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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!
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on 1 November 2015
Queen have probably been the most difficult band to pigeon-hole in the history of rock. Freddie was a total one-off, and hard as I try, I can't pin down Brian May's influences in his playing. They were totally unique. Most folks are either a fan of their early stuff, like me, or their later stadium pop/ rock cabaret act. This album is a monster! Glam rock meets heavy metal somewhere in Fairyland! Sounds a bit dodgy, but it's one of the best albums ever made
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VINE VOICEon 2 November 2012
DISC 1 (The Album)
This is an album bursting with ideas and diverse in the extreme. It may again lack the 'hit singles' (just one single was released from it; Seven Seas of Rhye) but Freddie's fresh, energetic vocals amaze with every high note he hits. Far less 'pure rock' on this one, but much more thoughtful and deliberate in putting across some ideas that the first album didn't have the space for - including Brian's lead vocal debut on "Some Day One Day". It's also great to finally have the lyrics reprinted in the booklet after for many years they were missing from both the vinyl and early CD releases. We all finally get to sing along to "The Fairy Feller's Master-stroke". Crack it open if you please, indeed!!
DISC 2 (The EP)
The purpose of the 2011 'Deluxe Editions' (putting all cynical marketing, profit-making, blood-from-a-stone comments to one side) is to give a bonus 'EP' of rare or previously unreleased tracks which compliment the original album. After a good start with the 'Queen' album, there are perhaps a few tracks that would have improved the completeness of the bonus EP here. For example we get two BBC session tracks from 1973/74 (See What A Fool I've Been and Nevermore) but we don't get the other two (White Queen and Ogre Battle) and a couple more live versions of tracks such as Seven Seas of Rhye or March of the Black Queen would also have been an improvement. Some nice surprises in the tracks we DO get, though, such as the original ending to Seven Seas of Rhye heard in the 'Instrumental Mix' version included.
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on 5 August 2016
Glad to have this again at last. Had the vinyl years ago. Probably not Queen's best but anything pre-dating "The Game" is preferable for me. "The White Queen" & "The Black Queen" & "Seven Seas of Rye" are favourites. Recommend the album to anyone who likes early Queen.
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on 18 January 2015
one of the best rock albums of all time. side 2 of the vinyl version is the best side ever,who can argue with ogre battle,march of the black queen,nevermore,seven seas of rhye etc. i'm replacing my vinyl with cd's surely but slowly and this is the best place to start. the bonus cd contains 2 versions of "see what a fool I've been", queen doing blues, a shame they didn't do more in this vein as it is awesome. enjoy.
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on 27 November 2007
Sheer Heart Attack was the first Queen album I heard back in '75 a few months after it had come out. Soon after that came A Night at the Opera and it was a while before I looked back to this album and that was when I was heavily into punk so didn't really get it.
It was only when Mojo magazine did a brilliant article on Queen II a few years ago that I decided to re-invest and I'm so glad I did. You'll read elsewhere that Seven Seas of Rhye seems almost misplaced at the end of this CD and whilst thats true it's more like an encore after the main show. I recommend this album to anyone who's curious but not as a first Queen purchase. I would work backwards from ANATO and then buy Day at the Races.
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on 16 February 2017
In my opinion Queen at their best,brilliant album great lyrics great music,the later stuff was great but Queen 1 & Queen 2 my favorite's
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on 28 June 2016
Great album never bought it when it first came don't know why. Because this is a stonewall classic two differing sides but both brilliantly in their own way. Recommended if you like over the top pomptastic rock
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on 15 August 2014
Early Queen albums have some of the finest produced vocals and guitar mixes. This album has it all with fantastic operatics and is a very 'black & white' type of album. Hard heavy riff's with great piano as well. A superb album for any Queen fanatic to have in their collection.
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on 19 August 2017
my old one was worn out .. nice to get it back in mint condition again :)
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