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Queen Sheer Heart Attack album cover
3.98 | 645 ratings | 41 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Brighton Rock (5:08)
2. Killer Queen (2:57)
3. Tenement Funster (2:48)
4. Flick of the Wrist (3:46)
5. Lily of the Valley (1:43)
6. Now I'm Here (4:10)
7. In the Lap of the Gods (3:20)
8. Stone Cold Crazy (2:12)
9. Dear Friends (1:07)
10. Misfire (1:50)
11. Bring Back That Leroy Brown (2:13)
12. She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes) (4:08)
13. In the Lap of the Gods... Revisited (3:42)

Total Time 39:04

Bonus track on 1991 remaster:
14. Stone Cold Crazy (remix by Michael Wagener) (2:12)

Line-up / Musicians

- Freddie Mercury / lead, backing & extravaganza vocals, piano, organ (6)
- Brian May / guitars, piano (9), ukelele-banjo (11), guitar orchestrations, lead (12) & backing vocals
- John Deacon / bass, double bass (11), acoustic guitar, rhythm & lead guitars (10)
- Roger Taylor / drums, percussion, lead (3) & backing vocals, screams (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Mick Rock

LP EMI ‎- EMC 3061 (1974, UK)
LP Parlophone ‎- QUEENLP 3 (2009, UK) Remastered

CD EMI ‎- CDP 7 46206 2 (1986, Europe)
CD Hollywood Records ‎- HR-61036-2 (1991, US) Remastered by Kevin Metcalfe with a bonus track
CD Parlophone ‎- CDPCSD 129 (1993, Europe) Remastered
CD Island Records ‎- 276 440 9 (2011, Europe) New 2011 Bob Ludwig remaster

Thanks to tuxon for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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QUEEN Sheer Heart Attack ratings distribution

(645 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

QUEEN Sheer Heart Attack reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Snow Dog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars Queens brilliant third album is one of my very favourites. Brighton Rock, what an album opener. A truly stupendous, exhilirating ride and a hard rocking song that sounds like nothing else i can think of. Theres a nice mixture of differnt styles from the iconic Killer Queen to the plodding,hypnotic She Makes Me. There are just so many great songs on here Flick Of The Wrist, Now I'm Here ( a single release along with Killer Queen) and In The Lap Of The Gods! Its more consise than Queen II and paves the way nicely for A Night At The Opera. Wonderful stuff!
Review by Tony Fisher
5 stars My favourite Queen album by far. I don't think it's really prog but who cares. It's kitsch, camp, at times outrageous. But it's completely brilliant. From Brighton Rock to In the Lap of the Gods, it's high octane rock, powered primarily by Brian May's guitar and Mercury's vocals and piano but well backed up by Roger Taylor and the underrated genius of John Deacon. The styles vary enormously from hard rock on Brighton Rock to the near Vaudeville of Bring Back Leroy Brown, with others in between. The singles Killer Queen and Now I'm Here will be familiar to all over 40 but every track is worthwhile and many are gems. Noone else could have done it, noone else would dare try. That's why Queen were unique and this is them at their best. Buy it!!!!
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I first knew the band from trilogy songs that have become my all-time favorite Queen songs even until today. They are: "Tenement Funster" (2:48) - "Flick of the Wrist" (3:46) - "Lily of the Valley" (1:43). These three songs are best enjoyed when they are played its entirety. They attracted me at first listen due to its nice melody, great flow and powerful composition. It starts with great acoustic guitar fills followed with an excellent rock music. "Hmmm give me a good guitar!". Oh ... what a great lyrics and great melody. The music flows smoothly from first song to the last.

The other great track is "Brighton Rock" that I heard for the first time when our local band God Bless played a cover on this song. It's truly a great rocking track with a fast speed music demonstrating an excellent combination of guitar, bass and dynamic drumming. Everyone knows how excellent "Killer Queen" is as it has become the band's hit. "Now I'm Here" - "In The Lap of the Gods" - "Stone Cold Crazy" are great tracks as well. If you love rock music, you should not miss this album at all. Highly recommended. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild: GW

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have to say that from a progressive rock point of view, I do consider Sheer Heart Attack to be inferior to both the album that preceeded it (Queen II) and the one that followed (A Night At The Opera).

Perhaps it is an unfair judgement, for Sheer Heart Attack has a wide eclectic range of songs, most of them excellent, and quite a few of them with a counterpart on either Queen II (compare Lily Of The Valley to Nevermore) or A Night At The Opera (the music hall vibe of Bring Back That Leroy Brown is echoed in Seaside Rendezvous and Lazin On A Sunday Afternoon, while Flick Of The Wrist and Death On Two Legs have many things in common).

Nonetheless despite containing the two brilliant quasi-fantasy pieces In The Lap Of The Gods and In the Lap Of The Gods ... Revisited, a trio of searing rock work-outs (Brighton Rock, Now I'm Here and Stone Cold Crazy), the unbelievably clever and infectious Mercury- penned hit single Killer Queen and my favourite Brian May and Roger Taylor lead vocals (She Makes Me and Tenement Funster respectively), I must repeat my belief that Sheer Heart Attack isn't an essential prog-rock experience in the way that Queen, Queen II and A Night At The Opera are. It's still a great rock album though and I can't see any classic rock fan failing to enjoy this one. ... 67% on the MPV scale

Review by chessman
4 stars The first four Queen albums are, undoubtedly, their best, although a couple of later ones run them close. This one may just edge it as their best work, although both the previous and the following have strong claims as well. 'Brighton Rock' introduces the famous Brian May overdubbed guitar work to good effect, and the song itself is enjoyable, with Freddie camping it up in the vocal department. A rock song, but a superior one. I bought 'Killer Queen' when it came out, and always liked it. I thought the guitar work and production to be superior to many other rock songs out there, far clearer and sharper. This somewhat defined the Queen style, with catchy melodies and old-fashioned showmanship. Excellent. 'Tenement Funster' is another terrific song, typical of Roger Taylor. He has always been a rocker at heart. It starts slowly, then builds into a riff-led piece of classic Queen. 'Flick Of The Wrist' is, if I remember correctly, the B side of 'Killer Queen'. It is, in its own right, a fine song, heavy but with a catchy chorus full of harmonies. Brilliant. 'Lilly Of The Valley' is the sort of song only Queen could do and get away with, short, old-fashioned, piano-led and poignant. They were almost a factory when it came to churning out this type of song. Very, very good. It shows modern music doesn't have to jettison melody and taste to be effective. 'Now I'm Here' is another classic rock cut, with the whole band in fine form. Again, deceptively simple and enormously catchy. (Has anyone ever tried to learn a Queen song on the guitar? Extraordinarily difficult! They use non-standard and technically hard to master chords. It is wonderful the way they manage to make the songs sound so simple.) 'In The Lap Of The Gods' opens what was the old side two. Roger is in full swing here, reaching some amazingly high vocals. Then Freddie begins a slow melody, piano led, which turns into a wonderful chorus, Roger reprieving his high vocals in the background as the song nears its end. A superb track. 'Stone Cold Crazy' is a short and fast paced rock song, with excellent, down to the point lyrics. 'Dear Friends' is another of those short and sweet slow melodies that Queen are masters of. Nice. 'Misfire' with up front acoustic guitar work from John Deacon, is another cracking track, with nice singing from Freddie, and an upbeat flowing melody. Tremendous. 'Bring Back That Leroy Brown' is another nod to a distant age, conjuring up, for me at least, the prohibition era in America, gangsters et al. Hilariously funny, with Freddie's voice at its campest and some wonderful harmonies from Roger and Brian. Brilliant. 'She Makes Me' totally alters the pace and tone, slowing everything down to an almost haunting quality. A song that really suits Brian's voice. Again, simple but catchy. How did they do it? Finally we have the one track I am not keen on. The second part of 'In The Lap Of The Gods'. The song itself is fine, with nice piano and singing from Freddie. Unfortunately, it ends in one of those awful singalong styles were Freddie sings 'whoa, whoa la la la whoa!' and you can just imagine the audience doing that silly lighter swaying trick. Sorry but it is hackneyed, cliched and unoriginal. Thankfully, the track ends with an explosion. Pity the last couple of minutes had to spoil it. I can't comment on the bonus track, but this album is packed with gems, and is a must have for art rock fans. A bit like 'Sheet Music' by 10cc, this is diverse, witty, funny and excellent. Get it!
Review by horza
3 stars This was the first proper album I bought. All the others had previously been Top Of The Pops albums with scantily clad models on the front. However, at age 13 I was rewarded by my parents for doing well in exams and told to pick an LP. This was the one I choose. It was an inspired choice obviously,and this album has many many musical highlights including Killer Queen,Brighton Rock and Flick of the Wrist. I'm sure the album credits also declared that there were no synthesisers used in the recording. This meant nothing to me at the time although I took it that the band somehow thought using synthesisers was cheating in some way,or that the bands sound was easily reproduced live and not dependant on synths. As my musical taste evolved I found myself drawn to progressive rock and a love of flamboyant keyboard sections and players,and the bands I liked mostly had synthesisers. I still enjoyed Queen as well and checked out all their stuff. Freddie was a fantastic frontman,one of the best,and the whole band were masters of their instruments. Some of the songs were epic compositions, but at the time of listening to them I NEVER considered them as progressive. This album is an excellent purchase and worthy of being considered a classic. I'm not sure if prog fans will find what they are looking for on it though. The grading of three stars represents a prog marking,although as a rock album it merits maximum points.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Killer Queen

