25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 1998
If you're a fan of Queen's flamboyant mixture of hard rock and exquisite melodic diversity, then this album is hard to surpass. It rocks out from the very beginning, with Freddie's falsetto punctuations backed by Brian May's hyperactive ultra-heavy guitar stylings on "Brighton Rock" - a favourite when played live, always good as a showcase for May's extended improvisation. Then you get the hit single "Killer Queen" and you know you're in for one helluva good record. The medley that follows "Tenement - Flick - Lily" shows Queen at their best, merging one genre of music seemlessly into the next. "Now I'm Here" brings us back to the good-old heavy rock they excelled at, and you can hear them during the outchoruses propelling themselves on, a la Stones ('go go go Little Queenie'). The album gets even more diverse as it goes along, ranging from melodramatic opera (In The Lap Of The Gods I) to outright heavy metal (Stone Cold Crazy! , incidentally covered by Metallica in 1991 as an homage to Queen), followed by an even more eclectic mix of styles - check out "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" for Queen's own nod to the Andrew Sisters and such. The album continues with Brian's tender and emotionally stirring march "She Makes Me" (backed by the 'Stormtroopers In Stilletos'), and finishes off with Freddie's rousing singalong "In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited"). All in all, a fantastic effort from those glam-rock gods - a natural progression from the outstanding "Queen II", and a logical precursor to the ever-popular "A Night At The Opera". A true Queen gem: definitely for Queen fans, or for anyone who's out for a good musical box around the ears.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2011
Please note this album review is comparing CD editions and not focussed on reviewing the music.
Although this is Queen's third album, it is arguably the first 'Queen' sounding album. Don't get me wrong, my favourite album, "Queen 2" had all the typical Queen elements but was more a progressive rock concept album. "Sheer Heart Attack" established their creative musical stamp, Brian's guitar solo multi-tracked sound, the intense theatrical vocal harmonies all align and is more accessible to a casual listener. Of course included in this album is their first major single, the Novello award winning, "Killer Queen". For casual listeners, this album is close enough in style to "Night at the Opera" to not be completely surprising, and for Queen fans, we know this as our `undiscovered' masterpiece.
I have bought the deluxe version which includes an extra EP with 5 additional tracks. I will refer to this later.
Like the "Queen 2" (2011 edition), I am impressed with the whole new package. I love the scarlet red lettering of "Sheer Heart Attack" on the pristine shiny white pages of the detailed booklet. Although the cover photo doesn't seem any different to previous editions, the booklet includes 6 additional pages of great black and white photographs of the lads. Like I wrote for the "Queen 2" review, this packaging befits this classic album rather than the standard cd box and generic pamphlet in the 1991 CD. And of course what thrills any music lover are the words that say: "This 2011 version has been meticulously re-created using the finest modern analogue and digital technology from the original first-generation master mixes." Yes, forget packaging; we hunger after clearer, warmer and engaging sound and Bob Ludwig doesn't disappoint.
Instead of reviewing every track of the album I will provide brief comment on three tracks, "Tenement Funster", "Flick of the wrist" and "Lily of the Valley". These three examples illustrate in general what has occurred with the mastering of the whole album.
Phew, those plucked acoustic strings at the start of "Tenement Funster" are crisp and beautiful. Then Roger's reverberating voice cuts through - this is the forerunner of "I'm in love with my car" including the car growls. Possibly because this is his song, the drums and particularly the toms are colorful rather than the padded sound that many drummers had in the 70's. Bob Ludwig has managed to wrench that little bit more with this 2011 edition, I'm convinced.
"Flick of the wrist" is a complicated track with heavy passages of walls of vocals over thundering drums yet there is clarity in comparison with the muddier '91 version. Freddie's vocals show much greater separation - I don't have the words to describe other than say there's a vitality to this recording. As he sings "Dislocate your spine" you would think this was a recent recording. So much happening, guitar squeals, volume swells, layers of choral backing but sounding cleaner. Cleaner yes, but in a way so that you can hear the grittiness and tone of Brian's rhythm playing better and with stronger bass presence from John. The drums although still not as defined as what I hoped for are impressive on "Flick of the wrist".
