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A worthy successor - 92%

langstondrive, October 11th, 2004

On the heels of the absolute classic Sad Wings of Destiny comes Sin After Sin, which is many ways a better album, but just fails to pack the killer punch that Sad Wings did, which makes it not quite (but close to) the album. Once again the band is intense, Halford packing incredible screams, shrieks, moans, howls and everything in between into this excellent work of early metal. And metal is the key word here, while Sad Wings may indeed have the qualitative edge, Sin After Sin indeed has much more of a metal background to it, fully evident in songs such as Sinner, Starbreaker and especially the closer, Dissident Aggressor. While Sad Wings did indeed have metal elements and riffs, Priest plays to a more metal style on Sin After Sin, making the album more cutting and less rockish sounding.

The production here is not terrible, this is likely because I have the remastered version, but the original is apparently nothing special at all. The guitar tone is rather weak at times (but also VERY strong at others, such as Dissident Aggressor or even Last Rose of Summer, in the acoustic passages). The levels of the instruments being rather even, with the drummer getting a bit ripped off in my opinion, as more emphasis on the drumming would have given the whole album a Dissident Aggressor style edge to it. On the softer songs, the production stays together better as a whole.

We open with Sinner, a true classic in metal. The opening riff (after the "motor rev" intro) is not all that great, but it suits the verse progression. The guitar then becomes more prominent in the pre/chorus, where Halford says "Sacrifice to vice or fall by the hand of the Sinner!!" (Great line!). The rifs really pick up later on in the song, where it goes through a sort of Victim of Changes style break, and returns for one more chorus. The lyrics on this number are incredible also, very evil without being stupid (as I believe another reviewer wrote). An excellent song.

Diamonds and Rust comes in next, with a trippy sounding riff to open into an Operatic sort of song, again showcasing excellent lyrics and riff progression through the verses. Halford puts on a good performance, but we all know that he's saving himself for later... Last Rose of Summer kicks in next, and is not a terrible ballad, but nothing particularily memorable, as Here Come the Tears happens to be on the same album, and is a much better song. The former lags around for a few minutes, before finishing with Halford reciting the song title around eight hundred times. Call for the Priest/Let Us Pray is next and really,REALLY sounds like Pink Floyd for the opening, until that is, the main riff kicks in (then we know it's not Pink Floyd...). This track flies around the room at 500 km an hour and only stops after the choruses (just to kick your ass before taking off again). Probably the 2nd best track on the album.

Raw Deal slows things down a bit, adding the bluesy element that Priest heavily used on the Rocka Rolla album, and most notably on the song Killing Machine from the album of the same name. A decent riff propells us through the verses and chorus, with some mildly strange and lame lyrics tell us of a certain kind of bar that Halford is fond of. This song really picks up at the bridge, with the guitar solo. Listen to that underlying riff. Fucking listen to that. What an awesome backing riff. The song ends sort of like Last Rose of Summer, but not as repeatitive (is that possible...)

Here Come the Tears is much more of a trip than Last Rose of Summer, but strangely less memorable. That is really all I have to say about it, other than that it is a decent ballad in the vein of Priest (read: it's better than Take These Chains but nowhere near Beyond the Realm of Death).

Finally. The epiloge. The best song on the album. This is what Halford has been teasing for the half an hour preluding this, but finally it cumlinates on Dissident Aggressor, which chugs along for a few seconds before unleashing the MOST INSANE SCREAM KNOWN TO MAN upon the metal world. The rest of the song doesn't slouch either, with heavy as fuck riffs carrying Halford's maniacal shouts and verses. This is the best song on the album, and is surprisingly not a tremendously popular Priest song. I'm telling you now, this is definitely one of the best 5 Priest songs (neighbouring Painkiller, Screaming for Vengeance, The Ripper and Beyond the Realm of Death). A true classic in it's own right.

Put down your fucking British Steel and listen to this.