Judas Priest
Sad Wings of Destiny


5.0
classic

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
June 16th, 2009 | 1219 replies | 35,057 views


Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An undeniable old-school metal classic.

13 of 13 thought this review was well written

After the release of the debut Rocka Rolla in 1974, Judas Priest were not entirely satisfied with the final result of the record. Involvement in the production process was minimal for the band, and many live favourites, tracks that later would be seen as true Priest classics, such as Tyrant, Genocide and The Ripper were left out by producer Rodger Bain (also known for producing Black Sabbath’s first 3 albums). After that disappointment, Judas Priest got more involved in the production process, resulting in many old songs finally appearing on 1976’s Sad Wings of Destiny. In fact, most of the album is older material, as next to the other songs, Victim of Changes is partly made up of Whiskey Woman, a song previous vocalist Al Atkins co-wrote. This and Dreamer Deceiver would earn Atkins his last song writing credits. Also interesting is that the original side A and B have been switched around, meaning the album no longer starts with Prelude and Tyrant, but with the epic Victim of Changes. Drummer John Hinch was replaced by Alan Moore.

Sad Wings of Destiny’s Judas Priest was:
- Robert Halford ~ Vocals
- K.K. Downing ~ Lead Guitar
- Glenn Tipton ~ Lead Guitar, Piano
- Ian Hill ~ Bass Guitar
- Alan Moore ~ Drums

First of all, the tracks earlier omitted by Bain are a blessing for the album, and are all highlights. They might have spiced up Rocka Rolla, but they’re doing even better here, and combine nicely with the style that is heard here. Sad Wings of Destiny is darker and sometimes slightly creepy, yet it’s also serene in parts. The cover art, which is also one of the best to adorn a Judas Priest album so far, reflects this atmosphere and is truly representative of what the album actually sounds like. Even the old gothic-styled band logo suits the album better than the new one, which was perfect for their more polished image.

As far as instruments are concerned, they all work together extremely well. The subtle piano work of Tipton is a great background contributor in setting the atmosphere, for example in Prelude and Epitaph. Even more notable is the lead guitar work, which has drastically improved since Rocka Rolla and is now truly heavy metal sounding, as well as a bass guitar that thumps like it should, especially in Victim of Changes. The guitars are very inventive for ‘76, and it becomes clear why this was such an influential album for heavy metal. Rob Halford completes it all; he is in perfect shape here and uses his large vocal range in enough different aspects to keep the album interesting at all times. From high-pitched screams to snarling to semi-operatic vocals, he does all of it. He’s actually not the supreme vocalist many make him out to be, but he can show many different vocal styles and is a born entertainer. The monstrous roar at the end of Victim of Changes never gets boring.

The switching of original Side A and Side B is interesting enough. Prelude and Tyrant were great openers, but Victim of Changes is even better. A wonderful epic that hits hard with its straight-out heavy main riff and screams from Halford, a subtle, almost atmospheric middle part, brilliant soloing, and a grande finale the way it should be. The Ripper is a sudden change in length, not even hitting the 3-minute mark, but keeping the pace up very well. Both are absolute highlights, but that’s not where it stops. Tyrant, Genocide and Island of Domination are all classics. The only complaint there could be about the track ordering is the missing of a adequate closer, but there are sadly enough no candidates for that among the track list. Other than that, the flow of the album is flawless.

Lyrically, Sad Wings of Destiny is almost stunning for a Judas Priest record. In most cases they are well thought-out, and not too cheesy, except for Tyrant:

Quote:
(Tyrant), capture of humanity
(Tyrant), conqueror of all
(Tyrant), hideous destructor
(Tyrant), every man shall fall
Luckily, they are still well delivered and do not bring down the song. Humorous lyrics are also present, and often make the songs more attractive. The Ripper, especially, would be far less entertaining if the lyrics were different:

Quote:
Any back alley street
Is where we’ll probably meet
Underneath a gas lamp
Where the air’s cold and damp
I’m a nasty surprise
I’m a devil in disguise
I’m a footstep at night
I’m a scream of the fright
Sad Wings of Destiny’s elements all work together in perfection, and without knowing it back then, Judas Priest created an uncanny masterpiece of heavy metal, an album that all metal bands that were to follow would be influenced by. It has aged particularly well, and lost none of its strengh since 1976. Sadly though, it has been forgotten, partly due to it not being remastered (Priest only signed to a major record label after this album and lost the rights), but that should not mean anything. Every metal fan must have this in their collection. Forget Painkiller. Forget Screaming for Vengeance.This is Judas Priest’s greatest achievement, and they will never top it.

