Title: “Take Cover”
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 11/13/2007
Genre: Progressive Hard Rock
There is a part of me that grumbles every time I discover that a band is planning on presenting their fans with an album of covers because I look at the reasons behind the CD’s release with two different viewpoints. My first feeling is that of hesitation based on the thoughts that for some reason the band is copping out delivering original material and the second is that of overall curiosity about how it might actually turn out. It would seem as though cover albums have become quite the standard issue from established bands these days and sometimes they are quite interesting while at others are rather arduous listens. Over the past couple of years we have seen no less than eight such releases and I am only going by the ones I can name off the top of my head. One band that I felt would never do such a thing to their fans is Progressive Metal legends Queensryche – and yet here we are listening to “Take Cover”, the bands own hat tossed into the cover album mix. The Queensryche effort actually delivers some interesting tunes and the band explains each one out as to their reason for including it. Like the other albums of its kind there are some strong points and some weak ones and while we probably disagree on some of the points that follow here is my take on what I heard. “Welcome To The Machine” was a perfect opener for the release with the Ryche bringing additional mood to the Pink Floyd classic track.
It’s followed by “Heaven On Their Minds”, a tune from the Broadway Play “Jesus Christ Superstar” and this is one of the best tracks on the album. Tate does his best Judas Iscariot for this one (as that is who was singing it in the play where Ian Gillan of Deep Purple portrayed Jesus Christ), and shows that the singer would be a promising contender in the role should he ever have interest in doing something like this. Queen is giving some homage for “Innuendo” but no matter how good Tate is as a singer it’s always tough when pulling off stuff that Freddie Mercury did. A dead on rendition of the Black Sabbath tune “Neon Knights” needs no real praise since it’s an all around winning track done par excellence and the same applies for “Red Rain” by Peter Gabriel. The band adds levels of Hard Rock vibe to an already driving tune on this one as well as the Police’s “Synchronicity II”. I admit it was a little weird hearing the guys knock these out but I found it more interesting to read that Tate never really knew too much about the tracks that were literally radio staples during the time that they first came out. To his defense Queensryche was a very busy Metal band during these years and I am sure that little attention was paid to mainstream Rock radio while they toured consistently.
They class it up a little bit with the inclusion of the all Italian “Odissea” and it really showcases how good Geoff’s voice still is. Perhaps we will see him doing more of this kind of stuff in the future or with new Queensryche material. The album closes with a very long live track by U2 on “Bullet The Blue Sky”, and while I love the track when Bono and friends do it, I felt the Ryche let me down with it. The tune in the live sense offers Bono the chance to become a public speaker and get on the soapbox as he lines out the ills of the world. Tate does a similar thing on this one and while he might be someone who is very politically astute I would have rather heard two songs as opposed to this one running for some ten minutes. The riff of this track is very repetitive which ends up boring me in the end. You might feel different about it and perhaps this would be your own favorite on the release. I’ve left enough out for you to dig into this on your own but I did feel when it completed that Queensryche had actually done a pretty good job of it. Now with this little experiment out of the way they can get down to the business of original material and will hopefully follow up their “Operation: Mindcrime 2” with some unforgettable Progressive Hard Rock. Only time will tell.
1. Welcome To The Machine – Pink Floyd
2. Heaven On Their Minds – Jesus Christ Superstar
3. Almost Cut My Hair – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
4. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
5. For The Love Of Money – The O’Jays
6. Innuendo – Queen
7. Neon Knights – Black Sabbath
8. Synchonicity II – The Police
9. Red Rain – Peter Gabriel
10. Odissea – Carlo Marrale/Cheope
11. Bullet The Blue Sky (live) – U2
Official Website: www.queensryche.com