without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
With all due respect to Black Sabbath and the genre they created, the finest Heavy Metal album EVER recorded is Judas Priest's second LP, "Sad Wings of Destiny". From 1969 to 1974, Sabbath had been pouring out it's molten sludge from a haze of cocaine and booze, just writing the most fucked-up heavy things ever imagined, but the music was still heavily rooted in the stoner-blues-rock of the time. But in 1974 five young kids from the same city (Birmingham) went into the studio on a shoestring budget and codified in one 37-minute piece of vinyl exactly what a 'heavy metal' album should look and sound like - grandiose intros, piano ballads halfway through the first side, balls-out rockers, super-long moody epics, and TONS of great guitar riffs and solos from arguably the best guitar duo of all time, Glen Tipton and KK Downing. They blaze and rip through "Tyrant" and "Genocide", slash through "The Ripper", play a textbook example of tension-and-release in "Victim of Changes", and soar in the grandiose epic finisher "Dream Deceiver/Deceiver" (which features the greatest melodic guitar solo of all time by Glen). And remember, this is back when Rob Halford's voice was in its' youthful prime and when Ian Hill actually played BASS (with a nice, fat, edgy tone to boot - the groove he lays down in Deceiver is quintessential).
Of course, being recorded in 1974 AND on a shoestring budget did take its toll a little bit, particularly in the flatness of the drum sounds and the relative infancy of guitar-amp technology, but it still sounds WAY better than it should, and the sound does nothing to detract from the genius of the musicianship and song writing. And I could go on about how Transluxe (the idiots who Gull licensed the CD-reissue to) fucked up big time on the tracking of the disc, completely reversing sides one and two from the LP - that's why 'Prelude' is track five, not track one. Just re-program your CD player and listen to metal at its finest.
(Originally published at LARM (c) 1999)