Queen made another giant step towards conquering the world with "Sheer heart attack", mainly due to the inclusion of "Killer queen", their biggest hit single to date. This track has all the campness and glam which Freddie Mercury thrived on, with references to Moet et Chandon champagne, Paris, "if you're that way inclined", etc. The track is a further development of the complex yet commercial style which started with the previous single "Seven seas of rye". At the time of its release, the song was radically different to anything else which had appeared in the singles chart up until that point, and was seen as progressive with a small P (i.e. not explicitly prog).

The album has a similar structure to the previous "Queen 2" album, with individual tracks on the first side, and a side long suite of linked tracks on the second. The compositional credits this time though are dispersed throughout the album.

Side one has two fine examples of commercial prog in "Brighton rock" and "Now I'm here". Brian May adds some fine guitar work to these tracks, making use of production techniques which at the time were highly original and unusual. While effects such as the echoed stereo guitar may sound contrived and even corny now, at the time they were highly innovative, and refreshingly different.

Every track one side one is unique and indispensable. Rodger Taylor has his usual heavier interlude with "Tenement Funster", while Mercury is at his suggestive best with "Flick of the wrist". The highlight though is the wonderful short ballad "Lilly of the valley", where Mercury offers one of his finest ever vocal performances. His timing and delivery on this song alone witness magnificently the often under recognised talent he possessed.

The suite on the second side of the album is book ended by "In the lap of the gods". The opening version is a softer ballad like piece which builds to louder choruses, while the closing section is a crowd pleasing sing-a-long anthem. In between are a generally slightly weaker collection of brief pieces which sit together reasonably well. In the main, there's little to distinguish the tracks, with "Misfire" being a poor composition which does indeed misfire, and "Bring back that Leroy Brown", which has a cabaret feel, sounding like little more than a mediocre parody. Even the slightly longer "She makes me" sounds weary and uninspired.

In all though, an superb album which sags noticeably during the middle of the second side, but has a wealth of plus points nonetheless.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars I don't entirely understand why this band is here. They have small parts of prog in they'r music, and only in the '70. Sheer heart attack is my fav from them because has everything you want to hear from a band from the '70. Slow ones, Killer Queen, but very cool, a truly fast one, Stone Cold Crazy, from that years. Queen was one of the biggest bands ever, and maybe still is. In the '70 was a truly good period for them, so the music had a high level. My rate is 4 satrs for this one.
Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The album represents a wide palette of styles, from heavy metal, to dixieland. It's not "progressive" in a strict sense, but it's a joyful listening full of smart ideas and occasional flashes of prog. The weakest tracks are popish "Misfire" and hard rock hit "Now I'm Here" (trivia: one verse is mentioning "Mott the Hoople"). All the other tracks vary from very good to excellent:

"Brighton Rock" is a brilliant hard rock tune showing extraordinary range of Freddie's voice, so far from the hard rock cliches, "Tenement Funster/Flick Of the Wrist/Lily Of The Valley" is extraordinary good trilogy where everything works perfectly, from Brian's guitar to beautiful and wisely arranged backing vocals to piano parts.

"In The Lap Of The Gods" is a very strange pompous tune utilising weird vocals; sometimes I got an impression that they recorder the vocals, and then slowed down the tape.

I wouldn't dare to say that "Stone Cold Crazy" is the first heavy metal song, actually it's one of the first songs that combines two genres that will be known as "heavy metal" and "rap" ten years later. The only possible predecessor could be DEEP PURPLE's "Bloodsucker".

"Dear Friends" is nice short piano ballad, and "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" is dixieland mockery, funny forerunner to their vaudevillian debauchery from "A Night At The Opera", and first QUEEN's song to utilise a double bass and ukelele. I'm not sure but I think the song is parodied response to USA #1 chart hit from the summer of 1973, "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" by Jim Croce.

"She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettoes)" is a masterpiece. It's not "progressive" at all (except for the ambient sounds of air assault and sexually aroused breathing), actually, it's one of the simplest songs that QUEEN ever did, with only two simple repetitive, hypnotic chords, pretty much in the VELVET UNDERGROUND style. Quite unusual for the band's style, but a great song anyway. "In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited" in this version is some sort of sing-along stadium anthem, quite nice.

Overall, this album is very good. No more than two weaker tracks, and lots of great singing (this album contains some of their best vocal and multivocal works), great piano passages, guitar parts in dynamic range from whisper to thunder, with the sounds that will became definition of heavy metal 15 years later. If you are a prog rock fan (and I guess you are), I can't advise you any particular part of the album to focus onto, because progressive parts are scattered all over the place. And good songs are everywhere.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars Sheer Heart Attack seems to me a very diverse set of styles and sounds, combining the raw, hard rocking qualities of earlier albums along with Broadway-style experimentation and heavy overdubs of later work. They don't really complement each other or form a coherent album, but individually they work quite well and hold up well over time. The plus is that it is quite apparent that each member made valuable contributions, but the downside is that this technique rarely creates a masterpiece for me. Here's a brief summary of what I find most interesting:

Brighton Rock has a relatively strange structure, as it just kind of wanders into Freddie's falsetto, to be followed primarily by an extended guitar jam. I love May's echo effect, and it's even better live. Killer Queen, the playful addition to countless radio playlists, and Tenement Funster, another of May's guitar showcases, are good every time. Stone Cold Crazy and Now I'm Here are excellent rockers as well. To be sure, there is plenty of high quality rock to be found here. There's also musical-esque Bring Back Leroy Brown and the tongue-in-cheek (and potentially offensive) Misfire, both of which I can take or leave.

The progressive-leaning tunes are also largely enjoyable, though they are too short and disjointed to really make an impact. Flick of the Wrist and the Lap of the God tunes both have lots of great ideas (Queen II style), and the production has even improved from the previous effort, but it's hard from me to go back and forth so quickly between prog and non-prog. That may just be a personal weakness.

Definitely a collaborative effort, lots of nice ideas, and progress made here by Queen. We all know exactly where that progress led, for better or worse. A must for Queen fans, and a great addition for any progger.

Review by ZowieZiggy
5 stars In December 1974, you couldn't escape to "Killer Queen". It was aired so many times on the radio that I purchased "Sheer Heart Attack". My first "Queen" album but of course not my last one.

If you ever have doubted about their hard-rocking style just have a listen to the mighty "Brighton Rock". An absolute killer from Brian May not only in terms of song writing but as well as a fabulous and wild guitar solo. A highlight of course.

