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Queen Queen II album cover
4.35 | 938 ratings | 86 reviews | 48% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Side White -
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)
- Side Black -
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)

Total time 40:28

Bonus tracks on 1991 remaster:
12. See What a Fool I've Been (previously released as b-side) (4:32)
13. Ogre Battle (1991 Remix) (3:30)
14. Seven Seas of Rhye (1991 Remix) (6:36)

Line-up / Musicians

- Freddie Mercury / lead & backing vocals, piano (8), harpsichord (7)
- Brian May / acoustic (4) & electric guitars, piano (2), bells (9), lead (4) & backing vocals
- John Deacon / bass, acoustic guitar (2)
- Roger Taylor / drums, gong (6), marimba (5), lead (5) & backing vocals

- Roy Thomas Baker / castanets (7), stylophone (11), co-producer
- Robin Cable / piano effects (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Mick Rock

LP EMI ‎- EMA 767 (1974, UK)
LP Parlophone ‎- QUEENLP 2 (2009, Europe) Remastered

CD EMI ‎- CDP 7 46205 2 (1986, Europe)
CD Hollywood Records ‎- HR-61232-2 (1991, US) Remastered by Eddy Schreyer with 3 bonus tracks
CD Parlophone ‎- CDPCSD 140 (1994, Europe) Remastered
CD Island Records ‎- 276 388 8 (2011, Europe) New 2011 Bob Ludwig remaster

Thanks to tuxon for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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QUEEN Queen II ratings distribution

(938 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(48%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

QUEEN Queen II reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Tony Fisher
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.
Review by 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

Review by Blacksword
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.

Review by 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 - " 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.

Review by 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.

Review by chessman
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.)
Review by Menswear
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.

Review by 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.

Review by Eclipse
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.

Review by Guillermo
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.

Review by 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.

Review by 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."

Review by russellk
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?


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.

Review by Flucktrot
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.

Review by 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.
Review by ZowieZiggy
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?

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
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.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
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.

Review by 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.

Review by crimson87
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

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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!)
Review by fuxi
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!

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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)

Review by TGM: Orb
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

Review by jampa17
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.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by progpositivity
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.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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!

Review by Sinusoid
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.

Review by 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.

Review by thehallway
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.

Review by Warthur
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.
Review by 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.

Review by Necrotica
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)

Review by Prog Leviathan
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!

Review by 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.

Review by The Crow
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: ****

Review by FragileKings
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.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nº 602

'Queen II' is the second studio album of Queen and was released in 1974. The two sides of the original LP were labelled Side White and Side Black, instead of the traditional sides 1 and 2. The each side of the record's label face shows photos of the band dressed in white, on the Side White, and dressed in black, on the Side Black. In a certain way, this is a concept album, with the white side having more emotional songs and the black side is more about fantasy and it's also darker. 'Queen II' is Queen's album with a total contrast to the music that most people associate with Queen.

'Queen II' has eleven tracks. The first track 'Procession' written by Brian May is a short instrumental song that works as an introduction to the album and to the next song 'Father To Son'. Despite being short, it's a majestic song, that curiously, reminds me a small section of the classical piece of Henry Purcell's 'Music For The Funeral Of Queen Mary', composed in 1695, for the funeral of Queen Mary II of England. The second track 'Father To Son' written by Brian May is a great song with some heavy parts and some quiet moments. Musically, it's a song well balanced between the heavy and the quiet moments. It's a fantastic song with emotional lyrics, gorgeous vocal harmonies and fantastic guitar work. The third track 'White Queen (As It Began)' written by Brian May is another fantastic song. It's an acoustic ballad with a special dark atmosphere, great lyrics, beautiful melody and a great guitar solo. It has also an incredible musical arrangement. The final result of the song is absolutely astonishing and perfect, because it has everything we could expect on a great song. The fourth track 'Some Day One Day' written by Brian May is a beautiful song, not as great as the three previous songs, but it has its great moments like a great melody, good guitar parts and some fantastic chorus. Anyway, this is a very nice and peaceful song that remains enjoyable and nice to hear, even today. The fifth track 'The Loser In The End' written by Roger Taylor, represents Roger Taylor's contribution for the album. This is a surprising song on the album, because this isn't a typical Queen's song and represents also a totally different musical genre on the album. However and despite be a good song, it's, in my humble opinion, a bit misplaced in the general musical direction of the album. It represents the weakest song on the album. The sixth track 'Ogre Battle' written by Freddie Mercury is, without any doubt, one of the Queen's greatest songs. This is a hard rock song, one of the Queen's heaviest songs ever made by them, and it has also one of the greatest and most violent guitar riffs made by Brian May, that shows clearly one of the first precursor lines of heavy progressive metal. The seventh track 'The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke' written by Freddie Mercury is another well written song, very intelligent and innovative too. It's a very complex song with many multi-parts in a very short time, a truly progressive song in the true sense of the word. This is an intelligent, melodic, complex and harmonious song where the time and tempo constant change, all over the song. It can perfectly capture the idea beyond the song. The eighth track 'Nevermore' written by Freddie Mercury is a short and beautiful piano ballad about some feelings after a heartbreaker. This is a song led by Freddie Mercury's piano and where the lead and the backing vocals are all made by him. The song contains sudden tempo changes which appear a couple of times on the song. The ninth track 'The March Of The Black Queen' written by Freddie Mercury is another typical song with clear progressive lines, very complex and also divided into multi-sections, some heavy and some quiet. Like 'The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke', we are in presence of a progressive, melodic, intelligent, complex, harmonious and well arranged song. The tenth track 'Funny How Love Is' written by Freddie Mercury is, without any doubt, the weakest song composed by Freddie Mercury to this album. Still, it's not a bad song and results perfectly well as a song that bridges the gap between 'The March Of The Black Queen' and 'Seven Seas Of Rhye'. The eleventh track 'Seven Seas Of Rhye' is the final track on both first Queen's albums. On this album, the song is lengthier than the debut version of 'Queen' and it has also vocals. This is also a very good song that closes perfectly this great album.

