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QUEEN II

Queen

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5 stars This album is a pure masterpiece man. The album just flows straight the way through.

Theres two sides to the album:

1 Procession (1:12) 2 Father to Son (6:12) 3 White Queen (As It Began) (4:33) 4 Some Day One Day (4:21) 5 Loser in the End (4:01)

Coming from Brian May and one from Roger Taylor with Father to Son and White Queen really standing out.

And on side two dedicated to Freddie Mercury

6 Ogre Battle (4:08) 7 Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke (2:39) 8 Nevermore (1:17) 9 March of the Black Queen (6:03) 10 Funny How Love Is (3:14) 11 Seven Seas of Rhye (2:48)

Arguably one of the best sides of music there has ever been written.

Orge Battle - Raunchy medieval metal March Of The Black Queen - A true prog masterpiece in every sense of the word. This song just shows why mr mercury is not just a god of frontman and singer but what verstile songwriter he is.

Report this review (#40798)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars It´s quite difficult to establish the marks that defines the borders of the so-called progressive rock territory. Even in its shady, unprecised boundaries, we´ll find masterpieces that could force us to review some concepts. Regarding the context of this release and the content of this album, I can do nothing but giving a standing ovation for this newcomers to the prog sanctuary. Precise instrumental works, fabulous vocal harmonies, bold musical structures, and NO SYNTHS (as they proudly announces)...What else do we need to regard this effort as a rock album which attempted to go on through new and yet unexplored directions (especially, for a glam-rock pop group). Take White Queen, for example, candid guitar work, fabulous percussion...Or, as a "master-stroke", let´s give a chance to this March of The Black Queen. The pop music would never be the same after this. For those who consider the glamourous Night at The Opera as a milestone, the perfect seed is here. In the days when Queen have something more to do thant entertain the whole world. A naive experiment, a trully prog jewel.
Report this review (#40812)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is probably Queen's most proggressive, experimental and heaviest album. And it lies in the time when Queen were at their prime, between Queen and A Day at the Races, when they were unique, clever, complex, heavy and used harmonies like no one else.

Procession You couldn't really call this a song, more of an introduction to the album and the next song, Father to Son.

Father To Son Very good song, written by Queen guitarist Brian May, reasonably heavy in parts, but there also some quiet moments. 3.5/5

White Queen (As it Began) This is a top song, also written by Brian May. It starts off an acoustic ballad and stays that way for most of the song, until the guitar solo, which sounds like a citar to me. Whilst the solo itself idn't that memorable, the section that follows it is one of the most intelligent and most majestic peices of music you will hear, Brian May has all sorta of harmonies from his guitar in different sections with different tones playing different parts, but it all complements each other so well, which leads up to the climax, where Freddie sings "my goddess hear my darkest fear, I speak to late, but it's forever more, that I wait". Excellent peice of music. 4.5/5

Some Day One Day Not really a huge fan of this song, with Brian May the copmoser once again, and also taking care of vocals, definatley one of the weaker songs, nothing really interesting about it. 2.5/5

The Loser in the End This is written and sung by ROger Taylor, also not a highlight, perhaps fractionally better or worse than the previous song, depending on your mood. 2.5/5

Ogre Battle The first of the tracks to be written by Freddie, and this is were the album really starts to get going. It starts off with a whole backwards thing, until it suddenly turnds forwards, almost unnoticably. This is quite a heavy track, though some of the lyrics drag the standard down slightly "when the piper is gone, and the soup is cold on your table" 3.5/5

The Fairy Fellers Master Stroke This track really is intelligent, well written, and innovative. It has many many parts to it in such a short time, a really does take a few listens to get into. But once you do, you can really understand all the timing/tempo changes and get the idea behind the song. Awesome song, and while nothing is perfect, this is as close as you'll get in such a short time. The song is progressive, melodic, intelligent, complex and harmoniious. 4.5/5

Nevermore A little piano ballad that sorta just finishes off TFFMS, not bad 3/5

The March of the Black Queen Also jam packed with all sorts of sections and changes this track is equally as good, though nowhere nearly as recognised, but clearly the forerunner to tracks like Bohemian Rhapsody and the Prophets Song. Also a progressive, intelligent, etc... song it contains heavy sections "Here comes the black queen poking in the pile", and much quieter sections "A voice from behind me reminds me" 4.5/5

Funny How Love Is Pretty simple, boring sorta pop really. Not memorable, but not terrible. 3/5

Seven Seas of Rhye This was used as the single off the album. Good song, though it sort of sounds out of place, tagged on the end. 3.5/5

Report this review (#40912)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I gave this 5 stars for two reasons: This is one of Queens' greatest albums, ever, and this is probably one of their more progressive works!! Released in 1974 but recorded in 1973, this was never meant to be a concept album per-se, but their is an overall concept of good vs. evil. On the original vinyl, the sides were labeled Side White and Side Black, which was also carried through into the album sleeve, dark cover with a pure white gatefold. It's actually quite a stunning record to look at, including the rather glammed-up photo of the band dressed in all white. The cover of the album was later used as the opener to the "Bohemian Rhapsody" video.

"Some Day One Day" and "Funny How Love Is" are the two tracks that just don't seem to belong. Not terrible tracks in their own right, but lacking the mood of the other album material. The remainder of this album is just classic, showcasing the guitar virtuosity of Brian May on nearly every track and absolutely amazing vocal harmonies led by one of the world's greatest singers and performers, Freddie Mercury. Drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon hold down the fort with some amazing back-up, terribly underrated performers!!

Apart from those songs mentioned, their isn't a single slow moment left, ranging from the beautiful "White Queen" and the rocking "Father To Son" to the near metallic "Ogre Battle" and mellow "Nevermore." This all builds to the absolutely amazing cernterpiece of the album, the Freddie penned "March Of The Black Queen." The live shows from 1973 and 1974 showcased much of this material and that of their previous album and they sounded as amazing live as in the studio!!!

This is not only for fans of pop / rock / metal / glam...whatever?!!? There is something here for everyone, and if you believe yourself to truly understand the definiton of progressive and not just directly apply it to a King Crimson-like signature change, then you may really grow to love this album and have a much deeper appreciation for all music!!!

I will probably review every Queen album that shows up on here, so I better give you a small background on me first!! For those who think Queen is over and done with, washed-up, whatever the case may be, give them a chance. I'm only 25 years old, born the year Queen released "The Game." I'm seeing my first Queen show this year. I am one of the die-hards of this band!!!! If those people who hear "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" say "OOOhhhhhh, this is what Queen sounds like???" AND then immediately get turned off by the odd styles chosen for these songs...PLEASE give these guys a chance. Queen has so many different facets that you will never hear the same album repeated twice, they were always fresh, even during the 1980's and 90's! These guys were metal and rockibilly and pop, punk, glam, prog all rolled into one!!!! You will not be disappointed!!!!!

LONG LIVE QUEEN - MAY THEY FOREVER REIGN

Report this review (#40920)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite album and their best ever...May's declared it his favorite too...Very progressive...By far surpassing their average debut album...The Myth, The King and Queens are melted in this work of art...Songs that go gently and others that really rock...The March of The Black Queen, the highlight of the album, very emotional and dramatic...Funny How Love Is probably their ultimate unknown song from them...Dunno why they didn't perform it in their shows (at least the ones I heard or saw)...The song that doesn't fit on the album would be The Loser In The End (sung by Taylor). A great introduction with Procession and Father to Son...You should not miss it...
Report this review (#40929)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Queen put out a lot of diverse albums spreading a lots of different musical genres. The band often gets associated with their 80´s pop "gaga"- output and stadium anthems of the post ´75 era. But this album - one of their early output is a real gem. This album often gets overlooked in the wide spanning carreer of the band. Queen II (released 1974) is early trademark Queen at its best and the tracks on this album show you, why Queen sometimes get connected with prog rock.

QUEEN II is full of complex tunes, all over with great vocal harmonies and clever guitar work. Very often casual Queen "Greatest Hits - listeners" don´t know any material of this era (including the debut QUEEN I). Probably because it is not accessible enough for op-only listeners. Queen were a singles- band just like they were an album band too. The record is a real great musical journey. Packed with beautiful piano arragements of Freddie Mercury, multi layered vocal harminies and dark and heavy guitar riffs . The album is probably the best of them (bar A NIGHT AT THE OPERA)

The best songs on the Album are:

FATHER TO SON WHITE QUEEN OGRE BATTLE FAIRY FELLERS MASTER STROKE THE MARCH OF THE BLACK QUEEN

So i would say: often overlooked in the Queen catalogue, but this record is an early masterpiece of the band. More than 30 years since it was released, it still sounds fresh. Way ahead of it´s time it was back then. -------------------------------------------

Other albums well worth to listen to are QUEEN I (debutalbum 1973), SHEER HEART ATTACK (1974) and A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1975)

Report this review (#40935)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is a superb album and only just overshadowed by Sheer Heart Attack as the best Queen album. The first side (side white) is lighter and less dark than the heavier second side (side black), contrasting the styles of May and Mercury who predominantly wrote the respective sides. Most of the tracks are excellent and performed in a wide variety of styles, but Loser in the End lets the standard down a bit, bring a bit unsophisicated. White Queen and March of the Black Queen are highlights but Seven Seas of Rye is the gem at the end - though as an earlier reviewer says, it doesn't quite fit and seems tagged on. May's guitar and the excellent multilayered vocal harmonies dominate as ever but Mercury's keyboard playing is an integral and often underestimated part of the band. This isn't prog (IMO) but it's a top quality 4* album regardless and should be in every collection.
Report this review (#40950)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Not content with a scorching debut album, Queen returned in 1974 with a truly masterful album. The two sides of Queen II were subtitled Side White and Side Black, and the album was divided roughly along those lines with Brian May penning almost all of Side White (drummer Roger Taylor wrote and sang The Loser In The End) and Freddie Mercury enjoying all of Side Black to himself.

What this potentially divisive move did was produce an amazing album that brims over with great progressive music. From the opening beats of the instrumental Procession to the closing singalong that concludes the amazing fantasy single Seven Seas Of Rhye, Queen II will have you on the edge of your seat. May has two wonderful tunes in the hard-rocking Father To Son and the incredibly moving White Queen (As It Began) which has some tear- jerking moments on guitar. As if to counter the power of White Queen, he handles lead vocals for the first time in the charming but relatively forgettable Some Day One Day (You've never heard my song before, the music was too loud" he sings) before The Loser In The End closes Side White.

Mercury's side goes even further, with some of Queen's greatest ever songs. The ultra- agressive fantasy metal piece Ogre Battle fairly takes one's breath away with amazing vocals, lyrics and powerful guitar-riffing from May. It's followed by the harpischord driven curiousity The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke which segues into a really beautiful but incredibly brief piano ballad Nevermore. All this is then topped by The March Of The Black Queen (which I believe stands alongside My Fairy King, Father To Son, The Prophet's Song and Bohemian Rhapsody as Queen's great prog epics). A dark-piano driven multi-part piece, it has all the hallmarks, fantasy lyrics, outstanding harmony vocals, twists and turns that range from storming hard rock to music hall choruses (dance with the devil, beat with the band, ahh!) . Funny How Love Is provides a little bit of light relief before the glorious Seven Seas Of Rhye (which offers a lesson in how to do a prog masterpiece in less then 3 minutes) closes one of the outstanding, underrated albums in prog. ... 93% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#41045)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
ttaylor102003
5 stars This is not entirely prog rock, however most if not all prog rock fans will like it. If you like Uriah Heep, you will probably love this album. It starts off with the awesome instrumental Procession, in which May's guitar sounds a bit like an organ (to me, anyways). This leads into the awesomeness that is Father to Son, one of the best on the album. It features great melodies and lyriocs, along with some heavy guitar riffs. The lyrics are a bit fantasy- based, which I love. Whit Queen (As it Began) is my all time favorite Queen song, both from this album and overall. it features a moody acoustic intro, then an awesome acoustic guitar solo, then it comes in with what one reviewer up there called a Guitar Orchestra which I think is a perfect description. Some Day One Day, while it may geta tad boring after repeated listenings, is a great little ballad, with great lyrics and vocals from Brian May. The Loser in the End closes the white side of the album perfectly, with all its rocking goodness and great vocals from Roger Taylor.

Side Two, The Black Side, opens up with the epic fantasy metal of Ogre Battle, with its superb lyricss, vocals, guitar riffs, and just terrific playing from everyone. This segues into harpsichord driven weird medievalness of Fairy-Feller's Master Stroke, which gets a bit goofy at times, though not enough to ruin the song. Its a good listen, and it leads into Nevermore, a great piano ballad with great lyrics and melodies. Then comes the epic prog (metal) of March of the black Queen, which I find to be a bit overrated. The heavy parts are good, and the beginning is terrific, but some of the parts are rather goofy, but they aren't terrible. Its a good song though, and is placed perfectly on the album. The dark mood of the album is lightened by the extremely catchy pop tune, Funny How Love is, which is a great, although it may be the worst on here. The album closes with the uplifting but hard rocking piano/heavy metal guitar marriage that is the Seven Seas of Rhye. This song si very progressive, and it just dominates all others.

So all in all, not strictly prog stuff on here, but a good amount of it is. Highlights are Procession/Father to Son, White Queen (As it Began), Ogre Battle/Fairy Feller's Master Stroke/Nevermore, and The Seven Seas of Rhye. Although the other songs are great too.

Report this review (#41053)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Blacksword
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I'm not sure what it is I hate about this band, but I reckon its got something to do with Brian may. I hate his guitar sound, I hate his hair cut, but most of all I hated the way he rose above Buckingham Palace at the Golden Jubilee with his revolting poodle hair blowing in the 'wind of change' Spinal Tap would have stopped short of these antics...

With that off my chest, I'd like to say a few words about Queen II. This is my favourite Queen album. It has a dark, camp charm and is home to some of Queens greatest moments in terms of melody and the written word. No one should even try to doubt the amazing song writing talent of this group; a talent which manifests itself so richly on 'Side 2' of this album. I still listern to this album on vinyl, and wallow in the crackling nostalgia it gives me. I always felt that 'White Queen - as it began' should have been segued with 'March of the Black Queen' into one massive prog epic. As it is, the second side of Queen II plays like one big prog masterpiece. The songs flow into one another with a gorgeous continuity; full of drama and humour (Black Queen, Ogre Battle, Seven seas..) and moments of such sensitivity that perhaps only Mercury could vocally deliver (Nevermore). On the downside the production, as with many Queen offerings is abysmal. I'm surprised they didn't insist on better!

Alongside 'Night at the Opera' this is the only Queen album I really like, there are great moments on others, but IMO, all there BEST moments are captured on Queen II.

Report this review (#41150)
Posted Monday, August 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Masterpiece of prog rock.

If you never buy another Queen album, make sure you have this in your collection of prog rock, as it never disappoints, packing progressive elements in dense clusters, whipping backwards and forwards between the light and soulful, through the dark and heavy to the downright psychotic.

"Procession" starts with a stately bass drum pattern, over which Brian May previews some of the "Father To Son" material with a guitar sound that is strikingly organ-like and somehow majesterial. This is layered with quasi-mediaeva touches, and the "main" Father to Son theme, before a rippling motif overlaid with a bell-like motif leads to the wonderful riffs of "Father..". These riffs develop, blurring the verse/chorus progression somewhat. When the chorus hits, it's huge and symphonic in style. The rippling and bell motifs return in an slightly extended form, and the Queen choir builds up a huge texture, with touches vaguely reminiscent of the Beach Boys "Good Vibrations" in places. A huge riff is built up underneath this, and we enter a rockin' and rollin' bridge that develops into the solo, which flies all around the stereo picture in a dazzling display of dive-bombs, before lapsing into feedback before kicking off solo part 2, with May layering up the guitars authoritatively. This drops back to a single soft chord, as Mercury almost whispers "A word in your ear, from Father to Son", which kicks into the coda, showcasing fabulous melodies, style changes and, naturally, the Queen choir. The coda itself is a massive stadium chant of "Word goes around, from Father to Son..." etc, which fades out to ambient guitar feedback textures.

These segue into the intro to "White Queen", a song with fine - almost typical prog rock lyrics - and a dramatic Gong punctuating the ambient wash of acoustic guitars. Mercury turns in another brilliantly strong melody. Fabulous harmonies open the music up in a mini bridge into what stands as a kind of chorus - but with massive riffs instead of acoustic guitar, different words to continue the tale, and sensitive, dramatic percussion from Taylor. May then imitates a sitar convincingly for a brilliantly ambient section - There is much in here that reminds me of some of the material on Radiohead's "OK Computer", Queen's dominant style notwithstanding. May unleashes a fabulously orchestrated section, and the Queen choir layer up, and the whole lot is broken down again - "...as it began". At least half an hour's worth of material condensed into 4 and a half minutes. This is what I'm talking about.

"Some Day, One Day" begins with a gentle acoustic rhythm awash with phasers, and May taking the mic for a complete change of style and texture - but that's part of what prog is all about; Variety. The lyrics enter mysticism territory here - with a slightly dark slant; "When I was you and you were me and we were very young Together took us nearly there, the rest may not be sung". The overall style is of a fairly simple song, but there are many, many progressive elements packed in here - some reminiscent of "Tomorrow Never Knows", but the ambient layers of voice and guitar showing the subtle side of Queen.

The rock returns with a bang - Taylor's echoed kit and rough and angry vocals rip into "Loser In The End" - but concentrate on the background layers if you will. The surface is a fairly standard rock song, but the layering of textural ideas is out of this world. You could convince yourself that Queen were using synths - but, of course, at this point in their career, this is not the case.

Side 2 opens with a whoosh, and thunder, before multi-layered and backtracked vocals and guitars create a cacophonous wall of sound, which magically turns itself around to sound "the right way around", and a riff that builds and builds to a song which just grows and grows, painting the outrageously dramatic picture of the Ogre Battle, May excelling himself with guitar punctuation. A wall of screams is the highpoint of this song - it really is incredibly scary - but not long enough! Like everything on this album, everything is so dense and passes by so quickly...

The track segues into "Fairy Feller's Master Stroke", a wicked slice of prog incredibly squeezed into a mere two and a half minutes - I'm wearing out my pause button on this one, so I'll let you discover it for yourself. The lyrics are suitably prog too - so check those out, and listen to this a hundred times - or until you have worked out all the complexities in this song, whichever comes first - I suspect the former.

Masterfully, this segues into "Nevermore", which hints at great songs that Queen would write later in their career. Hauntingly evocative and nostalgic, this shifts seamlessly through many keys, driven by Mercury's ever-improving pianistic abilities.

