Review Summary: Priest's third is a record with a lot of potential, but fails to live up to this by being too inconsistent. Still a worthy addition to any Priest collection, but there are better ones out there.
After 1976’s Sad Wings of Destiny
, Judas Priest
terminated their contract with Gull Records, due to lack of financial support from the label (as a result losing all the publishing rights to their first two albums), and signed with major record label Columbia. Previous drummer Alan Moore was replaced by upcoming session drummer Simon Philips, and Priest began working on their third album, Sin after Sin
, produced by Roger Glover of Deep Purple
fame. The early influence of blues-rock had almost completely disappeared by this time, and, in parallel fashion, the original gothic-styled band logo was featured last on this 1977 release.
Sin after Sin’s Judas Priest was:
- Robert Halford ~ Vocals
- K.K. Downing ~ Lead Guitar
- Glenn Tipton ~ Lead Guitar, Piano
- Ian Hill ~ Bass Guitar
- Simon Philips ~ Drums
Their third album sees Judas Priest moving on, once again, to a slightly more polished and also slightly heavier style, with the exception of two ballads. Opener Sinner
is an excellent showing of this, being powerfully delivered. The simple, yet heavy main riff that has become a trademark of Priest is present yet again, but is now paired with an interesting addition: Simon Philips’ drumming stands out, as he uses a more aggressive style than those who preceded him, as well as the double-bass pedal. The guitar has once again improved, also due to a better production. It sounds more streamlined and is a hint of the sound they would later continue with Stained Class
. Especially the solos are fantastic, and sound more metal than before, although very faint hints of blues-rock are still present in some of the guitar parts. Halford has grown too, and become more confident. Sin after Sin’s opening sure shows a lot of potential.
Unfortunately, the record ultimately cannot keep its promise at all times. The two ballads, Last Rose of Summer
and Here Come The Tears
are not powerful enough and fail to stand out, with especially the latter having very cliché lyrics and being a rather bland song overall, except for the great solos that carry it along. The Joan Baez
cover and live favourite Diamonds and Rust
is interesting enough, but fails to really add anything to the album. The only real standout besides Sinner
is the well-known Dissident Aggressor
, which closes of the album on a high point with its take no prisoners-style and regular screams.
The remaining 3 songs are all great enough, though each of them slightly flawed. Starbreaker
has that real Priest cheese again, Raw Deal
is simple yet excellent, but drags on for too long, clocking at 6 minutes, and Let Us Prey/Call for the Priest
could well do without its intro which gets very annoying. The rest of the respective songs certainly make it worth it, especially in Call for the Priest
, which stands out because it has the best drumming on the album.
Other than that, there isn’t much to say about Sin after Sin. It is an album with loads of potential that is ultimately let down by its inconsistency and lack of real standouts. Luckily the good moments are there in bigger amounts than the bad, and Sin after Sin turns out to be a great album overall, though Priest has produced quite a few better than it.
+ Once again, all instruments improve from previous releases
+ Great solos
- Ballads are rather weak
Call for the Priest