Queen – Flash Gordon (Island Records)

“He’s just a man, with a man’s courage, you know he’s nothing but a man, who can never fail”

You might wonder why I’m reviewing the soundtrack to a somewhat forgotten 80s science fiction film. Well believe it or not it’s been over 30 years since Flash Gordon came out, and now this Queen masterpiece has been re-issued with bonus live tracks. If you’re of a certain age, it takes nothing more than that open thumping bass intro to send shivers down your spine. You’re a kid again, high on Star Wars and sugary cereal, The Empire Strikes back hadn’t come out yet, what did you need? “FLASH!…he’ll save everyone of us”!

Yes, the movie was over-the-top high camp silliness, but it did it very well, and Queen did an equally high camp job with the soundtrack. Their music would be matched with films again in ‘Highlander’ but that was just a couple of songs they did for the film. On Flash Gordon they did the whole soundtrack, and it was ground breaking for its time. In fact, Liam Howlett of The Prodigy has sampled it, and spoken about how he was influenced by the synth sounds.

Queen could always perform different styles and on Flash Gordon they got to do ambient mood pieces, triumphant stadium rock, interludes, American disco football –  it’s all there. Seamlessly woven in with wonderful hammy dialogue from the film; Max Von Sydow’s “Foolish Earthlings, hurling their bodies into the void…” I mean, Oscar worthy or what? And who can forget Brian ‘Shouty Shouty’ Blessed’s memorable performance as Prince Vultan? “Who wants to live Forever”? indeed.

In terms of Operatic space rock, this is as good as it gets. As awesome as they are, Muse could learn a thing or two from this album. Not to take it all too seriously for one. It brings a warm glow, everytime I hear it. It is a burning spear of righteousness hitting it’s target, and if it doesn’t make your heart leap, then you sir, are dead inside
Release date: 13th June 2011

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