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Queen - A Night At The Opera CD (album) cover




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4.29 | 950 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars A night at the Prog opera

As a long time Queen fan, I cannot quite decide if Queen II or A Night At The Opera is the best Queen album, but they are clearly both masterpiece albums for me. 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.

With a great self-titled debut album, a masterpiece second album and a third, very good but not perfect album under their belts, this fourth album was a very important one for the band. A Night At the Opera was to become the band's breakthrough to a wider audience much due to the amazing mega hit Bohemian Rhapsody, possibly the most progressive song to ever become a number one hit.

Like Queen II, A Night At The Opera flows extremely well; many of the songs flow into each other making the whole greater than the sum of its parts. The sum of its parts would already add up to a considerable sum in its own right, but it is the album considered as a whole that really makes it into a masterpiece. All of the band's trademarks are here in full bloom. The hard rock, proto-metal of the early albums is still present, the commercial side of Killer Queen is also present as well as the progressive and experimental side of the band.

The four band members are all excellent musicians and Brian, Freddie and Roger all have very distinctive singing voices that compliment each other perfectly. As usual the three of them does backing vocals and also lead vocals on some songs. Roger sings his I'm In Love With My Car and Brian sings his '39 and Good Company, for example. John, the bass player is 'the quiet one' as far as his personality goes, but he never misses a beat.

Brian's guitar sound and technique is also instantly recognizable and unique. 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. He even makes them sound like trumpets on some parts! Together with Steve Howe and Steve Hackett, Brian May is one of my favourite guitar players of all time. In addition to the more traditional instrumental attack of guitar, bass, piano, drums and vocals, we also find electric piano, banjo and harmonica as well as some less common instruments like a Japanese koto! There are also many vocal and instrumental effects, and various bells and gongs, etc.

The styles of music vary from acoustic Folk ballads to hard rock to almost experimental music, but all the time staying true to the distinctive Queen sound. The moods similarly vary from very serious and reflective to almost comedy to more aggressive. It is remarkable how well it all holds together given all the diversity. The Prophet's Song is a truly progressive song with an amazing a cappella section and driving hard rock.

A Night At The Opera is a masterpiece of progressive rock and a true must-have album for all Prog fans.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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