The segway into the quieter "Lily of the Valley" is worth listening to repeatedly. The delicate cymbal work I have never really noticed till now and the trill on the piano seems more pronounced. Note the full throated chord at the end of "Lily" has presence rather than just volume. Yes, like "Queen 2" this album has benefitted from the remastering. For casual listeners who have an existing edition of Sheer Heart Attack you may still have doubts.
So still not convinced? There is the sweetener of the 5 track bonus EP. What a sharp live 1975 recording of "Now I'm here". Great track! Then we have two tracks from the BBC 1974 Queen radio show. "Flick of the wrist" is almost identical to the studio version except with a weird guitar solo that I couldn't work out whether it was a mistake or supposedly for effect. Roger's expressive vocals sounds amazing on "Tenement Funster" and as usual the BBC did a great job recording drums once again. "Bring Back that Leroy Brown" is an almost entirely accapella version that showcases Freddie's vocals, overdubs and creativity. Finally we have the poignant 1986 Wembley stadium final recording of Freddie singing "In the lap of the Gods" with 72,000 people joining in the chorus.
If you've never listened to this album then don't hesitate. This is a classic 5 star album remastered. And if you like Queen, then I know you've already bought this edition like I have.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2000
Queen's 1974 breakthrough 3rd album entitled SHEER HEART ATTACK is probably their best album, EVER. And this isn't even the one that contains Bohemian Rhapsody or We Will Rock You. Not only does the album contain hits such as Now I'm Here and Killer Queen, it also contains songs that were well-known hard rockers in early Queen concerts-Brighton Rock, Flick of The Wrist, and Stone Cold Crazy.
For anyone wanting to buy a Queen album for the first time, this would definitely have to be the best example (besides Greatest Hits) of their music. The album starts off with the guitar-driven "Brighton Rock" that contains a 2 minute+ long guitar solo showcasing Brian May's definitive guitar playing skills. This song's solo was recently polled at #41 in Guitar World's Top 100 Guitar Solos of All Time as voted by the fans. The album then dives into "Killer Queen" which was a different direction for the band early in their career. It isn't a hard rocker but contains all the elements that Queen would later be known for-rich melodies, superb piano playing, a 3-piece overdubbed guitar solo, and sophisticated lyrics. "Killer Queen" also proved to be the band's 1st #1 single.
The 3rd track off the album, "Tenement Funster" features the drummer, Roger Taylor, on vocals with awesome guitar work by Brian May. The next song, "Flick Of The Wrist" is probably the most underrated jewel on the album-killer piano playing, haunting lyrics and screaming guitars make this a choice pick. The fifth song begins as "Flick" ends. "Lily Of The Valley" is a delicate ballad by the flamboyant Freddie Mercury. "Now I'm Here" then enters with its guitar and vocal echoes. This song outlasted all and was never dropped from the setlist at concerts from 1974-1986. A superb hard rocker with brilliant chords. The song is about life on the road while supporting Mott The Hoople...'down in the city just Hoople and me'! "In The Lap Of The Gods" is a quite undescribable number by Mercury with distorted vocals and brilliant guitar work (again). The 8th song is probably Queen's heaviest ever, "Stone Cold Crazy". Metallica would later cover this heavy metal song. The album then changes mood with May's lulaby "Dear Friends" and further manifests in John Deacon's (the bass player) "Misfire" with its pseudo-island rhythm. The next song is Mercury's "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" which is very delightful and has a big band feel to it and includes a Brian May ukele solo. May's "She Makes Me" follows with the axe-man on lead vocals. This is a quieter number that ties up the loose ends before Mercury's "In The Lap Of The Gods...revisited" closes out the album with its anthem-like choruses..'wo wo la la la'. The perfect way to end this album.
SHEER HEART ATTACK has everything for even the stingiest music critic. Check It Out!
