Saturday, 27 April 2019

Queen "Sheer Heart Attack" (1974)


Its been another eye... or should I say ear opening record from a band already enamored with global legendary status. Diving into their records has shun a light upon the depths of their brilliance and highlighted what a diverse and eclectic group of musicians they really are. Its something rather uncommon at the peaks of popular music. Sheer Heart Attack is Queen's third full length, proceeded by their magnum opus A Night At The Opera. The two share a common identity, thirteen tracks, around forty minutes of music and songs adopting a similar molding cast within an equally theatrical run through of their opposing ends of style and genre.

Brighton Rock kicks the record off with a glorious Freddie Mercury reaching into the peaks of his range with a pinched voice, harmonizing with the organically unfolding set of riffs alongside him. Its captivating and as the song builds its persona and structure they turn and loosen up into a set of miniature guitar solo licks before taking over the music entirely with a tangent of riff rocking, guitar jamming and tight pick chugging grooves that sound practically Proto-Thrash in snippets. Its a Heavy Metal delight.

It pivots into the classic Killer Queen, the pianos gleam a fun jollity from their chords. Its in contrast to the buzzing energy before it and somehow it works... That's what Queen do! A few other tracks feels more so from a mold, Roger Taylor gets the third song again, Tenement Funster. Perhaps its his voice but the song is uncanny in comparison to the feel of I'm In Love With My Car. Its a lightning start, aligned with an unending source of groove and sweet licks from Brian May's brilliant input.

After this point the record finds its theatrical and pantomime breaks in flow through Freddies songs, Lilly Of The Valley, Lap Of The Gods and Bring Back That Leroy Brown. The best union of these contrasting sides is to be found on Stone Cold Crazy, a hard hitting Heavy Metal track with some seriously gripping guitar work that rubs right up against Mercuries performance antics, jiving of the fast clicking percussion. The transitions are sublime, bottled lightning unleashed as the guitars drop fiery harmonies, scattered with infectious attitude all over the place.

Unlike its proceeding record, Sheer Heart Attack doesn't quite have the dynamics. The bands eclecticism bounces of the walls but there are moments of magic left right and center where it comes together. Brian May's guitar work has been a revelation. Their is so much on this record you could link to the future of Metal music to come and in this form its utterly riveting. His use of effects with echos and reverberations is particularly satisfying. I prefer the songs here individually but as an album its a shade behind the flow of their best work.

Favorite Tracks: Brighton Rock, Killer Queen, Tenement Funster, Stone Cold Crazy, Misfire
Rating: 8/10

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Queen was so far ahead of their time that whenever I go back to their earlier albums I am amazed that this happened when I was 2 years old. Freddie was the best singer in rock and roll discipline wise and everyone should go and hear where this legendary band grew up. Stone Cold and Keep Yourself Alive, from another album, are great early metal songs before anyone really knew what metal was about.

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