with heavy metal drums behind it. A fabulous heavy guitar leads to a climaxing final, a really thrilling song.

The Night Comes Down, a wonderfull song, it starts with a slapp-bass guitar intro, really brilliant song, mainly a soft ballad, but the vocals are so compelling, and the guitar is really wonderfull, the final grows in intensity and leads us straight into Modern Times Rock and Roll.

Modern Times Rock and Roll is a Roger Taylor composition, not as good as the rest of the material, but still some good moments, a short very fast heavy metal song, with Mercury and Taylor sharing the vocals.

son & Daughter, a dark heavy song, with fabulous vocals, but the guitar works on this are really great, deep grooves, with some high pitched guitar orchestra above it

Jesus has some great vocal harmonies, and a good guitar final from May rescue this song from being bad, but it's not very impressive, the end is very good actually, but I think they could have done it better.

The album closes with the instrumental Seven Seas Of Rhye that will be redone for their second album with lyrics, it really is a preview of what's to come, very nice fast piano introduction.

The bonus tracks on the Hollywood records remasters are good also, most of the remastered versions of Queen albums have bad remixes of some songs, but on this edition the remixes are very true to the original recordings, and the added Mad The Swine is utterly brilliant, a soft gospel like accoustic based ballad, great song. Excuse me for the length of this review, I'll wrap it up now.

queen's debut album really is very impressive, heavy metal guitars combined with progressive changes, multi-layered guitar orchestrations and sublime vocal lines, the second part of the album (eg. Modern Times rock and Roll, untill the end) is a bit lesser in quality, but the first 6 songs really are great. I love this, recommended for all progressive rock fans, four stars without a doubt, You just got to love this if you're into the heavier side of the prog rock spectrum.

tuxon | 4/5 |


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