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Judas Priest-Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)


Franconia
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Sad Wings of Destiny is really an amazing album that is easily one of the greatest and most influential albums in the history of heavy metal. In the late 70s, Sabbath, Zeppelin and Deep Purple were all fading away and declining and there weren’t many contenders to revive metal. Judas Priest, for the most part, abandoned their blues and progressive roots displayed on their first album, in exchange for faster and more lean metal that still hit hard. Just because this is the beginning of metal’s transition between heavy, blues-ridden rock with progressive tints into faster and slicker music doesn’t make this light at all.

“Victim of Changes” opens up the album and it’s a phenomenal song, easily one of the greatest metal songs in history. Between the monstrous lead riff, the fantastic rhythm section, Halford’s vocals, and the guitar solos, this song kicks ass and is the main reason why I bothered to keep listen to SWOD. “The Ripper”, another classic from Priest, follows and it’s outstanding; Rob’s vocals don’t follow the guitar structure and they embody the lyrical nature, often sounding genuinely vicious like Jack the Ripper. “Dream Deceiver” is a light introduction to “Deceiver”, one of the heaviest songs Priest made. I don’t think the intro track was absolutely necessary but I’m not complaining.

However, “Prelude” isn’t needed as an intro to “Tyrant”, and to an extent it drags the album down. Of course, it’s not bad but just rather unnecessary. “Tyrant”, on the contrary, is an amazing song and another exceptional song. Lyrically, it’s really great and has one of the best choruses. Instrumentally, it still kicks ass and has a great riff and an exceptional solo. “Genocide” is a good following song and has some great riffs, especially during the “Swipe to the left...” section. “Epitaph” doesn’t do anything for me, it’s not rock nor metal and is like when Sabbath did “Changes” on Vol. 4. Similarly, both songs are factors in why the albums aren’t rated 5-stars. Once again, not bad but just aimless filler. “Island of Domination” is a great closing song, although probably the weakest metal song on here. 

Overall, this could be a 5-Star album if 3 of the songs weren’t either intros (Dreamer Deceiver, Prelude) or just piano ballads (Epitaph), but this is a metal classic. While I like “Stained Class” more, this is where Priest got their start in actual heavy metal and some of the greatest songs of all time come out of here. Plus, it inspired Dave Mustaine to enter heavy metal, which had some great results. While this doesn’t sound much like Priest in their British Steel/Screaming for Vengeance era, nor during Painkiller, it’s an album any metal fan and any Priest fan should listen to.

This came from my review on RateYourMusic, which I wrote March 2, 2018. Click here to see my other reviews.

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