"The boys had officially decided to call themselves Queen (under the forceful persuasion of Freddie Mercury) by 1971, after finally choosing the bassist they wanted (John Deacon), and come 1972, they had completed and recorded most of the tracks to this album (though the album wouldn't initially be released until 1973.) Musically speaking, the unique characteristics of (70s) Queen (a/k/a "The Queen sound") that many came to know (e.g. the opera-rock, the outlandish whimsy, the strange juxtapositions of gender-bending/vaudeville/opera/metal) CAN be heard here, just in rawer, unpolished and underdeveloped terms. But other than that, the album is mostly a smorgasbord of classic heavy metal, psychedelia and progressive rock. But, despite it being a work in progress (for Queen, anyway), the album is strong and solid on it's own. That's probably one of the most [standard] statements ever made, but for the first time, I'm tempted to apply it here. I really think if Queen were not to evolve or make another album after this, they still would have been recognized as having sophisticated musical talent - whether by critics (puh!) or by other musicians. Ironically, that's one of the few 'gifts' I noticed Queen to possess: not totally reaching their peak in a certain setting, yet what they come up with, seems to be strong in character and golden on it's own. "Keep Yourself Alive" was the 'somewhat' popular track on here, as Brian May in particular is playing some crunchy, yet sophisticated licks on his self-made guitar. I agree with some of the reviewers below who said that after listening to this (as well as the rest of the album), one gets a sense that Queen possessed a certain overwhelming, indescribable intensity and talent that was WAY ahead of it's time - and this was only their debut - an album that only gave hints of what would blossom on later efforts. Freddie Mercury (unsurprisingly) gave a wonderfully forceful vocal performance on here. "Doing All Right" was originally co-written by then vocalist Tim Staffel (Note: during that time, the band was called Smile, not Queen.) Anyway, the song progresses nicely from soft, wistful guitar passage-filled verses, which feature ethereal and angelic falsettos from Freddie Mercury, leading into the chorus' featuring summery vocal harmonies, which are then later followed by unexpected guitar blasts from Brian May.Elsewhere, "Great King Rat" opens up with Brian May's trademark snaky guitar overdubs. The track features some pretty bold and daring lyrics (which were not uncommon with Queen) revolving around [explicit] metaphors, while "My Fairy King" gives subtle glimpses of the bizarreness that would be found in progressive rock tracks such as "The March Of The Black Queen," and later "Bohemian Rhapsody." Features some pretty bizarre, and arty lyrics, which feature many references to astrology and mythology, and delivered in Freddie Mercury's trademark seductive, gender-bending, Divaesque vocals. "Liar" seems to get much praise by many of the reviewers here, and it's hard for me to disagree. A theatrical, almost operatic track, it manages to combine convincing, thought-provoking lyrics, intelligent dynamics and shifting in musical atmospherics, and Freddie Mercury in particular is raving it up on his vocals - shifting effortlessly from plaintive stylings, to genre-bending, oversexed moans, to forceful, passionate pleading and everything else, which I found highly impressive. There's also a section in the middle which features some exotic percussion, vocal chants and other atmospherics which seem utterly spiritual. Moving along to "Modern Times Rock N' Roll." This to me reminds me not of Led Zeppelin, but of some of the music that was labeled as proto-punk back in the 70s. In fact, to bring some attention to the former, I really don't think Queen has much in common with Led Zeppelin as many others seem to claim (I was particularly offended and infuriated by comments made by some of those half-witted critics for the Rolling Stone regarding Queen.) The many years I've been listening to Queen, I was never once reminded of Zeppelin. I would encourage many other reviewers not to buy too much into those comparisons, as to compare one band to the other is like comparing apples and oranges. "Son & Daughter" has a sinister glam-metal feel to it, especially in the slow, seductive heavy blasts from Brian's guitar, fronted by Freddie's venomous vocals. "Jesus" is the religious-infused closer to the album, which features some clomping chords from Brian (mostly minor chords), while Freddie gives a passionate vocal performance full of conviction. The track also sounds like it could have come from a Broadway musical. "Seven Seas Of Rhye" is a short, instrumental and somewhat alternate version of the full track found on the following album _Queen II_. The bonus cut called "Mad The Swine" is a keeper. I'm surprised this didn't make the original cut. A percussion-heavy track which also features some religious lyrics.An excellent, prestigious and often overlooked debut. It's probably not best recommended for the uninitiated Queen fan to start out with, but for the Queen fan who owns a few of their albums (especially their more essential ones), and has interest in experiencing the roots of the band. Conversely, it's also recommended for the listener who appreciates quality rock music, added with some bizarre and sophisticated elements."
The Greatest METAL Debut Ever???
