Queen were straining at the boundaries of hard rock and heavy metal on Sheer Heart Attack, but they broke down all the barricades on A Night at the Opera, a self-consciously ridiculous and overblown hard rock masterpiece. Using the multi-layered guitars of its predecessor as a foundation, A Night at the Opera encompasses metal ("Death on Two Legs," "Sweet Lady"), pop (the lovely, shimmering "You're My Best Friend"), campy British music hall ("Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon," "Seaside Rendezvous"), and mystical prog rock ("'39," "The Prophet's Song"), eventually bringing it all together on the pseudo-operatic "Bohemian Rhapsody." In short, it's a lot like Queen's own version of Led Zeppelin IV, but where Zep find dark menace in bombast, Queen celebrate their own pomposity. No one in the band takes anything too seriously, otherwise the arrangements wouldn't be as ludicrously exaggerated as they are. But the appeal -- and the influence -- of A Night at the Opera is in its detailed, meticulous productions. It's prog rock with a sense of humor as well as dynamics, and Queen never bettered their approach anywhere else. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Q (p.129) - Ranked #2 in Q Magazine's "10 Essential Reissues Of 2006."
Q (6/00, p.72) - Ranked #41 in Q's "100 Greatest British Albums"
Q (12/93, p.143) - 3 Stars - Good - "...Even 'Bohemian Rhapsody' pales into significance next to the epic eight-minute toss of 'The Prophet Song'..."
Uncut (p.85) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[L]istening again to A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is a reminder of the extent of the band's barmy diversity."
Q (Magazine) (p.118) - "It's a record to which all four contributed fine songs, and one of extremes -- among the crashing rock and proggy wigouts were love songs, acoustic whimsy, a trad-jazz pastiche and a brace of vaudeville show tunes."
Q (Magazine) (p.118) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "A NIGHT AT THE OPERA gave Queen their first Number 1, houses 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' and includes everything from spaced-out prog-rock to '30s-era vaudeville..."
Mojo (Publisher) (7/02, p.27) - "...An imperial extravaganza, a cornucopia; a band of hungrily competitive individualists on a big roll of friendship and delight..."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.99) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "'Sweet Lady' bites with the ferocity of the most grizzled heavy metal..."
Uncut (magazine) (p.96) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "Containing not one but two monumental epics, and gorging on grandiose gestures galore, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA secured itself instant classic status."