Now we arrive at the pinnacle of this breathtaking roller coaster - "The March of the Black Queen". Less dense overall than the earlier material, but still packed with time, key and texture changes - including bells and outrageous vocal textures, sudden drops from vertiginous cliffs of sound into barbershop style harmonies and vaudeville song.

I just don't want to analyse any further - the music is just too enjoyable to keep picking apart, and really, one could spend a huge amount of time in analysis and still not uncover everything in this fabulous album - a prog rock album that defines Queen's corner of the genre, and makes many other prog bands pale into near insignificance by comparison.

It's amazing to me that opinion could be split over this album, as it seems to be in some circles - all I can think of is that if you don't hear the prog, you need to listen again and again until you do. It's all there in spades... make that dump truck loads - Queen unashamedly pile on the elements in clusters so dense and fly them past at such a speed that all you end up following are the fabulous melodies of Mercury and May's awesome riffs - and rightly so. Prog should be more than the sum of its parts, and despite the enormous quantity of elements, this album is way more than "Seven Seas..." or "Ogre Battle".

Queen were so far ahead of their time, as this album closes with the pure prog "Seven Seas of Rhye", I feel a kind of pang of regret that Queen did not make more albums like this - one wishes that they had found a way to produce a dozen or so more like this every year. But then that would stop Queen II from holding the crown that it does.

Magnificent opus - even if you don't like certain aspects of it, there's bound to be something in here you'll like or grow to like over time. An essential rock album for everyone.

Report this review (#41267)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars 2.5, really....maybe it was the high expectations fans of the band implanted in me in their raving reviews....maybe it was the poor mix and overall timbre of the Korean manufactured cassette I own....or maybe it's just the sound of a band not really sure what they wanted to be. The album is all over the place - poppy and radio friendly on one tune and riffing and rocking on the next....even a few third-rate prog numbers to stress the serious side of their flamboyant image. Not that the album is bad....in fact, it's right up their with Sheer Heart Attack and A Night at the Opera as my personal faves by the band. "March of the Black Queen"...right on!
Report this review (#41279)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Brilliant, over the top, pompous excessivly extravagant progressive symphonic heavy metal rock album. Queen delivered a true masterpiece with this fabulous "Queen II". They played with the tought of naming the album "Over the Top", for that was the intend, make something more daring and more excessive than anything done before. As noted in other reviews the album consists of two sides, the White side is written by Brian May, with one additional song by Roger Taylor, and the Black side is Freddie Mercury's domain.

White Side The album starts with the baroque instrumental "Procession" May's guitar plays all the parts of this 1 minute song on guitar, with beautifull guitar orchestration, a great opening for this album, the outro of this song is also the intro to "Father to Son", which is mostly a heavy metal song, with great guitar play, and beautiful vocals from Freddie , the guitar solo goes from left to right, awsome and utterly brilliant, again the outro of this song is also the intro to the next song, the beautifull and amazing balad "White Queen (As It Began)" Accoustic guitar, with Freddie's voice start this song, slowely the song gets more intense, with fabulous guitar play, past midway, Brian's guitar arrangements give ita classic feel, who needs an orchestra when you have Brian on guitar, sublime how it ends, as it began.

After the three fabulous songs that started the White side, it continous fabulously with the softer and gentler, accoustic guitar based balad "Some Day One Day, sung by Brian, including some very good guitarparts, a beautifull song. "The Loser In The End" Roger Taylor's contribution to the song writing, a good song in itself, but a bit misplaced in general direction of the album, But it proofs that roger can sing.

Black Side Freddie Mercury's side of the album is the side that distinguishes this album as the definitive Queen Masterpiece it is (along-sides ANATO, actually). Starting with the pompous, completely over the top heavy metal song "Ogre Battle". Heavy noises, screams, back-played drums and guitars smoothly transformed to forward playing again, ever increasing speed, with some fabulous bass-play by John Deacon and heavy fast guitar play from Brian. brilliant opening to a brilliant second side of the album. with a bang it ends immediatly continuing with the brilliantly gay "The Fairy Feller's Masterstroke" The lyrics and music are inspired by a painting by the Victorian painter Richard Dadd, very intens bass playing, with great guitarplay and fabulous piano and vocals and sounds and what more, utter genius, together with My Fairy King, this is my favourite Queen track of all time. When the song stops, the piano continous to lay the foundation for the lovely and sad "Nevermore" which is a bridge to the centre- piece of the Black Side.

"March Of The Black Queen A prelude to what Bohemian Rhapsody will become, maybe even better. A multi-part song, in form best comparable with My Fairy king, The Fairy Fellers Masterstroke and Bohemian Rhapsody, very much condenced to fit in six minutes. The song changes franticly, alternating soft lush melodies, with dense heavy orchestrated guitarparts, and above all Freddie's very powerfull singing, with additional screams from Roger taylor, fabulous song, the last part in which freddie sings "Forget your sing a-longs and your lullabies, surrender to the city of the fireflies, dance to the Devil in beat with the band, to hell with all of you hand in hand" is also the intro to the great "Funny How Love Is carried by Freddie's beautifull voice and rhythmic guitar play, great song. The album closes with the fabulously great "Seven Seas Of Rhy" fast piano opens this song, and great canon like guitar play make up for the magnificent solo, a great piece of music to end the album with.

Superlatives are not enough for this album, this is sheer brilliance, and I have heard nothing quite like this ever again. I tried to describe some of what's happening in the album, but I completely failed, this is one of those albums that can't be described in any way, because there's so much going on.

FABULOUS ALBUM, and a DEFINITIVE MASTERPIECE not beause i'm a fan of the band, but because this album is utterly brilliant in all aspects. Listen to it yourself.

Report this review (#41576)
Posted Thursday, August 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Damn close to "Masterpiece" status. Queen II played right along side Yes, ELP, KC and Genesis in my vinyl rotation during the seventies. Queen was so far seperated from the mainstream in the early seventies. Their first four albums consistently forged a new sound, coupling combinations never before explored by rock and roll. Queen II was the height of prog.

Queen II opens with Brian May's signature synth-like multi-voiced guitar, then breaks into "Father to Son," a paen to rebellion and lineage. Heavy and segmented. "Ogre Battle" opens with a power build that rattled my windows and explodes into a gorgeous choriographed scream. Roger Taylor is so underrated in his vocal contributions. He is simply incredible. "March of the Black Queen" is simple their most ambitious tune up until then. The momentum shifts every second or fourth bar, keeping the listener entranced. Medieval and powerful. May evokes pure pandemonium in sections, playing as a man possessed. The vocal harmonies are "not of this earth" as they combine, break and return. Mercuries voice is so mulit-facited that one looks for guest singers on the sleeve. He's all over the place. Roger Taylor and Brain May add to the vocal palette, elevating the overall nuance. "Ferry Feller's Master Stroke" makes great use of the under-used harpsichord. "Seven Seas of Rhye" expands the idea originated on Queen I, with other-worldly vocal harmonies and blistering keyboards.

Sure the album has a few non-prog tunes. So what. Overall, Queen II is a powerful additon to any prog collection.

Report this review (#41961)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
chessman
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It is just possible that this is Queen's best offering ever! Certainly it is the most progressive, a wonderful mixture of heavy guitar, interspersed with gentle interludes, hilarious, fanciful lyrics, gorgeous harmonies, and memorable melodies. I especially love the way certain tracks run into each other. There is not a single bad track here. Right through from "Procession", the album runs its stunning course, only, maybe, "Seven Seas Of Rhye" sounding slightly different from the rest. Highlights are "Someday One Day" with its understated and atmospheric guitar work, "Father To Son" (of course!) "White Queen", oh, in fact the whole bloody album! Side one is the quieter side, side two is the heavier, faster and funnier side. "Funny How Love Is" has always been a personal favourite. "Ogre Battle" oozes class, as does "March Of The Black Queen". And the lovely "Nevermore" shows just how a true ballad should be composed, short, atmospheric and tear-jerking. Wonderful stuff! I have always found it hard to choose my favourite Queen album. The first four all have their claimants. The debut I would put at number four, then the other three have to fight it out amongst themselves. At the time of writing I would just give Queen 2 the nod. Even the cover is sensational. I have the original vinyl, of course, and the simple contrast between the white and the black side, glossy et al, is visually stunning. Any one wanting to get into the true Queen, (which means avoiding like the plague the "Greatest Hits" collections and delving into the origins of the band) should purchase this. They were fresh, exciting, and appealed to many different types. These days, there are so many, so called Queen fans, who know nothing about the band except for the greatest hits. Sad really. Buy the first four, you will soon forget the rest. (Although "Innuendo", to be fair, was a good album for Freddie to go out on.)
Report this review (#44688)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One of my biggest musical surprise ever.

If you thought Queen was a sell-out arena rock band you only heard one side of the story, because in it's early days (or daze?), Queen delivered with it's second album one critical slap in the face of progressive rock. Queen had so much talent, they created waves of influences that bands around the world pumped throughout the years. Some songs are just plain rock and roll, but the big part of the album is a hard piece of progressive pie.

Queen II is simply bombastic at worst and genius at best. The Black Side of the record is a delight from Mercury's obvious talent to amaze you with complicated song patterns and almost no choruses. Some songs are quite hard to digest because they keep changing pace, propulsing you from one side and punching you to another one. They feel more progressive than some done by Yes or King Crimson! To me, the cherry on the top has to be the total abscence of keyboards in the record. No synthetisers, no hammond, not even a pinch of vcs3. Only a traditional grand piano and a harpsicord are admitted. Hurray!

To me, discovering this totally new side of Queen by experiencing it's theatrical approach, it's insanely loud guitar and innovative (if not genius) vocals is a buzz I haven't felt in a very long time. This is an absolutely huge progressive experience and I'm sorry I haven't heard this before, I could've save money and invest more in stuff like this.

Amateurs of Rush's Fly by Night period must listen to this and after judge if it deserves more attention...but I'm confident they'll more than pleasently surprised, they'll be blown away to Buckingham Palace.

Come with us and do the march of the Black Queen.

Report this review (#45089)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was ever the first album I bought, so it must be my first (and probably) only review.

Although it took me some years to appreciate this album (as a teenager I liked Wham a lot) it is indeed a very good album. I would never call this an essential progressive album, but there are some really good progressive songs on it.

Two aspects that make progressive music from Queen great: 1. The Queen members are masters with the multiple voices. 2. Queen has the ability to be progressive in small songs of 4 to 5 minutes.

Procession, Father to Son and White Queen are very nice songs with the last one a very good song. The last two songs from side A of the album are nice, but certainly not progressive. I like Loser in the End becauase the harsh voice of Roger Taylor is singing it, but it is simple rock song.

Side B from the album starts quit nicely: The active Ogre Battle, the weird and funny Fairy Fellers Master Stroke, the sensitive Nevermore (pfew, I needed that break), followed by the powerfull March of the Black Queen are the highlights of the album. The rest is nice, but not very progressive and not very interesting.

Taking the first 3 songs with the songs 6, 7, 8 and 9 (the genuine 4 songs of side B) and add some progressive songs from another album Queen would have made a 5 star album. Believe me it is very worth listening for only the above mentioned 7 songs, but it is not enough for a masterpiece. For me, I am proud this album was the first album I ever bought.

Report this review (#46022)
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Many people just think that Queen means "Radio Ga-Ga", while instead Queen have explored so much the different variety of music, reaching excellence in everything, from dance to pop, from heavy to mellow, from art rock to progressive, that a lot of over-rated prog-only bands adored here should pay a ticket to them.

This album has clearly influenced all of my music production: it is so surprising, ever-changing, hard and heavy at times, mellow and delicate at others, suddenly passing through opposite emotional states..

"White queen", for example, made me cry lots of time.. me crying? This may sound incredible to who knows me, but it's true.

"The march of the Black Queen", on the opposite, is fantasious and violent, with the imperious Queen commanding and showing her power off to servants.

Every band member has his own spot here: Mercury with "Nevermore", May with "Some day one day", Taylor with "The loser in the end", while Deacon fills all their mates' work with incredible majesty, as he has always done.

Probably thi is the only completely progressive (in the sense of experimental) Queen album, but they kept on pushing the edge until their last album "Innuendo", 18 years after this one, by never splitting, stopping or whatever.

5 stars, and file closed.

Report this review (#48953)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Queen II is probably Queen's darkest album. It was Queen's 2nd album, and the 1st album of Queen's prime, which lasted from Queen II in 1974 to The Game in 1980. Queen II features everything we love about Queen. Heavy guitars, classical influences, overdubbed guitar solos from Brian May, incredible vocals from Freddie Mercury, and an intense rhythm section from John Deacon and Roger Taylor. It is one of Queen's most heavy metal focused albums. This album further defined Queen's musical identity, which they kept all through the 70's (in the eighties, Queen started to blend in with other pop acts). The musical identity referred to being Queen's own unique brand of over the top glam-metal. This album is Queen at its finest. There is no filler, only classic Queen.

The album begins with the sounds of Roger Taylor's bass drum beating silently, as the sounds of Brian May's guitar comes in. This features Brian May doing what he does best on guitar, playing with his fantastic and unique tone, enhanced by massive guitar overdubbing. This is the song "Procession." It is only a little over a minute, yet it serves its point. It creates the mood of majesty entering somewhere; in this case, it is Queen entering the album. It is a majestic and perfect introduction the album.

"Procession" flows right into "Father to Son," a song that defines Queen. In the beginning, it sounds grandiose, but not overblown. About 2 minutes into the song, Brian May unleashes some of the heaviest, mightiest guitar roar ever heard in rock. Nobody can even mimic the heaviness of his guitar. Guitarists can turn up the distortion forever, and they will never reach the level of heaviness Brian May has in the song. It's not a grinding heaviness, as many heavy metal songs have, it's a heaviness that sounds like a growl, or a lions roar. At about the 4 minute mark, the guitar blends into the rest of the band. The guitar returns to do a fantastic solo during the repetition of the chorus. This is one of Queen's greatest songs. After the end, the listener is in awe of how epic the song is.

The next song is "White Queen (As It Began)." The beginning of the song has a medieval folk feeling to it. But then, the song turns from folk to a gloomy ballad. But Queen isn't willing to keep this song quiet. In the chorus, while it retains its gloom, it gains heaviness. Once again, the song becomes a ballad, and after the verse, there is a fantastic acoustic guitar solo from Brian May. The acoustic guitar is buzzing like a medieval string instrument. The heaviness comes back in half-way through the solo, and Brian May does one of his famous massively overdubbed guitar solos. The song ends on a sad note, after the solo.

After the sad ending of "White Queen," it is a pleasant surprise when the jolly folksy guitar melody of "Some Day One Day" comes in. The intro is beautiful, a folk melody, with Brian May's uniquely toned guitar playing over the melody. The mood remains peaceful and cheerful throughout the rest of the song. It has a beautiful guitar solo, with the notes sounding flowing and floating. This pop-flavored song is truly timeless. It sounds as if it could have been recorded in any decade. The song ends with another swaying guitar solo, as it fades out.

The next song, "The Loser in the End" begins surprisingly with a loud drum blast. Yet another surprise is when the song acquires a southern rock feel to it. The biggest surprise, however, is when Freddie Mercury gets into the blues rock spirit, and sings a southern rock snarl in the chorus. This song is everything great about Queen, applied to a different genre. This is not a typical Queen song at all, but it is still a pretty good song, although it's probably the weakest song on the album

The next song, "Ogre Battle" is one of Queen's greatest songs. It begins with a low rumble, and it is shocking to the listener when Freddie Mercury's high pitched scream enters the song, and some fierce sort of thumping alters the background. The scream really is quite terrifying, but is the perfect way to begin this incredibly fierce song. The beginning has an awesome riff from Brian May, and incredibly ferocious drumming from Roger Taylor. After a few short screams from Freddie, the song keeps it's heaviness as it becomes a little less intense, musically, and begins a pop-infused singing melody. The chorus sounds a little darker. This song is the perfect way to start the second half of the album, much darker than the first. This really is a breathtaking song.

The next song, "Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke" begins with harpsichord. It is infused with classical guitar and a little mariachi. This song features amazing vocals from Freddie Mercury. "Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke" achieves intensity without the use of heaviness, which is a difficult thing that Queen does marvelously on many songs, including this one.

"Nevermore" begins, blending into the song before it. It is a short song, featuring mostly Freddie Mercury, backing vocals, and the piano. A vocal highlight of the album, the song is moving, and beautiful. It has one of the best melodies on the album. It's a shame to hear it end so soon.

The mood quickly changes with the next song, the evil sounding "The March of the Black Queen." The mood changes from that of background music to an evil leader's reign to a song that is sad and mystical. These two moods interchange throughout the song. At about the 1:10 mark in the song, Freddie has some terrific overdubbed vocal parts. It is aptly titled, as much of it sounds like the march of a wicked leader. At around 2:10 minutes, Brian May begins a great wah-wah solo, which is a rare pedal for Brian to use, yet he does it fantastically. The 2 moods mentioned earlier repeat in the song, until about 5:30 minutes, when it becomes content sounding, and has a peaceful section which sounds similar to the ending of "Bohemian Rhapsody." Right when you think the song is going to end, lively pianos, and in a few seconds, the rest of the instruments and backing vocals enter the song, to make it sound joyful and grandiose. It is possibily Queen's most epic song, and one of their best.

The next song, "Funny How Love Is" seems to be the perfect song to have after the last song. It is a song that has a mood which reminds the listener of a movie set in medieval times, maybe a part of the movie where the hero is returning to his home. The maracas in the background add a nice effect to the song.

The last song on the album, "The Seven Seas of Rhye" starts out with an upbeat piano part, and some majestic guitar work from Brian May. It is a song which defines the lighter side of Queen; upbeat and lively, yet still hard rocking. At about the 1 minute mark, the backing vocals come in, with some of the best backing vocals featured in the album. This song reminds the listener of the ending to the movie mentioned in the last paragraph. This would be played in the part of the movie where the hero has returned home, and there is a big celebration going on for the hero. The mood created in this song is fantastic, and it is without a doubt the perfect way to end a perfect album.

This is Queen's best album. It is a true masterpiece, terrific in it's music and in it's storytelling. Queen II showed further how Queen were masters of creating mood, and it has some of Queen's best songwriting. If you like Queen at all, or hard rock, this album is essential.

Report this review (#57947)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A master stroke

"Queen 2" was the album which started the band's rapid rise to superstardom. They achieved a moderate hit single with the final track "Seven seas of rye", a song which had appeared briefly as an instrumental coda at the end of their first album but here is developed into a full blown track. Over 30 years later, it is easy to underestimate just how different this song was to the other singles of the time. The structure is surprisingly complex for a three minute single, with superb harmonies (apparently inspired by Uriah Heep), and driving guitar.