T. Kasuboski | Winneconne, Wisconsin United States | 01/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is far too easy when discussing QUEEN's first LP, to throw tons of adjectives around describing the album's brilliance. I was quite stunned the first time I heard this album. As a rabid metal fan, I was skeptical about Queen. I considered them pompous, glammy, and too commercial. That was BEFORE I listened to the first three Queen albums(Queen, Queen II, and Sheer Heart Attack). It is unfortunate that there are only two or three songs off the first three LP's that really get any steady airplay. I think it is for this reason that many metal heads are unaware of how awesome early Queen was, and particularily, how rad Queen's debut was. Brian May's guitar work on "Queen" (1973) is arguably the most exciting post-Hendrix guitar work of the 70's. May's guitar is layered and blended, infusing classical, jazz, funk, and beautiful acoustic passages, over molten metal fretwork. It is easy to hear May's influence on Tipton and Downing(Judas Priest), Roth(Scorpions), Schenker(UFO), and Y. Malmsteen. Mercury's vocals are equally dynamic and always enthralling, as he weaves complex tales as well as pure rock lyrics. There isn't one weak moment on Queen's debut, thus making it essential for all rock fans. One could spend decades listening to this debut. It offers infinite enjoyment. So if you are a rock fan, take a chance and buy this album. If you are a metal head but do not yet own Queen's debut, get it quick, as you are missing out on probably the SINGLE MOST INFLUENTIAL METAL ALBUM OF ALL TIME, rivaled only by the innovations of early Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and Led Zeppelin!!! So roll a joint, sit back, crank it up, and enjoy some 'modern times rock 'n' roll' !!!!"
Amazing Debut CD
K. Brown | Walnut, Ca USA | 03/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Queen's first album, and one of their finest. The opening "Keep Yourself Alive" track is absolutely one of the most powerful (and empowering!) tunes I have ever heard; great to wake up to, great to work out to. Of all the songs on this album, "Keep Yourself Alive" seems to have gotten the most radio play on the classic rock stations, and rightfully so.That is not to say that whole album isn't solid; the entire CD is one of the best debut albums ever. That 70s "progressive rock" aura really shines in songs like "My Fairy King" and "Liar."Other underrated gems include "King Rat," a thundering cynical ode, yet bearing the same energy as "Keep Yourself Alive," and the instrumental "Seven Seas of Rhye," which is a hint of a more thorough and satisfying version of the tune that winds up on their following album "Queen II."Queen was such an impressive group that you owe it to yourself not to settle for any of their "Greatest Hits" compilations. Every album up to their 1978 release "Jazz" are excellent. This is a good pick to start the collection."
K. Brown | 05/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I own many Queen cd's, and this was probably the one I appreciated the least out of my Queen collection. But some 2 years later, I started listening to it more after wearing out Q2, Sheer Heart Attack and A Night at the Opera. It started growing on me big time. "Keep Yourself Alive", was the hit of the album, but honestly is my least favorite of the disc. "Doing All Right", is soft/heavy, and beautiful. "Great King Rat", is regal Queen at their finest. "My Fairy King", is probably my favorite or second favorite on here, as it shows Queen at the progressive rock leanings, as they began to develop and mature as the years went on. It mixes Hard Rock, Classical, and Opera like influences and you can hear Freddie's flamboyance throughout. "Liar", another great track and as well as "fairy king", is more like a complex epic. "The Night Comes Down", is soft. "Modern Times...", is a 2-minute fast paced heavy rocker sung by Roger Taylor. "Son & Daughter", is a glam-heavy metal song with Freddie's androgynous and venomous vocals. Great stuff. "Jesus". Great Tune. It sounds theatrical and as if it came from a broadway musical.Overall, this was a great start for Queen, and it gave hints at what the band would become later on.thanks."
K. Brown | 06/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sadly, Queen has always been merited by their FM friendly hits rather than by the qualities of their albums. Believe me, there is much more to Queen than what comes out of radio waves or VH 1! Rather than buying greatest hits compilations you should obtain studio albums that cover various stages of their prolific career. Queen I is in this respect among the essential first. "Queen" is a heavy metal album, and a defining one at that. Brian May's guitar is brutal throughout. Roger Taylor's drumming is frantic, yet to the point. Freddie Mercury's qualities go without saying and John Deacon's bass is fat and steady in the best John Paul Jones and Entwistle tradition. The production is of course not as crisp as any of the later albums, but this is not necessarily a drawback. Gives the tunes all the more a rougher, livelier edge. The album has this undefinable energetic, youthful and earnest pulse to it. Makes your blood boil! The songs: "Keep yourself alive" - catchy hard rock anthem and a stage favorite for years. Addictive guitar riff!!"Doing Allright" - Angelic voice and piano from Freddie during opening bars serve as ominous "quiet before the storm" passage as Brian May furisously roars in with axe attacks all over the place. "Great King Rat" - Heavy metal crunch with numerous themes and mother riffs. Heroic Mercury."My Fairy King" - Art pop-rock. Dreamy listening sensation as piano sounds, drums and guitars effortlessly seem to melt together towards the end of the track."Liar" - This is my favorite Queen song...period. A loud mixture of styles, but with feet solidly planted on heavy metal soil. THIS IS WHAT QUEEN WAS ALL ABOUT! "Night Comes Down" - This acoustic ballad kicks off and ends with eerie acoustic guitar runs. The ballad makes a nice balancing contrast to the otherwise loud album."Modern Times Rock'N'Roll - This track is every bit as wild as "Sheer Heart Attack" on News of the World. Fast and furious. Great guitar solos."Son And Daughter" - Led Zep like Heavy Blues tune with one of the finest guitar riffs in rock history"Jesus" - March like hard rock tribute to Christ. Fast instrumental mid section. "Seven Seas of Rhye" - A short prelude to the UK top 10 hit featured on Queen II.Essential! PLAY LOUD!!"