Judas Priest are a British heavy metal band formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. The band has sold close to 50 million albums to date. MTV ranked them the second greatest metal band of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band struggled with indifferently produced records, repeated changes of drummer and a lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel, which helped shoot them to rock superstar status. In 1989, they were named as defendants in an unsuccessful lawsuit alleging that subliminal messages on the song “Better By You, Better Than Me” had caused the suicide attempts of two young men.
The band’s membership has seen much turnover, including a revolving cast of drummers in the 1970s, and the temporary departure of singer Rob Halford in the early 1990s. The current line-up consists of Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill, and drummer Scott Travis. The band’s best-selling album is 1982’s Screaming for Vengeance with their most commercially successful line-up, featuring Halford, Tipton, Hill, guitarist K. K. Downing, and drummer Dave Holland.
Their influence, while mainly Halford’s operatic vocal style and the twin guitar sound of Downing and Tipton, has been adopted by many bands. Their image of leather, spikes, and other taboo articles of clothing were widely influential during the glam metal era of the 1980s. The Guardian referred to British Steel as the record that defines heavy metal. Despite a decline in exposure during the mid 1990s, the band has once again seen a resurgence, including worldwide tours, being inaugural inductees into the VH1 Rock Honors in 2006, receiving a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2010, and their songs featured in video games such as Guitar Hero and the Rock Band series.
Sad Wings of Destiny is the second album by the English heavy metal group Judas Priest, released in 1976. It is considered the album on which Judas Priest consolidated their sound and image, and songs from it such as “Victim of Changes” and “The Ripper” have since become live standards. It is the only album to feature drummer Alan Moore.
Prelude—-Perhaps, in the realm of Heavy Metal [proper] Priest is my favorite band of all time. although Maiden is right up there. Always consistent and always delivering the power and defining sound of Heavy Metal, this album….when introduced to America…..helped start a revolution. This prelude, per se. is a bit drawn out….but it enters right into…..
Tyrant—-Introducing a crisp and clear Metal sound driven to a frenzied pace by the super-human vocals from Halford, this track still sounds a bit empty at times despite remastering. the double tracks on the vocal are awesome….Halford seems to sing so fast. When Halford really shows that vocal mastery, it began a revolution of soaring vocals that could only be matched by a soaring guitar. This is a landmark recording. My God…..that note at the end!!!!
Genocide—-This track…right from the onset helps define the sound, musically, of Priest. Excluding the vocal….this is musically a move to a new sound for us in America when it was introduced. Then Halford sings and the band becomes almost superhuman. This is a bit bluesy…still leans on Sabbath a bit….but shines with clear and concise lead guitars that let the bass player step to the back a bit. This is fantastic. So much musical power…..the sound is huge!!!!
Epitaph—-Surprising everyone with a keyboard intro, Halford enters with an odd vocal that makes you shake your head and question if you are listening to the same band. For me, this was a very weak song…and should have never been put on this release…if there is a disappointment on this release…this is a blaring example.
Island Of Domination—-Building from the previous track but delivering power that far exceeds it, this is a classic example of what Priest had in store for those becoming fans. Leaning a bit on the Birmingham blues, Halford still managed to showcase his range while allowing the band to develop and deliver it’s blistering soaring guitar leads. The entire song…even listening to it all these years later…is so fantastic in construction, mood and flexibility. Halford screams….growls and meows throughout the song…the drums are incredible and the ‘stripper’ quality of the song still sounds fresh today. This is classic….no one had or ever has had a voice like Halford.
Victim Of Changes—-For me, this is one of the best songs ever recorded in the history of music. Never have I heard so many emotional musical changes, vocal histrionics, or career defining sounds like I hear on this song. I can never find, ever, anything that excites me like this track does. This was a solid promise of the things to come…the band has never let me down. For me….this is one of the best songs in the history of recorded music….that’s all I can say……
The Ripper—-Funny how the future would produce a ‘replacement’ vocalist know as Ripper…….but that withstanding…..this track right from the onset sounds so modern and incredibly Priest….this sounds like it could have been released yesterday…the band never seems to lose it’s power…Halford still sounds as magical as he did in the 70’s. This is an incredible track….moving through sounds…a bit of blues…a bit of soaring guitars…a bit rhythm heavy sections…..we get everything….and it remains in a nice wrapped up package. Remarkable.
Dreamer Deciever—-Again changing the tone of the record with a shocking sound, one never knew what to expect! Halford sounds ready for Broadway on this track…..melding with the acoustic guitar and delivering a baritone warbling vocal that still surprises me today. This is an interesting track….but till plays well today….showing such diversity and allowing other bands that were emerging permission to experiment…that it was not all about how loud or raucous….that you could be quiet and introspective as well….so Priest helped establish the required ballad on each record…lol. when Halford soars with his voice on this track…it is truly superhuman…..I can’t believe the notes….it is hard to believe……such incredible power in one voice.
Deciever—-Ending the release with full throttle Metal, Priest still delivers this track today with the same power that it has on this recording, Halford sounds driven and manic….delivering his words as fast as the guitar chords spit at him. His voice soars and the the contest between voice and guitar notes ensues…I still wonder who wins!!!! This is another landmark recording…..Halford gave us a voice that we had never heard before…..I still shake my head at the power and the range….the man had a gift…and he has used it well.
***** out of 5