Conclusion: As I said before, 'Queen II' has two sides. Side White is almost all written by Brian May and it contains songs which convey emotional themes. Side Black is all written by Freddie Mercury and is more fantastical with roaring heavy metal, beautiful ballads and epic, dynamic progressive rock adventures. The contrast between the two sides of the album is interesting, with Brian May's work being mainly guitar based rock themes, while Freddie Mercury's are vocally complex with great emphasis on the harmonies and they also tend to be more adventurous. The variety of themes, the creativity displayed on it and the epic feel of 'Queen II', has made of this album, one of the best and finest albums released by them. 'Queen II' is probably, the darkest Queen's album and is the most progressive work of them. More than forty years have passed since it was released, but it still sounds fresh, even now. It's well worth buying it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Queen II, what a wonderful album. The band was halfway between Zeppelin and Yes, with a sprinkling of Moody Blues and Rocky Horror.

Disclosure: I cannot be accurately described as a fan of the band. I'm very respectful of Freddie Mercury's vocal and compositional abilities, and always wowed by Brian May's guitar style and talent. But I'm also a guy that takes music a little too seriously, and too many of the band's works strayed too far towards twee pop songs or torch songs. I'm rarely appreciative of either musical theater or the ridiculous synthetic superficiality that characterized so many bands' change of style in the 80s. Plus, Queen became so ubiquitous at least four times during my lifetime (Greatest Hits, Wayne's World, Live Aid and Freddie bio movie) that it was hard not to get sick of hearing about them. Queen is very much like a decadent dessert; once you overindulge, it's a long time before you can bring yourself to find it appetizing again.

Yet despite (or in some ways because of) this, I still regard Queen II as one of my favorite albums. Maybe not top 5 or 10, but not too far down from there. Go figure.

Immediately upon crossing the threshold, you're gifted with Brian May harmonies, symphonic and ahead of his time. Not so much in the Yardbirds alumni/ Hendrix vein of rock guitarists, May instead took a similar road as glam soloist Mick Ronson, a raw but symphonic preface to the neoclassical wave that took off after Van Halen and Uli Roth.

This layered smooth-but-edgy approach also characterized Roy Thomas Baker's arrangement of the vocals, so much a part of the Cars' first few albums. While this could become an overbearing wall of sound in lesser hands, the precise application of restraint and emphasis lends dramatic (it's OK to say 'melodramatic') weight when called for.

Nearly everything the album has to offer is touched upon briefly on the opening track: larger- than-life anthemic multitracked guitars and vocals, barebones breakdowns with solo voice and a single instrument, capricious changes in dynamics and pacing, all leading to a huge finale. I personally like "Father to Son" more than anything else on the album, but that's not to say there aren't many impressive moments to come.

Like any self-respecting prog band of the 70s, Queen feels it necessary to explore the idiosyncrasies of each band member on side one before launching into the epic collaboration of the side two. "White Queen" provides a dark arpeggio that connects the dots between "She's so Heavy" a few years before and "Still Loving You" several years later, and gets impressively heavy and dramatic with all the territory it covers under 5 minutes. Then there's a semi-acoustic semi- mellow semi-hippie jam sung by May himself -- and while no match for Freddie, it sounds competent and suitable, miles ahead of the following: the album's only contender for a stinker, "Loser in the End" a Roger Taylor contribution, comparatively underwhelming both in concept and realization.