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2001
This right here is classic Queen, Sheer Heart Attack is without a doubt their best album of all time, not one bad song, not one note out of place. Freddie Mercury's amazing, Brian May's guitar playing is fantastic, and the rhythm section of John Decon and Roger Taylor is great. The masterpiece opens with a masterpiece, Brighton Rock. In my opinion that's one of their best songs ever, everything about it is perfect, especially the guitar solo. One of their signature songs Killer Queen is next, I'm sure you've heard this song before. Tenement Funster is a great song sung by drummer Roger Taylor. Flick of the Wrist is a piano based song with great guitar, great background vocals, and Freddie's vocals are excellent. Lily of the Valley is a short ballad, it's actually really good too. Now I'm Here is another one of Queen's rockin signature songs, so there's nothing really to be said about this song besides the point that it's great. In the Lap of the Gods is another amazing song displaying the talents of the band. It also shows their ability to write extremely beautiful pieces of music and it shows how great Freddie Mercury's voice really was. Stone Cold Crazy is pure metal, it is heavy fast and the band sounds great. Brian May's solo is something to be remembered. Dear Friends is a delicate minute long ballad, featuring Freddie on piano and the band supplying background vocals. Misfire is John Decon's song in the sense that he played almost all of the guitars on it, it shows how talented and underrated he wa as a musician. Bring Back that Leroy Brown is a 40's style swing song, showing Queen's versitility as a band. She Makes Me is an upbeat acoustic song, it's actually very good. In the Lap of the Gods...Revisited is another excellent song. Then on the remastered version there is a remix of Stone Cold Crazy but it sounds the same as the original so it's nothing special. Sheer Heart Attack is a classic album that everyone must own.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2009
After the elaborate "Queen II", Queen simplified their sound and rocked harder than ever on "Sheer Heart Attack". This was the last of their albums recorded on 16-track. Their acclaimed masterwork and follow-up "A Night At The Opera" benefitted from having 24 tracks to work with.
Producer Roy Thomas Baker was into "big" productions at the time - almost like a British Phil Spector. During these years he focused mainly on Queen and Denmark's superstar rock band Gasolin'. Both groups had 5 albums produced by him, and he was a major factor in their success.
This album yielded their first international hit single "Killer Queen", and it's still my favorite song they've ever done. The entire first half is just one Queen classic after another, but it's the second half that makes this my most played disc by them. The whole "In The Lap Of The Gods" suite is thrilling. They virtually invented speed-metal on "Stone Cold Crazy", and the vaudeville/music hall influences exhibited on "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" are a pure delight. The suite segues and flows beautifully, and is majestic and fun. Mercury and May are in top form.
For a rocking good time, you can't do better than Queen's "Sheer Heart Attack".
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2005
I rarely write a song by song review, but this album, which is most definitely my favourite Queen album, I can find enough to say about each song to warrant such a review.
May's opening track is one I listened to I don't know how many times. He is deservedly acclaimed as one of rock's premiere guitarists, and this song is a display of how good this guy will always be. Though it's not one of his orchestrated multi-tracked guitar turns, Brighton Rock shows how much Queen owed to Brian May and his talent, his inventiveness, and his 'sheer' playing ability. If only all bands had a guitarist this adept at approaching the instrument. Even Zeppelin.
2. Killer Queen
Mercury's timeless Queen standard probably has had more said about it than I could possibly add. One of its best moments is again, Brian May's orchestrated guitar solo. It's pretty amazing that in live versions, what he could play of it sounded equally as good, if not better. But here you have much of what Brian May is reknowned for, incredibly arranged multiple guitar solos, with a signature sound all his own, recorded for someone else's song. And that's what a band should be about. With Mercury's songwriting talent, what better is there than having Brian May contributing an incredible, and serving guitar solo to make the song 10x better?
