Queensryche – Take Cover (2007, Rhino)
- Welcome To The Machine – (Pink Floyd)
- Heaven On Their Minds – (Jesus Christ Superstar)
- Almost Cut My Hair – (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
- For What It’s Worth – (Buffalo Springfield)
- For The Love Of Money – (The O’Jays)
- Innuendo – (Queen)
- Neon Knights – (Black Sabbath)
- Synchronicity II – (The Police)
- Red Rain – (Peter Gabriel)
- Odissea – (Carlo Marrale & Cheope)
- Bullet The Blue Sky (live) – (U2)
Geoff Tate – Lead Vocals
Scott Rockenfield – Drums
Eddie Jackson – Bass
Mike Stone – Guitars
Michael Wilton – Guitars
Producer: Kenny Nemes
Total Time – 55:31
Whenever I come across a covers album, or cover songs, I get a little annoyed. Maybe it’s all the covers that made it onto a lot of late ’80s/early ’90s albums. Maybe it’s the excessive amount of tribute albums in the late ’90s. Maybe it’s current trend to make an album of covers, giving bands a quick product to promote. I just don’t like these types of albums…..but TAKE COVER is done really well.
I found out about this project this past summer when I caught Queensryche in concert opening for Heaven & Hell and Alice Cooper. In the middle of their set, Queensryche did a cool rendition of Pink Floyd’s ‘Welcome To The Machine’, complete with Geoff Tate on saxophone! After that performance, I knew I had to hear the rest.
The record starts with ‘Welcome To The Machine’ and it is still excellent, Queensryche really doing the track justice. I never got into Jesus Christ Superstar but for some strange reason, I know some of the tunes. ‘Heaven On Their Minds’ bores me but it’s another example of just how good Geoff Tate’s voice is. The band goes to the late ’60s/early ’70s for material with ‘Almost Cut My Hair’ and ‘For What It’s Worth’. ‘Almost…’ is pretty much straight forward to the CSN&Y version but, again, Tate’s voice sets the song apart from the original. A totally different arrangement changes ‘For What It’s Worth’ and makes it more in the Queensryche vein. I’m so used to hearing the original that I’m both shocked and intrigued by the changes.
I like the band’s take on The O’Jays’ classic ‘For The Love Of Money’. It’s another song that’s pretty straight forward to the original except that it’s “Rocked up” with the electric guitars. My favorite track on this album is ‘Innuendo’. I’m a big Queen fan and I’ve always found many Queen covers to pale in comparison to the originals. We are talking about Queen here, virtuosos at their craft. Queensryche does a superb job of keeping up with the original, it’s Geoff Tate’s best performance on the album but I think Mike Stone and Michael Wilton have Brian’s May’s guitar work down pat. Another spot on cover is Black Sabbath’s ‘Neon Knights’. It sounds almost like the same cut with only the vocals replaced! The solo is very good and the guitar tone is almost dead on to Tony Iommi’s, a very well done song. ‘Synchronicity II’ will be remembered by children of the ’80s as a really rockin’ Police track. I’m glad Queensryche chose this song, the could have gone with a more popular Police tune but they went for one that doesn’t get as much run almost 25 years later. Tate’s voice lacks a little of Sting’s original grit but Geoff hits the highs very well.
Peter Gabriel’s ‘Red Rain’ is another deep track chosen by the band and it comes off really well. This song would have easily fit on HEAR IN THE NOW FRONTIER (1997), Q2K (2000), or TRIBE (2003). I like the echo effect on the vocal, Gabriel does the same thing. ‘Odissea’ is impressive in that it’s Opera and in Italian. tate imoresses again with his versatility and his ability to sing in another language when he doesn’t actually speak it! The last cut is a long live version of U2’s ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’. I’m not sure if this song fits with the band but they seem to pull it off well. It’s very long though.
If you are a fan of Queensryche, you’ll pick this up and like it. If you are a casual fan, you might want to sink your teeth into the band’s excellent back catalogue first but this CD will give you an idea of the band’s sound. As far as covers albums go, it’s very good: the vocals are perfect, the musicianship is top notch as is the production. There are a few twists and different takes on some songs but that keeps it all a bit fresh, doesn’t it? Ranks right behind the Shaw/Blades record, and ahead of the two Tesla covers discs, for best covers album of 2007. Favorite tracks: ‘Innuendo’, ‘Welcome To The Machine’, ‘Neon Knights’, ‘Synchronicity II’, and ‘Red Rain’.