Has there ever been another album so loved by any bands die hard fans yet almost overlooked by the greater majority of the mainstream fans?.For me this is not only Queen's greatest disc,its simply one of the best heavy rock albums of all time,consistently overlooked when compiling those best rock albums ever lists!!
Like the groups debut,this has been enhanced by the 2011 remaster,i've had this on Cassette,Vinyl,CD,Remastered cd and now this version,finally a sound quality to match the grandiose style that the band envisaged all those years ago.
That the disc contains so many classic tracks(on only their 2nd disc) is a testament to the musicianship and talent they had in abundance, from the(almost) prog rock of 'Father to Son/...White Queen../...Black Queen. thru heavy rock standards 'Ogre Battle/Seven Seas Of Rye while the strutting 'Loser In The End' makes a case for being the albums best track while 'Nevermore/The Fairyfellers Masterstroke are simply delightful and yet has there ever been a more beautiful track than 'Funny How Love Is'?.
These tracks were fantastic before,this edition merely emphasizes the fact,a superb disc from a superb band.
The bonus ep is mish mash of tracks which will not be listened to on a regular basis,they are a side issue,the original album is the star here,a classic to be rediscovered.
on 26 February 2010
This album got terrible reviews when it first came out - Queen were never the darlings of the hip music press. But let's face it, many of the albums lionized at some stage by the reviewers have not stood the test of time, have grated on repeated listening or, taken out of context of the hypes and the trends, are revealed to have a reputation built on sand or indeed feet of clay. On the other hand, some albums grow in stature with age, like vintage champagnes, and repeated plays reward the listener. One day you wake up, not having listened to it for a few years, put it on and just say: blood hell, this is good! So it is with Queen II, an album I admit to being disappointed in when I first heard it. Now I consider it an epic masterpiece and probably Queen's most cohesive album. On this album, Queen are breaking out and they're not taking any prisoners. It's a case of, to hell with the critics and what people think we should do/be as a British heavy rock band, let's follow our own inspiration. They mean it, maaaan! "The March of The Black Queen", a long and swiftly-changing track, is the album's centrepiece and quite simply stunning. It is more creative than Bohemian Rhapsody, the song which made the band's reputation and came two albums later, and shows just how good Mercury was as singer, musician and composer, with May and Taylor providing great support. Elsewhere there is the first real hit single Seven Seas of Rhye, a dreamlike science fiction epic ending in a surreal singalong of "I do like to be beside the seaside", and May showing the power of his song-writing with the beautiful "White Queen". There is also the Tolkein-fantasy duo "Ogre Battle" and "Fairy Feller's Master Stroke" - a friend of mine described this album as "camp heavy metal" and I know what he means, enormous clothes-on fun! But it is also poignant and thought-provoking, with running themes of parenthood, lost innocence and yearning for the certainties and unfulfilled potential of childhood, in songs like "Father to Son", "Loser In The End" and "Some Day One Day". As for "Nevermore" it is just one of those beautiful Mercury slow songs, like "Lily Of The Valley", "Love Of My Life" or "You Take My Breath Away". Vocally,this is a great album, with the band unleashing the full power of their harmonies, Mercury in fine fettle, Brian and Roger singing their own songs well and Roger showing the incredible range of his wonderful voice. Roger's drumming and John's bass are also excellent throughout and Brian May's guitar is a revelation, showing in a way their first album probably didn't that he was staking a claim for rock guitar hero status. There are weaknesses - singalong "Funny How Love Is" is too glib and I'm not sure if I can recommend the instrumental "Procession" but they seem to fit with the rest of the album and that is one thing I will say, "Queen II" was made to be played on the headphones from start to finish, not listening to one track here and there and skipping songs. Enjoy. I'm not sure even the band themselves knew how good this was!
on 23 March 2011
This is the connoisseur's choice LP for Queen fans. I won't go on about the music because it should just be heard, preferably in one sitting. Side Two of this album is as ambitious as Queen ever got...
The remastering job is awesome. There's still a few issues from the original production but not as many as the first album; and to iron these out would have required some re-recording and thank the gods that May and Taylor weren't tempted to do that!
Well done Bob Ludwig, the campaign for your knighthood begins here!
on 4 March 2004
Message to Queen fans, don't listen to the garbage that people say about this album being just a collection of fairy stories (these people seem to only appreciate Queen for their pop sensibilities), it is brilliant and often under-rated. The collection of songs towards the end of the album are quite simply magnificent! They are all written by Freddie and are connected together like a meledy. Perhaps Freddie had Abbey Road by the Beatles in mind! 'Seven Seas of Rhye' is the best known track on the album and shows Queen at their very best. Other great tracks include 'Father to Son', 'Ogre Battle' and March of the Black Queen' which is a fantastic rock opera track, while at the same time is completely mad! Listening to this song makes it obvious that Bohemian Rhapsody was on the way.
My advice to any Queen fan planning to buy this album is dont listen to any bad reviews, just go out and buy it. Anything by Queen is good!
