Queen: Freddie Mercury (vocals, piano); Roger Taylor (vocals, drums, percussion, background vocals); Brian May (guitar, background vocals); John Deacon (keyboards, bass guitar).
Although QUEEN II borders on heavy metal (it wasn't until their next release, SHEER HEART ATTACK, that they began experimenting with other musical forms), the songwriting and playing is still top-notch. Queen was criticized by some in the press upon the release of QUEEN II, since there was simply nothing to compare it to--it encompassed glam, progressive, and metal, with a healthy dose of studio wizardry.
QUEEN II contained the band's first official UK hit--the mystical "Seven Seas of Rhye"--and, as on their debut a year prior, the lesser-known material is just as delightful. Singer Freddie Mercury and guitarist Brian May contribute one lovely ballad each--"White Queen (As It Began)" and "Some Day One Day." The latter does a splendid job of breaking up this otherwise continuously hard-rocking album. Other intriguing titles include "Ogre Battle," "The March of the Black Queen," and a strong bonus b-side--the bluesy "See What a Fool I've Been."
Q (Magazine) (p.119) - "[W]ith operatic vocals and multitracked guitars crashing about the place, and a handful of soaring songs popping up among them -- not least 'Seven Seas Of Rhye,' their first real hit."
Q (Magazine) (p.118) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Brian May brings a scientific precision to his guitar playing on 1974's wonderfully over-the-top Queen II..."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.99) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "'Ogre Battle' crunches the speakers like full-on Zeppelin..."