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Queensryche: Take Cover

Queensryche jump on the covers bandwagon with their latest release Take Cover. Taking a quick look at the choice of songs here, you might do a double take on more than a few numbers-Queensryche doing CSN&Y, Buffalo Springfield, The O'Jays, U2, Peter Gabriel, and The Police? That's right people, alongside some understandable choices like Black Sabbath, Queen, and Pink Floyd, the band decided to tackle some personal favorites that might seem odd choices for most progressive metal bands. Does it work? Well, some of these tunes do, some don't, but in the end you'll be the judge. Here's my take on them for what it's worth.

"Welcome to the Machine" by Pink Floyd breathes with plenty of atmosphere and passion, and was a good pick for the band and a great opener to this set, with Geoff Tate really singing his ass off and the rest of the band really hitting the vibe of the original recording but giving it their own spin. The Jesus Christ Superstar classic "Heaven on Their Minds" is a hard rocking success that sees the band locked in a funky groove while Tate rages over the top (images of Ian Gillen on the original recording come to mind), ultimately making this one of the CD's real surprises. The same can't be said for "Almost Cut My Hair", the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young track, which, despite the fact that Queensryche rock it up considerably, they sound like they are trying to be a tad too slick on this one, and you almost miss Neil Young's raging yet sloppy guitar solos. The acoustic guitars come out for the Buffalo Springfield classic "For What It's Worth", and it sort of works except for the fact that the band changes the chorus up a bit, making it sound somewhat awkward and robbing this classic of some of its identity. Otherwise, they do a good job on this one. The funk/R&B hit "For the Love of Money" by the O'Jays is like a different beast, with Tate and Co. snarling off some savvy vocals and crunchy riffs, making a fun party song now a fun song for metal heads.

"Innuendo" works from a musical standpoint, as the band captures the Queen power, but Tate just sounds uncomfortable trying to mimic Freddie Mercury, and at times it's almost painful to hear. He fares much better doing his Dio impression on the Black Sabbath classic "Neon Knights", with Michael Wilton & Mike Stone laying down the crushing guitar riffs to perfection. The Police hit "Synchronicity II" is given a harder, metallic edge, and Tate seems to be having a blast on this one adding his soaring pipes to Sting's majestic lyrics. Peter Gabriel's "Red Rain" is given a real moody turn here, and quite frankly was a real gamble for the band but it works. Tate is restrained and emotional, relying less on histrionics and more on letting his natural voice settle into a husky mid-range that works wonders. The singer gets to tackle Italian lyrics on the Carlo Marrale/Cheope song "Odissea", and while he hits all the operatic high notes just fine (it might be about time for him to do an album of material like this one perhaps?), this song almost sounds out of place in this set. Their version of U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky" was actually recorded live, and sounds just as powerful as the first time you heard U2 do this song many years ago.

Overall, Take Cover is an ambitious project in that Queensryche obviously are going to leave fans puzzled by their choices of cover songs, but for the most part their decision not to take the easy road here is worth some kudos. As I said earlier, it doesn't all work, but most of what you will hear on Take Cover will warrant some repeat listens, and that's more than you can say about many covers albums that get released these days.


Track Listing
1. Welcome To The Machine
2. Heaven On Their Minds
3. Almost Cut My Hair
4. For What It s Worth
5. For The Love Of Money
6. Innuendo
7. Neon Knights
8. Synchronicity II
9. Red Rain
10. Odissea
11. Bullet The Blue Sky (Live)

Added: December 23rd 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Queensryche Website
Hits: 3683
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Queensryche: Take Cover
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-12-23 12:42:00
My Score:

During sound checks on Queensryche's monumental Operation: Mindcrime I and II Tour, the band would often play songs not on the set list including other artists' tunes just for a change of pace. And so an album unexpectedly was hatched.

Take Cover includes 11 songs, most of them sufficiently Queensryche-ified. Logical selections include Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine," Queen's "Innuendo" and Black Sabbath's "Neon Knights," while "Odissea" from an Italian opera is a perfect match for vocalist Geoff Tate's massive pipes. Less obvious choices? How about David Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair," "Heaven on Their Minds" from "Jesus Christ Superstar," "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield or The O'Jays' "For the Love of Money." The band turns in faithful covers of The Police's "Synchronicity II" and Peter Gabriel's "Red Rain," but it is the stunning live version of U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky" during which Tate incessantly rallies against U.S. President George W. Bush that's the clincher. In the liner notes, Tate admits he doesn't know when or where it was recorded, but he seems understandably proud of the result.

This is absolutely non-essential, but a fun listen nonetheless. And worth noting (barely): Drummer Scott Rockenfield has apparently shortened his name to "Scott Rock," and bassist Eddie Jackson now goes by "Edbass."



» Reader Comments:

Queensryche: Take Cover
Posted by Jordan Farquharson on 2012-07-06 21:08:48
My Score:

Actually, Carl Anderson played Judas in another version. The name you're looking for is Murray Head.

Queensryche: Take Cover
Posted by The Eucalyptus on 2008-01-10 10:40:51
My Score:


I'm having a great time with this CD. Especially the Heaven On Thier Minds, Neon Knights, and Money tunes. They just rock. Odissea has become an immediate favorite to belt out in the shower. Sorry that might be some TMI. Regardless this is a really fun CD to throw in the player at home or in the car.




Queensryche: Take Cover
Posted by dirk kennedy on 2007-11-27 16:19:14
My Score:

On the subject of "heaven on their minds". The truth is that Ian Gillan is not the singer on that song. Gillan Played Jesus. The song is sung by Carl Anderson playing Judas. Am I the only one who noticed that the vocal mix is almost non-existent?




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