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Queensr che - Take Cover CD (album) cover


Queensr che

Progressive Metal

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars Perhaps an odd choice for my long-overdue return to reviewing here on PA, since it belongs to the much-maligned category of cover albums... I came across "Take Cover" last week while browsing through the music section of a bookshop I visit occasionally, and, being a longtime follower of the band (as well as a sucker for cover albums), I decided to purchase it - encouraged by the fact that the price was considerably lower than for an average new release. Well, since the day I bought it, I've listened to this album at least four times - which, for my standards, means I have really been impressed by the music on offer.

As many other musicians have done over the years, in recording this album the Seattle quintet have wanted to pay homage to music that has been influential on their career. "Take Cover" contains 11 songs chosen among the many the band like to perform during their soundchecks. Some of them may indeed look like somewhat odd choices for a band like Queensryche, especially since most of the tracks have nothing to do with the genre that has made them famous. As a matter of fact, only one of the songs is a metal classic - Black Sabbath's ultra-powerful "Neon Knights" (which, incidentally, is a big favourite of mine as well). The rest of the tracklist is nothing if not eclectic, ranging from The O'Jays' R&B classic"For the Love of Money" to an absolutely blistering live version of U2's magnificent "Bullet the Blue Sky", complete with politically-charged rap.

The album kicks off in style with a 'metalised' version of Pink Floyd's disturbing "Welcome to the Machine", followed by another favourite of mine - Judas's heartfelt plea to Jesus, "Heaven on Their Minds", one of the highlights of cult rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar". Tate is in great vocal shape throughout the album, and is not afraid to tackle songs interpreted by some of the greatest singers in rock, like the aforementioned "Neon Knights", Peter Gabriel's "Red Rain" and Queen's sinuous, sprawling epic, "Innuendo". The band's performance is also very accomplished, full of sparkle and energy. Whoever wrote them off in the past couldn't have been more wrong - they have still got a lot to offer to lovers of great rock music.

On the other hand, it must be said that not every song comes across as a complete success. For instance, Queensryche's acoustic take on Buffalo Springfield's "For What Is Worth" is not as strong as Rush's version on the "Feedback" album released in 2004. Though Geoff Tate's voice has lost none of its power, you can feel it straining when interpreting one of The Police's most progressive songs, "Synchronicity II", written for the completely different vocal style of Mr Sting. The operatic piece "Odissea", sung by Tate in broken Italian, is to these ears nothing more than a curiosity, even if Tate proves to be a more than capable would-be opera singer.

Though "Take Cover" will probably be considered by many as little more than filler between 'real' albums, in my opinion it is one of the most interesting examples of its kind. Obviously it is by no means a masterpiece, but it proves once again that Queensryche are not just another, run-of-the-mill heavy metal band.

Report this review (#152547)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Another trip to tribute album! Having just reviewed Jordan Rudess "The Road Home" and Erik Norlander's "Hommage Symphonique" now it's time to move to another - again? - tribute album by Queensryche. While on previous two albums by Rudess and Norlander I found that they tried to understand all backgrounds and philosophies of the songs being covered, while here with Queensryche it seems like Geoff Tate and friends have tried to impose their "own" music style to the songs being covered regardless the background or philosophies behind the songs being covered. The result is a good album that serves well the fans of Queensryche even without a need to know the original versions. But, I do not think that people who praised the original versions would love to hear this version - especially myself.

Don't get me wrong; I have been familiar with the music of Queensryche and in fact I love some of the albums like "Operation: Mindcrime" or "Warning", and I think this band has developed their own unique style especially with Tate's unique voice and singing style. So, actually I can find myself as a fan (not die hard though) of the band. But, I have to sacrifice my idols of legendary songs in return of new version which has been Queensryched, I have a bit of reluctancy with it. Why? To me Queensrysche has been in its own style and so it has been the case of the bands being tributed like Pink Floyd or Queen or Police or Black Sabbath etc. Forcing its style to the originals seems awkward to me and I find it a bit annoying. Take example of Broadway's "Heaven On Their Minds". The band has tried its best to impose their style into the original version. But, the result is a strange kind of music style that does not sound compelling and .. in fact it's quite boring even from the start.

While on Pink Floyd's "Welcome To The Machine" the band tries to emulate the song in its original version with also additional sax, but again it fails to create an appropriate nuance as the original version has perfectly done it wonderfully. Queen's "Innuendo" is interpreted differently by imposing Tate vocal style, but it fails to deliver good nuance of the song.

So? It depends on where you stand. You might give this as a four star album because it can create Queensryche style from original version of the songs. It also can create an excellent experience because you are a die hard fan of Queensryche. For me, I'd rather give this with two stars, i.e. for collectors of Queensryche music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#157998)
Posted Monday, January 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars Just a bad idea with poor execution. I can understand tribute cover discs where many different bands cover another band's songs. But the recent trend of established artists releasing all cover songs...just don't get. I haven't heard a good one yet and this one doesn't change my mind.