Following their promising but rather patchy debut album, Queen produced their first real classic album with the follow-up Queen II. It's a shame that this album so often overlooked and one of the bands least known albums (presumably with some people being put off of buying an album that from it's title sounds like a you need to have the first album to appreciate it). The general level of ambitious song-writing, massive layered studio production and musicianship is immense here, and this album showcases Queen at their most indulgent (when Seven Seas of Rhye is the most commercial track on the album you know this is a long way from the hit-single obsessed Queen of the '80s).
The album is neatly split over it's two sides ('White' and 'Black') with Freddy taking one side, and Brian the other. Brian May's 'White Side' starts off with the short Procession, essentially an instrumental of the following track, and marking the first use of Brian's 'guitar as string section' technique. First song proper Father to Son is a glorious rock epic and the first of two songs that clock in at over the 6 minute mark, while White Queen takes the quiet-verse / loud chorus route to great effect. Some Day One Day is a more restrained track with some great layered guitars, and while it's not one of the strongest songs on the album this marks the first time Brian would take lead vocals for Queen, and adds some good variety to the album. Closing off the side is Roger Taylor's The Loser in the End, again one of the lesser tracks on the album (with some rather cheesy lyrics) but some great drums and an incredibly overdriven guitar that sounds like a buzzsaw keeps this interesting.
Freddy's 'Black Side' starts off with the heaviest rock/metal song on the album (if not Queen's career) with the fantastic Ogre Battle. Next up is the bizarre Fairy Feller's Master Stroke, a jaunty yet very complex little ditty - weird and wonderful, and my candidate for the best song on the album. Nevermore is a very short but beautiful ballad, in the style of such later songs as Lily of the Valley and Love of my Life. The March of the Black Queen is Freddy's epic 6 minuter, and is incredibly disjointed in it's colliding parts, but is wonderfully over the top and has some fine moments. Funny How Love Is is a very simple song that sounds like a throwback to the pre-Queen Mercury - it's all chorus and no verse, so while it's the most immediately catchy song on the album it's the one you'll grow tired of quickest. Rounding the album off is the bands first hit Seven Seas of Rhye.
From this album on Queen would produce a run of classic rock albums that would stretch to the end of the 70's, but don't make the mistake of missing this album. Wildy over the top, un-commercial music, Queen II is one of the best albums Queen would ever make.
on 11 June 2006
Queen II is definitely one of my favourites. An amazing combination of the band's much heavier and earlier sound, mixed with their incredible trademark operatic harmonies that feature throughout.
The lyrics on this album are amazing, and you can definitely hear the songs that Bohemian Rhapsody was later born from. The album consists of a good mixture of acoustic, heavy, and classic Queen sounds; including the shorter piano ballads that often featured in early Queen songs (Nevermore).
This is definitely the band's most flowing album that I've heard to date. It is quite hard to disguinish a track changing; which I quite like. The instrumental and vocal work from all 4 members is quite astonishing, and you can see why they had to label some of their early albums stating that they didn't use synthesizers in their music. The vocal harmonies are simply mind blowing, as is the way the sound travels through the speakers. It truly is a mesmerising album and I can pretty much guarentee than any listener will be hooked from the beginning right through to the end, and all certainly go back for more! Queen II is an album with catchy themes that you'll definitely be singing to yourself for a long time to come. A classic and enjoyable stroke of genius.
on 7 April 2006
This is, for me at least, the best Queen album (also making it the best rock album) on a par with A Night At The Opera. And in a funny way, the two are related. Whenever a queen is mentioned, you either think of the fairy tales that you were told as a child or Rule Brittannia and God Save The Queen. That is exactly what the two albums are about, this being the fairy tale.
Queen II is very much fashioned after a Led Zeppelin album. On it, there is just three tracks which stand alone; Some Day One Day, Loser In The End and Seven Seas Of Rhye. Some Day One Day is almost an old english folk song and is the softest track. It is the first Queen track to feature Brian May on lead vocals. Loser In The End is a classic Roger Taylor rock. However, since neither of these feature Freddie on vocals, that leaves only one song that could really have been released as a single. Seven Seas Of Rhye was that single and was Queen's breakthrough. This song actually started life as an intrumental on the bands debut, but it was then polished and had lyrics put to it.
Now the reason i have reviewed those songs first is because, as I said, they are the only ones that stand alone. All other tracks join togther, as one, to make three epic songs. The album is split into two halves, Brian May's White and Freddie Mercury's Black, both flow beautifully. Procession/Father To Son/White Queen (As It Began) is Brian's shimmering epic, seemingly about Royalty and the Royal lines. The Procession is definately the best way to have opened the album and is the Birth. Father To Son (which is alone 6 minutes) is the life and White Queen is the death. Some Day One Day sets the time period and with Loser In The End acting as a margin, the album moves into darker territories in Freddies half. It starts with the heavy, "Ogre Battle". This joins effortlessly into Fairy Feller's Master Stroke (this was inspired by a painting by Richard Dadd which Freddie once saw, and if you have seen the painting and hear the song, you realise how well Freddie wrote the song). This ends with one of my favourites and most short lasted moment on the album, "Nevermore". Just beautiful is the only way to describe it, and it really shows that Freddie is the greatest rock vocalist of all time. Such a shame it is so short.
