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Birth of the greatest band ever?
on 19 May 2004
In 1973, a few friends and acquaintances got together who had already been in a couple of bands, and had already kind of got their faces semi-known on the gig circuit. These bands were called 'Smile' and 'Larry Lurex.' Brian May and Roger Taylor were in Smile, and Frederick Bulsara, also known as Freddie Mercury, was in Larry Lurex. When these young up and coming musicians got together, along with John Deacon, little did they know they were creating musical history....
So we are all familiar with Queen, i'm sure every single one of us knows the words to at least one Queen song, and i'm sure we all headbang when the heavy bit of Bohemian Rhapsody comes on, thanks to Waynes World! But the very first couple of Queen albums, don't really contain any of their hits, and are reasonably under-heard. On this, their debut album, they were still finding their feet, and hadn't really developed much of their trademark styles. For instance, Freddie Mercury's vocals weren't quite as operatic as they would later become, and Brian May's guitar didn't fully sound like, well, Brian May's guitar! But this album does contain little signs that they were about to become great.
The album starts with 'Keep yourself alive', which is a great fast paced intro to the album, and my favourite track here. May's guitar riffs are brilliantly played, and Taylor's drumming is in top form. A great anthem.
The next track 'Doing alright' changes speed and sound quite drastically, more of a ballad. Although it does break into a heavy rock solo in the middle, before going back to its chilled sound to end the song.
'Great king rat' follows, and along with 'My fairy king', provides a fantasy playground for Mercury's lyrics, which thinking of the Queen we know and love, doesn't seem to fit too well in my eyes. The music is good, and the musicianship is still top quality, but the lyrics seem to be a little far fetched.
The next track 'Liar', is a good song, albeit a little repetitive, but still rocks, whilst 'The night comes down' once again changes the pace and the feel of the album, forgetting the fantasy characters, and giving us a good old ballad style song.
Roger Taylor takes over lead vocal duties on 'Modern times rock n roll', and this is a short, snappy rock song, coming in at under 2 minutes. Very good though, despite being short, great pace.
The next track 'Son and Daughter' contains a heavy metal riff that Black Sabbath would be proud of, easily the heaviest sound on the album, a great tune indeed. Second best here i think.
'Jesus' follows, and this is just a little too religious and tacky for my liking, with lyrics such as 'they followed a star took them to Bethlehem.' Now i'm not anti-religion, but i just don't really like religious songs, so this doesn't do it for me.
The album ends with a short instrumental version of 'Seven seas of rhye', which is a nice little end to the album, but you kinda keep expecting the vocals to kick in if you've heard the version off 'Greatest hits'.
So, a mixed bag in my opinion, but a mixed bag with some greatness. A little rock, a little metal, a little balladery, some fantasy and great musicianship throughout. The seed which had been planted on this album, was to continue to grow and flourish, and would still be growing some 30 odd years later. Long live Queen!!