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Here comes your ghost again... - 89%

Brainded Binky, March 1st, 2015

Everybody knows that Judas Priest was the catalyst for millions, if not billions of metal bands that were to follow them. They defined the aggression that followed the heaviness, and were basically the very first bricks laid after the cornerstone, said cornerstone being Black Sabbath. They were still refining themselves in the mid 1970's, however, and even on their third release, "Sin After Sin", there remains some pieces of their "Rocka Rolla" days. Nevertheless, the album still soars with hints of the band's more powerful direction in the future.

The album opens with what I consider to by my favorite track, "Sinner". The reason being that it's just as fast-paced as "Tyrant" on the previous album, and has more licks to get behind. Like the long songs on "Sad Wings of Destiny", it also seems a little progressive, as it consists of more than just the standard two or three verses found in "Tyrant". It even slows down near the end, but that doesn't mean that the entire song is ruined by any means. It just demonstrates the band's experimental style that was going on at the time of the album's release. One song that doesn't do much with experimentation, however, would be the classic, "Dissident Aggressor". It's pretty much crunching and powerful the whole song through, not much more than just mostly aggression. It is kinda slow during the verses, but the song barely lasts more than three minutes - hardly a typical 70's progressive rock song, if you'd ask me.

Remember, this is the 70's, and heavy metal was still in its embryonic stages. As such, there's songs on "Sin After Sin" that borderline hard rock, 'cos that's what dominated the airwaves around that time. "Last Rose of Summer" is anything but hard, and hardly anything that anybody'd expect from Judas Priest. Simply put, it's basically a 70's hard rock ballad that sounds exactly like something Bad Company would cough up. Unless you don't really appreciate classic rock much, I really wouldn't consider "Last Rose of Summer" to be that bad of a song. Although it's considered another ballad, "Here come the Tears" is a potential candidate for a good song. It's harder, more metal-based, despite being at a plodding pace, not to mention Rob Halford's varying vocal range, from his signature high notes, to a sobering, baritone/bass that comes during the chorus. That song alone shows just how talented Rob Halford is when singing. It proves that he's capable of more than just his metal screams to convey one song's anger. He can also convey the sorrow of another.

Did you know that "Diamonds and Rust" was originally a song written and performed by Joan Baez, the female equivalent of Bob Dylan? I'm sure you do, since you've most likely read the album's notes on this website. We all know that Baez never really used electric guitars, so would a Judas Priest version of "Diamonds and Rust" be the 70's equivalent of the band's ill-conceived cover of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" on their "Ram it Down" album in the 80's? Not so fast! The band took "Diamonds and Rust" and made it their own thing. They've introduced the heavy guitars that made them famous, sped up the tempo, and otherwise made the song more aggressive in a sense. For this reason, if you listened to this song before the original, you'd find it hard to believe that it's actually a cover! They've taken what's a folk song, and turned it into a hard rock/heavy metal song, and that's covering a song done right.

Even as a more experimental effort, it still carries quite a few good songs. It might not be what we'd all expect Priest to be, but hey, this was only their third album, and the raging speed of "Exciter" would come much later. Even with that being said, there's quite a bit of heaviness to be found on "Sin After Sin". It may be a product of its time, but it's still got what Priest would do plenty of in the decades to come soon after.