Now comes March Of The Black Queen, the start of what was to become the same formula used in Bohemian Rhapsody. Probably the finest song on the album, brilliant guitar, brilliant imagery. Just brilliant. This goes into Funny How Love Is which is almost a rejoice and signifies the end of the story. The album closes with Seven Seas Of Rhye.
The amazing thing about Queen II is that it just shouldn't work at all and it does. It's one of Queens heaviest but take away those heavy riffs, falsetto vocals and drum beats, what you would be left with is a piece of literature. A work of art almost in the same fashion as Beowolf.
I've always found it weird that music critics slate Queen albums so much. Reading reviews in the likes of Q would have any new comer to Queen believe that their only decent album was "A Night At The Opera". Well I'm sick and tired of it, because that is far from the truth. Any band that has outsold the Beatles in album sales must have something other than good singles. I personally just think that they don't like the band because they were never about changing the world (that happened by accident) or making big political statements, like so many the apples of critics eyes are. Many Critics call Queen albums patchy, unfocused, full of fillers etc. If this be the truth, then this album cannot be Queen. But lo and behold, it is. And how fine it is aswell.
on 29 January 2005
The album with the iconic Mick Rock cover shot, inspired by a Marlene Dietrich pose and famously recreated for the later 'Bohemian Rhapsody' video clip. Divided into a 'Side White' and a 'Side Black' on the original vinyl edition, the writing credits are divided between guitarist Brian May and singer Freddie Mercury, with the exception of one track from drummer Roger Taylor,.
Side White opens with 'Procession/Father to Son', where the unmistakable Brian May guitar sound starts to establish itself, as do the trademark vocal harmonies. Although a more straightforward side, 'White Queen' shows May can do 'epic' as well as Mercury.
The side closes with Taylor's 'Loser In The End', a cautionary tale to mothers who over protect their sons!
Side Black is where the fun really begins however, 'Ogre Battle' introduces those multi-layered guitar tracks married with outrageous shrieks, before Freddie brings us into the song with his quirky lyrical imagery. The tracks run into one another from this point on in a similar style to The Beatles' 'Abbey Road', all leading up to the awesome 'March of The Black Queen'. This track is a definite forerunner to the better known 'Bo Rhap' and possibly gave Freddie the impetus to try one of his epics as a single! Following straight on is the Beatles-esque 'Funny How Love Is', a lighter song that has the effect of bringing the listener down gently, before closing the album with the complete version of 'Seven Seas of Rhye'.
Listening to this album again, it is clear how much Freddie's voice changed over the years; he is singing in a noticeably higher register throughout this album than was the case by the 80s. In the credits, they stated proudly that 'nobody played synthesizer...again', a path they stuck to throughout the 1970s, and certainly something which endeared the band to the rock fans of the day.
More than 30 years on, 'Queen II' stands as a landmark album in a legendary band's career. Once again, possibly not the most accessible to newer listeners, but one that rewards repeated listens. Nailed-on five stars!
on 15 June 2011
This album is perhaps Queen at their most over the top! There are some really strong songs here and the album as a prog rock feel to it but done at breakneck speed! There are songs split into different sections with wild changes of tempo and sonic dynamics, songs that that meld into the next track without feeling forced or contrived. It also has Freddie Mercury at something of a creative peak here writing the last 7 songs on the album and not one of them a dud. The remastering is wonderful bringing out the best in Queens multi-tracked madness. Stand out tracks; Father to Son has the feel of a great The Who type rocker, White Queen a lovely English ballad. Ogre Battle is the mental metal with Roger Taylor screaming torturously in the background, The March of theBlack Queen is probably the wildest track on the album with everything chucked in at some point and Nevermore a beautiful Mercury ballad. The album rocks out with the excellent Seven Sea's of Rhye leaving you thinking 'What the hell was that!'
As for the extra's; they are maybe the best than on any of the other re-releases so far. The two versions of See What a Fool I've Been are pretty good and interesting as is the instrumental of Seven Sea's and the version of Nevermore here is always worth another listen.
One of Queen's best and most consistent albums but you may have to listen to it more than once to get it. But once you do . . . . . . .
on 4 January 2008
If you know little of this beloved British band beyond their three Greatest Hits albums and the bombast of their Eighties stadium shows, then this extraordinary record may have eluded you. Time to make amends. Queen II is one of the most ambitious, decadent, preposterous and exhilarating encounters between man and recording studio in the history of popular music. 'A Night At The Opera' from 1975 may be more balanced, considered and mature, but for sheer bloody bravado and musical abandon, Queen II takes all comers. It should be part of the national curriculum, awarded the Victoria Cross, shot into space for alternative life forms to marvel at. It's Brian May's favourite Queen album and it will become yours too. Seeing it offered up for mere pounds is nothing short of a crime. Recommending it, my greatest service to you. Oh, and you'll need some headphones...