The LP has a "White side" and a "Black side" (the effect is rather lost on the CD). The White side is primarily Brian May's compositions, the Black side is entirely Freddie Mercury's. The contrast between the two is quite stark, with May's work being in the main guitar based rock themes, while Mercury's are vocally complex with greater emphasis on the harmonies. They also tend to be the more adventurous tracks.

The "White side" has five individual tracks. After the brief guitar overture of "Procession", "Father to son" introduces what was probably the band's first prog influenced track. Although it retains a pretty basic but appealing rock feel, "White Queen" is a soft prog ballad with a supreme melody and some soaring guitar backed crescendos.

Drummer Roger Taylor is allowed to take lead vocals for his own track "Loser in the end". He actually has a fine rock voice which would come to the fore on his solo outings. This track stand out as being heavier than the rest of the album.

It may seem sacrilegious to say so, but the second side of the album bears comparison with the likes of "Supper's ready" (Genesis) and "In held 'twas in I" (Procol Harum). Had the suite been given a single name to encompass the various sections gathered here, it might now be considered the band's greatest and most progressive opus. A great deal of thought and effort has clearly been put into both the sequencing of the tracks, and the way they flow from one to the next. Take for example the segue from "March of the black Queen" to "Funny how love is"; a perfect example of a seamless transition. The side moves from pomposity ("Ogre battle"), through camp "Willow farm" like humour ("The fairy feller's master stroke") and a soft painfully melodic ballad ("Nevermore") to the piece-de-resistance, "The march of the black queen". This forerunner to "Bohemian rhapsody" weaves its way though various moods and themes with complex vocal harmonies and guitar driven rock. "Funny how love is" has a delightful retro style, reminiscent of the Beach Boys.

In all, a wonderful album, way ahead of its time, which packs more into 40 minutes than most bands manage in an entire career.

Report this review (#59747)
Posted Thursday, December 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars this is another "IN YOUR FACE!!!" to all that guys that says queen is just a pop commercial group, this album (like their first album), shows the real potential of the group, with incredible and schizophrenic compositions like "march of the black queen" (my favourite of all times), the fairy feller master stroke, or the loudly "ogre battle". this album got coherence in all their parts, and the musicians were in their best performance. A CLASSIC OF ALL TIMES!!! ESSENTIAL IN ALL PROG MUSIC COLLECTIONS!!!
Report this review (#61638)
Posted Sunday, December 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eclipse
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A bombastic epic album, this one is by far QUEEN's finest hour. If you like music mixed with emotions, anger, happiness, sadness all mixed on a prog cauldron with the sweetest epic taste of wonderful music, this album is the right one for you.

Queen II floats between volcanoes of quasi-metal pieces like "Ogre Battle" and heavenly clouds of heart-filled compositions such as "Nevermore" and "White Queen". The album's variety of moods and ideas is impressive, it has an epic and medieval feel only found on monsters of symphonic rock such as GENESIS and KING CRIMSON. "Father to Son" is a delicate and heavy piece that swings between burning guitar sections to moving vocal lines by Freddie. "White Queen" is possibly the band's most beautiful work, it can bring tears to you eyes and is the best track on Side 1. "Some Day, One Day" is very Simon and Garfunkel like, and it is a very delightful song. "Loser in the End" is another gem and very underrated, it is a conventional rocking song showing the great vocal skills of ROGER TAYLOR, closing side 1 perfectly. But the best is still to arrive. Side 2 consists of a group of songs that could have been joined together to form a prog epic, since they are all organized together as a full piece. "Ogre Battle" is QUEEN's weirdest and most violent number, leading to the very dense "Fairy Tellers" where we can see how versatile FREDDIE is as a vocalist. "Nevermore" is more effective than the overrated "Love of my Life", and "March of the Black Queen" is QUEEN's magnum-opus, also more effective and longer-lasting than "Bohemian Rhapsody". "Funny How Love Is" is a cheerful track that closes the epic, leading to the single "Seven Seas of Rhye", another short song but very dense and incredibly prog-ish like "Fairy Teller's". This side was entirely written by MERCURY, showing what amazing singer and composer he is, his prog talents are far more sublime then i expected. A very talented artist, for sure.

The variety of themes on short song, the creativity displayed here and the epic feel this album has make this QUEEN's best and most prog work. ANATO is great too, but this one is their most powerful piece, over the top, and one of the most important gems on prog, which is sometimes overlooked by prog fans who generally don't dig bands like QUEEN which despite never having made an entire prog career (but did YES and GENESIS?), had a prog era of a charm and quality few bands of its time could equal.

RIP Freddie, we admire you.

Report this review (#63775)
Posted Sunday, January 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the subjective way (and I doubt that there's any other way to apreciate music than the subjective one), this is my favourite album ever. It just blew my head away since the first time I heard some of it. And especially, the black side is so great that makes the white side look weak. But no, there's not a single weak moment in this album; even the rather "down to earth" move from taylor on "the loser in the end" provides four minutes of spectacular bluesy metal rage, that splits perfectly the album in two parts. And I think this album is the "father" of 90s prog-metal acts like rhapsody or nightwish. This one here, ladies and gentlemen, is a masterpiece.
Report this review (#64845)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's such a difficult job to write a review, especially when you're about to critisize your favorite album of all times. The critics hated it hten, back in 1974, the fans loved it and still do. I'm not impressed by this sitation at all; fans, the audience that is, are much more sensitive than critics, and often, more sensitive than songwriters as well.

So, the big question is stated: What kind of music is the one we're listening to, on 'Queen II'. Progevisse in the general sense of the word? Intelligent glam? Or simply art rock with moments of heavy rock? I didn't have the intention to go through this, so I'll leave it just there: 'Queen II' is an album that's full of flawless and amazing music. Nothing more, nothing less.

If I had to peak my two favourite tracks out of the album... I wouldn't be able to do it; sorry! The whole album comes to me as a unique piece of work. I own it on vinyl, and whenever the first side -the 'white side' as it is named by the band- ends, I rush to the stereo and flip the record. It's amazing how the band worked on the musical concept of the album. First come four Brian May songs, full of senitivity and hard rock adds. Before the first side's up, Roger Taylor comes up with a heavy metal anthem, that prepares us for what's about to come. And we should be well prepared indeed. For, the second side can be expressed with words. It's above any criticism.

Listen to it; love it, hate it... whatever! This is my favourite album ever, and, like John Lennon said on 'Across The Universe', '...nothing gonna change my world'.

Report this review (#65353)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A pinch of progressive, a bigger pinch of hard rock, some Bowie's atmosphere, some excellent and effeminate vocals arrangements, more excellent drums and a peculiar guitar sound. What band is this? The answer is a scandalous band named Queen. From the emotional Brian Mays song "Father to Son" to the good "The loser in the End" from drummer Roger Taylor and the more progressive and always the best songs written by charismatic Fred Mercury. This album is a rock n roll classic. My favorite song is "The Fairy Fellers Master Stroke" a small prog masterpiece.
Report this review (#66669)
Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Queen's best album, save ANATO, and almost a prog masterpiece! While their debut showed Queen as a heavy metal band flirting with prog, Queen II graduated them to a full-fledged prog band, at least for one album.

Procession opens up with Brian May's famous guitar orchestrations that sound like keyboards (this is where it all started!) and leads right into Father to Son. This song is dark, emotional, and heavy. I'm surprised to have never heard it on classic rock stations, this is one of Queen's greatest songs and a classic prog / heavy metal song. The coda, which contains a stadium choir singing the chorus, melts away into the intro for White Queen (As It Began). Beautiful lyrics, lush orchestrations, an almost sitar- like drift in the middle, the heart-wrenching guitar solo make this a beautiful prog ballad.

Some Day One Day is the first song Brian sings for. A decent acoustic-based ballad and slightly dark lyrics, but a bit weak after the first three tracks. The Loser in the End is a Roger Taylor song, great Led-Zep style hard rocker, and some killer guitar parts on this one. Like I said, great hard rock, but it sounds out of place on the album.

Side 2, owned by the late great Freddie Mercury, opens with a backtracked gong, which builds up into backwards guitar and drum riffs that reverse themselves fowards. Aggressive medieval heavy metal, one of Queen's heaviest and most violent, climaxing with bloodcurdling screams. A gong blast ends the song where it began and opens up The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke. Funny, harpsicord driven prog slice with great vocal harmonies that prelude those on Black Queen. All crammed into 2:30 minutes. A piano bit segues into the emotional, but brief ballad, Nevermore. Nevermore is surely a sign of Queen ballads to come...

Then, the epic March of the Black Queen. It comprises all of Side 2, shifting from the overblown vocals of TFFMS, heavy rock of Ogre Battle, and theirs a Nevermore like ballad in the middle. All this and about a hundred-fold more is crammed into a six minute song. Its not only a precursor of Bohemian Rhapsody, but an epic all its own. Black Queen segues into the boring pop-rock of Funny How Love Is (this song is why I took a star away) before the album closes with the short prog single Seven Seas of Rhye.

Overall, excellant album.

Who said that Side 2 should have been one piece. Great Idea!

Report this review (#68109)
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Queen was able to make a great music. Unfortunately they turned to the commercial, dark side of music. On this CD you won't find any famous songs of this famous band, but it's their best CD. Sang with passion, played with climat with a progressive feeling.

Real masterpiece 5/5

Report this review (#68536)
Posted Monday, February 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my eye's, one of the best albums I have heard, A Night At the Opera has a few good songs on, but QueenII is full of them, I did not like them at first (well, most of them) but I relistened to them and now I cannot get enough of them. Their first album was more prog, but had prro recording (they later redid it). The strange humor in some of the songs is also a queen trait, such as the door slamming sound in loser in the end. Many people overlook the album because it is Queen, and they where pop, infact one of the biggest bands in history, or that the music is prog. Queen fan's tend to love it though as my friend listened to "the march of the black queen" for the first time and he kept raving on about how good it is.

The blending of music is something that i have not heard before, or again, from procession all the way through the music never ubruptly changes and infact in most cases it starts off where the earlier song finnished.

I wish they had done more prog songs, sadly the last one was The prophet song or so..

Report this review (#70186)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars ¿The best album by Queen? Maybe. Althought i prefer the first one, i can honestly say this is an stupendous sequel. Some people have told me that this record is more cohesive than Queen and i think they're probably right, because if you listen to the whole album at once, you'll notice there isn't a single weak moment in it. There are fantastic tracks on the white side ("Father to Son", "White Queen (As It Began)") but The Black Side stands out as the best with the initial "Ogre Battle", "Nevermore", "The March of The Black Queen", "Funny How Love is" and the true gem "The Fairy Feller's Masters-Stroke", boy, those vocal harmonies kill me every time!

I truly recommend this record to anyone who calls him(her)self a music lover, even if you don't like prog or dislike Queen for any reason, you're gonna love it. It's a true masterpiece along with all 70's material of the band. Go get it!

Report this review (#70385)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I listened to this album for the first time in 1976. I wasn`t very impressed, but years later I realized that this is a very good album, maybe one of Queen`s best.

I prefer the songs which were included in the Side One of the old L.P.: "Procession", "Father to Son", "White Queen (As It Began)", "Some Day One Day" (all previous songs composed by Brian May), and "Loser in the End" (composed by Roger Taylor). In all these songs the band played with a lot of energy, particularly Brian May, whose guitars are great. He made them sound even "weird", "heavy", without using synths! I don`t know how he made them sound like that, but his work in these songs, and in all the album tracks, is very good. "Loser in the End" has funny lyrics, IMO .

The songs which were originally included in the Side Two of the old L.P. (composed by Freddie Mercury), "Ogre Battle", "Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke", "Nevermore", "March of the Black Queen", "Funny How Love Is" and "Seven Seas of Rhye", are also very good, but less interesting, IMO, but with very good vocal arrangements.

Report this review (#79917)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Let's start with the weakest points: "Seven Seas Of Rhye" was the only hit from the album, nice rock tune but nothing of interest for proggers. "Funny How Live Is" uninspiring pop song. "The Loser In The End" is excellent hard rock tune sung by their drummer Roger, but it doesn't fit into the album perfectly.

Still, I think "Queen II" is a masterpiece. Why? Well, even the albums that most people consider masterpieces usually have at least one poor track or some sort of inconsistency: if you take for example excellent "Tarkus", there's "Jeremy Bender". If you take "Thick As A Brick", there's some inconsistency on B-side, and so on.

So, if you discard these three tracks on "Queen II" (they're not bad, they're just not on the same level as the rest of the CD), what is left? Seven great tracks, ranging from one to more than six minutes in length, each of them a little gem, a masterpiece in their own particular way. Yes, all these songs are a) undoubtedly progressive and b) excellent. I'm pointing this out because so many people question the "progressiveness" of the band. Well, this album is undoubtedly progressive. Actually more progressive than, let's say, 80% of JETHRO TULL's material (don't get me wrong, I adore both bands).

I'm not going to delve deep into the analysis of each track now. I must mention just one detail: the intro of "Ogre Battle" is one of the most impressive things ever invented in the history of music.

If you are not a QUEEN fan, get this album. If you are, you have it already.

Report this review (#96111)
Posted Saturday, October 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the Finest Prog Rock albums!

This is the most prog from all of Queen albums ever made. I only knew this album after I heard "Tenement Funster" from "Sheer Heart Attack" album and later I got the legendary album "A Night At The Opera" which made the band name skyrocketed through a well known hit "Bohemian Rhapsody". Having known these two albums it was logical to explore previous release of the band which I found Queen II. Musically it's packed with great arrangements moving from one segment to another with wonderful melody, great choir and excellent harmony. It was kind of breakthrough, I would say, in terms of musical standards because by the time there was no music similar with this Queen II. It was so unique. We knew at that time Gentle Giant was the hero in choir. But, Queen's choir are significantly different than those of Gentle Giant's. Queen's choir lines are mostly composed at relatively high notes while Gentle Giant were more on low to medium notes. Oh man .. not only the choir lines that set this album apart from other offerings at that time in the 70s - but the unique sound of Brian May's guitar style! It's so stunning.

In most great albums, song position in the album really matters but it's not the case with this album. You might start your musical journey from any track or you might set "random" at your CD player and any song presented would be a great one! Imagine that in other prog album the sequence is changed, you might get different emotional experience with the music. Say, with Marillion "Fugazi" you start with "She Chameleon" and then continued with "Jigsaw" - how would you feel? Something is missing, I think.

Oh one thing I need to underline here that the sound quality of this CD really represent the sounds of the 70s and for those of you who like classic rock music should know what I mean with this. You can try with the sound of guitar at the opening track "Procession" or even with other tracks. The sound is so peculiar and so unique that makes me love this album. Brian May rules!

Overall, I highly recommend this album to those of you who really want to explore music which falls under "prog" category. This one is one of the finest prog albums. It's an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. This album has influenced other prog bands like A.C.T. (Sweden). Keep on proggin' ..!

"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes."

Report this review (#100337)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Arguably Queen's most progressive effort. Aside from a few tracks like "Funny How Live Is", this album is very good. Especially "March of the Black Queen" is notable, a great 6 min prog track.

Sadly after this album Queen turned into a more commercial direction, but as good as they were, they would still make one album that's more accesible but still better than this one!

Very highly recommended to anyone and especially if you like prog with great and emotional vocals!

Report this review (#106407)
Posted Sunday, January 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I've been bludgeoned to death by Brian May's axe, and Freddie Mercury sings a requiem at my graveside while Deacon and Taylor hammer home the nails in my coffin.

That's how it's always felt listening to this album. Multitracked guitars ('Procession') herald the beginning of a forty-minute assault on my senses. Three minutes into 'Father To Son' I'm screaming for mercy. May's guitar has never been this savage, before or since. And it only gets worse/better: a screaming guitar slide akin to a Zero heading for an aircraft carrier reminds us we are only half way through the first epic track. This is glorious. This is the heart of progressive rock: choral arrangements of exquisite beauty surrounded by savage guitar, music powered by raw emotion, playfulness and high fantasy. And this is only the White Side: what on earth will the Black Side sound like?

Mercy.

On with the show. 'White Queen' drips with pathos. I'd not think this now, I'm sure *ahem*, but at age fourteen this track always made me cry. 'Stars of loveliness in her hair ... so sad, my eyes, she cannot see.' Sitar-like guitar is backed by an ethereal chorus, but I just know QUEEN can't keep the lid on it for long: they follow with an extraordinarily beautiful passage: 'it is forevermore that I wait ...'

Wisely, the band slow the pace for a song or two. 'Some Day One Day' continues to shimmer with beauty, but does so without the raw power we've already witnessed - and still to come. This is a gem. Lovely sparkly rhythm guitar, reserved vocals and even an understated solo. Such confidence, after only one studio album, to hold themselves in reserve, to create a track that is as much soundscape as song. Deacon's 'The Loser In The End' is a bit of a misstep, probably the result of band politics. 'I'll let you have a song on Side 1 if you let me have all of Side 2, OK?' It's a great rock 'n' roll song, but misplaced here. Even the lyrics take us away from the album's fantasy conceit.

I have no words for the Black Side. Well, I have a few, but they won't do it justice.

'Ogre Battle' is the album's other misstep: the lyrics are appallingly trite. 'Two-way mirror mountain'? 'You can't go east 'cause you gotta go south.' Er, what? But -and it's an enormous but - you won't hear sounds like this anywhere else, ever. The opening builds into an extraordinary harmonised vocal effect that is guaranteed to make your hair stand on end. This is Freddie Mercury, folks, an outrageous performer with a personality only slightly smaller than the United Kingdom, and it is on this twenty munites of music we get to see it in all its pompous, prog-rock glory.

Fabulous but it just gets better. 'The Fairy-Feller's Master Stroke' is an album's worth of power in less than three minutes, a cheeky (sorry, couldn't resist) little number containing more prog than half the bands featured on this site could manufacture in their careers. And on it goes. 'Nevermore' is a glorious ballad, an introduction to 'The March of the Black Queen', the centrepiece of this album, and the blueprint for the later (and inferior) 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Nope, no words. 'Funny How Love Is' gives us some respite, and 'Seven Seas of Rhye' ought to have been the blueprint for groups like RHAPSODY. This is how you do it, boys.

We all know that QUEEN went on to bigger things. But they were not better things. What might QUEEN have become had they retained their progressive sensibilities? This is their best album, the best album of 1974 and one of the best of all time. Well, in my opinion.

