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Sabbath might have made metal, but Judas Priest founded Heavy Metal. This album defines what metal is and influences all metal bands since. The band greatly improved from their debut album. Glenn is involved with the writing of every song, which explains why it’s so fantastic. The riffs are crunchier and heavier, the solos destroy and have tons of power, and Rob develops his evil vox while still defying the barriers of possibility with his screams. And the fact that this was recorded in 1975 (written mostly in ’74) just makes it better.
Prelude starts the album. It’s short, emotional, and gets you primed and ready for (as the cover depicts) an atrocious trip to Hell. The first thrash song ever, Tyrant dominates you. Its vicious riffing commands you to headbang into a deadly whiplash. The solos are the first ever solos to absolutely shred. Rob gives us his first painfully aggressive voice as well. Ending this all-out thrasher is a stupendous scream that results with ear bleeding of all living things within a mile. To this day, it’s still an utter thrash-fest. A definite highlight of the album.
Genocide is just as good. It’s not as brutal as Tyrant, but is definitely heavier. The “Sin after sin” part is unadulterated, Hell-spawn evil. It makes Slayer look like holier than thou, Jesus-loving Christians! The “Slice to the left, slice to the right” part is total mosh ownage. Right after it, Glenn soars high with his fierce outro.
Epitaph is a humongous change of pace. Not only is it a calm ballad, it also has no instruments except for a piano. It portrays more emotions than a person with bipolar syndrome. It’s a great song, but isn’t really a metal song. Rob has some sweet falsettos here, but the background vocals at times sound cheesy. A quick chugging riff begins Island Of Domination. Rob kicks it off with a long, ferocious scream to start the verse. Its chorus is goddamn heavy. The “Skull crusher…” part is true aggression. Overall, it’s an excellent song, but not godly.
Side 2 is much better and contains genuine masterpieces. Tons of tempo changes and intensive riffs are scattered throughout the Judas Priest classic, Victim Of Changes. The first half is tremendously heavy, especially the riff in the verse. K.K. delivers extreme aggression with his whammy bar solo. It will torment you perpetually. The middle part is solemn, until Rob screams Victim Of Changes. It makes the vessels in your brain boil and explode. Rob sends us another godly wail at the end of the song. This is eight solid minutes of incredible Heavy Metal.
The Ripper completely incarnates you in Mephisto’s malicious lair. Hell, the almighty one wrote it as well. This track is sheer mayhem, willing to force-feed you your precious manhood. The riffage is chaotic and constantly delivers the goods. They’re heavy enough to pierce eardrums, and fast enough to knock your unworthy self out. Rob must have been possessed, because there’s no way any human is capable of producing such evil shrieks. Glenn purely shreds his fingers off, and after his solo is one of the coolest parts of the album. Glenn plays the same riff, playing it faster and faster, while K.K. is producing his unmatched, furious whammy bar frenzy. You can try to resist it, but it’s futile. The Ripper will scorch your flesh off and grind the remains. It will throw you into eternal oblivion. It’s tied with Tyrant as the best song on the album.
The epic Dreamer Deceiver shows a lighter shade of Priest. It’s an actual ballad, unlike Victim Of Changes, and is thousands times better than Epitaph. K.K. gets a good rest, for he comes in during Glenn’s legendary solo four minutes into the song. That solo has so much feeling and atmosphere to it. It’s one of Glenn’s best solos, and for that matter, one of the all-time best solos ever. Words can’t describe this majestic piece of guitar wizardry. At the end, Rob wails so high that he’ll literally burst your sac.
Deceiver precedes it, and they should be the same track. Deceiver is much heavier and features a wanking solo from K.K. It doesn’t really stand out and isn’t a great way to end an album (2 in a row guys). The acoustic riff that ends it is found in Dreamer Deceiver also.
This is the first true metal classic. It’s very heavy and includes the first ever thrash riffs. The only downside is that all of the rhythm guitars were SGs. So although the riffs are metal, the guitars aren’t. Glenn and K.K. do an exceptional job on here, same with Rob. Sad Wings is a definite need in any headbanger’s collection. If you don’t have it, what the fuck is wrong with you?