3. Tenement Funster
Roger Taylor Appreciation Fan Club Alert. As said in another review, Roger Taylor is my favourite member of Queen, and this song is probably my second favourite Taylor song in their catalogue after 'Fight From The Inside' (1977). He comes from behind the drumkit to play rhythm guitar on this track, and the whole song 'rocks'. That May was not bothered that the drummer wanted to play guitar as well is cool enough, and later John Deacon didn't mind not playing bass on some Taylor tracks, and that's very cool. It meant that in Queen you could do what you liked to do, and unless it was absolutely horrible, no one minded. Truly what most bands should strive for, 'partnership'.Great vocal as usual from Taylor as well.
4. Flick of the Wrist
Probably one of Mercury's most underrated songs, and always one of my favourites from him. Again, an incredible guitar solo from Brian May, probably one of my favourites along with 'Dragon Attack' from 1980's 'The Game'. The Queen vocal harmonies of Mercury/Taylor and May (if that is the case on this song) were never better. If it's just Mercury, wow!
5. Lily of the Valley
Fading in from 'Flick', Lily is one of those sentimental Mercury songs that always has a soft spot in my heart from me. Vocally beautiful and melancholy, one of Mercury's best ballads. If not long enough in time.
6. Now I'm Here
May's song became a Queen Live standard, and the studio version is every bit as good. Again displaying May's guitar talents, Now I'm Here is typical 70's glam, but done 10x time better than what Glam sometimes got. One of my favourite songs from this album, not knowing how many times I've truly played it.
7. In the Lap of the Gods
Stunning vocals from Roger Taylor on this one (known for doing the amazingly high harmonies on 1975's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'). This vocal tour de'force is reminiscent of Queen II, but with more gravitas and experience behind it. It's half Oklahoma, Wizard of Oz, Wagnerian Opera. Truly an underrated Queen/Freddie Mercury song.
8. Stone Cold Crazy
Band composition, which is the first time for them as a group. Excellent song throughout. Too short!
9. Dear Friends
Beautiful Brian May song, which he became increasingly good at. If there is a sentimental Queen band member, its Brian May. Completely opposite his ''rocker'' style, May writes beautiful ballads.
John Deacon's first composition for a Queen album, which is way too short. What needs to be said here is that if Queen has people good at something, there best pop song writer is John Deacon. He just has an amazing talent for Pop Music, writing incredibly catchy songs, which would later give Queen their hugest hit (even though it was quite reminiscent of CHIC). I have a vague memory of hearing this on radio, or I had heard it before I ever bought the album. Deacon is Queen's pop merchant, and this would be the first indication of his talent at this.
11. Bring Back That Leroy Brown
If only McCartney understood what could be done with songs reminiscent of a bygone era, songs like 'Honey Pie', 'You Gave Me The Answer' wouldn't be as 'quaint' or 'corny' as they are, when compared to what Queen could do with the genre, like this song and 1975's 'Seaside Rendevous'. This is what happens when you let as much creativity that went into those songs artists of long ago wrote (like Duke Ellington, Count Basie etc.)show up in your tributes to that era and style. It makes a great song, one that has so much 'talent' going into it, that you don't care it sounds like it came from 1930. The background vocals on this song are amazing, as is the musical arrangement by all 4. McCartney should have listened to a Queen album and Freddie Mercury before going back once again to the 1930's and 1940's.
12. She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes)
One of my other favourites from this album. A pretty obscure Brian May song, by what I guess is Queen standards. I've always loved this song and its moodiness, its off-chord ending, and the way May sings it. By far he had 'the gentlest voice' of the three main singers, which also lends to his 'softer side' as a balladeer. I don't know how many times I've listened to this one either. Tons.
13. In the Lap of the Gods...Revisited
A totally different version of the earlier song, and one I like just as much. Another underrated Mercury gem.