The tide of progressive rock washed up to its highest point in 1974, and when it withdrew, left this album. You may not like it, but you must listen to it. Listen, and lament for what could have been, and for what we've lost.

Report this review (#117783)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars My favorite Queen album, though I can certainly understand some of the points raised by ANATO fans for that being their fave. This to me is their most progressive album, and unlike most of their other works, these songs tend to flow nicely into each other rather than being standalone singles. I also really appreciate the different songwriting perspectives taken--primarily May on the first side and Mercury on the second. Even great bands like Queen were able to pull off true collaborations (like Pink Floyd) only rarely. Here are the highlights:

Procession, Father to Son, White Queen. This to me is a mini-epic, and while they are distinct songs, they flow extremely well together and are jam-packed with awesome guitar harmonies, power chords, choir overdubs, and great melodies. May really emphasizes the ROCK in progressive rock, and obviously this band was more than talented enough to pull off his ideas.

Some Day One Day. A dreamy song that really works. The interplay of multiple guitar melodies sounds awesome, and nice vocals from May as well!

Ogre Battle, Fairy Feller's Master Stroke, Nevermore, The March of the Black Queen. This side is where Mercury really cranks up the progginess. Most of it is entertaining and fairly rocking, though some goofy parts are definitely over-the-top for me. Queen are obviously less reserved about their lyrics by now as well: Mercury singing "I'll be your bad boy" makes me laugh every time. The lyrical content of ogres and fairies really doesn't create much imagery for me because the goofiness of some of the songs makes it hard for me to take seriously, though it's always nice to hear music about something other than romantic relationships.

Overall a very solid album--no real down points. If you're only familiar with Queen's later albums, be warned that this will be quite different (though I think in a good way). Much better produced and a bit tighter (both songwriting and playing) than their debut. I prefer May's work, though I'm always entertained with the entire piece.

Report this review (#136631)
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars As one of the last Queen classic era albums that I got into, you could almost say that I saved the best for last. From the heavy metal with style of Ogre Battle to the Beach Boys meet Beatles beauty of Funny How Love Is, we come upon a group of musicians that wrote what they wrote because that's what came out, not worrying how to fit it into a style or movement of the moment. Already fully realized by this, their second album, Queen showed an ability to wow fans like very few others. Whether melding hard rock guitars, thoughtful lyrics & perfect harmonies on songs like Father To Son , or on a Taylor penned rocker Loser in the End, it just didn't seem like this was a group who would be satisfied with doing the same old song and dance. Going from March of the Black Queen to the aforementioned Funny How Love Is might seem like disrupting on other bands records. But here, and on later records, Queen showed themselves to be deserving of the title of artists. Like the Beatles and many other groups, the song mattered. SO what if one was heavy metal , then the next a campy theatrical bit, then a melancholy piano ballad followed by a rocker. That made it all the more interesting than many one track albums (and this is an AC/DC fan talking). And as they say, variety is the spice of life. While many would argue that they are not prog, one must surely admit, that as a musical entity, Queen shared many of the attributes that prog is constituted of - lyrics that go beyond moon june swoon, boy meets girl or old blues; a musical palette covering much of what had come before them in terms of musical styles (classical, jazz, blues, music hall, metal, rock n roll, and eventually R & B & Rap); but most of all, the attitude that boundaries do not exist when it comes to making art. And Queen II is Art.
Report this review (#140893)
Posted Friday, September 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I listened the Queen music ( 80´s) I thought that are very funny songs (CRAZY LITTLE..., RADIO GAGA, etc...), with a very good singer and excellent guitarist. Finally, in 1992 I got a QUEEN II album, and I can say that It´s, the side B, one of the most spectacular composition and music that I ever listened. Of course, the side A is good too, but in second level. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is the album that the entire world know ( BOHEMIAN RAPSODY is the flag ) but I think that QUEEN never could reach again the quality about songs like FAIRY FELLER´S..., THE MARCH OF THE BLACK QUEEN and NEVERMORE.

THE SONGS

PROCESSION 8.5/10 FATHER TO SON 7/10 WHITE QUEEN 8/10 SOME DAY ONE DAY 7/10 LOSER IN THE END 7/10 OGRE BATTLE 9/10 FAIRY FELLER´S... 10/10 NEVERMORE 10/10 THE MARCH OF THE BLACK QUEEN 10/10 FUNNY HOW LOVE IS 7.5/10 SEVEN SEAS OF RHYE 7.5/10 SEE WHAT A FOOL I´VE BEEN 8/10

FIVE STARS !!!

Report this review (#140899)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I would rate this the third best Queen album behind A Night at the Opera and Sheer Heart Attack. It contains some of the formative ideas for each album, but is divided into two distinct parts, which makes it less cohesive.

Side one, the White side, is more glam rock to me. It highlights the capabilities of the band as musicians, and the songwriting abilities of all the band members but John Deacon. These, however, aren't the reason to listen to this magnificent album. Queen is a band noted for their professionalism and versatility, as well as being able to adapt to many genres. So Side 1 isn't all that prog. The only song on here I yearn to listen to again is Father to Son. It feels like a hybrid ballad/proto-metal song, maybe a precursor to The Prophet's Song. Definitely a great track.

Side 2, however, is a creative tour-de-freakin-force if ever there was one. It's like someone took a bizarre, highly intelligent and creative individual and set them loose in a recording studio and said "write what comes into your mind without exception, without constraints." That person would be Freddy Mercury, and if you ever had the impression that he was just some buck-toothed, campy freak who rode to stardom on the backs of great musicians you must listen to these songs.

The entire remainder of the original album was authored by Mercury. It starts with Ogre Battle, which opens with the end of the song playing backwards. Then tears into one of Queen's more violent riffs. Very reminiscent of their first album. It ends with a gong and an amazing high-pitched vocal harmony, which then blends into the whimsical keyboards of The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke, a humorous innuendo on Freddy's part, supposedly based on a painting, which no doubt was all innuendo itself. This song is fantastic and is one of Queen's most overlooked songs. The lyrics are rolling off the tongue, while painting the mythological picture of the song. My favorite line is: "Oberon and Titania are watched by a haridan. Mab is the Queen and there's a good apothecary man....come to say hello." This song segue's into Nevermore, a short piano ballad/love song with whispers of Poe.

Then, one of the greatest songs ever written....The March of the Black Queen. It is epic for Queen, though only 6 minutes long. It goes through many stages, just goes throughh them much more quickly. It is a precursor to the better known Bohemian Rhapsody. I don't know how to describe the song. Listen to it. Then see if you can describe it. Good luck. The song ends with a fast pace and a vocal flourish and segues into Funny How Love Is, a nifty little song, with a simplicity which sets it off from the surrounding bombast. it has a unique sound for Queen, almost a wall of sound effect, and it comes off as a song that could have caught on as an anthem had it been marketed such. The album finishes with Seven Seas of Rhye. This song was actually a single. Hard to believe that something this complex could have been a single. But then again, so was Bohemian Rhapsody.

Song ratings: Procession/father to Son 9/10 White Queen 8.5/10 Loser In the End 5/10 Some Day One Day 7.5/10 Ogre Battle 8/10 Fairy Feller's Master Stroke 10/10 Nevermore 9/10 The March of the Black Queen 11/10 Funny How Love Is 9/10 Seven Seas of Rhye 8.5/10

Report this review (#151908)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I was very found of this album when I purchased it back in 1974. Some great hard rock numbers combined with sublime vocal arrangements sounded quite different with the offering available at that time.

Brian definitely heard "Tommy" from "The Who" while he was writing "Father To Son". A brilliant rock opera song on its own (but "Queen" already produced such a marvel in their first album with "My Fairy King"). A highlight.

Even a song as "White Queen" while being built on a softer edge is so pleasant. Maybe sounding as a Led Zep one. The vocal melody is truly gorgeous. Of course, Freddie is a master in this exercise and is so much related with the sound of this band. He could turn an average song into a good one, just using his amazing capabilities. Being the composer or just a devoted band member just performing his duty like here.

But he wasn't the only one to hold the vocals. The heavy rock "The Loser In The End" was a showcase for Roger Taylor. Just to tell the fans that he was also one of the creative guy of the band.

The second highlight is "Ogre Battle" of course. A fully disjointed hard-rock song. It started the B-side of the vinyl album and as their first three albums, there will be a great side and another one. Side one for "Queen I". Side two for "Queen II". We'll discover together about their third release, will you?

Needless to say that Freddie's compositions are absolutely brilliant in terms of vocal harmonies. Even a short piece like "Nevermore" is so remarkable. Hats off! To be as convincing in just over one minute is just incredible. The mark of the greatest, I guess.

The mini opera "March of the Black Queen" is the absolute highlight of this great album. Very much premonitory of later work to come ("Bohemian Rapshody"). Sublime harmonies, wild guitar, sumptuous vocal arrangements, and a fantastic finale. The best song from this album, and one of my top five from the band. Just listen to the final part : just a "Bohemian Rapshody" rehearsal.

And the closing "Seven Seas of Rhye" which builds up on their closing number from "Queen I", is much more crafted here. Of course, vocals again add such a power that it is completely transformed.

A very good way to close an excellent album. Four stars but don't expect any prog in here. Maybe for their next album?

Report this review (#158538)
Posted Sunday, January 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow. What a great album. Having previously only owned their greates hits collection, I did not know to expect such a powerful series of songs from this band, who I only knew to perform catchy rock anthems, abyssmal pop songs... and Bohemian Rhapsody. But this is something different.

'Procession' opens the album with some kind of royal march, very fitting for a band called Queen. The the album really kicks off with the storming 'Father to Son' a powerful heavy rock song boasting the full range of Freddies vocal ability. Then things are slowed down with the subtle and sad 'White Queen (As it Began)'. This song encompasses many beautiful melodies and a tale of loss and heartache. 'Someday One Day' is a song sung by Brian May in a style that was sure to influence the devolopment of the power ballad. Except this song is not the slightest bit cheesy like the power ballads of the 80s. 'Loser in the End' is sung by Roger Taylor, and proves his shills as a vocalist as well as a drummer. This fits in with Queen's catchy rock anthems, and is criminally underrated as such. 'Ogre Battle', though is where the real MAGIC of this album starts. This is without a doubt heavy metal, but still very accessible. The screams about midway are particularly effective. 'The Fairy-Fellers Master Stroke continues in the fantasy vein and manages to sound very grandiose and whimsical at the same time. This song is an amazing acheivement considering it is so short. But not as short as the next song, 'Nevermore', a very tragically ending love song. This serves as good contrast getting ready for the masterpiece, 'March of the Black Queen'. This is an absolutely amazing song and certainly my favourite by Queen. It changes moods quite a lot from angry to subtle to defiant. It has as many changes as a lot of well loved progressive side long epics, in less than seven minutes. After such a powerful track we have a bit of relief with 'Funny How Love Is', the most po-oriented song on the record, wit hints of an African rythm. Good stuff. The album ends with the classic 'Seven Seas of Rhye', another fantasy based song in which Freddy shows us some of his more interesting lyrics.

What else can I say? This album is amazing. If you don't have it you should be told that this is indeed a progressive rock album, and fits in well on this site as a mixture of the symphonic prog and the heavy prog sub genres. Now go and buy it.

Report this review (#161480)
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Queen slice of artsy hard rock/metal is one of the finest recordings in rock history. From the opening 'Procession through Father To Son and White Queen, right on through to the epic Side Black... there's nothing here not worthy of being called a progressive masterpiece. The Loser In the End is noticably weaker than the rest of the album, but coming in at only 4 minutes and between the excellent Some Day One Day and Ogre Battle (and being a pretty good song in and of itself), it hardly takes away from the materpiece that is every other song on this one. The highlight here is the Mercury- penned The March Of the Black Queen, which has everything you could possible love about prog, and also the hit from the album Seven Seas of Rhye, where Freddie shows us how to do a truely progressive piece in under 3 minutes.

5 stars, no doubt.

Report this review (#165430)
Posted Monday, March 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars The second Queen claims the throne

Queen is one of my favourite bands of all time and it is fair to say that if it wasn't for Queen I would probably not have become aware of progressive rock. Queen converted me from 90's alternative rock to classic 70's rock and I have never looked back since. As a long time fan, I cannot quite decide if Queen II or A Night At The Opera is the best Queen album, but they are both masterpieces for me. Even if I think the debut Queen album is great too, Queen II constituted a major leap forward for the band.

The first side of this album is called the white side and contains songs written by Brian May (and one by Roger Taylor). The second side is called the black side and is written entirely by Freddie Mercury. On the white side we find White Queen (As It Began) and on the black side we find The March Of The Black Queen. Most songs on Mercury's side flow into each other giving it the feel of an epic. The melodies are intricate and the feeling of the music is totally unique, as are the lyrics (except perhaps Freddie's Funny How Love Is and Roger's The Loser In The End).

The four band members are all excellent musicians and Brian, Freddie and Roger all have very distinctive singing voices that compliment each other perfectly. Brian's guitar sound and technique is also instantly recognizable and unique. Together with Steve Howe and Steve Hackett, Brian May is one of my favourite guitar players of all time. John, the bass player is 'the quiet one' as far as his personality goes, but he never misses a beat.

As usual on 70's Queen albums there are no synthesisers. But Brian's unique ability to make his guitars sound like any other instrument makes up for it. There are however, harpsichord and various vocal and instrumental effects, primarily on the black side, in addition to the more traditional instrumental attack of guitar, bass, piano, drums and vocals.

I could say more about this album but all I can say is that it is brilliant and should be in every progressive rock collection.

Report this review (#176995)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Even though I was never a BIG Queen fan, I knew the band quite early thanks to a older friend who introduced me to them via imported records. I was quite impressed by this album, the first I ever heard by them. Father To Son was always a favorite of mine and I remember hearing it over and over again in my small cassette player when I was 15. The group was new, fresh with great ideas, and they had this dark, almost gothic atmosphere around them (long before that label was even conceived). In many ways I thought they were quite progressive, since the music was different from almost everything i knew at the time. And I really could never understand why critics said they imitated Led Zeppelin. To me they were as similar as water and oil.

I still think this is one of their best ever releases, prog wise. It is bold, it is strange, it is beautiful and it is challeging. The multi track, almost operatic, vocals were great and Brian May´s guitar orchestrations are some of the best things that ever happened to rock history. Even if some songs are better than others, Queen II is an interesting album to hear as as a whole, it has some of the strangest and darkest songs they ever released (very different from their latter day works).

If you know Queen only by their videos and hits, this CD might surprise you with the dense atmosphere and the dark moods some of the tracks evoke. In the prog world this is the one album to have. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#185877)
Posted Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Begin the march of the Black Queen.

While it can be debated that Queen ever set out to be a ''progressive'' band in the 70s scene in competition with the Prog giants it can never be denied that they made some pretty damn good progressive material. With Queen II the band created a body of material that is undoubtedly pure, undiluted art rock, even bordering on heavy prog at most times. This would not be the only album that they would create in this fashion, and this would certainly never become Queen's most popular album thanks to a lack of 'hits', but it is very likely the most appealing for the prog heads. With a couple of pseudo-epics, impressive playing throughout and some very memorable tunes this album is one for the ages.

The entire thing has a very grandeur feel to it, as the whole thing comes off as a big medieval tale told by an operatic rock singer and a harmonized guitar. The biggest examples of this are songs like the heavy and fast Ogre Battle with it's culminated shrieks opening the songs and it's backmasking turning into the song's main drum charge and riff. Combine this with the superb Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke with its keyboard led march and you've got yourself a killer pair of heavy tunes. But while those two songs are very likely the heaviest and fastest parts of the album it doesn't mean that the progressive parts stop there.

This album opens with two of Queen's finest prog tracks. The intro, Procession, is a pleasant tune that sets the tone of the album, but it's the next couple which really create interest in the album. Father To Son is a mid-paced piece of wonder with a sentimental riff and wonderful vocal lines, as can be expected from the ever talented Mercury. The guitar solos in this one never get too out of hand as they stay to the feel of the song, White Queen (As It Began) is a beautiful song with May's soft guitar capturing the essence. There's still heavy breaks in this song, which stem from heavy riffs mixed in among the serene feeling that comes from the instrumentation of the rest of the band.

The build-up of the album really is one of the most important parts of its success, as it unfolds like a story, which really helps the overall tone. After the first two songs we get into the mid-paced and almost semi-jovial Some Day One Day which is brought to life by the echoes on May's riffing and soloing. Things build up further in the almost grumbly The Loser In The End, voiced by Roger Taylor in his trademark fashion. After the two heavy-ass rockers mentioned above we get to the short and beautiful Nevermore which is primarily vocals and a piano which acts as an interlude to the climax of the album.

Coming into the end of the album we're treated to what is likely Queen's greatest achievement. No, you Wayne's World rockers, I'm not talking about Bohemian Rhapsody, although that is a pretty splendid track. No, the track I'm talking about here is one of the most criminally overlooked songs in all of rock and progressive rock history. The March Of The Black Queen is easily one of the best and most decisively ''epic'' songs ever written. Everything that Queen is known for in their 70s heyday is represented here; Harmonized vocals and guitars, fantasy lyrics and a drum line that could lead an army to march. The piano is used subtly but effectively, but the rest of the song is just pure heavy. Slower sections tease the audience before throwing them right back into the march. This is the definitive, perfect Queen song, and anyone who fancies themselves a fan of heavy prog will be pleasantly surprised in listening to it.

The album calms down considerably after the majestic force of The Black Queen, but there's still some power in the album. Funny How Love Is is a quick and dirty little interlude with a repeating refrain and The Seven Seas Of Rhye is a well known classic led by a highly melodic piano riff and some very fun lyrics (''I challenged the mighty Dragon and his troubadours.!''), a great conclusion to a great album.

Don't expect any songs that received more than their share of FM airplay when you buy this album. None of the songs are super-catchy-muli-platinum-hits, but what the album lacks in familiarity for buyers it makes up in stellar musicianship and incredible music that even a prog head will have to nod and give kudos to in its complexity. If you've ever doubted what Queen did that could be considered 'progressive' then you haven't heard Queen II. Recommended for fans of hard rock and heavy prog, Queen fans, and just about everyone in general. Very highly recommended.

Report this review (#188913)
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
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

Report this review (#190995)
Posted Saturday, November 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A feast of an album, this shows us how Queen could really put on a hell of an album. While I will note that not all the songs are 100% prog, it will get 5 stars from me until the day I'm buried in my grave. Every song is not a filler, every song has a creative charm and every song on this wonderful album makes your heart race because of it's sheer brilliance.

