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Hit after hit. - 93%

Warthur, November 3rd, 2011

Freed from Gull Records and with a new confidence about them following the success of Sad Wings of Destiny, Judas Priest brought a follow-up to the table that was almost as mighty as its illustrious predecessor. With fast-paced songs like Sinner and Starbreaker consolidating the outlaw biker image the band were beginning to cultivate, the blueprint for later albums such as Killing Machine and British Steel began to take shape. Meanwhile, slower, doomier songs like Here Come the Tears or Let Us Prey/Call For the Priest proving once again that Priest could move from quiet moments of reflection to raucous cries of despair as on Dreamer Deceiver/Deceiver on the previous disc.

Unlike Sad Wings, however, Sin After Sin isn't an absolutely perfect album. The end of the side presents the unwelcome spectacle of Priest turning their hand to romantic soft rock in the form of The Last Rose of Summer. It's not incompetently done soft rock if you like that sort of thing, but it's hard to deny that it feels ludicrously out of context; it just doesn't fit on the same album as Raw Deal, for goodness sake.

Still, other experiments on the band's part are more successful. Their first cover version, Diamonds and Rust, takes a Joan Baez folk rock tune and turns it into an emotionally powerful metal anthem whilst album closer Dissident Aggressor might just be the angriest thing the band had produced up to that point. Close to perfection, but kept away from it by a flower of all things. Kind of a shame when you think about it, but the album's merits more than overpower its flaws.