The best songs here are mediocre versions of Welcome to the Machine and Neon Knights. Neither, however, offer anything new. There are embarrassments also, such as For The Love of Money (what were they thinking?), Innuendo, Red Rain and Synchronicity. And did we REALLY need yet another version of For What It's Worth?

About the only interesting things here are Heaven on their Minds (a re-worked show-tune from stage play Jesus Christ Superstar) and an attempt at Odissea (an Italian opera) but neither is a song I really want to hear for than once or twice.

All in all a complete throw-away with almost nothing redeeming.

Report this review (#172267)
Posted Monday, May 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Covers & cover-albums are always two-edged swords. While a rendition can really sound interesting, it can also be completely destroyed. Queensryche's Take Cover is enjoyable when you listen to it, but when you compare some of the covers to their originals - it's just not it. While I thoroughly enjoyed Welcome to the Machine and Neon Knights (Tate even sounds like Mr. Dio!), I hardly survived the blasphemy of For What it's Worth. I know, a point is to make covers sound a little different than the originals (the band's style apparently has to be incorporated into the piece), but there's a limit in everything. Q's versions of Innuendo and Synchronicity II can be counted as good ones. I guess we could put Bullet the Blue Sky in the same group. However, the middle part is REALLY long and useless. Tate's monologue could have been much shorter - to say a lot with fewer words.

This collection is not really bad (like cover-albums can be!), so I suggest you give it a spin. You could find it interesting. If you can swallow some failors, that is.

Report this review (#172277)
Posted Monday, May 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars I must be a masochist. I always get real excited by cover albums, literally can't wait to buy them, and I am always disappointed. This new one from Queensryche sadly just hammers that point home, joining the sad club of Def Leppard, Styx, Rage Against The Machine, etc...

To do a cover song an artist must either bring something new to it or make it their own. Sadly, in the case of most artists it just means adding heavier guitars. There are times when it works well, especially if the music style fits the bands own particular idiom, as in the case of Rush's 'Feedback' album or Oingo Boingo's cover of 'I Am The Walrus', or in a live environment where it comes off as more throw away, such as Dream Theater's numerous releases. Often times these are releases that underline the band's inability to come up with interesting material. If after hearing the new version, all you want to do is reach for the original, you know they failed.

This album does start well with a heavy version of 'Welcome To The Machine', which is strong as the slow riffing fits the overall tone of the song. 'For The Love Of Money' is an interesting choice and is performed with muscle. After that the rest of the album is rough going. 'Heaven On Their Minds,' a song with an unbelievably great lyric line, is rocked up, but Tate's voice is buried so far back in the mix that you wonder if they were afriad to offend anyone. Almost Cut My Hair' is an annoying mess, 'For What Its Worth' (really, another cover of this song, really?) comes off uninspired. 'Neon Knights' is a note for note remake with nothing new to offer. The real crimes here are 'Innuendo' and Synchronicity II', with Tate singing as if he's never heard these songs before, almost as if he's an ESL student. The biggest problem here is they offer nothing new, going for the safe standard way of playing. Imagine what a little inspiration might have done to the guitar break in 'Synchronicity II', and the choice to underplay 'Innuendo' one of the most pompous songs in Queen's catalog, is terminal.

This album stinks, and judging from the album cover, the band knew it too.

Report this review (#172618)
Posted Friday, May 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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.

Report this review (#176957)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Take cover, but don't run away.

Because this is not that bad of an album. It is of course Queensryche's cover album, and contains their renditions of some classic, and perhaps not so well known rock and progressive rock.

Beginning with the haunting cover of Pink Floyd's Welcome to the Machine, the band is in top form, and Tate never misses a vocal beat. Complete with eerie saxophone accompaniment, this is truly a standout, and a fine tribute to the original, of which I will still say I prefer much over this version. Heaven on their Minds rocks things up a bit, with the metal version of the provocative riff found herein. I could easily see Geoff starring in a modern remake of Jesus Christ Superstar, and I think I like this version more so than the brilliant original.

Queensryche loosely follow their musical inspirations, and it flows skillfully. Still, Almost Cut My Hair seems forced and out of place with the more starkly serious affairs that are seen. They perform with venomously dripping drama inherent to high degrees. Certainly not offensive, though. For What It's Worth is another unexpected trip. This also doesn't feel up to par with the first couple of tracks. Always played with serious conviction, and I can't really complain, but it doesn't amaze me.

They haven't lost the battle to stagnation. Not yet. Because this is a rather diverse collection. As solid as this album is, some of the tracks just don't work so well. For The Love Of Money seems a bit silly. It is saved by Tate's vocals, though. He nails it. Innuendo is another song I like more than the original. The wailing guitars flail about competently, and Geoff is a master of that dark dramatic singing style.

