Queen
Sheer Heart Attack


5.0
classic

Review

by Patoivanfer USER (4 Reviews)
February 14th, 2013 | 12 replies


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ladies and gentlemen, may I present you...the best Queen album. Also the only Queen album without filler.

1974 was the year for Queen. Having released their second album (Queen II) and having archieved chart success with the Seven Seas Of Rhye single in the UK, it seems like the band was finally getting some recognition. Determined to explore the techniques of recording like they had never done before, Queen entered the studio in July 1974 to record what would be their mainstream breakthrough.


This album is probably Queen's strongest release ever, and unlike the other albums that would follow up, Sheer Heart Attack doesn't rely on filler of any kind to give us a 13 song tracklist.

The album focuses a lot on guitar driven tracks, from the 5 minute opener "Brighton Rock" to the powerful "Now I'm Here". A handful of songs (like the m just mentioned two) make heavy use of guitar delays and overdubbings, adding speed and edgyness to the tracks. "Brighton Rock", for example, opens with Freddie and Roger singing some conversational verses about two lovers who can't be with each other, and then all instruments slowly start to stop for Brian May's three minute guitar solo to burst in. This solo is worth of mention, as it's a three minute drive of of Brian's Red Special overlayering and echoing itself.

This album also features some amazing piano work, with Freddie showing off his skills in tracks such as "Killer Queen" or "In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited". Vocals on the album are virtually perfect, like in the vicious cruelty of "Flick Of The Wrist" or the twisted ending of "In The Lap Of The Gods", in wich Freddie uses studio technology to makes his voice sound lower and slower. Even Roger Taylor's vocals are sublime on his only song of the album "Tenement Funster".

The production is very meticulously crafted here, helping each song to sound unique and with life on its own. Even the short Deacon written "Misfire" gets a fine polished intro and guitar work. A lot of echo techniques and overlappings were used, for example, in "Now I'm Here", where Freddie's voice at the start of the song jumps from one speaker to the other while announcing "but you won't see me", and then on the other speaker "now i'm here", genuinely giving the effect of someone moving to different places in the same big room at a great speed.

Each song also benefits from a wide spectrum of urban sound, from the wind sounds used in "In The Lap Of The Gods" to the police sirens and traffic sounds of "She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettos)".

We get all of the genres Queen would later merge into their trademark sound: there is hard rock on "Brighton Rock" and "Now I'm Here", brutal heavy songs like "Flick Of The Wrist", slower and minimalistic piano ballads such as "Lily Of The Valley" and "Dear Friends", piano driven pop pieces such as "Killer Queen", sped-up songs like "Stone Cold Crazy", apocalyptic chorus-based song such as "In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited" or jokey songs like "Bring Back That Leroy Brown". It must be made clear that "In The Lap Of The Gods" and "In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited" don't share much musical characteristics.

So, to conclude, Sheer Heart Attack is without a doubt Queen's finest hour, including some hits as well as unknown wonders. Astonishing production and fierce instrument performance.

Ratings:

BRIGHTON ROCK: 10 / 10
KILLER QUEEN: 9 / 10
TENEMENT FUNSTER: 9 / 10
FLICK OF THE WRIST: 10 / 10
LILY OF THE VALLEY: 8 / 10
NOW I'M HERE: 9.75 / 10
IN THE LAP OF THE GODS: 9 / 10
STONE COLD CRAZY: 8.50 / 10
DEAR FRIENDS: 7 / 10
MISFIRE: 7.25 / 10
BRING BACK THAT LEROY BROWN: 8 / 10
SHE MAKES ME (STORMTROOPER IN STILETTOES): 9 / 10
IN THE LAP OF THE GODS...REVISITED: 10 / 10


user ratings (524)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Brendan Schroer (4)
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jamest33 (5)
Okay, here's a dare. Plug your headphones into your iPod, turn it up to full volume and then put on ...

gblackman (3)
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...


Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2013


4458 Comments


I love this album, probably my second favourite only to A Night At The Opera. Also, "Stone Cold Crazy" deserves higher than a 8.5, that's one of the best tracks of the album. Anyway, good review.

dannyboy89
February 13th 2013


13066 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dude, what's with all the Queen reviews?

:edit: Sweet review. Just avoid releasing more than one in a day. I did that once and it was embarrassing.

nononsense
February 13th 2013


3431 Comments


I'm loving these Queen reviews.

Necrotica
February 14th 2013


10137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The more Queen the better :D

xVerschtx
February 14th 2013


45 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not a bad review, but realize you are going way against the grain in saying that Sheer Heart Attack is without a doubt Queen's best work!

I enjoy a bit more than half of the tracks on this. I always thought it was a good indicator of things to come with A Night at the Opera, where they perfected their unique craft (by the way, where's the filler on ANATO, besides Sweet Lady?), but that it wasn't quite there yet. You're right on about the high production value on this album, though. It still sounds fresh.

ZackSh33
February 14th 2013


369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You only gave Killer Queen a 9/10?!

Also, Misfire is amazing. Hell, basically this whole album is ridiculous.

pos because I like the fact that you're reviewing Queen. The review ain't half bad either.

Patoivanfer
February 14th 2013


19 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ANATO has three filler songs, "Sweet Lady", "Seaside Rendezvous" and "Good Company". Those three were completly out of place there.

facupm
February 14th 2013


8628 Comments


sweet band being reviewed

manosg
February 14th 2013


6736 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First of all props for reviewing this band. For me Queen II is their best release but this album is also great.

I have a feeling though that you easily disregard their shortest songs. Lily of the Valley, Dear Friends and Misfire are all great songs. Also, you say that Seaside Rendezvous is a filler when it's very similar to Leroy Brown. All these "filler" songs are what characterize Freddie Mercury imo.

Digging: Whitesnake - Slide It In

Patoivanfer
February 16th 2013


19 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

No, funny and minimalistic piano ballads tend to characterize Freddie. Say, "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon", "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy" or "Bring Back That Leroy Brown".

Mabbitt
August 8th 2014


1383 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I dunno, I consider She Makes Me a bit of a filler song. However, a filler Queen song is still a fantastic song, so I don't really consider any of their stuff to be filler.

ANATO has three filler songs, "Sweet Lady", "Seaside Rendezvous" and "Good Company". Those three were completly out of place there.


Sweet Lady maybe, but it's a fun song. The other two are fantastic tracks and have a significant place on the album. Good Company would probably be filler if it wasn't such a perfect way to lead in to Bohemian Rhapsody.

Finally, Misfire is actually one of my favorites from this album.

emprorzurg
August 8th 2014


523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed, I like Misfire for what it is, a bit of a fun musical romp



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