I liked the first times I heard "Killer Queen" but when I heard some other songs of this album, I just disregard it for some time. Even the Taylor "Teenage Funster" sounded better to my ears. But the whole of side one is just a miracle. Bright, wild, fabulous, gorgeous, fantastic.You name it. And "Killer Queen" is a damned good song.

But what to say about "Flick Of The Wrist"? Oh la la!!! I was absolutely voiceless the first time I heard it. I was extremely close to heaven. A wild beat combined with such vocals from the other side of the world. I never heard something like this at the time (remember it was in 1974 and I was only fifteen years old). Another highlight.

As if it was needed, the exceptional Freddie capabilities would explode in such a short song as "Lily Of The Valley". Less than two minutes, but of the most beautiful melody. On par with the Fab Four greatest. Maybe not a highlight as such, but still a great song.

And I was finally killed by "Now I'm Here". A fantastic and powerful rock number. Superb riff, heavy beat, catchy vocals (would you believe!),. One of my all time fave of the band and such a magnificent way to close an impeccable first side. The one I was spinning endlessly. Six stars? Ooooops, not possible on PA....

I don't know if it was to have the fan breathe, but the second side is not fully on par. Even if it starts on the same brilliant mood with "In The Lap Of The Gods". A song which "10CC" wouldn't have renounced.

The metal "Stone Cold Crazy" was an old Freddie song, prior to "Queen". Since no one apparently remembered the genesis of it, it will be the first song to be credited to the four members. It is a real wild song. A great base for lots of heavy metal bands.

There are some other short songs which would have merited another treat. "Dear Friends" is a magnificent ballad written by Brian. Just to show that he can also perform on sweet ballads. There is also the first "Queen" song written by John. "Misfire" is of course not the most brilliant here but it is difficult to say that it is a weak number.

IMHHO this characteristic is devoted to "Bring Back That Leroy Brown". A jazzy-fuzzy number which has never been a fave of mine. I usually press next when it starts to get to the May "She Makes Me". He wrote it and sings it as well. A pleasant number. Another one.

The revisited "In The Lap Of The Gods" is another joyful song. Great choir, sumptuous backing guitar work. A good way of closing an extraordinary album.

Yes, I consider this one as a masterpiece of ROCK music but don't expect any prog in here. Maybe for their next album?

It was a real pleasure to write these words about this great record. So much related to my early teens...I am truly moved while writing this review. I hope it will give you the kick to listen to this great album if you haven't done so far.

Although it was released almost thirty five years ago (gosh, I'm getting old!), it doesn't sound as such for a penny. But this is the trade mark of the greatest albums in rock history to which this one fully belongs.

Review by russellk
3 stars A major disappointment after the astonishing 'Queen II', 'Sheer Heart Attack' brought QUEEN to the attention of the world, but took them a few steps away from prog heartland, and broke my heart.

The album begins where 'Queen II' left off - at the seaside with 'Brighton Rock'. I find this a disjointed song and have never understood why others speak so highly of it. It sounds unfinished, like something off their debut, having none of the lyricism of 'Queen II'. And this, I suspect, was deliberate: the album tries to tackle gritty, real-world subjects, avoiding the fantasyland invoked on their previous record, and the music reflects this. And what on earth is that guitar solo all about? Sounds like nothing more than studio noodling. Sorry, but solos need context, and this has none. 'Killer Queen' is all sophistication and glam, almost 'Queen does Carly Simon', and is to my mind the most successful of their singles aside from 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. The vocals here are astonishing: who else in rock would use that upward inflexion in the chorus: 'She's a killer ... que-een!' The song oozes camp and is over all too soon. 'Tenement Funster' breaks up the party, ROGER TAYLOR getting a chance to sing a pointless rocker of the type he specialised in later in his career.

The album rises a notch with 'Flick of the Wrist', which I first heard as the B side of 'Killer Queen', a song worthy of a single release on its own. This is QUEEN trying to be tough, but they don't quite carry it off - the song conjures up mafia mobsters in lycra, somehow. An impressive instrumental section - BRIAN MAY finally delivers guitar work worthy of the previous album. 'Lily of the Valley' is nice, but has none of the impact of 'Nevermore' - I can't help it, these comparisons may be annoying but they are begged by the structure of the album. The first side is finished off by 'Now I'm Here', the album's second single and a great rock track, with all the bombast we'd want from a QUEEN track.

Sadly, the rest of the album falls away sharply. There's not a track in the last seven that raises even a glimmer of interest. Some of them are downright embarrassing. I can remember feeling desperately disappointed. I've felt that way on many first listens, only to grow to love a record, but not this one. Too many tracks (seven under three minutes in length), no clear focus, studio trickery replacing good compositions (what is that vocal treatment in 'Lap of the Gods' all about?) and no intensity. Songs peter out. Oh dear. Staggering considering what they produced less than a year previously, and a more blatant contradiction of an album's title I've never come across. Sheer Heart Attack? Hardly. Slight frisson of nervousness, perhaps.

Three stars for three great tracks.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Some misfires but still a killer Queen!

Sheer Heart Attack is in my opinion the least good among the band's first five albums (before they turned towards arena rock with their disappointing sixth album News Of The World). Compared to the masterpieces Queen II and A Night At The Opera, Sheer Heart Attack appears slightly disjointed and scattered. The very distinctive guitar improvisation on Brighton Rock is great, but I tend to like it more live than on a studio album. Great to listen to, but not up to the ultra high standards set by the previous album, or the subsequent one.

Killer Queen follows, and this song takes Queen in a new, more commercial, direction. And indeed, it became a big hit. Don't get me wrong, I like the song. Indeed, I like almost all Queen songs of the 70's and many from the 80's and 90's too as I am, after all, a big fan of the band. But the ability to combine strong variation with a coherent whole was even better achieved with Queen II and A Night At The Opera.

Roger Taylor's Tenement Funster is actually one of his best songs ever, a good Rock number - not much more, but nothing less either. Flick of the Wrist and Lily of the Valley are two beautiful piano based ballads that flow into each other in typical Queen style, for me one of the highlights of this album. Now I'm Here is up next, you probably know it. It has become a definitive live favourite and mainstay of the band's live set for many years.

Short and funny tracks like Misfire and Bring Back That Leroy Brown shows the band having fun with different styles. But they are not quite perfectly incorporated into the album as a whole. Similar songs like Funny How Love Is and Good Company from Queen II and A Night At The Opera respectively, had been better accommodated into those albums. Misfire and Bring Back That Leroy Brown are a bit too silly and far out even by Queen standards!

Another excellent Queen album, but not a masterpiece this time.

Review by 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.

Review by Rune2000
4 stars This one will define the sound of a Queen-album for years to come! Sheer Heart Attack features a wide array of compositions ranging from cabaret to hard rock and it's one of the few times when the band managed to pull this off with minimum amount of filler material.

Brighton Rock is a definite Brian May-highlight and although I don't consider it to be a masterpiece it's a great album-starter to say the least! The next part of the album is what makes it a must have. Starting with the all-time classic Killer Queen and followed by the three song medley Tenement Funster to Lily Of The Valley. This is what Queen is all about for me and it's a pity that that band switched to a more conventional song-writing formula on the majority of their later releases.

The rest of the album might not be as memorable as the first side but it still works well and maintains the overall high quality of Sheer Heart Attack. The album might have been released between two real masterpieces but this was the time when the band could do no wrong and I highly recommend it to all fans of creative 70's rock music!

