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Queen - Queen II


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Here's my review of my personal favorite Queen album

Queen

Queen II

queenii1tc.png

Released on April 9, 1974

Label: Toshiba

Length: 55:29 (including bonus tracks)

1. Procession

2. Father To Son

3. White Queen (As it Began)

4. Some Day One Day

5. The Loser in the End

6. Ogre Battle

7. The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke

8. Nevermore

9. The March of the Black Queen

10. Funny How Love Is

11. Seven Seas of Ryhe

Bonus Tracks: (included in the remastered edition)

*NOTE*

these songs will not be featured in the review. While “See What A Fool I’ve Been†is actually a pretty good song, it shouldn’t be in the album as it detracts from the mood of the album, by adding another song after the what would have been a perfect ending. And the remixes of Ogre Battle and Seven Seas of Rhye are just bad excuses for the CD company to show off their new technology. If you have the chance to buy a copy of the CD without the bonus tracks, buy it, instead of the one featuring bonus tracks.

12. See What A Fool I’ve Been

13. Ogre Battle 1991 Remix

14. Seven Seas of Ryhe 1991 Remix

Freddie Mercury – Vocals, Piano, Harpsichord

Brian May – Guitars, Piano, Vocals, Bells

John Deacon – Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

Roger Taylor – Percussion, Vocals

Queen II is probably Queen’s darkest album. It was Queen’s 2nd album, and the 1st album of Queen’s prime, which lasted from Queen II in 1974 to The Game in 1980. Queen II features everything we love about Queen. Heavy guitars, classical guitar, and overdubbed guitar solos from Brian May, incredible vocals from Freddie Mercury, and a firm rhythm section from John Deacon and Roger Taylor. It is one of Queen’s most heavy metal focused albums. This album further defined Queen’s musical identity, which they kept all through the 70’s (in the eighties, Queen started to blend in with other pop acts). The musical identity referred to being Queen’s own unique brand of over the top glam-metal. This album is Queen at its finest. There is no filler, only classic Queen.

The album begins with the sounds of Roger Taylor’s bass drum beating silently, as the sounds of Brian May’s guitar comes in. This features Brian May doing what he does best on guitar, playing with his fantastic and unique tone, enhanced by massive guitar overdubbing. This is the song “Procession.†It is only a little over a minute, yet it serves its point. It creates the mood of majesty entering somewhere; in this case, it is Queen entering the album. It is a majestic and perfect introduction the album.

“Procession†flows right into “Father to Son,†a song that defines Queen. In the beginning, it sounds grandiose, but not overblown. About 2 minutes into the song, Brian May unleashes some of the heaviest, mightiest guitar roar ever heard in rock. Nobody can even mimic the heaviness of his guitar. Guitarists can turn up the distortion forever, and they will never reach the level of heaviness Brian May has in the song. It’s not a grinding heaviness, as many heavy metal songs have, it’s a heaviness that sounds like a growl, or a lions roar. At about the 4 minute mark, the guitar blends into the rest of the band. The guitar returns to do a fantastic solo during the repetition of the chorus. This is one of Queen’s greatest songs. After the end, the listener is in awe of how epic the song is.

The next song is “White Queen (As It Began).†The beginning of the song has a medieval folk feeling to it. But then, the song turns from folk to a gloomy ballad. But Queen isn’t willing to keep this song quiet. In the chorus, while it retains its gloom, it gains heaviness. Once again, the song becomes a ballad, and after the verse, there is a fantastic acoustic guitar solo from Brian May. The acoustic guitar is buzzing like a medieval string instrument. The heaviness comes back in half-way through the solo, and Brian May does one of his famous massively overdubbed guitar solos. The song ends on a sad note, after the solo.

After the sad ending of “White Queen,†it is a shock when the jolly folksy guitar melody of “Some Day One Day†comes in. The intro is beautiful, a folk melody, with Brian May’s uniquely toned guitar playing over the melody. The mood remains peaceful and cheerful throughout the rest of the song. It has a beautiful guitar solo, with the notes sounding flowing and floating. This pop-flavored song is truly timeless. It sounds as if it could have been recorded in any decade. The song ends with another swaying guitar solo, as it fades out.

The next song, “The Loser in the End†begins surprisingly with a loud drum blast. Yet another surprise is when the song acquires a southern rock feel to it. The biggest surprise, however, is when Freddie Mercury gets into the southern rock spirit, and sings a southern rock snarl in the chorus. This song is everything great about Queen, applied to a different genre. This is not a typical Queen song at all, but it is still a great song.

The next song, “Ogre Battle†is one of Queen’s greatest songs. It begins with a low rumble, and it is shocking to the listener when Freddie Mercury’s high pitched scream enters the song, and some fierce sort of thumping alters the background. The scream really is quite terrifying, but is the perfect way to begin this incredibly fierce song. The beginning has an awesome riff from Brian May, and incredibly ferocious drumming from Roger Taylor. After a few short screams from Freddie, the song keeps it’s heaviness as it becomes a little less intense, musically, and begins a pop-infused singing melody. The chorus sounds a little darker. After 2 verses and 2 choruses, the brutal intro riff enters again, with the same intense drumming. This song is the perfect way to start the second half of the album, much darker than the first. It ends with the beginning riff. This really is a breathtaking song.