+ Especially guitar has drastically improved
+ Bass can be heard much more
+ Fantastic vocal performance
+ Great dark, creepy, but also serene atmosphere that is worked out perfectly
+ A metal classic that has aged considerably well

- Not widely available (remastered)

Recommended Tracks:

Victim of Changes
The Ripper
Tyrant
Island of Domination
Genocide



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
June 16th 2009



7926 Comments


Tyrant is so so so good. As is the rest of this album. Great review, I agree that they will never top this.

HenchmanOfSanta
June 16th 2009



1857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm gonna have to deny this undeniable classic. The only songs on it that I feel are "classic" are the Ripper and the amazing Victim of Changes.

Nagrarok
June 16th 2009



8170 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

How many times have you listened to it? I used to think only Victim and The Ripper were classics as well.

Ah, I see you just rated it today.

ConorMichaelJoseph
June 16th 2009



1870 Comments


Great review (I pos'd) for a fantastic album, a true classic.

I'm gonna have to deny this undeniable classic. The only songs on it that I feel are "classic" are the Ripper and the amazing Victim of Changes.

What are you talking about, every song is classic here. Try listening to it a few times at least, that's what it takes to truly appreciate classic albums.


Douchebag
June 16th 2009



3624 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Albums rocks so so much. I should physically buy it one day too...

VICTIMS OF CHAAAAAANNNGGGEEEESSS!!!!!!! = metal.

Shredzilla
June 16th 2009



501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing album, and a definite classic, for sure. Good review, too!

rasputin
June 17th 2009



14538 Comments


good album

SoundsTurnAround
June 17th 2009



9 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

an all-time favorite album. i love the versions of these songs that are on 'unleashed in the east' too..

Douchebag
June 17th 2009



3624 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"an all-time favorite album. i love the versions of these songs that are on 'unleashed in the east' too.."

ooh yeah! Victims Of Changes and Tyrant instantly come to mind.

HenchmanOfSanta
June 17th 2009



1857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

How many times have you listened to it? I used to think only Victim and The Ripper were classics as well.

Ah, I see you just rated it today.


I just rated it yesterday because I just saw this review yesterday. If you notice my profile, I only have 79 ratings, but in reality I have. 240-odd albums in my collection. I've heard every song on here a bunch of times since I got it months ago and only those two have done anything for me.

KILL
June 23rd 2009



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

a comment! great review of a great album yo

Digging: David Axelrod - Song of Innocence

shindip
June 23rd 2009



3536 Comments


I've only heard half of this, and I don't think it really compares to the rest of Priest's discography

Nagrarok
June 23rd 2009



8170 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I do, for a change. This is THE Priest classic for me.

What half?

KILL
June 23rd 2009



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

probably the best Priest record but Painkiller is close

Nagrarok
June 23rd 2009



8170 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Painkiller is completely different from this, largely influenced by speed metal. This is more classic metal, probably why I like it more. Plus, by Painkiller, Priest's egos were pretty big already, and the music was getting more and more standard fare. This record is musicians really trying to do something innovative.

KILL
October 8th 2010



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this album just never gets old absolute classic

LepreCon
October 8th 2010



3853 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wasn't this the album that most inspired Dave Mustaine or something?

Digging: Overkill - White Devil Armory

KILL
October 8th 2010



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i thought that was lightning to the nations

Nagrarok
October 9th 2010



8170 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's still the best Priest album in any case. Victim of Changes rocks. Hard.

KILL
October 22nd 2010



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

dreamer deceiver is my fav but the whole album is omg



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