music / Reviews

Queensryche – Take Cover

January 5, 2008 | Posted by Jesse Coy

Take Cover
Rhino Records

Some people don’t like cover albums. I’m not one of those people. Cover albums are a lot of fun as far as I’m concerned. Now, this one has been out now since mid-November, but it never got coverage, so I’m here to cover Take Cover (ha). I’d requested this one from the label, and hadn’t heard back from them, so I assumed I wouldn’t be getting a copy, but was surprised to get a copy on maybe the 16th of December. Well, I was on my way to Jamaica, so I didn’t have time to do it before I left. Better late than never, here’s the skinny on this one.

And here’s my thing with Queensryche… Operation: Mindcrime is a favorite album. Empire had its moments. Then, with each successive album, I liked the material less and less. I found the band growing blander and blander. When the sequel to Operation: Mindcrime appeared, I was curious. That one has its detractors, but I’m not one of them. I loved the album. I thought the sequel was on par with the original (not quite as good, but close).

This bit of back story relates to the band’s latest album of covers in that I found a good amount of the energy that I saw on Operation: Mindcrime’s sequel carrying over to Take Cover. I’ve seen reviews saying that in general (not necessarily for this album) Geoff’s voice has shown some wear over the years. I disagree, at least in a studio format. I think he sounds in top form on this one.

As for the covers, there’s a nice range here. You have your two classic rock juggernauts, from Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” to Black Sabbath’s “Neon Knights.” I really like the original versions of both songs, and Queensrcyhe does no disservice here. Musically, they’re pretty faithful, but with Queensryche’s unique stamp. “Synchronicity II” (originally done by the Police) is just a bit heavier, which I like, and then there’s “For What It’s Worth,” which Ozzy actually redid not too long ago. A nice surprise was “Heaven on Their Minds,” circa Jesus Christ Superstar.

There are a number of songs I don’t quite recognize, or only vaguely recognize (such as “For the Love of Money”). There’s a live version of “Bullet the Blue Sky,” by U2, though I’m not familiar with the original, plus an orchestrated song, “Odissea,” which Geoff sings in Italian (confessing of Italian in the CD notes that “I don’t speak a word of it”).

Basically, I don’t think there are too many cover albums out there that win over totally new fans for a band. It’s a bit of indulgence on the bands’ part to issue these albums of cover tunes, but also a bit of a treat for fans of the band. Geoff has quite a distinctive voice, coupled with Queensryche’s style (which to me has shifted over the years, but has been pulled a bit more into focus, as far as I’m concerned), so I enjoyed this one. If you like the band, especially focusing more on their metal edge as opposed to Tribes, or Geoff’s solo release, I think you’ll like this one.

The 411: Once more, this is an album of covers. Beyond the actual selection of what’s covered, and I like the range, the track placement fits quite nicely. Queensryche, who throughout the 90’s and early 00’s were on a down slide as far as I’m concerned, have begun to regain ground, and this album of covers fits nicely onto that path.
Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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Jesse Coy
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