But forget all that, because Side Black is one long rollercoaster of Queeny goodness. "Ogre Battle" is absolutely made for 70s fantastists and rockers alike, you can almost smell the 1st edition of D&D and the last edition of Ray Harryhausen stop motion animation. There was nobody like Queen to bridge the gap between some of the heaviest sounds of the 70s and musical theater.

I don't know that there's much point in deconstructing the narrative. I'm not sure there's even a narrative to deconstruct. The "Black" side can be seen as a collage, a melange, a rhapsody (oh wait, not yet) more in the vein of Abbey Road's second side than Close to the Edge or Echoes. We're not given any reason to really connect "Ogre Battle" to the sweet mournfulness of "Nevermore" or the celebratory culmination of "Funny How Love Is." Nevertheless, there is a certain continuity and flow that begs the listener to hear the whole side from start to finish -- probably something of a challenge to many at the time, and almost unimaginable in our lamentable attention-deficit modern era.

"The Fairy-Feller's Master Stroke" is a rollicking ride in and of itself. I don't know if the idea of describing a painting came from Crimson's "The Night Watch," but musically and lyrically the two couldn't be more different. Whereas Crimson's haunting historicity attempts to transcend the intervening centuries to connect the listener to the artist and his subjects, Queen simply runs down the list of depicted characters with various mischievous interpretations and musical motifs. Not that it's any less engaging, but as with everything Queen, there's a veneer of campy superficiality that belies (intentionally or otherwise) the undeniable musicality involved.

"March of the Black Queen" is mischievous in a different way. The guitars are furious at times, the lyrics darkly suggestive if not blatantly transgressive. It's fun with a side order of discomfort, part "Rocky Horror" and part painful metaphor of interpersonal sexual dynamics. Am I reading too much into it, or not enough?

"Seven Seas of Rhye" gets more than a fresh coat of paint to elevate it from the abbreviated and (mostly) instrumental version that closed the band's first album. It's now a fully-fledged song, albeit a largely incomprehensible one. As a finale, it is as satisfying and rocking as "Father to Son" was as an opener.

All-in-all, the entire album is a heavy, fun, and progressive treat from start to finish, in my opinion the single most enjoyable and accomplished album in the band's discography. I have a certain fondness for the debut, and there are many great individual songs yet to come -- obviously, they were to hit much higher popular acclaim (and sales) afterwards, but they never produced a long-player as seamlessly engaging as this. Shame about "Loser," though.

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3 stars This album is extremely warm, extremely cozy, but still goes extremely hard. It got a lot of ups and downs, but unlike most albums, it handles them with grace. It doesn't feel half baked or unfinished. It starts off by ripping Speak To Me off Dark Side Of The Moon, except they've not taken care ... (read more)

Report this review (#2877161) | Posted by theCoagulater | Saturday, January 21, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2408340) | Posted by CassandraLeo | Saturday, May 30, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars the 2nd to advance in extravagant glam rock, a place of debauchery and musical creation, that makes me think of a guitarist of the moment!! The white side...yes think about the two future albums! 1. Procession ... the instrumental, the premonitory procession of the future accession of the group ... (read more)

Report this review (#2312232) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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". ... (read more)

Report this review (#2277660) | Posted by hergest ridge | Saturday, November 2, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2263779) | Posted by Hector Enrique | Friday, September 27, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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 hea ... (read more)

Report this review (#2056043) | Posted by mariorockprog | Thursday, November 15, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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, s ... (read more)

Report this review (#1172706) | Posted by MJAben | Thursday, May 8, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1015541) | Posted by ster | Saturday, August 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#963080) | Posted by Molbeck | Monday, May 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 vari ... (read more)

Report this review (#911246) | Posted by twseel | Friday, February 8, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 voca ... (read more)

Report this review (#906171) | Posted by Lord Anon | Monday, February 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 ma ... (read more)

Report this review (#813749) | Posted by AEProgman | Saturday, September 1, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#805372) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Thursday, August 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#603103) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, January 4, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#573860) | Posted by Gallifrey | Wednesday, November 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 predom ... (read more)

Report this review (#516719) | Posted by Flimbau | Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 DSOT ... (read more)

Report this review (#418210) | Posted by TheLionOfPrague | Saturday, March 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 l ... (read more)

Report this review (#306119) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, October 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 'vintag ... (read more)

Report this review (#215695) | Posted by HarmonyDissonan | Thursday, May 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#213010) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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