When Queen debuted in 1973, their mix of hammering jams and folksy asides was closer to Zeppelin than to the stadium-killing theatricality they would later perfect. This revelatory reissue — one of five Queen albums being rereleased with BBC sessions, live cuts, B sides and more — highlights the band’s raw roots, particularly on a series of 1971 demos. On those tracks Freddie Mercury already belts like the superstar he’d become, but the instrumental intensity nearly upstages him: Brian May’s guitar screams through bolder and longer versions of “Jesus” and “Liar” while the rhythm section gallops in tight formation. Later LPs are more refined, but this two-disc set is a compelling portrait of vehement and nearly violent art.
Listen to Queen’s “Keep Yourself Alive (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)” Remastered: