Classic Album: Queen – Sheer Heart Attack

Sometimes when a band gets it right, the results can blow their previous work clean out of the water. Sheer Heart Attack was the first album where Queen got it unarguably right, despite it being still consisting of elements of hard rock, prog and glam, this time they were blended in such a way that they all complemented each other rather than fought for supremacy. Best of all, the majority of the ogre, fairy and wise old man lyrical guff was dispensed with and between them Queen had written a varied selection of pop-rock songs, something which would become their forte throughout the rest of their career.

On Sheer Heart Attack Queen sound supremely confident and such obvious arrogance suited them. The rockers rock, the more delicate numbers add variety and subtlety, there are little flourishes and conceits that only a band like Queen can get away with, and at the end of it a good time has been enjoyed by all. Even the Roger Taylor sung number fits in, “Tenement Funster” being the first really good song that Taylor would contribute to the bands output. One of the features of the album is the way several of the tracks segue into each other, with the links between “Tenement Funster”, “Flick Of The Wrist” and “Lily Of The Valley” being exceptionally well executed.

Another feature of Sheer Heart Attack is the sheer variety of material offered here, from the hard rock of “Brighton Rock” and “Now I’m Here”, the glam-pop of “Killer Queen” and the arena anthem of “In The Lap Of The Gods… Revisited”, to the balladeering of “Dear Friends” and the music hall of “Bring Back That Leroy Brown”, this is when Queen unleashed their full range of tricks and invited everyone to appreciate their diversity.

Of course, some things never really change, Mercury’s vocal operatics remain a highlight of any Queen album and Brian May’s guitar work is a thing of wonder and the pair of them write the songs that form the back bone of Sheer Heart Attack. A special mention should go to May’s “She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettos)”, which is one of those songs that’s easy to overlook in the grand scheme of the album, but heard separately, it becomes one of Queen’s more effecting songs. Not many people take the time out to mention it, so I just thought I would.

Sheer Heart Attack would effectively springboard Queen to the next level in terms of their career, ad from this point, there was really no looking back for them.

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