5 out of 5 Stars!
This is the DEFINITIVE Queen! I’m sure many people will disagree, but in my opinion, the band produced nothing more “forward thinking” and breathtaking and inspirational than this in the “hard rock” arena, especially considering the era in which it was released.
Sure, A Night At The Opera sold many more units and is considered by the majority The Masterpiece by Queen. But that album (as generally solid as it was) is typically rated “brilliant” based on one or two truly magnificent tracks (such as the outstanding classic “Bohemian Rhapsody”), whereas, to me, Queen II from start to finish, whether starting on the “Black Side” or the “White Side,” is the true (and often overlooked) MAGNUM OPUS of this group.
Considering that I often skip over tracks on every Queen album except this one says a whole lot. I can even tolerate “Funny How Love Is” (usually rated as the worst track by many reviewers), unlike Queen tracks of later years, since the song truly seems to somehow “fit” among the remainder of the album, probably since I’ve worn down the grooves of the various vinyl versions I went through since the ’70s and I would be lost without it—no pun intended, but that song is “grooved” in my memory with the remainder of the track listings, and the album would seem empty without it.
Anyway, with the linked “Procession” and “Father to Son,” “White Queen (As It Began),” “Some Day, One Day,” and “The Loser in the End,” the album’s “White Side” is nothing short of stunning, whereas the album’s more bombastic “Black Side,” leading off with the jaw-dropping “Ogre Battle,” which flawlessly flows into the trio of Prog-oriented tracks “The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke,” “Nevermore,” and the gigantic, awesome “The March of the Black Queen,” plus the aforementioned “Funny How Love Is” along with “Seven Seas of Rhye,” left a profound and lasting impression on me back in 1974, and even today, the layered guitars, the driving rhythms, the piano flourishes, and (of course) the grand and spellbinding vocals send chills of excitement up my spine. Not only did Queen’s songwriting and lyrical content take a giant leap forward from its debut album, but the cover art featured probably the most enduring image of the band and perfectly matched the majestic content of the music.
Therefore, Queen II is GENIUS, I tell you, no doubt about it—pure and unadulterated (and underrated) GENIUS!