The first song 'Procession' is a short instrumental that uses a strange effect on Brian May's Red Special guitar, it flows into the next song 'Father to Son' a wonderful song that goes from Hard Rock to Heavy Metal then to soft piano. The lyrics obviously show us about a father and son relationship.

'White Queen' is a beautiful ballad, but this is overshadowed by it's big sister song 'The March of the Black Queen', which is the best song on the album, no question ask. If these two songs were put together a song song, then it would of become a wonderful epic. But still these songs are brilliant on there own.

Queen's first top ten hit single 'Seven Seas of Rhye' has wonderful creative energy and is a fine rocking song. Ogre Battle is another great song, a brilliant song that see's Queen take a rare step into Heavy Metal, and they show us they can do Metal just as good as hard rock.

A must have album to anyone who loves the flamboyant and pompous side of Queen, especially Side B which is snappily called the Black Side (this being on the vinyl editions).

Report this review (#196596)
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Truth
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars Once again, Queen is not entirely prog but that doesn't me they can't have a masterpiece. Queen II is like A Night at the Opera as close to prog you can get without being prog. Procession sounds pretty prog a dismal guitar solo eventually turning into the killer tune Father to Son. Father to Son is a very good song with it's amazing Mercury vocal performance and Brian May guitar. Some Day One Day definately isn't prog but is a soft ballad with soothing vocals by May. White Queen is also a soft ballad this time with Freddie Mercury's vocals. Loser In the End is the farthest away from prog they get but it is still a good song. Ogre Battle is the most prog on the album they get with it's killer guitar riff and Mercury's fairytale lyrics. Fairy-Fellers Master Stroke is a pretty silly song but you can't have a good album without songs like these and Nevermore is a piece with amazing four-part harmonies. March of the Black Queen is my personal favorite the way it changes tempo so fast yet so smoothly. Just when you think it's over it bursts into excitement as it turns into Funny How Love Is which is an almost Beach Boys sounding song. Seven Seas of Rhye is the hit on the album and it's no wonder. It is very prog sounding for Queen and yet it is still very mainstream rock. I haven't met a single person who doesn't like it. Please forgive me if I'm wrong but I do believe this thing is a masterpiece! (Even the bonus track See What a Fool I've Been is pretty good!)
Report this review (#212443)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Because I didn't use the word "well" enough in my last review! I give you Queen part two!

Right from the beginning we get the feeling this is going to be a more special affair overall. Things are more bombastic, they rock skillfully out of the gates, and Freddie is utilizing his singing, which saves the band in many places.

It also helps that the melodies are stronger. Procession is a completely throwaway introduction, but Father To Son has an amazing melody and sound, with the fun vocal harmonizing these guys pull of so excellently. The so called open experimentation on here, doesn't grip me. It all feels like a tacked on gimmick form a band that could have easily explored ideas closer to home, without being boring. They hit harder. And I like that. No one needs soft hard rock. Brian May is still sloppy, but maybe he intends it that way. Still nothing I can bang my head to, or enjoy for the lyrical quality. Yes, they are still some of the worst lyricists to ever come to popular music.

And then you have the soft/hard alterations that seem to litter each and every song they do. It might seem progressive, but it isn't that new of an idea. And they drive it so far into the ground as to make it almost unbearable. If the soft playing wasn't so pedestrian maybe it would interest me more. The next song has a fine acoustic sound. If only those dirty (not in a good way) guitars didn't trample on it. This ends up being a mid tempo soft to hard rocker that is the same as everything else they made. Pompous, yeah. But it isn't brilliant. The Loser in the End is a bit more groovy, and it complements them in a good way. The vocals are actually kind of good. Even if Freddie isn't the main attraction on it. Nor is this song very unique, but it is a good song.

Ogre Battle is so much better than everything else on this disc so far. It rocks so gallantly, and the vocals are so superb. The album's highlight by far. The vocal hooks pop in and the guitars crash, even if Bryan May kind of sucks. The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke is more quirky, but boring hard rock with their specially made style of distorted rock with softer sides. I must say the piano fills are not too bad, however. The lyrics are still awful.

Nevermore softens things up, and the piano screams Broadway. The melodic album peak. It isn't too hard, but it has the best writing and feel out of everything. For only a minute long, I wish they had fleshed it out, more. It is my favorite part of the entire album. The second side is more pomp oriented, and happens to be my favorite side. Although none of this album deeply affects me. It is Queen, after all. But March of the Black Queen has the most to offer over all. The most fully realized musical idea. Funny How Love Is, happens to be the weakest part of the second half. It has nice melodies, but the drums are terrible, and it feels so insincere. Well, at least Mercury is singing about something deep and intelligent, right? Hardly. Still not too bad. The full version of Seven Seas of Rhye ends this album. And it closes on a majestic note. Not that the song is perfect, but it has a good rock. The vocals make me jump, though. And May delivers his best solo (here is a hint it is only sort of good) I sometimes wonder if Queen would have done better if it were a Freddie Mercury solo project.

An improvement over Queen I, it still doesn't culminate in any musical ideas that will blow my mind or make the entire face of music tremble. No, this is a fine collection of hard and pompous rock.

Best Song - March of the Black Queen/Nevermore

Worst Song - Some Day One Day

*** Stars.

Report this review (#213010)
Posted Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars THE MARCH OF THE BLACK QUEEN- always seemed an early version of BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY to me!

I still remember getting this album for Christmas and listening to it through my Koss headphones (half as big as my head, and I'm no slouch) on my Mom's pressed wood 'vintage' (not then of course) living room stereo cabinet. What a trip for a sophmore in High school. What ever happened to thoughs days? Anyway, it isn't IMHO the best Queen album, although it does have it's share of really fine songs and comes in a very close fourth. I'd have to place 'A Night at the Opera', 'Queen I' (my personal favorite) and 'Sheer Heart Attack' as better albums IMHO. I've always felt, as stated in my title to this review that 'The March of the Black Queen' was a precursor to 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' I don't want to sound like blowing my own trumpet is something I do on a regular basis, but as a description of the album in question I feel that it is necessary. While watching the 'Classic Album-Queen-A Night at the Opera' dvd (a really interresting dvd for any Queen fans!) I was delighted to hear Brian May, Queens great guitarist describe 'March of the Black Queen' in the same terms! It sure makes you feel great to have your feelings validated like that! Toot Toot- alright last of the trumpet solo! As I stated earlier, IMHO it's not their best effort, though the tracks 'Father to Son', 'White Queen (As It Began)', 'Ogre Battle', 'The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke', 'The March of the Black Queen' and 'The Seven Seas of Rhye' (w/vocals!) do make it a damn good album! There is (here I go again-I only wish I were that humble) IMHO no group that was able to vocalize harmonically as well as Queen! I've gotta give as much credit there to both Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury! What a pair! For a singer as myself, grewat stuff to sing along with! Well that's about it, once again this is an uneducated opinion from a consumer of quality music (obviously a subjective statement). I hope that this might help somebody out there or at least amuse. Take care.

3.75- rounded up to 4 stars!

Report this review (#215695)
Posted Thursday, May 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album has been exhaustively reviewed by many before me, and I don't really have anything new to say on the subject of its music. Let me just add that, for me, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA will always remain the apex of Queen's career, and I'm not ashamed to admit it, even if that album happens to be a multi-million seller. QUEEN II, on the other hand, is an astonishing curiosity. As others have pointed out, its original B-side sounds proggier than lots of prog.

What's interesting about the album's THEMES, is that Freddy Mercury and his mates serve up the usual post-hippy brew of fairy-tales, half-remembered nursery rhymes, private mythology (can anyone explain "The Seven Seas of Rhye"?) and fake medievalism. But in contrast to mid-seventies Genesis, Jethro Tull and the like, this band combine all of the above with high-octane rock 'n' roll, camp vocals(the background vocals have to be heard to be believed; if anything, they're even more over the top than A NIGHT AT THE OPERA) and unabashed eroticism.

One little thing I'd like to point out (obsessive Queen fans will know this already) is that "The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke" is not about some kind of hallucination. It's the musical version of a magnificent little 19th century painting by a certain Richard Dadd, which is there for everyone to see at Tate Britain, London. (If you google its name, it comes up.) The painting in turn is inspired by the "Queen Mab speech" from William Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET. It's small in size but crammed with detail and not just a little crazy. More or less like Queen's second album!

Report this review (#259297)
Posted Monday, January 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
5 stars For my 100th review I shared my thoughts on my all-time favorite album which is definitely hard to follow up so I'll just share another one of my favorite albums for this 200th review.

And what a great album it is indeed! Queen II is a predecessor to the more famous A Night At The Opera that rocks just as hard but unfortunately, and quite surprisingly, has never received the royal treatment it actually deserves.

The album improves significantly on every theme that was addressed on the shaky debut album by combining exotic and unheard of compositions with great melodies. There isn't a single unnecessary or dull moment on the album which takes us on a wonderful journey through some highly adventurous landscapes with every new track.

My favorite part of the album begins with the medley of Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke/Nevermore which is then followed by the magnificent March Of The Black Queen. The studio performance here is so daring and complicated that the band could never perform the composition during their live shows so eventually when they revisited similar territories with Bohemian Rapsody they had to make the transitions much smoother and further apart, on that track, in order to make it manageable in a live setting.

March Of The Black Queen is truly a unique piece of studio music that has to be experienced quite a few times in order to be fully comprehend how the band managed to fuse each part of the medley together in order to make it work as one complete piece. Be sure to note the particular segment where two different time signatures are played simultaneously (8/8 and 12/8)!

The album ends on a cheerful note with Seven Seas Of Rhye which surprisingly happens to be the most recognized composition from Queen II. This is great because it's a nice tune although this album does feature a lot more than this particular track can possibly give a hint of.

What I'm basically saying is that there are just too many highlights here for me to even consider giving this album anything less than the top rating especially since Queen II is as progressive as Queen would ever get!

***** star songs: Father To Son (6:12) White Queen (As It Began) (4:33) Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke (2:39) Nevermore (1:17) March Of The Black Queen (6:03) Seven Seas Of Rhye (2:48)

**** star songs: Procession (1:12) Some Day One Day (4:21) Loser In The End (4:01) Ogre Battle (4:08) Funny How Love Is (3:14)

Report this review (#262025)
Posted Friday, January 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Queen are the band I would've said were ubiquitous in my slightly younger years. Annoyingly enough, even prior to picking up Queen II, I couldn't deny they deserve that position: catchy writing, distinct songs, a unique sound, a great singer. However, more annoying still is that none of the variety of wonderful offerings on their sophomore album (other than Seven Seas Of Rhye) even made the best of. Aside from being one of the greatest guitar albums of all time and plainly a great album, Queen II synthesizes outright experimentalism and variety with enviable songwriting perfectly.

Even on the songs I'd say are a bit weaker, most of the band's strengths are usually out in full force: the vocal melodies are, with one exception, great; May's guitar work on the album is phenomenal... I might even go so far as to rate it above Electric Ladyland as the rock guitar album; the writing is complex and dense but purposeful and very fast paced; the rhythm section more than adequate. Even without mentioning the incredible vocal leads, harmonies and effects we have one hell of an album to get through. And as a collective strength, I'd say, Queen II is remarkably well-paced... fluent and capable of very quick transitions but never quite verging into the realm of the frantic. That and the strength of the melodies and riffs make it very easy indeed on the ears.

The opening pair, for instance. May uses Procession to stretch out his canvas of guitar textures, alluding subtly to both God Save The Queen and the following Father To Son, by turns a heavy rocker with some bestial guitar soloing, a whimsical a-capella piece and a hymnal call (I mean, listen to that organ-like guitar work and those harmonies near the end). By contrast, the wonderfully sung White Queen is a lush inversion of that, moving rather from its mournful opening to glimpses of heated memory. May's tone, again, heavenly, and the sitar(-like?) solo is yet another example of how effectively he varies his guitar sounds on this album while sticking to the stellar tone that unifies it for most of the songs. While that is perhaps my favourite song on the album (with the warped Fairy Feller as another runner), I can't help but feel Some Day One Day is rather underestimated: a wonderfully unforced display of Mercury's singing, with delicate vibrato tingeing the end of gorgeous vocal lines, a great acoustic melody, and the guitars and choral harmonies so characteristic of this album as a whole. I mean, it's not a showy piece but I really do love it.

The 'Black Side' is much along the same lines and of the same quality, though Mercury's writing is more overtly experimental (I'll try to leave some of the surprises unmentioned), uses piano more and maybe has slightly more emphasis on the lead vocals (though nonetheless a number of insane harmonies). To talk about a few highlights (the whole side is basically highlights), the guitar section in the middle of Ogre Battle must have three or four interlaced layers of May's finest work, Fairy Feller is an entirely bizarre fast-paced piece of maddened folklore characterisation with some of the strangest melodies and hooks I can remember from Queen, Nevermore's an exquisite piano-and-voice ballad. March Of The Black Queen, by contrast to these, is virtually a suite... I'm particularly fond of the vocal interplay on it.

By no stretch of the imagination is Queen II quite a perfect album... some of the transitions do jar a little, the folksy lyrics verge from the mildly intriguing (White Queen) to the plain naff (Ogre Battle) and I've little affection for Taylor's tedious rocker Loser In The End and the rather nauseating set up piece Funny How Love Is. Thankfully, enough for each of those, we have a more than fair share of very winning material. Just take the concluding radio hit Seven Seas Of Rhye: great vocal melody and mad harmonies, fading away just briefly enough for the solo voices to shine, amazing intertwining piano and guitar riffs, bloody amazing soloing from May as well as his incredible range of textures... even if I wouldn't elevate this album to the pedestal some fellow reviewers have, there's a lot to love here. Get this album.

Rating: Four Stars, something like 12/15 Favourite Song: too greedy to pick just one

Report this review (#270553)
Posted Monday, March 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
jampa17
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Art Rock at it's very best.

Queen is one of those bands that easily can get into everybody's tastes. They have the magical formula of doing something interesting, fresh, original and still marketable. Well, with their second album, not so originally called "Queen 2", they proved that even without "hits" an album can work very fine.

Well, this is a very different album from their debut. It's a lot more dark and mellow, for some it seems like they grow up, I just say that is different. Now, you will find all that signature time changes, different moods that flows very well through the songs. You have the chance to hear Freddy Mercury in the top of his game having great lead vocals and sing them with passion and strength. The same about the rest of the guys, who seems to understands perfectly with each other.

The result is an eclectic album, with a darker mood in the end but that offers a lot to dig in. With every listen you will discover different details that only can be found in good songwriting compositions. In this particular album, I prefer their heavy songs, like the wonderful THE LOSER IN THE END, OGRE BATTLE and FAIRY FELLER'S MASTER'S STROKE but all the pieces offers something interesting to any prog fan.

If we set ourselves in the year this album went out to radio stations, it was undeniable that they were at the side of any other prog rock monsters. I find Queen as the best prog band for new fans. If you get the idea of Queen and enjoys all the changes of moods and sounds you can understand better the more complex bands (I don't mean better, just more complex) like King Crimson or Yes.

This is a four star album easily and I can understand if someone consider the album a masterpiece. At the end, as a matter of taste I give them 4.5 stars, is just that there's better material of them. Enjoy music, sense music, this is the perfect place to do it.

Report this review (#279007)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars When the white queen and the black queen collide, the result is Queen's proggiest album

'Queen 2' is a very strong rocking album with shades of light and dark and some of Queen's best material. After the 'Procession' heralds the entry of Queen the heavy riffing 'Father to Son' blazes away. It features the trademark harmonies, Mercury's provocative crooning and Mays scorching guitar solos. The track segues seamlessly to 'White Queen (As It Began)' which is a proggy thing that has many sections beginning with a quiet minimalism, Mercury and acoustic guitar. At the sound of a gong a gentle melodic guitar picking figure carries Mercury's voice along and harmonies swell in at the chorus, lifting the mood. The lyrics are about the sadness of the lonely Queen: 'needing, unheard, pleading, one word, so sad my eyes, she cannot see, how did thee fare, what have thee seen, the mother of the willow green, I call her name, and 'neath her window have I stayed, I loved the footsteps that she made, and when she came, white queen how my heart did ache, and dry my lips no word would make.' An eastern sitar changes the atmosphere, feeling very psychedelic and mystical at this stage. A great track found only on this album.

Other highlights of the album include 'Loser in the End' with a backbeat feel and very cool guitar licks. The sound is vintage Queen, nothing like their 80s hit singles and quite surprising.

'Ogre Battle' has a wind effect that swells up with backmasked guitar riffing and is as prog as the band were going to get. The riff is fast and angular, the lyrics are a fable of medieval storytelling in prog style: 'The ogre men are still inside, The two way mirror mountain, You gotta keep down Right out of sight, You can't see in but they can see out, Keep a look out, The ogre men are coming out from the two way mirror mountain, They're running up behind, And they're coming all about, Can't go east 'cause you gotta go south.' I love the way Mercury delivers these lines. And the ending is terrific with battle effects.

The next track, 'Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke' continues from this track that has set the scene, Mercury continues to tell the epic tale and this merges without interruption into the balladic 'Nevermore'. The best and proggiest track on the album is the gate crashing 'March of the Black Queen', one of the longest Queen tracks at 6 minutes, it begins with heartfelt harmonies. A killer chorus heralds the entrance of the Black Queen, with a very catchy melody. The multi layered harmonies and song structure are hyper complex. The piano and guitar trade off intricate time signatures and it builds to a crescendo until Mercury is given space to quietly sing remember to deliver with the speed of light... everything you do there's a will and a why... a little bit of love and joy.' The time sig shifts tempo and a faster pace locks in as the next verse is pounded out. The lead break is overshadowed by lyrics of strong conviction, bombastic and pomp rock at its highest level but Queen did it like no other. Mercury sings triumphantly 'Now it's time to be gone forever'. The track segues instantly into 'Funny How Love Is' which sounds psychedelic.

'Seven Seas of Rhye' is another very famous track, perhaps the most well known from this album. It is a quirky very well structured piece that moves in many directions. Mercury sings the lyrics with a self importance that is quintessential Queen: 'fear me you lords and lady preachers, I descend upon your earth from the skies, I command your very souls you unbelievers, bring before me what is mine, the seven seas of rhye, can you hear me you peers and privvy counsellors, I stand before you naked to the eyes, I will destroy any man who dares abuse my trust, I swear that you'll be mine the seven seas of rhye.' The lead break in this track is simply astonishing. The lyrics are perhaps a precursor to 'Flash' that the band would become involved with in the 80s; 'storm the master-marathon I'll fly through, by flash and thunder-fire I'll survive, then I'll defy the laws of nature and come out alive.' You have to hand it to Queen to finish their album on such a bombastic note but it is a great way to finish.

