Rating:
9.0
Judas Priest - Sad Wings Of Destiny
23 March 1976


01. Victim Of Changes
02. The Ripper
03. Dreamer Deceiver
04. Deceiver
05. Prelude
06. Tyrant
07. Genocide
08. Epitaph
09. Island Of Domination


Few times in the history of heavy metal has the entire genre's future depended so much upon the release of a single album. Black Sabbath did it with their 1970 debut, Metallica with Kill Em All, Death with Scream Bloody Gore... and a small handful of others. One of those others happened to be Judas Priest, with 1976's now-legendary Sad Wings Of Destiny. Though the band certainly couldn't have imagined it at the time, this release would in turn spearhead the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, which would subsequently influence many American metal fans, leading ultimately to the beginnings of thrash metal and the other soon-to-come extreme metal sub-genres, fundamentally altering heavy metal forever, into the current form that we all know and love today.

Sad Wings Of Destiny was important not just for the period in metal's history at which it was released, but also for its unique variety of sounds. Few times before, if at all, had a metal band dabbled so wonderfully with the classic metal sound and a more melodic undertone. There are some basic, straight up metal tracks, such as "Genocide," "The Ripper," and "Tyrant" (the latter containing some early elements of speed metal). And then there are some more mellow, laid-back tracks, with very beautiful, ballad-like atmospheres: "Dreamer/Deceiver" and "Epitath." This heavy/melodic variety is only augmented by the stunning vocal abilities of Rob Halford. Say what you want about his abilities now, but the simple fact of the matter is, back in the day, the guy was a singing virtuoso. "Victim Of Changes" is a great illustration of his wide range: from the moderate vocals in the beginning, to the lows in the middle, all topped off by his falsetto shrieks at the end.

And still another innovative feature on Sad Wings Of Destiny is the lyricism. Not since Black Sabbath had a metal band written about topics of such a dark nature, such as serial killers ("The Ripper"), dictators ("Tyrant"), and war crimes ("Genocide"). Said lyrics may not be as gruesomely realistic as those of, say... Cannibal Corpse, but they can still be seen as laying a groundwork for the "horrors of real life" theme that countless subsequent metal bands would take with their lyrics, and this is important.

Sad Wings Of Destiny was an album far ahead of its time, and is just as important now as it was nearly 40 years ago. It is one of the very few albums that helped to literally define metal as a genre, and lay down its basic foundations that hundreds of later bands would add to and build upon, and for that it will certainly stand the test of time. If someone were to ask me "what is heavy metal?" this would be one of the first albums I would point them to.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Judas Priest
Album: Sad Wings Of Destiny


 


written by Apothecary | 01.02.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Cryzpin - 01.02.2012 at 21:44  
Yeah, that's well written, really great album (maybe topped much later by Painkiller). Regarding Cannibal Corpse lyrics - they're certainly not realistic and not even gruesome imo, just inconsistent gore-drivel tbh .
Apothecary - 01.02.2012 at 21:54  
Written by Cryzpin on 01.02.2012 at 21:44

Yeah, that's well written, really great album (maybe topped much later by Painkiller). Regarding Cannibal Corpse lyrics - they're certainly not realistic and not even gruesome imo, just inconsistent gore-drivel tbh .

What I meant is, the Priest lyrics aren't as morbidly detailed. There's a big difference between "I smile when I'm sneaking through shadows by the wall/I laugh when I'm creeping, but you won't here me at all" of The Ripper and "Soon your life will end/I'll see you die at my feet, eternally I smash your face/Facial bones collapse as I crack your skull in half" of Hammer Smashed Face.
Cryzpin - 02.02.2012 at 12:48  
Written by Apothecary on 01.02.2012 at 21:54

What I meant is, the Priest lyrics aren't as morbidly detailed. There's a big difference between "I smile when I'm sneaking through shadows by the wall/I laugh when I'm creeping, but you won't here me at all" of The Ripper and "Soon your life will end/I'll see you die at my feet, eternally I smash your face/Facial bones collapse as I crack your skull in half" of Hammer Smashed Face.

