Ogre Battle

Song Review by

Although they would tackle a variety of style and musical textures over the year, Queen began its life pursuing combination of metal and prog elements usually dominated by fantasy lyrics. An interesting sample of this early style is "Ogre Battle," a stomping tune that would be perfectly at home on a Ronnie James Dio-era Rainbow album. The lyrics feel like they were lifted directly from a J.R.R. Tolkien novel as they chronicle a battle with a race of ogres: "The ogre men are coming out/From the two-way mirror mountain/They’re running up behind and they’re coming all about/Can’t go east ‘cause you gotta go south." The music crossbreeds pop and rock elements, using fanciful, fluttery pop phrasing in the verses to put across the verbose lyrics with speed but taking on a punchier, rock-inflected tone for the chorus to give it shot of power that balances the song’s purely pop elements. Queen’s recording of "Ogre Battle" pushes the song into hard-rock overdrive thanks to an arrangement that starts with psychedelic backwards tape loops that give way to a powerhouse sound driven by choppy, churning guitar riffs and pounding drums. The group enriches the sound with a dense layer of high-pitched backing vocals that add sweetness to balance out the song’s metallic content and Freddie Mercury completes the song with an exuberant vocal that captures the excitement of the lyrics. The result was a densely layered rocker that pointed the way towards future Queen studio epics like "The Prophet’s Song" and "Bring Back That Leroy Brown."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Queen II 1974 Hollywood 4:08
The Crown Jewels 1998 Hollywood 4:07
Deep Cuts 1973-1976 2011 Universal 4:14
Queen 40: Limited Edition Collector's Box Set, Vol. 1 2011 Hollywood / Hollywood Records (UK) 4:08
Queen on Air 2016 BBC / A Bbc Recording / Hollywood 4:40