So there you have it, not as good as 'Sheer Heart Attack' but 1974 was a strong prog year and this is a strong Queen album, defiantly putting their 80s material to shame. When they were prog they were hot. 4 shining musicians, 4 glittering stars.

Report this review (#279212)
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
progpositivity
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Queen II is the progressive high point of the band's recorded history. For their first 6 albums, Queen proudly proclaimed that they used no synthesizers during the creation and recording of their music. That made Brian May an incredibly busy guitarist, overdubbing and utilizing any number of different guitar and studio 'effects'.

The result is at times such a "wall of sound" that somewhere along the way during the creation of this album, he stopped simply "playing the guitar" and expanded his focus to where he was "playing the studio". Or perhaps it would be more correct for me to say he collaborated with producer Roy Thomas Baker to effectively "utilize the recording studio as a musical instrument".

The same can be said for the multi-layered vocals of Freddy Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor. (Many casual fans are surprised to discover that the highest vocal harmony vocals are typically performed by Roger Taylor ? not by Freddy Mercury. For an example, listen to the ending vocal of "Ogre Battle").

In any event, the band took their "no synthesizers" oath very seriously it seems. On the song "Nevermore", someone reportedly plucked the piano strings while Mercury played the piano keys to create a unique keyboard timbre without the aid of a synthesizer. The entire "Black side" and much of the "White Side" of the album is intricately constructed and exquisitely produced by any standard, especially for 1974 technology.

All the tracks on Side "White" were written by Brian may (except for the powerful rocker "Loser in the End" which was penned and sung by drummer Roger Taylor). All tracks on Side "Black" were written by Freddy Mercury.

For a classic rock band, this album is surprisingly "progressive". If you enjoy artistic hard rock with a dramatic flair, consider this album essential. As a 70's rock album, this is a "5". As a Prog Rock item, I rate it a very rock-solid 3.

Report this review (#282177)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars Queen was the first band that REALLY made myself get interested in music. As soon as I started to listen to their songs I wanted to be Brian May so bad.

One particular day I went to the Big Rock Gallery in São Paulo, Brazil with my cousin and started to look for their oldest album available. It was a tough task, all the stores had only their greatest hits, but eventually I found out Queen II (1974), I had to pay a higher price for it, but, it was worth it! II (1974) turned out to be one of my favorite albums of the band. It was so bold, especially compared with their first album. It was also more Proggy, full of concepts, stories and GREAT musicianship. The band was aiming high by that time and all of them were in their primes. Indeed II (1974) was the only 'Prog' album Queen ever recorded (though they have influences in every single album). Towards the end of the same year they released Sheer Heart Attack (1974) that was going away from the Prog scene. And that's one more thing that makes this album so great and unique!

Report this review (#288230)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars No doubt, (for me), the masterwork of Queen's recording career. While I enjoyed their debut, QUEEN II, has no weak spots and flows seamlessly from one song to the next. It contains some of the most powerful songs in Queen's canon. "March of the Black Queen" and "Ogre Battle" are perfect. The latter tune is my all-time favorite Queen song with ripping guitar, great screaming, wondeful fantasy lyrics, and it segues nicely into "The Fairy Feller"s Master- Stroke". The difference between the "light" side of Queen and the "dark" side is finely demonstrated here. This album is my first recomendation to anyone wanting to hear what Queen was before their "euro disco-pop" leaning that came in later years. 5 stars!
Report this review (#306119)
Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is one of the hardest albums I've tried to describe. QUEEN II has an obvious tilt in the progressive rock direction but without completely immersing itself in the genre. It's sort of the halfway point between regular rock and progressive rock. I actually am slightly disappointed by this work only because I expected a masterpiece out of it; the writing of May and Mercury is real class.

I find Freddie Mercury to be the better songwriter here as he dominates the second half of the album and his things have a subversive fantasy element to them. Progsters will no doubt enjoy the mini-suite ''March of the Black Queen'' and the many avenues it takes throughout its journey with the Taylor sung section being the highlight. Yet, I find the two follow-up tracks to be even better with ''Seven Seas of Rhye'' to be a fitting, upbeat closer. Also of note is the epic- in-nature ''Ogre Battle'' and the harpischord-driven ''Fairy Feller's Master Stroke'' (includes some of Freddie's best vocals).

The front half isn't as strong save for the overall highlight ''Father to Son'', the heaviest QUEEN II will get. ''White Queen'' also has some prog kudos in development, but the two tracks (excusing the ''Procession'' thing) not sung by Freddie are rather anonymous, and they pale in comparison to tracks like ''I'm in Love With My Car'' that are to come.

Recommended for the prog fans as there is an overt progressiveness looming here. But there's some mysteriously missing here that doesn't make me fawn over the album like I should. Besides, I think A NIGHT AT THE OPERA spoiled me.

Report this review (#307892)
Posted Monday, November 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Queen's second album is easily their best, and most progressive.

The original LP was divided into "Side White" and "Side Black", presumably for the two Queens described in the music. For the most part, "Side Black" is the darker, and better side. But both sides are filled with great music.

After a brief intro, Father To Son begins the album in earnest. The song always reminds me a bit (in a good way) of The Who. White Queen (As It Began) showed that Queen could be delicate and beautiful without being saccharine, something they forgot in later years.

Ogre Battle, an early prog metal piece, in one of Queen's hardest rocking songs ever. Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke is a fantastic song that does an incredible job describing an even more fantastic painting (look it up).

There are a couple of misses. Some Day One Day and Funny How Love Is just aren't as good as the rest of the material. But they don't keep this from being a great album.

Report this review (#378213)
Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fantastic album.

This album has always been my favorite Queen record, although all their 70's stuff is incredible (with the exception of NOTW maybe, which is a good album anyway).

The album opens with "Procession". The first seconds of this song are very similar to "Speak To Me", from DSOTM. It's a short instrumental that works more as an intro to "Father To Son" or the whole album than a song it self, but it creates a nice and charming atmosphere. (8/10)

The second song is "Father To Son", an epic song which has some heavy metal elements. The song starts as a ballad, but the middle part is one of Queen's heaviest moments, in which Brian May shows all his guitar skills with an awesome guitar solo and some really great riffs before the songs returns to it's original form.(8.5/10)

The song that follows, is probably Brian May's best song: "White Queen (As it Began)", it's an acoustic ballad, which has everything you could expect in a song. A beautiful melody, great lyrics, incredible arrangements and a memorable guitar solo which creates an awesome dark atmosphere. (10/10)

"Some Day One Day" is a nice song, not as great as the previous one, but the melody is quite charming as well, specially in the chorus. (8/10).

"The Loser In The End" closes Side A, it's a Roger Taylor's song, probably the weakest song in this side, but it's not "bad". Probably the best parts of the song are the short guitar solo and the bridge coming right after it. (7/10).

Side B opens with one of the first speed metal songs ever written, the powerful "Ogre Battle". It is simply outstanding, as most of Mercury's song from the 70's. It starts with an awesome riff, then Freddie stars to sing about a battle between ogres and who knows what else, but the melody here and the guitar riffs are simply fantastic, not to mention the choirs from Roger Taylor. (10/10)

The song connects directly to "The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke". It's a song inspired in a painting that Freddie admired. The song is perfect from beginning to end. Lyrics, arrengements, melody, etc....(10/10)

The medley continues with "Nevermore", a short ballad, but it's probably on of the best ballads ever, and one may be wondering why didn't they make it longer. Simply fantastic. (10/10).

If you thought this couldn't get any better, then you were wrong. After these 3 masterpieces, comes one that is even better than those 3 put together. "The March Of The Black Queen" is simply outstanding. This is Queen's best song ever along with "Bohemian Rhapsody", and I have to say it may be even better. Those 6 minutes have everything. EVERYTHING. Each section of the song is simply astonishing. (11/10, yeah, I couldn't just gave this a 10)

"Funny How Love Is", is probably the weakest song in the album, but fortunately it's just 2 minutes and some seconds long, anyway it's not that bad, but when you were listening to Ogre Battle or The March just some seconds before it may be a bit boring. (6.5/10)

"Seven Seas Of Rhye" is the most famous song on the album, actually is the song that made the band famous. It's a great song, although not as great as the other ones in Mercury's Side B (Side Black actually). (8.5/10)

If you never listened this album, you shoul do so, it's simply fantastic, specially the Black Side, which contains some of prog's finest moments like "Fairy Feller" and "TMOTBQ".

Report this review (#418210)
Posted Saturday, March 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
thehallway
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars UPDATE: It grows on you! The reverb-happy production is only a problem on the White side, and Freddie's songs are just too good to not give this 5 stars. Although I said this is not a concept album, you can find running themes if you look a little deeper.....

Queen II is Not really a concept album... not really a prog album.... not really an album! It's more like two.

Queen II is brilliant despite these negatives. The record is wisely cut in half, and although neither half particularly sound like they represent black and white, good and evil, etc, they are both still rather different from each other. It is no surprise to find out that Brian May wrote "Side White" while Freddie Mercury wrote "Side Black".

Beginning with 'Procession', a miltary-style prelude of sorts that introduces May's songs and the whole album, things get off to a nice, alternative start. It isn't a song but a builder of tension, and it leads progressively [sic] into 'Father to Son', the best song on the white side. This beast starts off like an average heavy rock piece, drenched in echo and those high-pitched harmonies so unique to Queen, but changes its style with various interludes, one of which has a guitar solo that can only be described as metal. It recapitulates the verse and then ends with an anthem-esque fade-out. The song about the White Queen is full of stops and starts and is rather melancholy compared to the Black Queen one (which is surely meant to be the darker song). 'Some Day One Day' is acoustic filler but not unpleasant, and the first half closes with Taylor's punchy rocker 'The Loser in the End', in which he impersonates Robert Plant..... the entire White Side is actually fairly Zeppelin-esque, but with too much reverb.

'Ogre Battle' opens the Black Side (which is paradoxically more light-hearted, fun and happy-sounding) with some shockingly high vocal bursts and some very fast guitar riffs. A cracking number which squeezes a lot into its duration. 'The Fairy Feller's Master- Stroke' is a harpsichord-led polka, which squeezes even more in. Very fast, very thick, but very good. Despite the quality here, the piano ballad 'Nevermore' provides a welcome rest from all the chaos, and is shamefully too short in itself. Then comes the centrepiece of this half, 'The March of the Black Queen'; fitting in so much that it could actually form four different songs. A structure that musicologists will find hard to follow incorporates all the styles that we've so far heard on side black, with flowing dexterity and charm. The fantasy element is hard to understand though, so focus on the harmony and not the lyrics. After this, the album closes with a jolly number that sounds like a Christmas song, and then the single 'Seven Seas of Rhye' is tacked on to the end, which you've heard already.

Busy production and variable material prevents this record from being the conceptual beast it was perhaps intended to be. If all of the songs adhered to the style of either the White or Black side, it would be more cohesive. But also, I am puzzled as to why this 2011 remaster didn't do something about the excessive echo on the album, because it only makes it sound dated and stadium-y. Nevertheless, 75% of the songs are really great, and reward repeated listenings from proggers and head-bangers alike.

Report this review (#424412)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Another strong album from Queen, oozing bombast and reverb from every pore. The first five or so songs ("Side White" on the vinyl) consist mostly of songs composed by Brian May (with one Roger Deacon song at the end of the side), with mainly emotional and passionate topics of one sort or another; the second half ("Side Black") consists of six heavy prog tracks written by Freddie Mercury, who indulges his love of fantasy to the hilt - many of the songs revolve around the world of Rhye, a Middle Earth-style fantasy world created by Mercury. One of the more prog- friendly Queen albums, Queen II should win over even sceptical prog fans to Queen's heavy glam rock approach.
Report this review (#508392)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think this is easily one of the best albums to come out of a great bands rather extensive catalog. Queen II is highly progressive both in terms of conceptualization and musicianship. The album loosely builds around a concept/motif of Light and Dark, Good and Evil etc....with the A side predominantly written by Brian May and revolving around the White Queen thematically and the B side exclusively written by Freddie Mercury and focusing on the Black Queen and its darker imagery. This album is interesting in that it is the initial realization of what would come to be regarded as the archetypical Queen "sound"...extensive use of May's guitar to craft symphonic like elements, bombastic dynamic shifts in song structure, and of course the magnificent vocal over dubs characteristic of so much of the band's later work. The a side opens with an instrumental composition of May's. "Procession" is a rather regal selection of ascending guitar overdubs that certainly sets the tone of the album. It is apparent to the listener from the get-go that the aim of this work is sheer grandeur. The bombastic drumming of Roger Taylor explodes onto the scene and the album properly begins. The first few tracks are well crafted rock songs rather straight forward in conception, but nevertheless indicative of the creative genius of the band as a working unit. They are polished and tight, young musicians just coming into their own as masters of their craft, and displaying the burgeoning audacity to stretch the limitations of contemporary rock. "Father to Son" contains no doubt some of the finest solo's from May's extensive repertoire. Get a mop cause your face might just be melting. The sheer dynamism of this album is extensive as in your face rockers sway softly into the dulcet swoons of Mercury's angelic tones. "White Queen" is a personal favorite of mine. Interesting acoustic guitar tones and some melancholic lyrics are the course of the day, and a beautiful sitar like solo from May lend a truly otherworldy feel to this track. "Ogre Battle" is one of the great under appreciated gems from this album featuring a great lyrical story and some of the best pre heavy metal riffing and in your face drumming of its time. This track hauls you in by the scruff of the neck from the first opening strains of Mays guitar and we are treated to Mercury's early growth into a truly domineering stage presence. He simply owns the stage of your mind and refuses to be ignored. Of course no discussion on Queen II is complete without ample focus on the B Side or the Black Queen as it is sometimes known. "Fairy Fellers Master Stroke" is without a doubt one of the great musical masterpieces of the 1970s. Focusing lyrically on a painting of the same name by Richard Dadd, this tracks creates a surrealistic fantasy and regales the listener with its imagery. Interesting use of a harpsichord (perhaps the first such use by a rock band?) opens the tune in almost manic fashion and John Deacons throbbing bassline drives this track right along at break neck pace. As the last strains of the Master Stroke fade away the album segues immediately into one of the most heart rending ballads ever composed for contemporary audiences. Freddie Mercury was truly a lyricist of a singular nature and his understated piano accompaniment serves this song well. The true beauty of "Nevermore" is the ageless quality of this song. This song is timeless and could have been written 3, 30, or 300 years ago. There will never be a moment when the yearning and love of this song will not be relevant. Again as the song draws to its conclusion the following track begins. "March of the Black Queen" is perhaps the penultimate track on this album and showcases the lofty ambitions of a band just beginning to realize their musical tastes. The song is climactic in its thematic conceptualization. There is a sense of menace inherent to this music both lyrically and musically. A take no prisoners attitude permeates Mercurys delivery and much of the dynamic sexuality Queen would become so well known for is apparent. As the song progresses May proceeds to literally blister the listener with one of the truly virtuosic performances contained within the entier album. The album closes with what would come to be one of Freddie Mercurys signature piano pieces the Seven Seas of Rhye an idea carried over from their debut album and more fully realized on this effort. Overall I would operate under the assumption that Queen II is of course not for everyone. Many take umbrage to the overblown studio production, extensive use of overdubs, and general bombastry of the album etc...However if you are a fan of melodious singing, powerful and imaginative imagery, virtuosic guitar work, and strong well crafted songs, than this may well be the album for you. Queen II is a powerful introduction to the band for those unfamiliar with Mercury and company's work. It features some of the very best elements of what the band would build into such well known compositions in their later work. A tour de force it certainly stands the test of time as one of the truly fine records to come from this era.

Report this review (#516719)
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Childhood Favourite

Wow - this, the best Queen album, getting a 7.0 from me, once self-described as one of their biggest fans. I guess people really do change.

People always say that, though, and I've never really noticed it. It's a bit odd, how my love for Queen, my favourite band when I was 11 vanished within a couple of years, yet somehow my love for My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy remained, despite everyone telling me which one was 'better'. But to be honest, not much as actually changed, I just started to realise that limewire, with its idiotic single-song function, happened to pick me the single songs from this band that are the most tolerable.

Everyone has a Queen phase though, I'm certain of it. Everyone has a "[%*!#], Bohemian Rhapsody rules" phase, and then a "[%*!#], The March of the Black Queen rules" phase, before realising how much every single other aspect of Queen's music grates so hard. This was always my favourite, their second album. It had to be, it had both The March of the Black Queen and Ogre Battle on it. And Seven Seas of Rhye too! I don't even care about the rest of the album, this must be the best.

On my obligatory final listen to this record today, I honestly began to question how such a great talent could produce such excellent tracks within a record, then fill the rest of the album to the brim with such absolute trite. There's no denying that "The March of the Black Queen" is one of the greatest songs ever made by humans, but to then follow it with such a pathetic track as "Funny How Love Is" really makes no sense to me. And the worst part is that the final note from "The March of the Black Queen" floats into "Funny How Love Is", so you're stuck with an internal battle of wanting to resolve that epic unfinished cadence, or being reminded of how embarrassing Queen can be. And it's not even the worst track here ? "The Loser in the End" takes that crown with stellar flair, terribly joining Freddie's tough-guy hard rock vocals with a bad hook, bad soloing, and the usual things I hate about Queen (bad guitar tones, terrible lyrics and cheesy choir vocals). On my version of this album, there's even a twelfth track, the embarrassing "See What A Fool I've Been". I'm really quite glad that one isn't on the actual album, because I had a bit of a rant prepared for that one.

And I hate to say it, but time has even faded my love for the great tracks on this album. Both "The March of the Black Queen" and "Ogre Battle" were once in my top 10 songs of all time, but now I can barely justify giving one of them 10/10. Ogre Battle always wowed me with that enormous riff, which I guess was a precursor to my love of metal later on, but this is still one of my favourite riffs ever. And I really love how the song opens with an inverse version of the riff, subtly hinting at the melody, before it flips over and locks into place, and it truly feels like an excellent way of building up the energy in the track, not just a poorly justified use of studio trickery. But like most Queen songs from my new perspective of music knowledge, nothing can truly get me past the cheese factor here. From the rather terrible lyrics about something in Freddy's demented mind, to the embarrassing harmonised choir vocals, to the guitar tone, it's really not the music here that I have a problem with ? it's the fact that it's Queen and Queen are Queening all over it.