***** star songs: Killer Queen (2:57) Flick Of The Wrist (3:46) Lily Of The Valley (1:43) Stone Cold Crazy (2:12) Dear Friends (1:07)

**** star songs: Brighton Rock (5:08) Tenement Funster (2:48) In The Lap Of The Gods (3:20) Misfire (1:50) She Makes Me (4:08) In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited (3:42)

*** star songs: Now I'm Here (4:10) Bring Back That Leroy Brown (2:13)

Review by ExittheLemming
5 stars Bangers and Mash from the Indian Takeaway (but no Synthesizers)

I'm saying it's part of talent these days to have a business brain. You have to instinctively have an awareness of all the things that will work to make you successful. Good music is just not enough. Freddie Mercury

There were few bands reviled to the extent that Queen were by both the music press and my buddies for such heretical utterances when Sheer Heart Attack hit the shelves in 1974. My teenage cronies and I were unanimous in the view that Purple, Zep, the Stones, the Who and Sabbath had all 'paid their dues' by languishing filthy and undiscovered while living on roadkill and berries from a dilapidated Transit van before the big time beckoned. Yep, Keef, Ozzy and Ritchie had suffered for their art with no compromises and we somehow felt their purity still intact by virtue of their perpetual adolescence and avowed contempt for material baubles. The fact that our heroes all had country retreats with sprawling estates, 5 cars, a wife and at least 3 mistresses plus the moral compass of day-tripper Vikings, did little to dispel our keenly felt sense of outrage that there were frivolous imposters in our midst. These 'johnny come latelys' had the gall to admit to business acumen, degrees, vaulted ambition and to cap it all: Didn't want to change the world!? As Davie, our 'Yeti with a litter of puppy fat' remarked with unwitting prescience as Freddie and the boys strutted their way through 'Seven Seas of Rye' on a TV set:

Queen are just an art school poofs band ! (Davie never did make clear his twofold ambiguity if it was the band, their fans or both that were guilty of such 1st degree campness.

Looking back now after 37 years have passed it's a little dispiriting having to acknowledge that some clichés do hold true i.e. we criticise others for the faults we embody ourselves and often end up becoming what we profess to despise. 'Davie' is now a Regional Manager for the Royal Bank of Scotland, 'Flab' became a member of a far-right political organisation after graduating from Glasgow School of Art, 'Baggy' swapped the counter culture to join the police force and 'Nosebag' (don't ask) abandoned his '77 Punk No Future manifesto by retiring his Korean imported strat to the attic and became a history teacher.

Brighton Rock - Based loosely on Graham Greene's novel of the same name this May song explores the unlikely holiday romance between a naive young girl 'Jenny' and fledging gangster and borderline socio-path 'Jimmy'. It was originally planned to be a duet for male and female vocals but Mercury with his habitual chutzpah, ended up tackling both the roles himself by utilising his command of soprano coloratura for the 'Jenny' part. Rarely have Queen sounded as relentlessly heavy as this and Brighton Rock showcases a raw and visceral energy easily on a par with any Zeppelin behemoth you care to name. Sadly, such commanding weight slowly left their work in the years to come. The lengthy guitar solo at the tune's centre probably catapulted its author to overnight 'axe god' status and deservedly so, as multi layered and delayed harmonised strands of contrapuntal melody was completely unparalleled from a single moptop in 1974.The music itself had been around for a long time before being spliced into Brighton Rock as there is evidence that many of the ideas explored and developed existed under the title Blag by May's previous band Smile.

Killer Queen - Mercury has stated this number is about a high class call girl and the only Queen song where he wrote the lyrics before the music. Given his penchant for fibbing through those big white pearly teeth of his my dear, it's probably only whimsically credible. Either way it hardly matters on a song that is as good as the very best material penned by Bowie, Elton John, Brian Wilson, Ray Davies or the Beatles (Penny Lane might be a distant cousin). If you can imagine Noel Coward holding court at the piano in an exclusive bordello with a glam-rock cocktail ensemble lending support, you are at least half way up the Portobello Road guvnor. May's tactile cat-scratch punning glissando during the line playful as a pussycat gives me goosebumps every single time. The word play and provocatively risqué ambiguities throughout are a sheer delight:

To avoid complications she never kept the same address In conversation she spoke just like a baroness Met a man from China, went down to Geisha Minor Then again incidentally if you're that way inclined

Tenement Funster - Perhaps the only Roger Taylor vehicle that has stood the test of time as the subsequent contributions from Queen's flaxen mucky pup had the uncanny habit of dragging their albums just short of flawless status. e.g. I'm in Love with My Car, Drowse, Fight From the Inside, Fun It, Rock It (Prime Jive) are but unsightly pimples on the hindquarters of her/his majesty. Kudos to Rog therefore for this little gem which contains a brilliant melody over some inspired chord choices together with a carefully paced arrangement wedded to some genuine pathos in the lyric:

I got a way with the girls on my block Try my best to be a real individual but when we go down to Smokies and rock they line up like it's some kind of ritual

Such disillusion and thinly veiled disdain for womankind in a young man of 25 betrays a creature jaded with acting out the vicarious dreams of others. (I also think he's a crap drummer.)

Flick of the Wrist - The first in a particularly virulent duo of Mercury songs that address the corruption and dissolution inherent in the music industry (The other being Death on Two Legs from a Night at the Opera.) Some commentators have posited that the inspiration for this number was Queen's erstwhile manager/shark Norman Sheffield but the singer has denied this. This was a track that was written while May was still recuperating from illness and the 3 remaining band members had to leave suitable spaces in the arrangement for May's guitar parts on his subsequent return. There is a deliciously evil middle eastern tonality in the tense claustrophobic verses which is finally released in a glorious and soaring 'western' chorus. Great use of startling operatic backing vocals to wind the excitement levels up yet another notch. Judging by his resume, producer Roy Thomas Baker had considerable experience in classical music and opera recording techniques during his tenure with the Decca label, and the band reap the dividends here with a hitherto unprecedented flavour being added to rock. Brian May's guitar solo must be one of my favourites of any genre, as he exploits the Arabic flavour of his surroundings with a thrilling and slithering 'snake charmer' solo.

Lily of the Valley - Beautifully sung piano framed Mercury ballad with slyly teasing backing vocals and a carefully paced dynamic development that builds to an impressive climax during its modest 1 min 45 seconds orbit.

Now I'm Here - Composed by Brian May from his hospital bed while convalescing from a bout of hepatitis which was considered serious enough to even place a doubt about his continuing with the band. One of the truly unimpeachable classic rock songs that everyone and their pet cicada could probably yodel by heart. The audio pun of stereo panning the location of the Now I'm there vocal riposte might seem a tad redundant now but it was revolutionary at the time and we are thereafter treated to 'that' riff which has earned its rightful place in the pantheon of the goosebump gods where it rubs anointed shoulders with Satisfaction, My Woman From Tokyo, Black Dog, Smoke on the Water, Brown Sugar and Rebel Rebel. No, I have no idea what the lyrics are about so all I can reveal is that Hoople does refer to Mott the Hoople who Queen toured previously with as support act and that they quote quite liberally from Chuck Berry's Little Queenie towards the fade.

In the Lap of the Gods - Queen pitch their camp inside Cecil B Demille's roomy tent with the needle ramping dangerously into the screaming pink hereabouts. The intro is the fruit of a misguided daydream of Liza Minelli duetting with a pitch shifted Noel Coward while Liberace vamps on piano and Dame Joan Sutherland attempts to shatter the cocktail glasses held by all. Mercifully however, such tongue in cheek decadent bombast retreats to reveal a very memorable and robust song featuring Queen's signature multi tracked harmony vocals. Perhaps a little experimental dry run down the aisles of la Scala they would explore with such daring and brilliance on Bohemian Rhapsody?.

Stone Cold Crazy - My acquaintances in the metal fraternity advise me that this track was pivotal in the development of speed metal. Yeah so? Is fast blather better than slow blather? Whatever, this reminds me of Led Zep in places circa Communication Breakdown but what makes it unique as an uptempo rawker is Mercury's inimitably fey delivery even when he's convinced he wrote 'swaggering macho' on the parcel. Dynamic contrasts can still be hugely effective on songs as short as this as evidenced by the unaccompanied vocal sections lending even more weight to the huge sound of the whole band in toto. Reputedly the very first song Queen ever performed live in front of an audience.

Dear Friends - For years I thought this a tell-tale Freddie number but it was actually written by May who contributes the piano accompaniment. One of the very best and perfectly succinct Queen ballads that carries a trace of lullaby in its lineage but not in this case aimed at a child, but we so-called fully fledged adults.

