A natural progression for a group on the rise to the top
Barry Knobel | Melbourne, Australia | 08/09/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a fan of Queen's flamboyant mixture of hard rock and exquisite melodic diversity, then this album is hard to surpass. It rocks out from the very beginning, with Freddie's falsetto punctuations backed by Brian May's hyperactive ultra-heavy guitar stylings on "Brighton Rock" - a favourite when played live, always good as a showcase for May's extended improvisation. Then you get the hit single "Killer Queen" and you know you're in for one helluva good record. The medley that follows "Tenement - Flick - Lily" shows Queen at their best, merging one genre of music seemlessly into the next. "Now I'm Here" brings us back to the good-old heavy rock they excelled at, and you can hear them during the outchoruses propelling themselves on, a la Stones ('go go go Little Queenie'). The album gets even more diverse as it goes along, ranging from melodramatic opera (In The Lap Of The Gods I) to outright heavy metal (Stone Cold Crazy! , incidentally covered by Metallica in 1991 as an homage to Queen), followed by an even more eclectic mix of styles - check out "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" for Queen's own nod to the Andrew Sisters and such. The album continues with Brian's tender and emotionally stirring march "She Makes Me" (backed by the 'Stormtroopers In Stilletos'), and finishes off with Freddie's rousing singalong "In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited"). All in all, a fantastic effort from those glam-rock gods - a natural progression from the outstanding "Queen II", and a logical precursor to the ever-popular "A Night At The Opera". A true Queen gem: definitely for Queen fans, or for anyone who's out for a good musical box around the ears."
kingofrock379 | New York | 04/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This right here is classic Queen, Sheer Heart Attack is without a doubt their best album of all time, not one bad song, not one note out of place. Freddie Mercury's amazing, Brian May's guitar playing is fantastic, and the rhythm section of John Decon and Roger Taylor is great. The masterpiece opens with a masterpiece, Brighton Rock. In my opinion that's one of their best songs ever, everything about it is perfect, especially the guitar solo. One of their signature songs Killer Queen is next, I'm sure you've heard this song before. Tenement Funster is a great song sung by drummer Roger Taylor. Flick of the Wrist is a piano based song with great guitar, great background vocals, and Freddie's vocals are excellent. Lily of the Valley is a short ballad, it's actually really good too. Now I'm Here is another one of Queen's rockin signature songs, so there's nothing really to be said about this song besides the point that it's great. In the Lap of the Gods is another amazing song displaying the talents of the band. It also shows their ability to write extremely beautiful pieces of music and it shows how great Freddie Mercury's voice really was. Stone Cold Crazy is pure metal, it is heavy fast and the band sounds great. Brian May's solo is something to be remembered. Dear Friends is a delicate minute long ballad, featuring Freddie on piano and the band supplying background vocals. Misfire is John Decon's song in the sense that he played almost all of the guitars on it, it shows how talented and underrated he wa as a musician. Bring Back that Leroy Brown is a 40's style swing song, showing Queen's versitility as a band. She Makes Me is an upbeat acoustic song, it's actually very good. In the Lap of the Gods...Revisited is another excellent song. Then on the remastered version there is a remix of Stone Cold Crazy but it sounds the same as the original so it's nothing special. Sheer Heart Attack is a classic album that everyone must own."
Sheer Heart Attack (1974)
Mr. S. St Thomas | UK | 02/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rarely write a song by song review, but this album, which is most definitely my favourite Queen album, I can find enough to say about each song to warrant such a review.
1.Brighton Rock May's opening track is one I listened to I don't know how many times. He is deservedly acclaimed as one of rock's premiere guitarists, and this song is a display of how good this guy will always be. Though it's not one of his orchestrated multi-tracked guitar turns, Brighton Rock shows how much Queen owed to Brian May and his talent, his inventiveness, and his 'sheer' playing ability. If only all bands had a guitarist this adept at approaching the instrument. Even Zeppelin.
