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Queen - Sheer Heart Attack CD (album) cover




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3.98 | 556 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars From the lap of the Gods.

With their second album Queen established themselves as masters of art rock, and while this third album would start to move in a separate direction from where they started it still features many of the things that makes Queen memorable. This album doesn't feature any of the long pseudo-epics that made Queen II so sublime, but this one does have more 'hits' and more songs that are a lot easier to digest than its more 'proggy' older brother album. In general the songs here a lot shorter, and while there's a lot of songs segueing into one another to form suites there's no centerpiece for the album that leaves you just waiting for that one song. Still, it's a strong album and an overlooked piece of the Queen discography.

Most people will know the album just by looking at the title, but that's not the reason why the album was successful. Sheer Heart Attack the song wouldn't be released for a good 3 albums after this one, but this album has some hits and classics of its own. The first and most notable of the tunes is Killer Queen, the song that proved that an art-rock band could achieve a hit single and not have sold out. Everyone knows this song, so it really doesn't need further introduction. The other 'hit' from the album is Queen's hard-rocking Stone Cold Crazy with it's blistering riff and frantic drumming.

But what makes the album memorable is so much more than just the 2 songs which make it onto most compilations that the album ever put out. The suite sitting in the middle of the album features all the 'epic' feeling from Queen II, but presented in a more 'down to earth' fashion and without the swords and dragons. Starting with the Taylor voiced Tenement Funster we get a heavy tune that makes a slow move into the segue which soon finds Mercury at the vocal helm for the stellar Flick Of The Wrist which features a great build that turns into a killer chorus, an impressive guitar solo from May also makes this song well worth the time. It ends with the short and abrupt Lily Of The Valley which is as pretty as it sounds, Mercury's voice helping to make this one what it is. On the second side of the album the two-part In The Lap Of The Gods brings back the grandiose feeling with the harmonized repetition of the title.

Some of the songs just work damn well on their own. Now I'm Here is probably the best example of this, being one of the only non-suite, non-hit songs on the album (although, admittedly, this one has made it to a few compilations), the fast verses slow down for the slower chorus. This song really would have fit well on the Day At The Races album in its style, and as such is a good sign of things to come from the band. Other stand-alone stand-outs include the excellent opener, Brighton Rock which shows Mercury reaching the peak of his falsetto abilities and May at his peak of being able to play crazy circus music on the guitar.

The second side of the album features a number of very short tunes, which are hit and miss for the most part, after the formerly mentioned Lap Of The Gods and before its reprisal comes a couple of songs which could be called 'filler' by some. Dear Friends is a short and forgettable interlude and Bring Back That Leroy Brown is an almost annoying 30s barbershop tune which luckily only runs about 2-minutes in length. Luckily She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettos) is a nice enough ballad with good voicing from Mercury. Misfire is the best song of the bunch, and actually one of Queen's best songs on the album despite its criminal length. Lasting only one minute and fifty seconds Misfire has one of May's best riffs and impressive contributions from the rest of the band. This song is a mere fraction of the album, but it's one of the best features.

While this album is not as mind-blowing or earth-shattering as other Queen records it still stands as a solid and worthwhile disc which any Queen fan should own. People interested in the band may want to start elsewhere, but make sure you get around to this album at sometime or another, because it's really, really good. 3 flicks of the wrist out of 5, a good album with some excellent moments.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |


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