Misfire - The first song written by 'the quiet one with hair like a spaniels ears' and although it's tempting to dismiss this breezy and light Deacon tune as surface filler, it is however just too damn plain vanilla addictive to be relegated to bubble gum pop. If Abba or Fleetwood Mac had come up with something similar, they would have been showered in Ivor Novello awards. Once sampled you will find it easier to nail a jellyfish to the ceiling or teach a cicada to yodel that get this invasive melody to vacate your waking hours. BTW Deacon played all the guitars on this track.

Bring Back That Leroy Brown - Fred was a big Jim Croce fan and the latter may have provided the inspiration for this authentic pastiche of 30's style vaudevillian jazz. Check out the delightful and faithful period style of May's ukulele/banjo vamp and Deacon's upright slinky bass. As is the norm for a Queen track there must be at least 4 layers of ingenious harmonies on the backing vocals alone but they somehow always just manage to avoid overcooking the puddy. (That's not luck, it's hard won talent)

She Makes Me (Storm-trooper in Stilettos) - Almost a 70's update to the Velvets Venus in Furs as envisioned by May (Venus in Clogs?) Similar to Lou Reed's creation, it has a droning oriental trippy feel punctuated by a huge metronomic reverberating snare. Is it just a coincidence that the subject matter in both touch upon (gulp) S & M themes?

In the Lap of the Gods (Revisited) - Another classic sing-along showstopper that displays the pomp and (mitigating*) circumstances this band so excelled at with one of their anthemic slices of preening peacock rock.(* a brilliant hook can be a mandate for all manner of other excesses) Queen wrote and performed an astonishing number of songs that were tantamount to God's gift to the cigarette lighter (the only time such a modest device was ever held aloft in supplication it would seem) I never saw them in the live realm but I'm sure they would have blown my little cotton socks clean off and right up into the firmament.

It's interesting to note that there are many observers from the Indian intelligentsia who place the achievements of Freddie Mercury (nee Farrokh Bulsara) on the same plateau as that of Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth i.e. taking the coloniser's art form and representing it in a manner richer and more dazzling than many Anglophones thought possible.

Not a baby clanger in sight and it really is practically impossible to unearth any discernible flaws in this enduring document. Some will point to the lack of any secular concerns or personal revelations on the lyrics front but Freddie is on record many times happy to confirm he was an unashamed fantasist who sought only to entertain not educate his audience.

He and his collaborators succeeded and will continue to do so for untold generations to come.

Review by jampa17
5 stars A prog masterpiece. Period.

For their third album, Queen retook their fresh style again and the result is a rocking mixture of styles, very attractive to both prog fans and more mainstream music fans.

There's very little I can add to this one. The music is wonderful, rocking, innovating, fresh, heavy, melodic and makes me remember my teen years. Not because I listen to Queen in that age (I have not even born back then) but because of their young appealing and feeling. They really speak about independence and self respect. I just love everything in this album.

The experimentation is great and the performance is one of the most impressive I have heard in both prog rock and mainstream rock. You can see and realize why this band is so unique. There's no chance to emulate this originality and at the end, beyond the impressive songwriting and wonderful performing, the music is enjoyable, flows nice and is very, very fresh.

Maybe I'm brief about this review but you have to listen it to believe it. Mercury, May &Co. at the top of their game. If you want to dig into Queen, this is the album I suggest you. Is wonderful. Queen is one of the best progressive bands of all time. 5 stars is fair.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
4 stars 'Sheer Heart Attack' by Queen is bombastic, epic rock with killer tracks and inventive song writng

The amusement park intro sets the mood as 'Magic fills the air'; the unmistakeable sound of Queen, the vocal range and piano of Freddie Mercury, Brian May's singing guitar, Roger Taylor's percussive rhythm and John Deacon's pulsating bass.

The opening track, 'Brighton Rock', is a blazing rocker that has some very progressive sections, the best being the lead break with frenetic riffing and one of the best solos May has accomplished.

'Killer Queen' is the well known single that every Queen addict knows. You have to love those trademark harmonies on the chorus. 'Tenement Funster' is a sleeper that has grown on me with a very strong melody, infectious groove and searing lead break. The time sigs change very quickly and this is a real prog song in every respect.

It merges seamlessly into the bizarre 'Flick of the Wrist'. This is another excellent track that chugs along nicely and features some electrifying guitar and inspired riffing. 'Lily of the Valley' is thankfully short as I was never a fan of Mercury's ballads, though he sings beautifully on this and it feels like part of an epic. At under 2 minutes it is sufficient as a transition point to the next great track.

'Now I'm Here' has become quite a crowd pleaser on a live stage. It has a myriad of twists and turns in the music. At the end there is a very strong riff that sounds similar to Rolling Stones' 'Satisfaction'.

'In the Lap of the Gods' begins with a majestic bombastic mass of harmonies and then a phased Mercury, mocking himself, croons a silly verse until that chorus chimes in: 'leave it in the lap of the gods...' 'Stone Cold Crazy' is a 2:12 intro to what would become heavy Metal. Metallica reinvented the track on their 'Garage Days' album, and why not, it is one of the first thrashing riff with fast paced vocals. Deep Purple were certainly influences but you have to love the riffing here, and a killer lead break showcase May's inimitable talents. You can almost hear Kirk Hammett licking his lips listening to this. 'Dear Friends' is a ballad. I don't like it. It is short but corny. 'Misfire' is another track under 2 minutes, and it is interesting how these short tracks appear on this album as little tasters of what Queen were producing in the 70s. I like the melody and rhythm on this and do not consider this a misfire at all. Deacon is the master behind this and it is a nice change on pace.

'Bring Back That Leroy Brown' is a short and quirky Jim Croce homage, with banjo and barber shop quartet like vocals, and a smidgen of double bass, and Andrews Sisters lyrical style. Funnier than ELP's 'Are You ready Eddy?'

'She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes)' is a very catchy acoustically driven song. The rhythm is strong and the vocals and harmonies are almost psychedelic 60s inspired. The song is not an account of Darth Vader's soldiers in white parading about in high heels, it is actually about a strange affair of a man in drag. I like the ending with the gun shot effects and the sound is strange and features a drone and atonal delivery that does not quite sound right, giving it a mystical edge. 'In the Lap of the Gods...Revisited' is a book ending track to finish the album on a familiar note, the return of the melody heard earlier, although this version is more anthemic; you can virtually see the crowd holding lighters up in the air swaying in time. And so ends an impressive album.

I was delighted to hear this again for this review and it reminded me that this is definitely one of the heaviest and most consistent Queen albums in their repertoire. The album finishes on an explosion signifying that the doors of mainstream rock were blown off their hinges.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Queen's third album, while not quite as outwardly progressive as the previous release, continued in the vein of highly energetic and creative hard rock. Still fueled by Brian May's unique guitar style, Queen remained a powerhouse, and pushed themselves to the top of the charts.

The big hit on the album, which still gets plenty of airplay, is the unusual Killer Queen, a well-produced piece that shows off the band's layered vocal style. But the real fun on the album comes from the hard rock tunes. May drives the best songs on the albums, Brighton Rock, Flick Of The Wrist and Stone Cold Crazy.

Queen alson introduced their foppish side, on Bring Back That Leroy Brown, a retro sort of song that, in it's way. imitates music from the turn of the century. In itself it wasn't so bad, but it opened a well that the group would trvel to a bit too often.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Queen's third album sees them begin their transition from the bombastic proto-metal monster of their third two albums to a glammed-up hard rock unit. The two most famous songs from here neatly sum up the album's various contradictions - Killer Queen is a craftily honed slice of glam-pop brilliance, whilst Now I'm Here sees Freddie's vocal wizardry as he intones strange lyrics over alternatingly spacey and heavy musical backing. The second side is rather heavier than the first, recalling the approach of Queen II, and includes the sombre and haunting In the Lap of the Gods - and I defy anyone not to sing along when the reprise kicks in at the end of the album. Not quite as cohesive as Queen II, but the broader sound means that it's far stronger than most transitional albums.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Sheer Heart Attack" is the 3rd full-length studio album by UK rock act Queen. The album was released through EMI/Parlophone (Europe) and Elektra/Hollywood Records (US) in November 1974, only seven months after the release of "Queen II (1974)".