If you're going to buy a Queen album, please get this one. Track after track its just one of their best, most inventive, and successful efforts. And showed how much of a 'team' they were in presenting what Queen was about.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2008
Looking back at the 1970s, sometimes many forget how big the band Queen was. Even as Queen moved into the 1980s, while their popularity did slightly decline in the United States, it continued to be very high in Europe. Their performance at Live Aid is widely considered one of the greatest of all-time and their subsequent "Magic" tour is considered one of the all-time greatest concert tours. If it weren't for Freddie Mercury's death in 1992, we might still be talking about Queen being as big a band as the Beatles. When Queen released their 1973 self-titled debut album, it showed all of the signs of greatness to come. This album would show how the band embraced a "theatrical" feel to their music (which was something seen by other bands such as the Kinks) as well as embrace a sound that would evolve into what would become Heavy Metal. I expected the follow-up album, "Queen II" to continue much of what "Queen" had started. While "Queen II" continues down the road of theatrical music, overall this album just didn't capture my interest as much as the first album. However with Queen's third album, "Sheer Heart Attack", Queen would successfully build on the fundamentals of the first two albums and expand their sound. They would still revolve around the theatrical sound, but move away from the medieval themes of the first two albums. It would also prove to be their first breakthrough album in terms of commercial success.
Queen is an example of the sum of the parts actually being greater than the whole. However, if you take each of the four members of Queen, they easily stand on their own as a top musician in their profession. Freddie Mercury is easily known to be the emotional and flamboyant lead vocalist of Queen who indeed has a legendary voice. Brian May is the legendary lead guitarist and probably the second most popular member of the band. Roger Taylor and John Deacon go extremely underrated. Listen to Taylor's thundering drumming in the studio or live and one can easily understand why he was asked to participate in an All Star Drum Jam (The S.O.S. All-Stars) at the Live Earth concert. As for John Deacon, he might be one of music's all-time underrated bass players. Many of his bass lines have proven to be the foundation for Queen's musical sound. In addition to being top musicians, all four members play integral roles in the songwriting. As with the first two albums, the band's instrumentation continues to operate a high level. However on this album, I think its Mercury that takes it up a notch and establishes a foundation as a hall of fame vocalist.
Here is a track by track synopsis of this collection:
"Brighton Rock": This is a great track. Queen improvises by using carnival sounds (indicative of the seaside resort of Brighton). While May's guitars shine, this song is a real breakthrough for Mercury who performs both parts of a duet - simply outstanding.
"Killer Queen": Legendary track as Mercury once again takes it up a notch again with his vocals. The song has a theatrical feel to it. Terrific piano work is also done by Mercury. However the real underrated hero of this track is Deacon - his bass completely sets the tone for this track.
"Tenement Fuster": This song features Taylor on vocals who once again proves he can also be a lead vocalist. Taylor's high octaves give this song a prototype for some early Heavy Metal.
"Flick of the Wrist": This song has a great segue from "Tenement Fuster". Mercury takes over lead vocals for this track. Once again, Mercury demonstrates great harmonies. This song takes on more of a progressive rock feel.
"Lily of the Valley": This song has a segue from "Flick of the Wrist". This song takes a softer tone, yet still with a theatrical feel.
"Now I'm Here": Mercury shines again and shows he too can hit the high vocals. May's guitars are right on form. Terrific harmonies are prevalent throughout this track.
"In the Lap of the Gods": This track again showcases a theatrical feel to it - and Queen is awesome in doing so. This features some great piano work.
"Stone Cold Crazy": "In the Lap of the Gods" has a segue to this track. This song almost sounds like a cross between classic Rock of the fifties and early Heavy Metal.
"Dear Friends": Soft piano ballad. Not a bad song, but didn't have me doing handstands.
"Misfire": Much of this song was composed by Deacon and the fruits of his efforts shine. This song almost gives me a feel for what sound that the band Boston would feature in the late 70s.
"Bring Back that Leroy Brown": Queen has always they could pull off a Rockabilly sound - and this song proves it. Nice work of banjo and jangle piano are featured in this song. Great bass work by Deacon.
"She Makes Me": This song has more of a classic rock feel. Underrated track. May has some great acoustic guitar work. I like the way the use of sirens are used in this song.