Of course, then there's "The March of the Black Queen", the Bohemian Rhapsody for people who want to be contrarian and claim Bohemian Rhapsody isn't Queen's best song. But honestly, it isn't. The March may be missing an opera breakdown, but it has an even bigger final riff, an insanely good verse melody, the best use ever of Queen's obsession with stereo vocals, a rather beautiful solemn vocal part, and a piano finale with one of the catchiest melodies in Queen's oeuvre, and (of course) terrible lyrics. One thing I'll always love about this song (and Bohemian Rhapsody as well, I guess), is just how condensed everything is - that all of that [&*!#] happened in just six minutes and thirty-four seconds. When I was a kid, that didn't seem so special ? six minutes was a marathon length. But now, it seems like the length of a pop song, and yet Queen can shove as many melodies and riffs as there are in a standard Yes epic into the size of Yes' shortest song.

I used to always say that the second minute of this track, when the riff really comes in, is the best minute of music in the entire history of the universe, and I gotta admit, it still wows me to this day. I always remember days of trying to sing all four vocal parts at once, until the point when I really just sounded like a muddle of harmony and quick riffing. The lyrics really make it hard to enjoy, Freddie's fantasyland is a bit drug-heavy and joking to sing about seriously, but the intricacy of the melodies interwoven during this section is unparalleled in Queen's discography, and probably in music as a whole. But my absolute favourite part of the song is after the bombastic rise, as it comes up from the solemn piano/vocal interlude, and Freddie's piano and Brian's guitar are playing in unison it a brilliant manner, and the lead riff comes flying back in on the guitar.

Of the songs that I didn't know before, "Father to Son" is probably the only Queen song ever that has stood out, in their entire discography. It's nothing special, but it has a great melody, and it's one of those songs in which Queen's bombast and theatricality actually works, the choir vocals are epic and fitting, and honestly, if it was recorded on modern equipment with a less terrible guitar tone, it could be fantastic. That goes for most of this album actually, even the songs that I love. I feel my hatred for Queen's choir vocals stems partially from the fact that I'm so [%*!#]ing sick of hearing the five or six really famous Queen songs that I want to punch them, but also because they're just so weakly recorded, and feel so weak. "Nevermore" is another great track here, and could be one of my favourites if it were a bit developed. Queen II is a decent record, but I feel with this review out of the way, I'll never touch it again. This is the closest we'll ever get to that Queen album that isn't 50% great, 50% [&*!#], because this one runs nearer to 70/30, but it's certainly no masterpiece.

7.2

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

Report this review (#573860)
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

No doubt, Queen climbed a small step towards fame with his amazing second album. Unfortunately almost 40 years have passed and Queen II still remains one of the strangest albums of the band, which is a shame, because after so many listeners it is already in my heart and it is not hard to see why he is considered the best of their albums (although I think he's on a par with A Night on the Opera).

This is actually the band's most progressive album. The best thing about Queen II (and probably his lead over A Night In The Opera) is that there is a constant flow between the songs, so that each occupies its rightful place - perhaps that's what make it so attractive. Each side of the album represents a color: "white side" consists of songs of May (and one ofTaylor) while the "dark side" is composed entirely of Mercury.

The "white side" opens with the instrumental Procession, which begins with a heartbeat (Dark Side of the Moon?) And then the May's multiple guitars come in. The music flows perfectly for Father to Son, a hard-rock full of energy which is really a highlight. So surprising, however, is the emotional ballad White Queen (As It Began). Someday One Day is a semi-acoustic ballad sung by May and The Loser In The End is the "stranger" here (the only contribution of Taylor, who also provides lead vocals). In fact the songs here are all good and brilliant, but certainly pale in comparison to the magnificence of ...

... the "dark side". Here the creative genius of Mercury is released and he explodes the ears of any fan creating six songs as the Queen hasn't ever seen! It begins mysteriously with the introduction of Ogre Battle (actually is the reverse end of the song are played) that culminates in the most scary scream of all time! Actually this song is unlike anything I'd expect the Queen, because it is absurdly heavy, angry and crazy! My God, it is possible that these guys also wrote songs such as Under Pressure and I Want To Break Free? Things continue to surprise with Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, a short piece driven by a strange harpsichord. Despite being only two minutes long this is a very complex music, which flows seamlessly into the beautiful Nevermore, a short 1 minute song which shows that Mercury came with beautiful vocals and paino.

Then comes the epic of album, The March of the Black Queen, a monster packed in 6 minutes and certainly one of the most amazing band's songs. You have no doubt that the Queen has to do with progressive rock? Listen to this song. For in those six minutes Mercury, May, Taylor and Deacon will get you out of this world with some of the most intricate and complex melodies that they never do it again, unfortunately ... if the Queen would remain in that direction "prog-rock" would be very grateful, but I like them at all times. But... the vocal harmonies are not of this world! It connects directly to the great Funny How Love Is, a stunning follow-up song (remember the flow between the songs that I mentioned earlier in this review) with some of the most powerful and intricate vocal harmonies of the band's history! (which song on this album does not possess this great vocals, except Procession?). Finally there is the single from the album (and perhaps the only song actually recognized), Seven Seas of Rhye. Although it does not attract me like the other songs on this album is still brilliant, offering multiple times over its just under three minutes (and its end still makes a sort of connection with the next album, Sheer Heart Attack).

5 stars, of course! A genial and (unfortunately) unknown masterpiece of rock!

Report this review (#603103)
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As the title suggests, "Queen II" is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK rock act Queen. The album was released through Parlophone/Elektra in March 1974.

The music on the album sits somewhere between theatrical rock, progressive rock and hard rock. A really eclectic mix of music styles and ideas. The musicianship is outstanding throughout the album. Convincing and adventurous instrumental delivery by all involved and "out of this world" vocals by lead vocalist Freddie Mercury. His lead vocals are flat out fantastic, but it's the multi layered harmony vocals that really put the icing on the cake. The only other group I can think of who did something just nearly as flamboyant and challenging around the same time is 10cc (I guess I should mention Gentle Giant too). When you add to that a powerful organic sound production and very well written compositions such as "Father to Son", "White Queen (As it Began)", "Ogre Battle", "The March of the Black Queen" and "Seven Seas of Rhye" it all come together nicely and form a rare and unique musical experience. The Roger Taylor led "The Loser in the End" is a real hard rocker and somewhat different from the other material on the album, but it's a real treat to my ears.

While I enjoyed the debut album by Queen, that album completely pales in comparison with "Queen II". "Queen II" has a great flow and a vision, a musical red thread so to speak. If you like your rock delivered with a theatrical paatos and a progressive edge "Queen II" is a great release and I think a 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is fully deserved.

Report this review (#747830)
Posted Thursday, May 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Queen II is often seen as Queen's greatest progressive rock concept album. It certainly has all the elements that made them fabulous. This is full of multi-layered voices and rich guitar tones that characterised Queen as a group. There are a few reasons why I feel this album is superior to the band's debut. For one it has the creative fantastical themes and also a richer mixture of moods that set it into its own personality and to let every idea flow free. Another would be Freddy's vocals. By this effort he was sounding more expressive and more emotional. Excellent album.
Report this review (#805372)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The best of Queen to a progger.

Still reviewing some of my old favorites. This was my first exposure to Queen and from first spin I could tell that something was different with this band's sound. I believe it was the different filtering that Brian used on his guitar to create that almost majestic English sound

This was a concept album of sorts as it had a "White" side and a "Black" side in the original vinyl. And indeed it had a more pure or good theme to the White side, while the Black side got a little naughty.

Father to Son and White Queen are the gems of the White side with a Zeppelin like sound at times in both, but shows the delicate to heavy tempo changes with Mercury's voice soaring above. Some Day One Day is a nice hopeful, cheery song with hooks in it. The last song, Loser in the End, of the White side gets a little heavy with some thunderous drumming and riffs, it is a nice change of pace with Taylor's vocals.

The Black side blasts into your brain with the Ogre Battle, heavy with a "Tolkien-esk" like battle. Next is the naughty Fairy Fellers Master Stroke, which goes all over the place musically with a limericking approach to lyrics. Nevermore is pretty much a Mercury and piano tune that is well written. Now comes March of the Black Queen which does have a marching feel to it and is the antithesis of the White Queen. Next another Mercury song, Funny How Love Is, which has more of the band's involvement than Nevermore. And finally the Seven Seas of Rhye, which is now a vocal expansion of this song from their first album, but is a rocker.

This is my favorite album of Queen and does fit into the prog genre and is strong throughout. A little better than a four star, but I will keep it at a 4.

AEProgman

Report this review (#813749)
Posted Saturday, September 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars An often overlooked Queen album (aren't most of them?). A loose concept album where the first side of the album is meant to have brighter lyrical imagery with all songs written by guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, while the second side contains darker songs all written by lead vocalist Freddie Mercury. As usual the vocals on almost every track on the album are handled by Mercury with the symphonic overdubbed backing vocals of May and Taylor.

The lyrics are also full of fantasy and medieval themes to help give the album even more cohesiveness, with the exception of The Loser in the End (a Roger Taylor song that while good, shouldn't have been on this album). Most songs also lead into the next on the album or fade out appropriately, so the whole listening experience flows excellently.

Particular highlights include the soft near-acoustic Some Day One Day, sung by Brian May and one of his best songs, Ogre Battle, possibly the heaviest song Queen ever recorded and one of the band's definite best songs that you won't ever see on a hits compilation. Same goes for The March of the Black Queen, a 6-minute epic with constant shifting dynamics that predict Bohemian Rhapsody. And Seven Seas of Rhye, one of Queen's better-known songs, and for good reason.

Many of Queen's albums don't work too well as an album and just feel like a collection of songs (which I still enjoy, don't get me wrong), but Queen II is one of their few albums that avoids that problem. If you are at all interested in this album or are a general fan of Queen or other 70's rock, then I certainly recommend Queen II to you.

Report this review (#906171)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Queen II reflects the side of Queen that is least known to the pop audience, but made the basis for their later sound. You can recognize here everything they would become known for with the classic rock audience: heavy bass, melodic vocals, aggressive drumming, catchy melodies and a great variety of topics, from society questions to mythical scenes to average lovesongs.

This is really a very strong album with solid rock songs and original songwriting. On itself it might qualify for Heavy Prog, with a mix of Rush, early Pink Floyd and early Led Zeppelin, all from approximately the same period, making this a true product of its time.

Procession is no more than intro to the album, leading fluently into Father to Son, the strongest song on the 'White Side' in my opinion, a catchy hard rock song. The next song, White Queen is much more dramatic, in more of a pop format. Next up is Some Day One Day, the last song of the four written by Brian May. This is a more relaxed song, which is very useful for the balance of the album. Especially the spacey acoustic guitars are beautiful here. The Loser In The End is a blues rock song written and sung by Roger Taylor. In my opinion one of the weaker tracks.

After that, we start with the famous ´Black Side´, where Freddie Mercury worked on some brilliant proto-metal. The first song is Ogre Battle, possibly the hardest and most hectic music Queen have ever produced. Extremely loud bass, high pace rhythm and wild screams all around make this the big surprise of the album. But it´s not stopping there, because next up is The Fairy Feller´s Master Stroke, which might be not as heavy, but equally hectic. This song fluently runs into the short and calm Nevermore.

From there the album jumps into the highlight of the Black Side, `The March Of The Black Queen´. This is song is probably the most popular of all Queen songs to progheads. That´s because it´s an explosive piece out of every proportion, with heavy guitars, complicated structures, many surround sound effects, sweet pianos and all this running through each other at high speed. As said in an other review, this song is a real earlier Bohemian Rhapsody, although it is a lot more uncontrolled, making it less accessible for the mainstream audience. That makes this the forgotten masterpiece of Queen.

Then there is ´Funny How Love Is´. I do not like this song. It is repetitive and quite annoying. It doesn´t really fit with the rest of the album. Luckily, there is still another treat waiting at the end. The hit of the album is another brilliant song with vivid piano and catchy melodies. ´The Seven Seas Of Rhye´ is yet another masterpiece.

This is a strong album, probably the strongest by Queen and a real must-have if you liked their mainstream work. Still some poor songs take down the rest, making this just less than a masterpiece. Still excellent.

Report this review (#911246)
Posted Friday, February 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hello, this is my first review! I am a regular visitor of the site and finaly I have made the decision of write something, so, you have to understand that it has to be a very sepcial one, my favorite album from my favorite band: Queen II. For some people the authentic master piece of the Queen camp, it is one of the Queen albums that could be defined as progressive music, it has a lot of prog elements, the way the music is written, the quality of the compsition, Freddie´s voice is incredible and concept of the white and dark side of Queen is unique. Primitive Queen is what you can find here, "White Queen" and "The March of the Black Queen" are of course the main highlights of the album. The 2011 remaster has a beautiful version of White Queen (As It Brgan) (live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1975), for me, this is a very nice example of what Queen would become, Brian May´s solo is just incredible and some how reminds me that true guitar heroes are the ones that play the instrument whit passion and feeling the music (David Gilmour is another excellent example).

Queen II is a real Rock Gem, an album that influenced a lot of the most respected musicians in the rock scene (not necessarily main stream) including Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), Cristopher Jhonson (Therion) among others. (I choose these because I also love their music). So, if you think Queen is just "Radio Ga Ga"," We are The champions" or "we will rock you" you have to listen to this album and you will find what Queen were capable of during the early 70´s!

Report this review (#963080)
Posted Monday, May 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The greatest progressive rock album lots of prog fans never heard, including myself up until a couple of years ago! I always liked Queen but never really got into their albums. My 16 year old son, believe it or not, became a big fan and turned me on to their albums.

Queen's first two albums and even Sheer Heart Attack seem to take a back seat to Queen's other well known albums such as The Game, A Night At The Opera and News of The World. Queen II is that hidden gem, that forgotten progressive rock diamond that gets hidden behind the shadow of Queen's big commercially successful albums and the myriad of early '70's prog offerings. I was shocked at how good this album is. Especially the "Black" side which runs sort of like one long epic song with multi-parts until Seven Seas of Rhye. Not that the "White' side is bad. Quite the contrary. The first side gives a great cross section of the band with its anthem (Father To Son), and gives a glimpse to what's to come (White Queen (As It Began), folky psychedelia, (Some Day One Day), and a real cool rock tune by Roger Taylor (Loser In the End). It all starts off with the regal "Procession" where Brian May shows off his orchestral guitar sounds. Then comes the Black side. With it's heaviness, time changes, and mood shifts you don't even notice the complexity due to the strength of the material. Freddy Mercury at his most extreme. Unlike lots of prog metal bands who want to show you how clever they are regardless of what it sounds like. Here we get the opposite approach. The moods, melodies and lyrics dictate the complexity like all great prog should. "Ogre Battle" through "March Of The Black Queen" takes the listener through quite a workout until it lets you down nice and easy with the triumphant "Funny How Love Is". The great "Seven Seas Of Rhye" ends the album even though it doesn't really fit with the rest of the songs especially where it's located on the track list. Even if you are not a Queen fan but like prog, you might be pleasantly surprised by this one. I sure was. Blown away actually.

Report this review (#1015541)
Posted Saturday, August 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm surprised to see how positively this album is reviewed on PA, whenever I would talk to my friends about our favorite Queen albums and I would bring up this little gem and all of my friends would look at me with confusion and shame in their eyes. I don't think the album is perfect by any means, side A is overshadowed and overpowered by side B for example. This isn't to say that Side A or (White Side) isn't strong, White Queen is absolutely fantastic and Some Day One Day is a pleasant enough if safe song. But Loser in the End feels lower in quality and Father to Son feels far too long for the lack of content included in the song.

Side Black is much stronger however, opening with the light and catchy Ogre Battle, an exciting and well written song that feels very indicative of the bands style to come. Things speed up even more with the fantastic Fairy Tellers before relaxing into the welcomed Nevermore. Then comes the mammoth, Queen's forgotten gem, the grand Poobah of Queen II, March of the Black Queen.

This song got me into Queen and was integral for helping me get into prog. It's a song I still listen to regularly to this day (my 13th most listened to song on my media player). It''s a song that has so many themes and styles within that it's difficult to comprehend it when taken apart. But together it weaves a tapestry of music unlike any song I have ever heard. The strength of this song alone elevated my review from 3 to 4 stars.

Another issue I have with the album, as mentioned by other reviewers is that the fantastic Seven Seas of Rhye (although being wonderful in its own right) feels tacked onto the album, nevertheless however this is Queen's best effort by far and an album worth a listen by any fan of music regardless of genre.

4/5 stars

Report this review (#1172706)
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
Necrotica
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I like to see progressive rock epics and albums as rock's own answer to classical symphonies and suites... complex, multifaceted, and brimming with technical skill. With the help of bands like Kansas, Genesis, Yes, and whoever else gets categorized in so-called "symphonic prog," 70s prog was able to be played on heavy rotation by those who didn't want to listen to the more simplistic forms of rock at the time. However, 70s-era Queen were always of a different breed. Yes, their music was complex. Yes, it was multifaceted. Yes, it contained varying time signatures. But what was so different? What really stood out? The charisma and bombast.

Freddie Mercury and co. were one of the very few acts to marry the complexity of prog with the mainstream success and streamlined nature of pop almost perfectly, something even Supertramp couldn't fully pull off (but they tried their best, that's for sure). "Queen" is such a fitting name for a group who could pull off pomp and eccentricity with such elegance and taste... and of course, there's the eclectic genre-bending involved as well. The band tried ragtime, hard rock, classical, jazz, gospel, metal, you name it. Oh sure, it felt a bit forced and out- of-control on occasion, but you can't really blame a band who are trying to expand the normal confines of hard rock. But here's the craziest thing: the album that only began to develop Queen's signature sound also happened to be one of their very best... perhaps their best, in fact. That, my friends, is Queen II.

Make no mistake, this is a full-fledged progressive rock album. Multitracked vocal harmonies run rampant, time signatures change quite frequently, and the band's signature stylistic shifts are here in full-form. Right from the dark funeral-like guitar overdubs of "Procession," you know you're in for a pretty unusual record from the get go; even more unique is the way the band had set up this epic album. First is Brian May's "white" side of the album which focuses on more beautiful and light tunes, whereas Mercury's "black" side is absolutely warped, outrageously bombastic, and extremely dark. With that said, let's just say that you shouldn't expect a whole lotta camp from this one like in later Queen works. Most of the material here replaces the band's usual humor and lightheartedness with more dramatic lyricism, much of it focusing on fantasy-influenced storytelling. Expect a dark record through and through, basically.