There´s no questioning the band were on a creative high in those years and producing two releases as brilliant as "Queen II" and "Sheer Heart Attack" in under a year is quite the achivement in my book. Musically "Sheer Heart Attack" pretty much continue down the theatrical rock road of "Queen II" but with an occasionally added more hard rocking edge (not that "Queen II" didn´t have a couple of really hard rocking moments too). "Brighton Rock" and especially the fast-paced proto metal track "Stone Cold Crazy" are examples of Queen when they rock out. The latter mentioned has one of the most infectiously hard edged rock/metal riffs I have ever heard. Pure metallic joy.

Like most of Queen´s releases, "Sheer Heart Attack" is of a quite eclectic nature and in addition to the hard rocking tracks, the album feautures both epic, theatrical, progressive and ballad type elements. Everything is delivered with great skill both instrumentally and vocally. The powerful and organic sound production further enhances the listening experience.

"Sheer Heart Attack" was the album that provided international mainstream popularity to Queen. The first two albums had mostly provided them with UK success but the success of the "Killer Queen" single and a high chart placement for the album itself in both the UK and the US, gave them the last boost. "Sheer Heart Attack" is an excellent release by Queen and I fully understand why it was a success upon release. I think the flow of the album could have been slightly better with a couple of better tracks placements, but it´s really a minor issue and a 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is fully deserved.

Review by Necrotica
4 stars You may think Queen were always big, but they in fact came from very humble beginnings. Their eponymous debut album was released in 1973 to relatively low fanfare, with the single "Keep Yourself Alive" (quite a popular rock song now) failing to hit the charts anywhere. Then enter Queen II, the brilliant sophomore album that blew the debut out of the water, yet still didn't manage to really shake the public in anyway (other than the somewhat popular "Seven Seas of Rhye"). Then, add into the mix Norman Sheffield, Queen's former B*TCH of a manager who would cut Queen's studio time and abuse his power over the band. So... let's just say that things weren't exactly looking up for the band.

So what'd the band do? They reached out to the public with more accessible songs, opting for a more pop/rock sound that still retained all the... "artiness" of their previous works. Overall, how well did it work? Well, if the band's popularity, reviews from critics, and immediate chart staying power mean anything, then Sheer Heart Attack was a bold success.

As I said before, the band tried more of a pop/rock approach, and the condensed arrangements easily work in the band's favor here. You'll still hear a wide variety of genres being played here, including pop, rock, folk, ragtime, Caribbean music, opera, and more; However, the grandiose style of the album doesn't get in the way of the accessibility, making for a very rich experience all in all.

In the album, Queen also scored their first two worldwide hits - the dangerously lovely "Killer Queen" and the explosive "Now I'm Here." The former mixes a quaint piano arrangement with Freddie Mercury's biting, dry sense of humor. The solo from Brian May is also a highlight, using chordal repetition in a clever, campy way. The latter song begins with a very tense-yet-driving riff from May, while Freddie softly expresses his voice, eventually leading to a powerful, climactic clash of instruments. What follows is a strong, speedy riff-fest that backs-up Freddie's vocal assault. In the end, it's no wonder that the two songs became hits, both being very appealing in terms of sound.

One of the biggest highlights of the album is a short little proto-speed metal song known as "Stone Cold Crazy." Instead of offering Queen's normal operatic style, here they make the song a very focused slab of pure metal energy. It's easy to see why Metallica covered this song later on; Having a song this heavy, clangorous and loud must have influenced many artists in Queen's wake. Brian May's solo is pretty much a shred-fest, but still overdubbed like much of Queen's sound.

As for the members, everybody is presented in a very cohesive way throughout the songs. No member is left out or featured more than the other (maybe other than Freddie Mercury, just a tad), making for quite a nice balance. Freddie's vocals are very powerful as usual; Brian May's style is fully realized here, running the gamut of different sounds atypical of rock yet still retaining his pop/rock presence; Roger Taylor goes through many diverse styles as well, but remains hard-hitting and spot-on; John Deacon has very subtle-yet-noticeable fills and runs that shouldn't fly by anyone's ears.

As for the flaws, many of the weaknesses come in at the second half; The latter half just simply isn't as strong as the first. "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" is a fun listen, but "Seaside Rendezvous" would perfect the Queen ragtime style a year later. Also, "Misfire" couldn't be more fittingly named. The whole song just doesn't really fit; One: it's only 1:50, so very short; Two: The song's Caribbean style is simply very far-fetched and honestly an odd pace-killer for the next songs. Additionally, the final track, the revisited version of "In the Lap of the Gods," is a pretty bland anthem song that repeats the same section for an annoying two minutes, making the listen a chore.

However, the rest of the album is very solid, especially in the exceptional first half. The next year, Queen would release A Night at the Opera, an album that would really shake the world and it's critics. Until then, Sheer Heart Attack was the real breakthrough in terms of expanding Queen's fanbase to ridiculous new heights.

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars Sheer Heart Attack is a strong album in a great band's library that shows has all the right combination of Queen's sound: rousing guitar work by May, memorable vocals by Freddie Mercury, creative song writing, and lots of variety to enjoy. It's not a prog album like it's predecessor, though it is more creative than consistently enjoyable than some of the albums that follow. It moves along at a brisk pace, cranking out a steady of rotation of driving hard rock, playful pop, and lush balladry. Sheer Heart Attack doesn't have any of the band's truly iconic songs ("Killer Queen" almost being an exception, but it doesn't pack the punch of, say, "Bohemian Rhapsody"), but the album remains great from start to finish, and is a perfect way to check out the band's library beyond their greatest hits.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by FragileKings
3 stars Queen. A classic band with so many huge hits. I never wanted to buy an album. I saw a photo once of Edward Van Halen and Brian May together and I thought, "Why does Eddie like May so much?" Queen and Brain May to me were "Radio Ga-Ga", "Killer Queen", "Another One Bites the Dust", "We Are the Champions", etc. The music could be said to have power but there was nothing in the guitar playing that attracted my ears. Even after I learned that Queen were on PA, I still wasn't convinced.

Two things finally bent my curiosity. The first was the Wikipedia article on thrash metal that mentioned Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" as an early example of speed metal. The second was a mention in the book "Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater" of DT playing three songs from "Sheer Heart Attack" and Brian May being very impressed. I ordered the album!

"Killer Queen" and the rocker "Now I'm Here" are the only tracks I know, but it's the guitar exhibition of the opening track "Brighton Rock" - a song that sounds like a live version recorded in studio - that instantly justifies any adulation of Brian May's guitar skills. It's easy to understand how Eddie Van Halen was inspired, but also I can't help thinking that "Brighton Rock" must have also inspired Rik Emmett of Triumph when they recorded their second album "Rock and Roll Machine" because the guitar solo in the title track could easily have been an effort to pay tribute to May's work.

I find the rest of "Sheer Heart Attack" to be a mixed bag of tracks that clearly exhibit creative musical thinking and others that exhibit pure genius. Wikipedia states that the early Queen albums were a combination of prog and metal influences, and I don't doubt that much though I do agree with the "Sheer Heart Attack" Wiki article that says the band were heading more into conventional rock tracks. Some tracks feature heavy riffs and searing solos while others seem to have been inspired by musicals. Though all the tracks are short, there is no shortage of creativity. One of my favourites is the incredible "Bring Back that Leroy Brown". A quick-paced 1920's stomper, the song features ukulele-banjo, jangle piano and double bass and some great drum work by Roger Taylor, not to mention the fantastic vocal work. Easily a terrific entertaining number!

If there's any one big criticism it's the production. As this is their third album, it might not be a surprise to hear a weak production that doesn't justly bring out the sound of the music that the band obviously worked hard to record. But still I had imagined better sound quality.