2. Killer Queen Mercury's timeless Queen standard probably has had more said about it than I could possibly add. One of its best moments is again, Brian May's orchestrated guitar solo. It's pretty amazing that in live versions, what he could play of it sounded equally as good, if not better. But here you have much of what Brian May is reknowned for, incredibly arranged multiple guitar solos, with a signature sound all his own, recorded for someone else's song. And that's what a band should be about. With Mercury's songwriting talent, what better is there than having Brian May contributing an incredible, and serving guitar solo to make the song 10x better?
3. Tenement Funster Roger Taylor Appreciation Fan Club Alert. As said in another review, Roger Taylor is my favourite member of Queen, and this song is probably my second favourite Taylor song in their catalogue after 'Fight From The Inside' (1977). He comes from behind the drumkit to play rhythm guitar on this track, and the whole song 'rocks'. That May was not bothered that the drummer wanted to play guitar as well is cool enough, and later John Deacon didn't mind not playing bass on some Taylor tracks, and that's very cool. It meant that in Queen you could do what you liked to do, and unless it was absolutely horrible, no one minded. Truly what most bands should strive for, 'partnership'.Great vocal as usual from Taylor as well.
4. Flick of the Wrist Probably one of Mercury's most underrated songs, and always one of my favourites from him. Again, an incredible guitar solo from Brian May, probably one of my favourites along with 'Dragon Attack' from 1980's 'The Game'. The Queen vocal harmonies of Mercury/Taylor and May (if that is the case on this song) were never better. If it's just Mercury, wow!
5. Lily of the Valley Fading in from 'Flick', Lily is one of those sentimental Mercury songs that always has a soft spot in my heart from me. Vocally beautiful and melancholy, one of Mercury's best ballads. If not long enough in time.
6. Now I'm Here May's song became a Queen Live standard, and the studio version is every bit as good. Again displaying May's guitar talents, Now I'm Here is typical 70's glam, but done 10x time better than what Glam sometimes got. One of my favourite songs from this album, not knowing how many times I've truly played it.
7. In the Lap of the Gods Stunning vocals from Roger Taylor on this one (known for doing the amazingly high harmonies on 1975's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'). This vocal tour de'force is reminiscent of Queen II, but with more gravitas and experience behind it. It's half Oklahoma, Wizard of Oz, Wagnerian Opera. Truly an underrated Queen/Freddie Mercury song.
8. Stone Cold Crazy Band composition, which is the first time for them as a group. Excellent song throughout. Too short!
9. Dear Friends Beautiful Brian May song, which he became increasingly good at. If there is a sentimental Queen band member, its Brian May. Completely opposite his ''rocker'' style, May writes beautiful ballads.
10. Misfire John Deacon's first composition for a Queen album, which is way too short. What needs to be said here is that if Queen has people good at something, there best pop song writer is John Deacon. He just has an amazing talent for Pop Music, writing incredibly catchy songs, which would later give Queen their hugest hit (even though it was quite reminiscent of CHIC). I have a vague memory of hearing this on radio, or I had heard it before I ever bought the album. Deacon is Queen's pop merchant, and this would be the first indication of his talent at this.
11. Bring Back That Leroy Brown If only McCartney understood what could be done with songs reminiscent of a bygone era, songs like 'Honey Pie', 'You Gave Me The Answer' wouldn't be as 'quaint' or 'corny' as they are, when compared to what Queen could do with the genre, like this song and 1975's 'Seaside Rendevous'. This is what happens when you let as much creativity that went into those songs artists of long ago wrote (like Duke Ellington, Count Basie etc.)show up in your tributes to that era and style. It makes a great song, one that has so much 'talent' going into it, that you don't care it sounds like it came from 1930. The background vocals on this song are amazing, as is the musical arrangement by all 4. McCartney should have listened to a Queen album and Freddie Mercury before going back once again to the 1930's and 1940's.
12. She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes) One of my other favourites from this album. A pretty obscure Brian May song, by what I guess is Queen standards. I've always loved this song and its moodiness, its off-chord ending, and the way May sings it. By far he had 'the gentlest voice' of the three main singers, which also lends to his 'softer side' as a balladeer. I don't know how many times I've listened to this one either. Tons.
