It’s amusing that the liner notes on this album proudly declare that ‘…nobody played synthesizer’. Despite this claim, it’s sad that a band comprised of such good musicians depended on synths too much in the latter half of their career.
This album, their debut, relies on the heavy metal and progressive rock of their British contemporaries, without a promise of the songwriting genius that Freddie Mercury would become. Brian May is on top form though, machine-gunning riffs to sit between the album’s other highlight – Roger Taylor’s drumming.
Freddie Mercury is resigned to a pretty average vocalist on the album – albeit one with a good operatic range – but again, there’s no hint of what he would become. Although, there are some backing vocals that hint towards the layered harmonies that would later become the trademark Queen sound.
It seems as the band was far more concerned with style over substance at this point in their career – as a telling example, John Deacon is credited on the sleeve as Deacon John because the rest of the band thought it would make him sound more interesting.
The band must have seen something in Seven Seas Of Rhye – probably the strength of the great piano riff – as they include an early instrumental version of it as the last track on this album, before including a more fleshed-out version, including lyrics, as the final track on their second album.
Hit: Seven Seas Of Rhye (Instrumental)
Hidden Gem: Keep Yourself Alive