Not all songs impress so deeply, but I am impressed enough that I am now eyeballing two more albums: "Queen II" and "A Night at the Opera". I expect these three will make a good trilogy.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Sometimes an artist's trajectory is forged more by sheer luck rather than clever navigation and such is the case for one of rock history's most celebrated and popular bands, namely QUEEN who having arrived rather late in the game in both the hard rock and prog scenes still managed to find themselves at the top of the world by decade's end. After the power quartet of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon formed in 1970 after the disbanding of May's previous band Smile, the Fab Four of the 70s would continue together uninterrupted until Mercury's untimely passing in 1991. The debut QUEEN I showcased a unique mix of hard rock and glam imagery all dressed up with slightly progressive touches whereas QUEEN II took those attributes even further and projected an image of going yet further down the prog pike as the fantasy themes became more enriched as did the pomp and awe of musical flamboyancy.

But that's exactly where fate stepped in. After QUEEN II was released in March 1974, the band embarked on a promotional tour with Mott The Hoople and even had a minor hit with their single 'Seven Seas Of Rhye.' As luck would have it, Brian May was stricken with a case of hepatitis in the middle of the tour and the band was forced to cancel their remaining gigs. So as not to waste the time away, the other three members sallied forth minus May and began the process of crafting the next album. Without May's input, the balance suddenly shifted to Mercury's more pop infused piano led dynamics that offered more catchy melodies and crazy deviations from the norm of the 70s rock paradigm. While May was down, he wasn't complete out as the rest of the band instead delved into the vaults and rescued forgotten May penned songs that dated back to the first album.

The result was the second album of 1974, SHEER HEART ATTACK which emerged in November and offered a completely different style than projected on the first two albums, a style that would dictate the classic QUEEN sound and would catapult them into superstar status. SHEER HEART ATTACK was an awkward album that provided the bridge between the overdub rich guitar attacks of the first two albums and the streamlined production heavy and more commercial sounding albums that follow. While tracks like the opening 'Brighton Rock' exemplified May's love of the delay pedal and rich tapestry of guitar overdubs, other tracks like 'Killer Queen' and 'Lily Of The Valley' were pure unadulterated Mercury crafted pop songs enriched with his unique crafty style that found his piano playing and vocal range shoot through the roof.

As a result of their Led Zeppelin meets Jimi Hendrix style of rock adding more slick elements of the more pop oriented hard rock bands such as The Sweet, QUEEN experienced instant success as 'Killer Queen' sailed up the charts as a pop single and the album followed with sales going through the roof. The crown had been placed and QUEEN found its way into the royal rock hall of fame in no time. Despite SHEER HEART ATTACK sounding like a rather disjointed collection of unrelated tracks, QUEEN pulled it all off with gusto and proved that they had what it took to boldly delve into disparate genres of music without a second thought, a feat that hadn't been attempted in popular rock music since The Beatles dominated the decade prior and a testament to the explorative power and ambition that set QUEEN apart from the plethora of 'stuck in the blues' rock bands that cluttered the music scene.

It doesn't take long to discover as 'Brighton Rock' cedes into the following 'Killer Queen,' a sultry swinging piano based pop hit about a high class prostitute, that SHEER HEART ATTACK was an album that hops, skips and jumps all over the musical spectrum looking for the next good time and perpetual party to crash. The lyrics had been brought back down to Earth and infused with both more serious and more lighthearted subject matter. Next up was the Roger Taylor penned 'Tenement Funster' that tackled youth and rebellion and he even sang lead vocals before the tracks once again cede into a double whammy of Mercury's melodic charm on 'Flick Of The Wrist' and 'Lily Of The Valley,' a triumvirate of tracks that created a larger medley.

Despite a more pop appeal, QUEEN still dished out the machismo with the ball busting guitar riffing frenzy of 'Stone Cold Crazy,' a clattering track of distortion and bombast that presaged both speed and thrash metal by nearly a decade however the biggest surprise of the album comes from Mercury's interest in vaudeville kitsch in the form of the piano driven blast from the past 'Bring Back That Leroy Brown,' which showcased a ukulele and banjo section as well as Deacon tackling the double bass. While May was down and out for much of the album's development, he returned in time to tack on the superb 'She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettos) where he wrote and sung the lyrics and provides a wealth of not only the expected overdubs but field samplings from busy New York City gloom and doom. 'In The Lap Of The Gods' provided a two part theme revised bringing the QUEEN II era of just a few months prior to mind.

While there is no denying that QUEEN was a formidable talent, there was no guarantee as to how they would direct this talent much less become one of the biggest bands of all time. SHEER HEART ATTACK displayed how both talent, audacity and sheer luck melded together to create a more tangible and unifying style that would attract an infinitely larger listening audience. While not as stylistically slick or as unifying brilliant as QUEEN II and not nearly as accomplished as the followup 'A Night At The Opera,' one can easily hear the nascent birth pangs of many of the ideas that would continue to evolve and dish them out in small rations. SHEER HEART ATTACK despite its rather awkward nature is nevertheless utterly infectious with a staggering amalgamation of groovy rhythms and ever changing dynamics with instantly likable melodies and just enough avant-garde pomp and awe to rival the most outrageous bands of the day. A transition album perhaps, but a really good one.

Review by The Crow
4 stars Sheer Heart Attack is, along with A Night at the Opera, is the most important Queen's album in my opinion.

Produced again by Roy Thomas Baker and the band itself, Sheer Heart Attack is a very diverse and stimulating collection of very good songs which revolve between art rock (Lily of the Valley, In the Lap of the Gods), prog-rock (Brighton Rock), pop (Misfire, Killer Queen) and even one of the first thrash metal songs in history (Mercury's Wreckage classic and a true milestone for metal)

The result is one of the funniest and more enchanting Queen's albums. A disc resistant to many plays with tons of great compositions (especially the ones with Mercury's signature) and the moment when both the guitars of May and Mercury's vocals began to acquire their true personality.

Best Tracks: Killer Queen (the first Queen's true hit), Brighton Rock (awesome guitar work), Lily of the Valley (just beautiful), Now I'm Here (an almost flawless hard rock song) Stone Cold Crazy (thrash metal before the genre was born) and In the Lap of the Gods Revisited (a true hymn)

Conclusion: Queen II was a superb album, maybe even better than Sheer Heart Attack in general terms. But this third effort demonstrated that these guys were one of the most diverse, versatile and stimulating bands of the seventies, able to success in very different genres and styles without losing their signature sound.

Strongly recommended!

My rating: ****

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars After some moderate success with Queen II, which was released in February 1974, barely 6 months had passed and the powers that be were demanding a follow up album, so in July of the same year, the band was writing new music for another album to be released by the end of the same year. There was a major problem, however, and that was the band was unable to even finish their previous tour because Brian May had been hospitalized after contracting hepatitis from a vaccination required for traveling to Austrailia, and then to make matters worse, he was re-hospitalized for a stomach ulcer. The band, after all of this, had to write the new album. The parts had to be recorded leaving out May's guitar and vocal parts.

When "Sheer Heart Attack" was finally finished, the result turned out to have more variety and less heaviness from its predecessors. It ended up signaling a movement of the band away from the progressively heavy sound to a more accessible, yet varied sound with songs ranging from hard, stadium rock to vaudeville style music. This formula would work well with the band and would end up giving the band its famous and sometimes unpredictable sound. However, whatever style the band tried would end up being top-notch music, never sounding very contrived most of the time, and also lending to the glam rock persona that Mercury and the band adopted. It's this glam rock style that helped the band retain its progressive status even with most of the music being more accessible.

The album surprised a lot of fans, yet most of them remained faithful and were eager to follow the band with this new sound. However, the album, being the first example of this new sound, can seem a bit choppy and uneven to most people. Personally, it is one of my favorites since I love the courage of the band to do this, and it is obvious they are trying to make this new formula work. The album appropriately begins with "Brighton Rock", a track that was actually written long before even the first Queen albums. It was originally intended for the Queen II album, but was left off because the band felt it didn't fit with the rest of that album. It starts off the album with a rousing and killer guitar solo after some vocals from Mercury. The guitar solo here is multi-tracked to give it that multi-guitar sound that May would become famous for and is considered one of the best solos ever. Honestly, it does sit up there with the best with May being the sole player through most of it. May was back from his illnesses with a vengeance.

