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On the heels of the strangely alluring but overall disppointing Rocka Rolla comes a COMPLETELY different album in the form of Sad Wings of Destiny. Most Priest-elitists hail this hearty chunk of classic to be their choice album, banishing the Painkiller babies off to hell. While I won't compare this to Painkiller, as they are two entirely different albums, I will say that in my eyes, it comes very close to said godly album.
While some call this an early incarnation of speed metal, and indeed it can be, I rather label this album as a piece of straight forward heavy metal (with a few twists for good measure). Coming from the catagory of the former, Tyrant tears the ground up after the Prelude and shows us a much altered side of Priest than from the year prior. Speed rock/metal riffs dominate this crowd pleaser, which is brought to it's full potential on the killer Unleashed in the East (1979). Genocide slows things down a bit, but not the insensity, which is consistant through Epitaph and Island of Domination where Halford shows us a preview of what is really to culminate later on in the album.
Victim of Changes, perhaps one of the greatest metal songs of all time. I actually prefer this version to the beefed up one on Unleashed, simply because of the ambience that is achieved through the studio environment. Going from a crushing riff in the verses, to the absolutely killer pre-interlude, to the trippy, slow interlude itself, this track doesn't stop for a second. Until it's done...right.
Following this is my personal favourite on the album, that is The Ripper, perhaps even encompassing the previous track in it's sheer pwnage. That scream at the beginning is completely inhuman, challenged (and maybe even bested) only by the brutal shreik at the beginning of Dissident Aggressor (Sin After Sin album). It's a quick song, but an effective one. This classic album ends with the duo Dreamer Deceiver/Deceiver (strange name...) which is part ballad, part undefined. An actual GOOD ballad from Priest (not that Take these Chains is terrible, but at least they actually wrote this one).
Highly recommended for everyone. I would introduce a person to metal with this album, as opposed to the popular though of an early Sabbath album. Pwnage.