Exactly. I just wanted to stress how much better are JP's lyrics in comparisson to those of CC, not only different, from my point of view.
R'Vannith - 02.02.2012 at 13:38  
This is my favourite Priest album for sure, and Tyrant my favourite Priest track. This is a really good review too, very informative. I had no idea this particular album was so important for the NWOBHM. Might have to read up on my metal history some more.
Furor - 05.02.2012 at 16:30  
This is among my ten favourite metal albums of all time.It is a historic album!
LWR88 - 13.02.2012 at 07:25  
I think this album shows Priest finding their direction. Their first album (Rocka Rolla) had some good moments but seemed to lack direction. IMO this album was the beginning of Priest's peak years. BTW I still find Halford's abilities to be impressive, think there is too much criticism of older vocalists for not being as good as they were when they were young. I think people should concentrate on how impressive many of them still are instead of criticizing them for not being able to sing like they did 30 or 40 years ago. Rob Halford at 75 or even 50 percent of what he used to be still makes for a better vocalist than most bands have.
JohnDoe - 13.02.2012 at 08:06  
Written by Cryzpin on 01.02.2012 at 21:44

Yeah, that's well written, really great album (maybe topped much later by Painkiller)


Topped by Painkiller? Hardly. For me Painkiller got old fast. Sad wings... is timeless.
Apothecary - 13.02.2012 at 15:13  
Written by LWR88 on 13.02.2012 at 07:25

I still find Halford's abilities to be impressive, think there is too much criticism of older vocalists for not being as good as they were when they were young. I think people should concentrate on how impressive many of them still are instead of criticizing them for not being able to sing like they did 30 or 40 years ago. Rob Halford at 75 or even 50 percent of what he used to be still makes for a better vocalist than most bands have.

Couldn't have said it better myself.
Cryzpin - 13.02.2012 at 18:28  
Written by JohnDoe on 13.02.2012 at 08:06

Topped by Painkiller? Hardly. For me Painkiller got old fast. Sad wings... is timeless.

Hardly...but still I mean, both albums being near-perfect, i miss rampancy and energy of Painkiller a little bit here.
JohnDoe - 14.02.2012 at 00:36  
Written by Cryzpin on 13.02.2012 at 18:28

Written by JohnDoe on 13.02.2012 at 08:06

Topped by Painkiller? Hardly. For me Painkiller got old fast. Sad wings... is timeless.

Hardly...but still I mean, both albums being near-perfect, i miss rampancy and energy of Painkiller a little bit here.


for 1976, it was full of energy; and the album still stands the test of time.
Marcel Hubregtse - 14.02.2012 at 07:36  
Written by JohnDoe on 14.02.2012 at 00:36

for 1976, it was full of energy; and the album still stands the test of time.


It indeed does, whereas Painkiller doesn't. That one clearly sounds as a product of its time.
Cryzpin - 14.02.2012 at 10:36  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 14.02.2012 at 07:36

It indeed does, whereas Painkiller doesn't. That one clearly sounds as a product of its time.

"To stand the test of time" or "to be a product of its time" - now these categories are abstract/ambiguous enough to stop any arguments, aren't they?
Anyway i guess not everybody tends to appreciate album with regards to their "time".
JohnDoe - 15.02.2012 at 01:03  
Written by Cryzpin on 14.02.2012 at 10:36

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 14.02.2012 at 07:36

It indeed does, whereas Painkiller doesn't. That one clearly sounds as a product of its time.

"To stand the test of time" or "to be a product of its time" - now these categories are abstract/ambiguous enough to stop any arguments, aren't they?
Anyway i guess not everybody tends to appreciate album with regards to their "time".


no one wants to to stop any arguments. Mentioning Painkiller here was like opening Pandora's box and guys like me bitching come out. Why do people have to compare every single JP release to Painkiller. It happens way too often and I for one am losing patience and I apologize.

Painkiller has always been an overhyped album since day one. I'm surely glad people like it and every new generation discovers and enjoys it but the downfall to all this situation is that all the praising has become somewhat exaggerated IMO.
Ace Frawley - 12.05.2012 at 10:46  
Great review - brilliantly written - I really enjoyed reading it. I agree with all the points you make about this seminal album.
Marcel Hubregtse - 19.01.2013 at 18:45  
Written by JohnDoe on 13.02.2012 at 08:06

Written by Cryzpin on 01.02.2012 at 21:44

Yeah, that's well written, really great album (maybe topped much later by Painkiller)


Topped by Painkiller? Hardly. For me Painkiller got old fast. Sad wings... is timeless.



Absolutely, right.
almost 37 years later and this is still Judas Priest's best album by miles.
The vocals are more varied than on any other release and the song writing is way more intricate too. This is toally Priest's most accomplished album. Unlike Painkiller which is very sstraight forward and has cringe worthy lyrics. Somehow here Rob could still write proper lyrics unlike later on in Priest's career
Ace Frawley - 19.01.2013 at 23:15  
Have you seen the old footage of them playing "Dreamer Deceiver" on The Old Grey Whistle Test? They look like a bunch of hippies, with Halford seemingly trying to look like Robert Plant. It was before the shocking leather and studs look that they ended up with. I think they made some brilliant albums after this but certainly this is my favourite Judas Priest album and so I think it is their best as well.

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