Queensryche – Take Cover
Rhino Records (11/13/07)
Metal / Rock
In what has become the “trendy” thing to do with established rock acts, Queensrÿche has put together an album of cover songs—presumably songs from bands that have influenced or otherwise had some sort of effect on the group.
Make no mistake, Take Cover is one of the stronger cover albums to come out over the past decade or so. And given the fact that Queensrÿche’s last few albums of original material have been lacking, it doesn’t hurt for the band to put something out with established songs so fans can focus, once again, on the musical craftsmanship of the group.
What you have here is basically a mixed bag of sorts—there’s a couple of gems, some fairly good material, a few surprises and, unfortunately, a few head-scratchers, too.
The band does a great job with album opener, Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” — everything, from the music to the vocals, just clicks on all levels. Lead singer Geoff Tate sounds like he’s legitimately having fun here, so it’s a good way to start things off. The band also does a hell of a job with Peter Gabriel’s “Red Rain” (one of the strongest songs on the album, and a real surprise as Tate seems content to take a more subdued approach as opposed to forcing his voice to soar), and ends things off with a fairly honorable recreation of U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky” (recorded live in concert).
As for the good, the band does a surprisingly good job with “Synchronicity II” (The Police) and “Almost Cut My Hair” (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), the latter with some killer guitar work.
The band takes a couple of chances on unique songs, to mixed results. “Heaven on Their Minds” (from Jesus Christ Superstar) is fantastic — Tate was born to do this kind of song. Queen’s “Innuendo” works, but barely, and seems more than a little forced at times. There was at least 10 better, off-the-wall Queen songs to attempt, but Queensrÿche makes a go of it nonetheless. However, the Italian-language “Odissa” comes off as a nothing more than a masturbatory excuse for Tate to “go opera,” and it completely falls flat. The same with Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” — the band tries to make the song its own, but ruins all the nuance and hook that drew people to the original.
The rest is what it is, not really filler, but not really noteworthy, either. From the O’Jays’ “For the Love of Money” to Black Sabbath’s “Neon Knights”, the band gives the effort, but the result is just sort of there.
This isn’t Queensrÿche’s best album, but it certainly isn’t its worst. In the end, the best thing Take Cover does is remind people of what the band could be. Listening to “Almost Cut My Hair” or “Red Rain” takes you back to the glory-days of Operation: Mindcrime and Empire. Sadly, there’s still some material on here that could remind you of Q2K. I recommend this album, but then, for those of you not familiar with the band, I’d tell you to go pick up Operation: Mindcrime instead.