Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Imaginative and Raw
on 28 March 2015
if you were brought up on a diet of Radio Ga Ga, It's a Kind of Magic or Under Pressure, you might not see the link between this album and your idea of what Queen are about. This was the second release from a band made up of an artist, a physicist, a biologist and an electronics engineer, all of whom went on to become superstars in the world of Rock and pop. Freddie has gone, John has retired, and good luck to him - he earnt it! Roger and Brian are still going strong in music. It hit me recently that there's more time between Freddie's death and now than there was between the release of this album and the end of queen.
So to the album. The band cited their influences as Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and an array of rock and roll greats. All of those are apparent here. As to is a theme of fantasy. Consider a film set in the middle ages, telling the story of a young prince, born into wealth and power, but now fighting in place of his dead father for the future of his people. You have 'Procession' and 'Father to Son'. Brian May writes a beautiful love song telling of love lost in the melancholy yet powerful 'White Queen'. This track has the feel of a Shakespearian love tragedy, and is beautiful and powerful wth the volume up. Roger chips in with a track which feels a little out of place against the plantagenet backdrop with 'Loser in the End', the tale of a young man leaving home with a sense of bitterness because his mum chose his shoes for him! Side 1 (white - side 2 is black) is imbued with beautiful, majestic guitar work. The distinctive May sound is clearly here, and the production, largely sparse in the first album, is full and thorough here. Freddie's vocals are strong and clear, but a friend of mine once commented that this was the period before his voice broke - unfair I think, but I kind of know what he means. If side white showcased the writing talents of the band, then side black belongs to Freddie...
The second half of this epic is a sheer masterpiece. Sometimes raucous, loud and imposing, sometimes sweet, melodic and gentle. Always utterly imaginative. Ogre battle is self explanitory. It's a fairytale in metal. It's wonderful. In 'Fairy Feller's Masterstroke' Freddie writes a lively commentary on the painting of the same name by Richard Dadd. This poor, afflicted soul painted fantasy with detail and expression, and it seems retrospectively to be the perfect foil for an emergent Freddie. 'March of the Black Queen' is again, a fantasy based tale, with some non-pc lyrics but with power, pace, gentleness and complex multilayered sounds. A reflection of Freddie himself, maybe. Add to that the rueful 'Nevermore' , and the wall of rythmic sound that is 'Funny How Love Is', and we're nearly there. The final track, 'Seven Seas of Rye' featured as a short piano solo on their first album, but has since developed into another fantasy song which tells of a muscle flexing god.
In all this is an excellent album. I've listened to it more times than I can count, and I still love it. If I'm in a particular mood for it then nothing can beat it, but it won't be for all. Technically though, it's great, and the trademarks of Brian's guitars, Roger's complex drumming and Freddie's amazing imagination are all here. Enjoy!