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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Queensr├┐che

Take Cover

Review by Greg Olma

Queensryche has always moved forward so when I read that they were releasing a covers record, I was a bit surprised to say the least. I have to say that I was not very enthused by the prospect of listening to a bunch of songs rehashed by one of my all time favorite bands. Once I saw the selection of tracks, I was more enthusiastic about the release because they chose songs that you don’t see on all the other “cover” or “tribute” records that seem to be about cashing in. After listening to the whole CD a few times, I “got it.” This is not meant to take the place of a Queensryche album. Instead, it is a record of a bunch of tunes that the band likes (you can hear it in their performance) and on more than one occasion, they Queensryche-ize it. Sometimes it is easier to see where someone is going if we know where they have been. I would suggest picking this one up and you will probably enjoy listening to it as much as the band enjoyed making it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Welcome To The Machine
It is a brave choice to cover a song that so many prog fans consider sacred but Queensryche do it justice. It works here because they do not do a straight copy but instead they Queensryche-ize the track and the saxophone added by Geoff Tate really adds a nice touch. If you are looking for a straight cover, look elsewhere. This is a metal twist on a familiar classic.
Heaven on Their Minds
This is something from Jesus Christ Superstar and unfortunately that means I have no clue what the original sounds like. What I can tell you is that the beat and presentation would have fit really nicely on Tribe. It has a metal feel and doesn’t have “musical” written all over it.
Almost Cut My Hair
If Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young took up metal (and had Geoff Tate) singing, then you would get this version of the song. It has the same “feel” as the original but without the hippy sounds that the original had. The vocals and guitar work here are really good and although I’m not a big CSN&Y fan, I find myself going back to this one often.
For What It's Worth
This is the first of the tunes that is closer to the original. It has an older sound and I don’t think it would be very easy to change this one without it becoming a different song altogether.
For the Love of Money
This O’Jays classic is given the funk metal treatment. It has the kind of sound that Glenn Hughes has been giving us for the last 15 years. It is very recognizable yet there is a nice metal edge put on it to keep us head bangers happy.
Innuendo
I know many people are going to get worked up about covering Queen. Hell, some people don’t really like the fact that Paul Rogers is fronting them but what these folks need to do is step back and enjoy the fact that Queen music is living. Does Geoff Tate sound like Freddie Mercury? Of course not! That is not the point. Queensryche does a great job paying homage to one of the greats. It’s not the original, but then again, it was not meant to be.
Neon Knights
This one sounds so close to the original that it sounds like Geoff Tate singing over the original masters. The vocal delivery is spot on and Eddie Jackson’s bass just roars throughout. Ronnie James Dio would be proud.
Synchronicity II
I like the fact that the boys pick something that would be an odd choice but judging by this eclectic group of tunes, this one fits right in. They do more of a straight cover here which is good because some songs can use a re-working and this is not one of them. The guitar work is exceptional; keeping very close to the original.
Red Rain
You can almost feel the fun the band is having on this track. They do a close version but they add little bits of the Queensryche sound here and there so what you end up with is a metal version of “Red Rain.” I really like this version and although the original by Peter Gabriel is still the best, this one comes as a really close second. I also think it is a brave choice of cover tunes because so many people have a real connection with it.
Odissea
Geoff Tate sings in Italian here and it sounds like an opera tune. This is definitely the odd track out but Tate always had a very operatic vocal style so having him sing something like this only makes sense. It won’t be something that I would pull out to listen to specifically but as part of this whole record, it is worth a listen.
Bullet The Blue Sky (Live)
Queensryche played this on the Q2K tour and they do a really good version. Somehow the political climate now seems more appropriate for the sentiment. This is a fantastic way to end the disc.
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