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Nobody played synthesizer...again!,
This review is from: Queen II (Audio CD)
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!