"In the Lap of the Gods...Revisited": Queen wraps this one up with a theatrical finale feel to it. The perfect way to end the album.
I think Queen moving away from the Medieval themes of the first two albums has a lot to do with why they grew as a band on this album. While Mercury has his breakthrough on this album, the whole band shines. Overall, this is a terrific effort that will keep core Queen fans and casual fans happy. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2004
I must admit this album grew on me over time. Yet it was impossible for it not to, from the strength and power of the composition and the raw energy delivered in just the right places. You have crazed, frenzied rock and power belting and a few tears as well. Queen always takes us on a journey, and this album is no exception.
"Brighton Rock" can only be called one of Brian May's greatest achievements, a masterpiece which allowed him to showcase his true genius. "Killer Queen" is one of the best-known songs by the band, and for good reason. The mark of a truly great piece of music is the listener's ability to forget the silliness of the lyrics and just get lost in the song. "Dear Friends" is a brief, plaintive heartbreaker. "Stone Cold Crazy" will allow you to become just that for a few minutes. "Now I'm Here" became a great favorite among concert crowds, with Freddie and a body double appearing in turn at opposite ends of the stage when the lyrics called for it. And "In The Lap of the Gods Revisited" gives me chills every time I hear it, and is great for those times when I just feel like belting my lungs out. But not as well as Freddie. No one could do it like him.
This is not to say that I don't believe there are flaws. "Misfire", "She Makes Me" and "Tenement Funster" strike me as the filler business found on so many albums in general, not just in the case of Queen. They could be worse but they could also be a heck of a lot better. I skip them every time (though sometimes I listen to "She Makes Me" just to hear Brian).
Listen to the reviews that tell you to start with better-known works if you're not a seasoned pro at this. Buy Greatest Hits. And if you're hooked and want to delve deeper, start here or at least at one of the first three albums. See where the band started and just how ahead of the game they were even at such an early stage. No wonder they went so far.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
In 1977 or so, when I was 11, I bought "Sheer Heart Attack", my first LP. This vinyl version met the abuses of overplay, and has since been replaced with a CD. It was one of Queen's first albums, and the first to get any decent radioplay.
I bought it entirely for "Killer Queen," which played frequently on Chicago's legendary WLS AM radio station. However, I learned the 'deep cuts' of an album can be as good as the radio hits.
Pure testosterone rock songs like "Tenement Funster" are balanced by more philosphical tunes like "Now I'm Here," but with no less rock power. Brian May's guitar and Freddie's voice drive through hard drum lines.
More in the ballad-like genre is "Dear Friends," which is the weakest cut of the album. It seems out of context. "Lily of the Valley" has a similar peacefulness, but works well.
"Bring Back That Leroy Brown" is a fun, 1920s kind of tune. Catchy melody.
Maybe you know of Queen's Greatest Hits, and have dug "Bohemian Rapsody." You won't find that kind of epic song here, but you will find rock that... rocks.
I fully recommend "Sheer Heart Attack" by Queen.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 1999
So I was stuck in a five hour traffic jam in St.Louis. It's just me, my boyfriend, and two of his co-workers. I'm stuck in the backseat with my CD player and my new Queen album. I pop the CD in. The first thing I hear is...CARNIVAL MUSIC?! What the...but then I hear Freddie's amazing falsetto and his rumbling mid-range and I'm hooked to the CD already! The song was "Brighton Rock", one of my favorite Queen songs (although the guitar solo which is the bulk of the song is sorta monotonous). This album packs a big punch of memorable Queen songs. "Brighton Rock", "Killer Queen", "Lily of the Valley, "Misfire" (my happy song and one of my favorite Deacon's), "Bring Back Leroy Brown" and "In the Lap of the Gods (Revisited)" are the highlights of this CD. Also on this CD is "Stone Cold Crazy", a song that most think was written by Metallica. But when one hears this song, it's unmistakably Queen. I garuntee all who listen to this CD will be hooked to Queen and want to buy more. I know I was!