Sheer Heart Attack (1974)


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

 

Released a mere six months after their last record, this album shows Queen still becoming a bit more focused - a trend which they started on their last album. Although this band would always be very "showy", their earliest records tend to lay on the fantasy - mythology theme pretty thick, they are focusing here a bit more on some straight ahead rock n roll.

These are the examples of strength on this record. One of their most overlooked pieces in their entire catalog is the opening number Brighton Rock which showcases Brian May's killer guitar chops. This is one of those songs that your almost surprised to see on an actual album, as it seems more fit for the live stage. Had this song set us up for the rest of the album, it would have had a more powerful impact, but the rest of what is on the album is a bit hit and miss. Again, the straightforward songs such as Now I'm Here and Killer Queen don't rock as hard as the opener, but straight ahead, powerful rock and roll was only one of this band's many many strengths. Speaking of powerful rock and roll, one of the best pieces here has to be the killer Stone Cold Crazy which, not surprisingly, was covered years later by Metallica.

I'd have to honestly say that the rest of this record is merely "o.k.". It's never bad, and the whole album is a treat when listening. Like many Queen records, this album seems to go for an overall theme as opposed to a set of strong songs. Witness that many of the songs (5 total) are less than 2 1/2 minutes in length. This can be a bit of a setback since all of these songs sound good it's just that they're so short, you never really have time to immerse yourself. Songs like Bring Back That Leroy Brown and Lily of the Valley sound like they could have been something really special, but at some point you have to wonder if they just gave up.

Then there are two versions of In The Lap of the Gods. One has the moniker "revisited" added to it, but to me they sound like the same song done slightly differently. The song She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettos) sounds like it could be a great track, based on the title, but you definitely can't tell a book by its cover. This song is so low key that it puts you to sleep, and you have to wonder if the guys were on Quaaludes when they recorded it.

Again, though, when you consider this came out so soon after the last release, and the fact that you could see them evolving and maturing, it's hard not to really like the album even though it seems it could have been a tad better.

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