Following this is the band's first radio hit "Killer Queen", and at this point the band takes a sharp turn from their previous sound. It definitely paid off for the band and gave them the song that would define its sound for several years. Following this is a sort-of medley of three songs that are masterfully connected to each other: "Tenement Funster" sung by Roger Taylor and John Deacon subbing for May on guitar, the fast and furious "Flick of the Wrist" with Mercury's octave wide vocals and May back at the guitar, and then the more ballad-like "Lily of the Valley" where Mercury gets to show off his Broadway style vocalizations. The first side ends with "Now I'm Here" returns to a heavier rock sound with some excellent guitar riffs from May and more Mercury style antics with a song about Queen's touring days with "Mott the Hoople"

Side two is bookended by the two parts of "In the Lap of the Gods", though the songs are completely unrelated. The trademark vocal overdubs are quite apparent in this track as the music almost takes on an operatic, choir sound, another thing the band would become famous for. The overdubs are done by Mercury and Taylor. The thing that is featured here mostly is Taylor's operatic style voice that ranges from deep notes to extremely high vocals that are apparently still in Taylor's normal range, not falsetto. This is followed up with "Stone Cold Crazy", the song that has been credited for being a foreshadowing of thrash metal and hinted at punk music (not for the last time for the band) and has been famously covered by Metallica. Again, the extremity of styles continues to be showcased with the short ballad "Dear Friends", and then the more happy sounding track "Misfire" which was John Deacon's first song written solely by him for the band where he plays most of the guitars.

The variety continues with the Jim Croce-inspired, ragtime sounding song "Bring Back that Leroy Brown". Queen proved it could flit from one style to the next with ease, and they would continue this for several albums to come. This was the band's strength. The vocals are again layered and overdubbed with Mercury singing and playing grand and honky-tonk style pianos and May playing a quick banjo-ukulele solo. The heavier and much darker track "She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettos)" brings in the brooding feel of the band with a nice May-written and sung track featuring him and Deacon on acoustic guitars and dramatic effects at the end of the track. The album ends with what was considered a song that an audience could sing to "In the Lap of the Gods? Revisited". It was a foreshadowing of the stadium tracks that band would love to make like "We Are the Champions" with a repeated wordless vocal melody that the audience could easily mimic and served for an effective barnburning show ender up until 1977.

Every one of the tracks on this album is non-filler and serves to showcase the band's versatility, and Queen still is the band that sits first in most people's minds as the band that could play any style and make it sound like they invented it. Even though each individual track, for the most part, might not be considered progressive in and of itself, but the fact that an album could unpredictably move from one musical style to another without a hitch while throwing in their amazing trademark over-the-top sounds and performances makes this band truly a progressive band, at least up through the "Jazz" album. There are several bands out there that are "Glam" bands that are also considered progressive, like Roxy Music, David Bowie, Be Bop Deluxe, and others. Glam and Progressive music at one time were usually synonymous during the seventies, which is why these bands are considered progressive as long as they could stretch the boundaries of rock, which Queen also did, but more through the meshing of styles from other genres. This is my argument that Queen is a progressive band, but these days many people don't seem to agree with this. Their individual songs might not have been as complex as "Genesis" for example, yet even "Genesis" in their early days had elements of the glam bands in their shows and music.

As far as this album, it has always been a favorite of mine, and I could easily give it a five star rating just out of emotion and personal preference, but for progressive purposes, it only rates as a four star, mostly because the sound is a bit more choppy not flowing quite as well as some of their future, more popular albums would be. I think if it hadn't been so rushed that it could have been as slick as "Night at the Opera" or "News of the World", but it does showcase a band that was brave to stretch rock beyond its normal boundaries by adopting and infusing other styles. No one did it better than Queen did and they paved the way for other bands to do the same in the future.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Sheer Heart Attack, without achieving the brilliance of the predecessor Queen II, manages to confirm that the group was making an important place in the rock music scene. With a less complex structure, we once again enjoy the great compositional and musical quality of Freddie Mercury and Brian M ... (read more)

Report this review (#2412253) | Posted by Hector Enrique | Thursday, June 11, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A masterpiece, but not for prog: 8/10 QUEEN debuted with an operatic glam-rock album, distinctively shifting the style on its successor to a much more eclectic presentation (while still retaining their unique style), but even with this commendable artistic juggling, it was only after SHEER HEART ... (read more)

Report this review (#1729969) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Saturday, June 3, 2017 | Review Permanlink

2 stars From 1974 this is Queen's third album, SHEER HEART ATTACK. I am sorry to say that after the solid first album QUEEN and the stellar QUEEN II, this album fails to get me. There is just too much hardness and grating about this without the ideas I found in their first 2 releases. While this is not a te ... (read more)

Report this review (#733631) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 9.5/10 Among the sounds of an amusement park - a sort of progression of the last track on the previous album - comes a fast guitar, which grows to form a compelling riff, before facing a drum set the entry of the vocals, and here is Freddie Mercury an interesting duet, where in your normal ... (read more)

Report this review (#676493) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, March 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Sheer Heart Attack ? 1974 (3.4/5) Nearly 4 stars 11 ? Best Song: Killer Queen Ah, finally, we've taken it a step up. This is, for all intents and purposes, Queen's first real 'metal album, and if you're going to disagree, why don'cha take it outside, because we got enough of your type get ... (read more)

Report this review (#445875) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In 1974 me & a friend purchased Queen 1 & Queen 2. We waited in anticipation for another heavy album but were disappointed when we found out it was closer to being a pop album. All these years ago I realize that Queen was the first 'real' band to go more poppy. However, unlike all the other ... (read more)

Report this review (#113599) | Posted by | Monday, February 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 'Sheer Heart Attack' is my favourite Queen album. The album is flawless, the production is imeccable, the vocals are extraordinary, Brian's guitar playing is stunning and of course, the songs are all strong. Showing a variety of styles and moods the album is cohesive and from start to finish s ... (read more)

Report this review (#69865) | Posted by Winter Wine | Saturday, February 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is my favourite Queen album. This is subjective, and I do not want to give any reasons, simply because, there are no reasons, I just like it and I can not imagine how this album could be better. But I have serious reasons, why I do think this album is really progressive, and thus I suggest i ... (read more)

Report this review (#68102) | Posted by | Thursday, February 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A true Masterpiece. Combines elements of Ariness with the vocal harmonies and hardness in the same vein as Led Zeppelin. Killer Queen, Flick Of The Wrist, Now I'm Here and Stone Cold Crazy are the hilights of this most unusual album. At the same time this is the LP that would put Queen on the ... (read more)

Report this review (#62078) | Posted by | Wednesday, December 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars this album starts very well, with the rockers "brighton rock", "tenement funster", the classics of all times: "killer queen" and "now i'm here", the dark and powerful "flick of the wrist" and the beauty "lily of the valley". but after the operistic "in the lap of the gods", the album got some ... (read more)

Report this review (#61640) | Posted by frippertronik | Sunday, December 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is my personal favorite from Queen. Here they deliver fun, complexity and freshness all in the right measure. I wouldn't call this "prog" in a strict sense, I'd rather call it "art hard- rock", or hard rock with a twist, if you like. And at the same time calling this hard rock is so restri ... (read more)

Report this review (#48982) | Posted by porter | Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After the relative succes of Queen II, that album sold well, but got heavily critisised along the way by the music press for self-indulgence and overblown pretentions, Queen had to come up with a follow-up album that would silence the opposition. Unfortunatly Brian May got sick, and the record ... (read more)

Report this review (#41591) | Posted by tuxon | Thursday, August 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars As a Queen fan, this is not one of my favs, but still a quite unique album nontheless!!! Everyone knows "Killer Queen" as this was released as a single in 1974 and is still played on rock radio today. It's the songs that casual listeners have never heard that make this album what it is. Thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#40921) | Posted by silversaw | Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Other people could not be agreed with my opinion but this is the best queen album or maybe the one that like more. I don't know how much queen must be considered prog but queen is mentioned in every good prog web site out there, and it's becouse queen is a exelent rock band and an inspiration ... (read more)

Report this review (#40847) | Posted by fcomeba | Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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