Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2015
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Sad Wings Of Mastery - 97%

Luvers666, August 16th, 2007

Sad Wings Of Destiny, the masterpiece that continues to influence millions the world over, is the album that began the surge Priest has had to make them one of the most influential bands(metal or not) of all time. While latter releases are what issued the band their fortunes, Sad Wings Of Destiny is where everything Priest was conceived. Of all the most important musical events of 1976, none in metal were more important than that of Sad Wings. During the same sessions which produced Rocka Rolla, Priest also recorded the masterpiece. This album does not have the overall bone crushing sound Priest fans have grown to love but instead it introduces listeners to a different side of Priest and to metal music. The masterpiece begins with the album cover, a saddened laden angel in a very awkward position with very large wings and the Priest cross on his chest. This cover art sums up the overall theme of the album, Sadness In Life if you like.

Although this album may not have the same aggression as Screaming For Vengeance, Stained Class, British Steel or Defenders Of Faith or any of the other albums to follow it up, it makes up for that with passionate heartfelt vocals over the sheer intensity that lies within the music. In my opinion, Sad Wings Of Destiny is Priest's most underrated album, and is one of my favorites!

It is a well known fact that all CD versions, expect one and the original vinyl, have the sides swapped for better commercial availability, but by doing so it brings the albums flow and epic feel down.

The album begins with the morbidly bleak and dreary piano-laden instrumental with the appropriate title of Prelude, acting as a perfect segue into...
Tyrant, which may not be up to standards some thirty-one years later, but in 1976 this was the most aggressive and brutal thing the music world ever heard. This reviewer would also go as far as saying that this track is the greatest by Priest in the 1970's, fully culminating on the 1979 live masterpiece Unleashed In The East. But do not doubt this song is fully gratifying to listen to, even nowadays. Throw out your Rapid Fire or Exciter or any other track you want to say started the thrash metal movement, this song was what started all the new sub-genres that either completely rip-off or borrow the chemistry from in order to achieve greatness.
The vibe really begins at 2:40 and leads into one of the most emotionally charged and blisteringly electrifying guitar solos of all time.
Plus the contrast of vocals on the bridge, ("Mourn for us oppressed for fear, chained and shackled we are bound") is horribly dark and depressing, yet are filled with a sense of hope, only to be crushed by the blistering verses. No kidding kids, this one song makes the album worth purchasing,

One can only appreciate the version of Genocide for it being recorded in 1976, because it pales in no comparison to the Unleashed In the East version. While this version does not include the kick ass jam at the beginning reminiscent of what Van Halen would do live some years later, it does still carry the overall killer rhythm section from Tyrant. The solo and entire ending in this version is great but they lack the brutalness the band accomplished live some two years later. Either way this a groundbreaking song for metal and helped pave the way for not only Priest but many others to follow in this songs footsteps. However, Priest unfortunately decided not to simply rest on their laurels, and proceed to follow the direction the past two songs had pointed toward, but instead they decided on a ballad.

Epitaph is the least voted for song on Sad Wings in most polls, I wouldn't say it is a sleeper or album filler but if there was one(and there ALWAYS seems to be one) then this would be it. Glenn does give a good performance on Piano and Rob does another good job on vocals and one can appreciate it since it was a totally different influence on what the album became. But other then that, the song sounds like most on the album just in a more ballad type of feel. An OK song overall.

Island Of Domination is also the most depressing one on it. A heavy riff sends the song thudding along in Black Sabbath mode. Rob Halford rants about the foolishness of mankind and the battlefield, this imagery helped make the album a massive achievement. This song is effectively the sequel to Genocide. Despite the depressing overtone of the song, it's hard not to start nodding along with the song (sort of a subconscious head banging). The song rises in key at the end, and spirals up only to fall back to the chord the song is based on.

Victim Of Changes' opening is one of the most recognized in the history of all rock, a great mood establisher, with the sounds of KK and Glenn inventing their dueling sound that has been the forefront of the Priest fold ever since. The song erupts into an incredibly brutal 3 note riff, with painful power chords thrown in at vocal breaks. There is some excellent percussion on this song, particularly while Rob sings in the verse. This song had been transisted and re-written several times before even the release of Rocka Rolla, which aired two years before this album. It is one of Priest's earliest staples and after just one listen you can see why, it signatures all things Priest. Heavy rhythm, shredding fist pumping guitar riffs and solos, with Rob giving masterful screaming vocal job. The middle section is truly odd because of it's out-of-time nature, but overall works extremely well for it's placement in the song. Both guitar solos match the great lyrical depth in which the Metal God depicts an adulterous alcoholic female. A masterful song overall, with some superb playing from all members.

A swift distortion-filled solo leads into The Ripper's main body. No keyboards in this medium pace burner. What stands out is the chorus, which makes you want to sing along. In fact, despite the strangely fantasy/apocalyptic-based lyrics, this album has a more sing-along quality to it in general than other Priest albums. This song basically conjures up (for me) the images of 19th century London in where the "Ripper" or if you like "Jack The Knife" would lurk under "Back alley streets, where the air is cold and damp". The use of such phrases and the dark gloomy sinister feel of the song makes this one of Priests' live performance and radio staples. I find myself listening to this song a lot and remains one of the most favorite songs from the record.

And if all the epic songs were not enough we are given another one in the form of Dreamer Deceiver, which shows a lighter shade of Priest. The first half of the song remains a very psychedelic ballad while Rob uses many octaves and voice ranges that offer up good qualities to the song. But all else is put aside when Glenn Tipton shreds one of his most heartfelt and best solos ever. The songs ends with four high-pitched screams from Rob to fade right into Deceiver, which is much heavier and features a wanking solo from K.K. It really stands out and is a great way to end the album, leaving you want to either play it again or put on Sin After SIn in succession. It's also interesting to note that the acoustic riff that ends it is found in Dreamer Deceiver, but also it is the same exact one(played on piano of course) on Prelude, so maybe the sides could be flipped.

Overall, Priest's second effort is an extremely successful one. This is out-and-out Priest metal, with the exception perhaps of "Epitaph." If later albums like Screaming For Venegance or Painkiller is what caught the listener on to Priest at first, then this album may or may not be their cup of tea. Priest's music has changed rather dramatically since this, although it's easy to see that this album's concepts pop up again and again with bit-phrases and more complex songs of the same ideas on later albums. "Victim Of Changes," the song, is an absolute classic, and while most of the rest of the album has taken a back seat in concert performances to the newer and better material, the songs here are still well worth listening to. There's a whole lot of variety here, with no song sounding like the previous yet all tie in together to make this one of the most consistent and enjoyable pieces ever recorded. It doesn't lose a dedicated listener the way a lot of metal these days tend to do.