13. In the Lap of the Gods...Revisited A totally different version of the earlier song, and one I like just as much. Another underrated Mercury gem.
If you're going to buy a Queen album, please get this one. Track after track its just one of their best, most inventive, and successful efforts. And showed how much of a 'team' they were in presenting what Queen was about. "
SHEER HEART ATTACK IS QUEEN AND CLASSIC ROCK AT ITS BEST
Fred Merc | Elizabeth City, NC | 08/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Queen's 1974 breakthrough 3rd album entitled SHEER HEART ATTACK is probably their best album, EVER. And this isn't even the one that contains Bohemian Rhapsody or We Will Rock You. Not only does the album contain hits such as Now I'm Here and Killer Queen, it also contains songs that were well-known hard rockers in early Queen concerts-Brighton Rock, Flick of The Wrist, and Stone Cold Crazy. For anyone wanting to buy a Queen album for the first time, this would definitely have to be the best example (besides Greatest Hits) of their music. The album starts off with the guitar-driven "Brighton Rock" that contains a 2 minute+ long guitar solo showcasing Brian May's definitive guitar playing skills. This song's solo was recently polled at #41 in Guitar World's Top 100 Guitar Solos of All Time as voted by the fans. The album then dives into "Killer Queen" which was a different direction for the band early in their career. It isn't a hard rocker but contains all the elements that Queen would later be known for-rich melodies, superb piano playing, a 3-piece overdubbed guitar solo, and sophisticated lyrics. "Killer Queen" also proved to be the band's 1st #1 single. The 3rd track off the album, "Tenement Funster" features the drummer, Roger Taylor, on vocals with awesome guitar work by Brian May. The next song, "Flick Of The Wrist" is probably the most underrated jewel on the album-killer piano playing, haunting lyrics and screaming guitars make this a choice pick. The fifth song begins as "Flick" ends. "Lily Of The Valley" is a delicate ballad by the flamboyant Freddie Mercury. "Now I'm Here" then enters with its guitar and vocal echoes. This song outlasted all and was never dropped from the setlist at concerts from 1974-1986. A superb hard rocker with brilliant chords. The song is about life on the road while supporting Mott The Hoople...'down in the city just Hoople and me'! "In The Lap Of The Gods" is a quite undescribable number by Mercury with distorted vocals and brilliant guitar work (again). The 8th song is probably Queen's heaviest ever, "Stone Cold Crazy". Metallica would later cover this heavy metal song. The album then changes mood with May's lulaby "Dear Friends" and further manifests in John Deacon's (the bass player) "Misfire" with its pseudo-island rhythm. The next song is Mercury's "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" which is very delightful and has a big band feel to it and includes a Brian May ukele solo. May's "She Makes Me" follows with the axe-man on lead vocals. This is a quieter number that ties up the loose ends before Mercury's "In The Lap Of The Gods...revisited" closes out the album with its anthem-like choruses..'wo wo la la la'. The perfect way to end this album. SHEER HEART ATTACK has everything for even the stingiest music critic. Check It Out!"
Yes it's THAT good
Danno | NY, NY | 04/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard this on a used LP years ago but I'll spare you the history lesson. This is a fantastic collection of tunes where heavy metal and cabaret collide with Beatle-type song structures and - somehow - it all holds together perfectly. The musicianship is amazing and, perhaps because none of the songs here were played to death on the radio, virtually all of this CD sounds as fresh as it did years ago. Even if you're sick of the few Queen songs that are still in heavy radio rotation, you will find much to cheer about here. The production is sleek, the riffs are furious, and the harmonies are stellar.
Highlights? "Brighton Rock" is an incredible guitar workout (including multiple overdubbed guitar harmonies) but has enough signature and tempo changes to have done most prog bands proud. "Stone Cold Crazy" is speed metal years before anyone could imagine such a thing, with heavy fleet fingered riffs that owe nothing to blues rock. And then there's the pop perfection of "Killer Queen," the alienated balladry of "Tenement Funster" and the operatic strangeness of "In the Lap of the Gods."