The next song, “Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke†begins with harpsichord. It is infused with classical guitar and a little mariachi. This song features amazing vocals from Freddie Mercury. “Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke†achieves intensity without the use of heaviness, which is a difficult thing that Queen does marvelously on many songs, including this one.

“Nevermore†begins, blending into the song before it. It is a short song, featuring mostly Freddie Mercury, backing vocals, and the piano. A vocal highlight of the album, the song is moving, and beautiful. It’s a shame to hear it end so soon.

The mood quickly changes with the next song, the evil sounding “The March of the Black Queen.†The mood changes from that of background music to an evil leader’s reign to a song that is sad and mystical. These two moods interchange throughout the song. At about the 1:10 mark in the song, Freddie has some terrific overdubbed vocal parts. It is aptly titled, as much of it sounds like the march of a wicked leader. At around 2:10 minutes, Brian May begins a great wah-wah solo, which is a rare pedal for Brian to use, yet he does it fantastically. The 2 moods mentioned earlier repeat in the song, until about 5:30 minutes, when it becomes content sounding, and has a peaceful section which sounds similar to the ending of “Bohemian Rhapsody.†Right when you think the song is going to end, lively pianos, and in a few seconds, the rest of the instruments and backing vocals enter the song, to make it sound joyful and grandiose.

The next song, “Funny How Love Is†seems to be the perfect song to have after the last song. It is a song that has a mood which reminds the listener of a movie set in medieval times, maybe a part of the movie where the hero is returning to his home. The maracas in the background add a nice effect to the song.

The last song on the album, “The Seven Seas of Rhye†starts out with an upbeat piano part, and some majestic guitar work from Brian May. It is a song which defines the lighter side of Queen; upbeat and lively, yet still hard rocking. At about the 1 minute mark, the backing vocals come in, with some of the best backing vocals featured in the album. This song reminds the listener of the ending to the movie mentioned in the last paragraph. This would be played in the part of the movie where the hero has returned home, and there is a big celebration going on for the hero. The mood created in this song is fantastic, and it is without a doubt the perfect way to end a perfect album.

This album shows what is so great about Queen, even though it shows what the critics don’t like about Queen. Many snobby rock critics will always hate Queen, and denounce them as too extravagant, too pompous, too over the top, too self-important. In response to the critics, of course Queen is all of these things. Yes, they are extravagant, pompous, over the top, and self-important. That is what’s great about Queen. Queen represents the over-indulgency of glam-rock that no other band did quite as well as Queen. And with its level of extravagance and excessiveness, there is always enough musical enjoyment left to enjoy every time you listen to this album. And as for the self-importance that the critics denounce, all that shows is 2 things. One, Queen knows they make great music. Two, critics are biased against any band who thinks they are better than the critics. The critics are merely intimated by the greatness of Queen. Don’t be intimidated by Queen’s awesomeness. Don’t listen to the critics. Listen to the music. Listen to Queen II.

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  • 1 month later...

Definitely Queen's finest moment...I remember having to buy it because 7 Seas of Rye is introduced on Queen 1 but only lasts a few seconds and sounded awesome....Q2 did not disappoint.

For anyone visiting London “Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke†is a painting in the Tate by a Victorian artist called Richard Dadds who went crackers and murdered his father...it's an extraordiary painting and well worth a look.

Q2 is their pinnacle in my opinion...downhill all the way from there (Sheer Heart Attack was good but unfortunately you could begin to see where they were heading into pompous glam rock...prior to that they were just inventively heavy) by A Day at the Races they'd completely lost it...IMHO

But Q2 :coolio:

Thanks for the excellent review.

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  • 5 months later...

Great review, it is also my favorite album!

In my opinion, I think it`s very underrated. People usually skip over this one, and go straight over to ANATO (which is not a bad thing, because ANATO is brilliant album also) But they should stop and listen to this one, because shortly, they will fall in love with it ;)

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'The March Of The Black Queen' is one of my favourite Queen songs :bow:

My favourite Queen album is 'Sheer Heart Attack' (even though johnny dismissed it as the beginnings of Queen's descent into 'pompous glam rock'....I adore glam rock so this is possibly why I like it so much :P;) ) But Queen's early stuff is amazing and should definitely not be passed over in favour of their later work.

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In my mind the Queen catalogue is:

Queen I

Queen II

Sheer Heart Attack

A Night At The Opera

A Day At The Races....

I could then pull singles from the following albums and probably create a great two album set.

I wish I had an easy way to share some of the great bootleg's I collected over the years....the early shows are fantastic...

Queen always came on stage with the pomp and glam...early and more later. i saw them 10 times between ('74 - '80 ((give or take))) and they never disappointed.

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  • 3 months later...

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