Aside from that, though, the real draw is in how well everyone in the band works in tandem with each other. John Deacon's bass perfectly compliments Freddie's piano playing in the somber "Nevermore," just like how Brian May's heavy guitar riffing and Roger Taylor's hollow and rough drum sound are a great fit in a hard-hitting song like "The Loser in the End." There's a genuine chemistry between the band members, something that seemed so powerful even in this phase of their career. Also, this is the first album in which the group's layered vocal harmonies came into high prominence, and they couldn't feel more welcome with the grandiose arrangements. The slow buildup in "Ogre Battle" leads into an incredibly loud burst of vocal bombast that has to be heard to be believed, and "March of the Black Queen"'s use of counterpoint brings out many highlights of this nature as well. That's not to say there aren't poppier or more tightly packed arrangements on here as well, as "Seven Seas of Rhye" and "Funny How Love Is" can prove, and these are placed right at the end to bring an optimistic end to a beautifully dark journey.

If Queen's debut was their set of musical blueprints, this is the towering skyscraper they were arranged to construct... and indeed it towers over most of its contemporaries, progressive rock or otherwise. It's beautiful, brutal, dark, florid, complex, and everything in between. But above all, it's simply a masterpiece. The combination of instrumental prowess and emotional depth is breathtaking... and to think that this was only the band's second record! It was clear that Queen's future would be bright, but it's cool to know that they had already mastered their craft early on; in any case, get this. I don't care if you enjoy rock, pop, classical, jazz, whatever. Just get this.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Report this review (#1445702)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It's my 500th review! To celebrate all of the amazing music I've discovered by finding this website and its reviewers, I thought I'd celebrate by talking about what I consider my best find in a long time... the theatrical, amazing, energetic, jaw-dropping, memorable, and all together unexpected surprise that is Queen II.

First, a bit of background. I think that Queen came into my awareness from the scene in the film "Wayne's World" (I was about 11 years old then). "Bohemian Rhapsody" has a lot of nostalgia for me, heck, all of Queen's hits do, because they're great! Queen is an mainstay of classic rock FM, and I can sing along to pretty much anything that comes on. Unfortunately, none of the songs on Queen II will ever be played on the radio again. This means that, had I not been curious about its high rating here on PA, I probably never would have decided to check it out, being content to belt out "Somebody to Love" and call it good.

Queen II came out in 1974, a great year for Prog, and while Queen put in enough art and complexity and ambition into this album to make it stand-up next to other "real" Prog bands of the era, this is probably one of the most enjoyable records in my entire collection. It's a blast to listen to.

The opening guitar textures gives way to a dramatic opening filled with pomp, heavy riffing, powerful vocals and great guitar work. "White Queen" is just perfect, using elegant vocals and guitar textures to create a feeling of awakening or unveiling, building to another dramatic high. It's genuinely amazing at how good Queen is at filling their songs with music; "White Queen" is only 4.5 minutes long yet it feels as complete as other prog epics.

The next two tracks or sort of the "normal" songs, and while they disrupt the epic flow of the album, they're definitely not filler. "Some Day One Day" uses warm guitar strumming and melodic bass work to great a pleasant tone, and "The Loser in the End" is feedback filled, fuzzy, quirky, and enjoyable; sort of a forgotten gem.

Then... holy cow, what may be the best 17 minutes I've ever heard.

"Ogre Battle" is a huge, noisy, intense, playful, dramatic, shocking, and memorable art rock spectacle. The band plays at maybe they're most aggressive ever. Incredibly tight and ambitious, this song will grab hold of you, smash you like an ogre, and leave you begging for more.

Oh you want more! "Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke" is playful and bouncy, featuring non-stop melodies and fun rhymes thrown into a storm of vocal overdubs and time signature changes. Mercury's harpsichord and singing will leave you addicted.

So you're addicted, eh? How about you come down to the soulful elegance of "Nevermore," an achingly beautiful ballad impeccably performed by Mercury's voice and piano, accompanied by the melodic bass of Deacon. A dramatic and emotional crescendo that makes one just weep for the loss of Mercury's talent and wonder how the album could possibly get any better.

Here's how it gets better: "The March of the Black Queen." This song is so packed with drama, sweeping melody, lush crescendos, and Brian May at his absolute best with numerous solos and positively irresistible riffing. Scratch that... the entire band is at their absolute best. The dynamic transitions are some of the most memorable and beautiful and energetic I've ever heard.

The album closes with the wonderful "Funny How Love Is" and "Seven Seas of Rhye," which while not quite as dramatic are a satisfying conclusion to what has become one of my favorite Prog albums.

If you're never heard Queen II, give yourself what I hope will become a cherished gift and check it out today!

That's it for my 500th review! If you've read this far into my gushing review - thanks, you're one of the reasons that Prog Archives is such a great place to share and discover music.

Songwriting: 5 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 5 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 6!

Report this review (#1488375)
Posted Wednesday, November 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars A very good album from Queen, after surprising a lot of people with its debut album, they returned to show their best for the second album . After hearing the last song of Queen I, i was surprised seeing some prog elements. I always liked, in fact they were my first favorite band, however I only heard the popular songs, not individually the albums. After seeing the movie, my love for them returned, so I gave them a try to the full albums to find new Queen material. I really like this album, I consider it as the best album mainly because its music elaboration and its excellence in composition. Begins with the side A, it brings a very consistent hard rock sound that characterizes the beginning of the band. While the second side showing the best of the prog side of queen, every song is connected perfectly, all of them have a perfect rhythm and are well executed, and their prog elements demonstrate the very high potential of the band. As you can notice I think the side B of the album is the better one. A must-have album for every prog collector.
Report this review (#2056043)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2018 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars While QUEEN has become one of the most respected and loved rock bands of all time, the first two albums don't seem to receive nearly as much admiration as the blockbuster mega-hits of "Night At The Opera" and "Sheer Heart Attack," however despite the debut not being quite as popular in more esoteric circles, QUEEN II definitely hits a high note in both the hard rock and prog crowds for its clever advanced musical developments from QUEEN I. Despite no catchy hit like "Bohemian Rhapsody," QUEEN II is nevertheless a primo album experience that found the band riding the momentum from their first album tour and finding a new musical mojo with producers Roy Baker and Robin Cable adding all the art rock sensibilities to QUEEN's already flamboyant take on hard glam rock of the early 70s.

While often thought of as a concept album of sort, QUEEN II is more of a collection of tracks that flow nicely together with "Side White" mostly composed by guitarist Brian May and "Side Black" constructed by Freddie Mercury with his larger than life fantasy worlds coming to full life and decorated by his signature piano playing style. QUEEN II offered a leap in production techniques which found catchy multi-layered overdubs that would become the band's trademark as well as the more varied and textured vocal harmonies that were progressively strewn together with musical styles that amplify the energetic hard rock performances. This all finds the band performing not only one of their most heavy of albums but also their most majestic with intricate melodies slinking around and stitching together loose themes and heavy beats that is all graced with the famous album cover that band would use for their entire career in videos and advertising purposes.

The album begins with "Procession" which is a short funeral march displaying May's famous multi-guitar track techniques but quickly morphs into "Father To Son" which finds Freddie Mercury upping his game with the more sophisticated piano tinkling that revolves around May's heavy guitar bombast that he magically creates through his famous series of different amps and gear. Drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon are not only on top of their game instrumentally but the whole team is smoking hot with their some of their most intricately designed vocal harmonies that the quartet has ever pulled off. In addition to the standard rock instruments there are tons of acoustic guitar parts, harpsichord, bells, marimba and various percussive instruments. When all is said and done, QUEEN II finds the bombast of early heavy metal trading off with classically inspired piano riffs and Medieval folk sounding segments that are all teased out in a rich tapestry of progressive time signatures and art rock sensibilities.

While "Side White" showcases May's contributions, "Side Black" finds Freddie Mercury letting loose like he never did on QUEEN I. One of his earliest songs that dated to 1971, "Ogre Battle" found Mercury expanding his vocal talents as well with dramatic screams, passionate heart-felt lyrical deliveries and a knack for his flawless high pitched vocals segueing into falsetto and back. While every track is stellar, the album's absolute pinnacle of creativity and peak performance surely belongs to "The March Of The Black Queen," which displays an early similarity to Mercury's most outrageous track "Bohemian Rhapsody" as it shares not only a similar piano run but also the progressive complexities that include dueling polyrhythms in 8/8 and 12/8 time signatures with all the dramatic flair that would make QUEEN one of the most successful bands of the entire 70s.

While QUEEN II may lack the instantly sugary sweet addicting qualities of future albums, for those who have more refined tastes and crave a more subtle mix of savory, acrid and salty with their sucrose, QUEEN II is the absolute pinnacle of the band's career with a sophistication of a progressive rock band without sacrificing the melodic driven developments that flashy virtuosic playing tended to sacrifice during the prog era. Luckily the decades that have passed have allowed future fans to learn to appreciate this second album by the legendary band whose goal was not only to rock your world but to take you on an unexpected journey along the way. While i'm a fan of pretty much all the 70s albums that QUEEN released before they stagnated into a world of mediocrity, QUEEN II remains at the top of my list for most cleverly designed and compositionally perfect albums of their entire canon. This was the album that opened the magic gates to the new kingdom where they would wear the crown for the rest of the decade.

Report this review (#2078177)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2018 | Review Permalink
The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars And the true Queen's legend was born with Queen II!

If their debut album brought an immature but very promising band, Queen II is the confirmation that they were here to stay. Produced again by Roy Thomas Baker with the help of Robin Geoffrey Cable along with the band, here we can here the true Queen sound with the spectacular choirs, heavy guitars and tons of symphonic and operatic elements brought by Mercury himself.

The White Side is a bit more conventional, composed mainly by May with the exception of The Loser in the End by Roger Taylor. And it's also more irregular in quality despite the splendid and very prog Father to Son and the psychedelic White Queen.

But it is in the Black Side composed by Freddie Mercury, which acts more as a long suite, were this album really gets wings offering a true masterpiece of symphonic prog with really original vocal melodies and impressive musicianship. Truly incredible!

Best Tracks: the whole black side!

Conclusion: the White Side of the album is not really remarkable but the black side is maybe one of the finest and most beautiful symphonic rock compositions of the 70's, which deserves to be in every prog collection.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#2120342)
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | Review Permalink
FragileKings
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars My formal introduction to the music of Queen came through the video for "Radio Gaga" back in 1984. As a young headbanger, this song and the accompanying video did nothing to impress. Over the next couple of decades, I became familiar with Queen's classic hits and, yes, there was some pretty cool guitar in a few of those. But Queen were quite clearly not heavy metal and so not my interest. If I had only heard this album back in my youth, I might have jumped on the Queen mobile much earlier. As it is, I only picked this up a few weeks before the movie "Bohemian Rhapsody" hit the theatres in November of 2018. Now, I have 11 of the 14 w/Freddie Mercury Queen albums.

Queen's early albums are actually quite a treat for the fan of early seventies heavy rock. But while the debut captures the 1970 to 1972 sound of Queen, "Queen II" shows the band progressing its heavy rock anthems into Queen's unique style, while also developing their signature sound of almost show tune-like rock with Brian May's melodic singing guitar, Mercury's entertaining piano work, and the layered, chorus vocals that they would put to excellent use in the mid-seventies.

Songs which surprised me for their bombast and head-banging riffs are "Father to Son" and "Ogre Battle", the former really getting heavy in the middle, and the latter featuring a guitar riff that could have easily inspired Judas Priest when they wrote "Victim of Changes" from 1976's "Sad Wings of Destiny". As a fan of really heavy riffs of the early seventies, I love these two ultra-powerful tracks. But neither of these are just straight ahead heavy rockers. "Father to Son" features quieter piano parts played by Brian May, and "Ogre Battle" makes good use of the studio with the music beginning in reverse and then one by one, the instruments flip around to forwards. The ogre battle part has Freddie Mercury hollering out ogre cries while Brian May's guitar simulates the swinging and crashing of battle axes.

Side one also holds the dramatic "White Queen (As It Began)" with both soft, melodic vocals acoustic parts and a dynamic chorus with more of that pretty acoustic guitar contrasted with heavy rock guitar. Brian May sings, "Some Day One Day", a pretty acoustic track with melodic rock guitar, and Roger Taylor closes the album with his hard rock message to mothers of young men, "The Loser In the End". His drumming is interesting and effective without being overly pretentious.

Most of side two follows the course of music style that would make Queen unique. This is quite possibly because Mercury wrote all the songs on side two, while side one was mostly written by May with the one song by Taylor. "The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke" already has that theatrical sound so typical of Queen: fast beats and piano, singing guitar, excellent vocal melodies that sway while the lyrical delivery tap dances, and over-the-top chorus vocals. This song alone sets Queen well apart from their contemporaries. "Nevermore" is a soft and pretty piano number that's barely over a minute long. "The March of the Black Queen" is in a way a precursor to the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" because it goes through various musical styles and changes over its six-minute plus course. The song attempts to be as self-indulgent as Mercury could muster. Unusual time signatures, polyrhythms and polymeters, and so much layering that the tape went transparent. Once again, we have an excellent example of the kind of song-written Queen was capable of putting forward.

Other tracks on side two include the sweet and catchy but thankfully short "Funny How Love Is" and the single "Seven Seas of Rhye", a rousing short piano and hard rock guitar track that is an easy pick for a best-of list.

What's to love about this album are the wonderfully creative blend of softer piano and melody songs, the hard and heavy rocking guitar and drum tracks, the incredible vocal works, and the imaginative and original song structures that prove Queen were masters in the recording studio. This level of creativity and boldness set the band apart from their peers. The one weak point I feel is that the recording quality could have been better. Some of the sublime moments on the album lose a bit of impact because the quality of the recordings isn't consistently warm and clear. I also find some parts have much louder mastering, at least on the 2011 remaster, particularly "Loser In the End", which is the one whole track that sounds cleaner and clearer than the others.

I now have much more appreciation for the later releases of Queen and even love "Radio Gaga". But still, I think the first three albums best capture the heavy side of Queen as well as the band's early ventures in studio experimentation.

Report this review (#2188888)
Posted Saturday, April 27, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Queen's second album brought us what is probably in my opinion the most complete and best composed album of the quartet. Just 8 months after the release of the first album of the group, we find a compositional maturity and suddenly before one of the most relevant moments in terms of the musical value of his work.

The white side (A) shows four compositions of Brian May, in a striking creative maturity, starting with the dreary and deep Procession, with that guitar so characteristic of May, the almost confessional and melancholy Father to Son, White Queen and Some Day One Day, with the guitarist singing and demonstrating that not only a guitar master. The white side ends with Loser in the End, composed and sung by drummer Roger Taylor, his compositional contribution to the album.

But the best version of the group, would appear in a superlative way on the black side (b), which finds its climax from the beginning of the side with the super rocker Ogre Battle with a clean and clear Mercury vocal record, giving clear signs of power his privileged voice, going through the dynamic and convoluted The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, the minute and seconds of Mercury on piano playing the wonderful Nevermore with the coral funds towards the end of it, and ending with what could clearly consider the proud predecessor of Bohemian Rhapsody, the extraordinary The March of The Black with its choral passages, the power of Brian May's guitar and his infinite and dramatic changes of time in his 6 minutes that pass like a sigh between the rise and fall of nuances. Funny How Love is followed, a correct version, and the side concludes with the most popular song on the album, Seven seas of Rhye. All the compositions on this side are the work of Freddie Mercury, demonstrating not only his extraordinary voice but also his ability as a composer.

A fact to highlight and that gives even more value to the album, is the non-inclusion of synthesizers, where the recreated sounds respond to elements developed with guitar effects. Over time Queen included the use of synthesizers.

Queen II has not aged, and is a clear example of its value, 45 years later. Recommended for those who wish to explore Queen's mother music beyond their great successes of the late 70's and 80's.

Report this review (#2263779)
Posted Friday, September 27, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars A record hidden or forgotten, but for me surely the greatest one by Queen : Queen II. It's really a masterpiece of progrock music : all is great! The short instrumental "Procession" naturally leads to the first highlight : "Father to Son", wich is followed by an other highlight : "White Queen". All the songs on the first side are from Brian May except the last one from Taylor. The second side is entirely Mercury. It contains at least two highlights : "Seven Seas of Rhye" and the marvellous "The March of the Black Queen" wich equals for me in genius and progressivity the future hit "Bohemian Rhapsody". The begin of one song can surprise a lot at the first listen : "Ogre Battle" but after two or three plays we understand that the music is perfect for the title. Songs with several voices as in some Yes records, a very energetic guitar game by Brian May, a great Mercury's voice and a bombastic and theatrical approach are other features of this masterpiece to listen absolutely!

Report this review (#2277660)
Posted Saturday, November 2, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars

Despite having loved some of the band's later work (notably A Night at the Opera) since my childhood, I never really explored a lot of Queen's output until relatively recently.

That was a colossal mistake.

Queen II is quite possibly the best album the band ever recorded. It's by far the most progressive - and simultaneously, the heaviest - the band ever got. Twenty-nine and a half of the album's forty-one minutes are taken up by three epic suites that range in length from just over eight to just over twelve minutes, encompassing all but three of the album's songs.

I won't attempt to summarise the numerous twists and turns the album takes over that time, but it's almost impossible to believe it was put together over the span of a month by a group of lads who were in their early to mid-twenties. The arrangement of "The March of the Black Queen", an obvious precursor to "Bohemian Rhapsody" (and possibly even better than its more famous successor), required so many overdubs that the sixteen-track tape wore to transparent. The maturity of the songwriting is remarkable; sandwiched in between the fantasy-themed lyrics are some particularly poignant observations on love and family relationships. The album is incredibly stylistically diverse, reflecting the influence of prog bands like Genesis and Yes, pop bands like the Beatles and the Beach Boys, and hard rock bands like The Who and Led Zeppelin; there are some obvious pop moments like the "Be My Baby" pastiche "Funny How Love Is" (which is fantastic by the way), but they somehow manage to feel progressive anyway, because of how they're worked into longer suites.

I could write another two thousand words raving about this album, but I'm not sure there'd be a point. The only major flaw I can identify here is that Roger Taylor's contribution "The Loser in the End" feels out of place. It's not even a bad song; in fact, it's actually a fantastic hard rock song, but it just feels like it belongs on another album. In retrospect, this album is a strong candidate for one of the launching points of progressive metal, alongside the works bands like King Crimson and Rush were doing around the same time. I feel absolutely foolish for not giving it a listen much sooner, and I've had it almost on repeat for most of the past couple of days - it's been a long time since an album has provoked me to do that.

If all you know of Queen is the radio singles and perhaps A Night at the Opera, do yourself a favour and check this out. If you're interested enough in prog music to be reading this site, you probably won't be disappointed.

Report this review (#2408340)
Posted Saturday, May 30, 2020 | Review Permalink

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