But is he on the same level as Dio? Actually, he sounds almost note for note identical to Ronnie on their version of Neon Nights. I like it, but they don't do anything at all to make it theirs at all, but some people might prefer this. Ups and downs not withstanding, Synchronicity II just doesn't fit them. Even with all its conviction, it still is only a mediocre affair.

A wide range of artists are up for target, as even the master Peter Gabriel is payed tribute to. Red Rain is one of the best "moody" songs off the album, and it has a tasteful atmosphere. A cover album is dangerous territory, as it could be seen very negatively, and if you fail to properly respect the originals, you could be eaten alive by original fans.

Odissea proves this isn't the case (at least not entirely) for Take Cover. Tate always seemed to fit well within the opera vibe, and here he gets to spread his wings. It is something different, but at times I feel it doesn't come off as strongly as I would've liked. Closing the release is the live cover of Bullet the Blue Sky, from U2. At 10 minutes in length, it is an enjoyable jam, but a microcosm of sorts for the album in general.

Dramatic and somewhat faithful interpretations of old classics that are given an extra pinch of heavy and opera for good measure. It isn't terribly original, and more than a couple songs are mediocre, while some just don't work well, at all. The gems inherent are certainly worth listening to, and when they get it right, it is very enjoyable. Fine release.

Best Moment - First 10 minutes

Worst Moment - Synchronicity II

*** covered stars.

Report this review (#219180)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Take Cover" is the 10th full-length studio album by US progressive/alternative metal act Queensr che. The album was released in November 2007 by Rhino Records. As the title implies this is a cover album. There are no original compositions on the album.

The album features songs by acts such as Pink Floyd, The Police, U2, Queen, Black Sabbath and Peter Gabriel but also some more obscure (obscure when mentioned in connection with Queensr che) choices by artists such as Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice and Carlo Marrale & Cheope. The production is a bit tame but otherwise professional and I enjoyed a couple of the songs like "Synchronicity II" and "Innuendo" but overall "Take Cover" doesn┤t offer much for the casual fan of Queensr che. None of the cover songs really impress me more than moderately.

This is a 2.5 star rating IMO. Not because the quality isn┤t high or anything like that but I really don┤t see anyone else but the hardcore fans of the band getting excited over this album.

Report this review (#235474)
Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
2 stars Simply cannot understand this! Whats the point here?

We're on 2007 (at the moment of this release) and here we have Scott Rockenfield using a &*$% drum sound, and why? Trying revive some good old days of the end of the 80's maybe?!?

What the hell!

You know, the choice of the songs are not so bad, they have PINK FLOYD, QUEEN, BLACK SABBATH, POLICE, PETER GABRIEL, U2 and a surprising version for one of the songs of Jesus Christ Superstar (one of my all time favorite records). But something here went very, very wrong, there's no pleasure playing these tracks, at least I can't found it, that cold sound says nothing to me!

Queensr che give a shot on their own feet with this record, run away if you have a choice!

Report this review (#288263)
Posted Saturday, June 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars Take Cover... behind a pair of industrial standard ear defenders.

Queensr che prove they have completely run out of ideas by releasing a studio album full of cover versions.

The Good: The track list.

The Bad: I usually enjoy artists covering songs from other artists as it is often a gateway for musical discovery, or a chance to hear old songs in a new light. This on the other hand provides no incentive to investigate any of the songs I hadn't previously heard, and never again revisit to the originals of the ones that I had.

I'd actually bought, then sold this album shortly after it was released, but recently the strong selection of tracks on offer made me question my abandonment and I decided to give it another listen.

Now I remember why.

The Verdict: Completely pointless.

Report this review (#481281)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
2 stars I'm really not a fan of cover albums unless the songs have been reworked in a very creative and unique way beyond the parameters of the original intent. QUEENSRYCHE released their tenth studio album TAKE COVER which is admittedly a clever name for an album totally devoted to their take on other's music. There's quite a range of artists COVERed here ranging from Pink Floyd to Black Sabbath to The Police and Peter Gabriel to even the O'Jays. The range of influences is great but there are a few factors which really keep me from getting excited about this album one of which is the fact i'm really not a fan of all cover songs for albums!

Firstly, Geoff Tate's vocals just don't sound right to me on some of the arrangements that were clearly constructed around the original vocalists abilities. This includes "Red Rain," "Welcome To The Machine" and "Neon Knights." Secondly, I don't think the band adds much to the way of creative interpretations for the most part. There are a few exceptions. I think they do take some creative license on Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" and "For The Love Of Money" from the O'Jays.

Where I think the band shine especially with Geoff Tate's vocals is where they have always been at home and that is with the more operatic type of music and that is displayed quite well on Carlo Marrale's "Odissea." This is my favorite track on the entire album. I know some will find this album satisfying but I really have no desire to hear a whole album of QUEENSRYCHE doing covers. I do appreciate a well-crafted cover song slipped into an otherwise original album but despite being a hardcore fan (up to "Promised Land" anyways) I have no desire to ever hear this one.

Report this review (#1322288)
Posted Tuesday, December 9, 2014 | Review Permalink

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