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Electric Ecstasy - 100%

stainedclass2112, December 27th, 2015

Here we go boys, Stained effing Class! This album is by far one of the greatest metal albums of all time. I first heard this when I was just getting into heavy metal and I still listen to it all the time, and it does not, and will not get old. From the blazing riffing of "Exciter" to the bad ass, sassy verses of "Heroes End" this record is pretty much as close to perfect as possible. There is not a bland moment on here, each song is completely unique and they all are ridiculously awesome. The entire band is firing on all cylinders, with KK and Glenn playing some of the coolest licks in the JP catalogue and Rob blowing your mind with his insane vocals. Stained Class was the first with my favorite of the Priest drummers, Les Binks, and he is outstanding on here. Ian Hill is not the type of bassist to come out of his shell much, but all of his playing here is adept and tasteful, and his playing supports everything superbly. Everything on here is absolutely spectacular.

The songs on here are all magnificent. The tracks are all very diverse and each of them are quite unique in their own way; even though they possess this trait, they all sound like they belong together. Each of the songs flow seamlessly with each other, which makes letting the entire record play a joy. I don't ever skip anything from Stained Class, everything is just awesome. The production is obviously going to sound a bit dated (It's from 1978), but it still sounds very clear and everything sounds great. Some people will say that the guitars sound a bit weak due to the old recording equipment; which is completely valid, you might share this opinion, but I think they still sound bad ass. There are some slower songs like "Beyond the Realms of Death", "Savage" and "Better by you, Better Than Me", but none of them are ever too slow paced, and never boring. Especially "Beyond the Realms of Death", which is one of the highlights of the album, it's a rather sad song, with lovely acoustic passages and brilliantly sung lyrics, and then it explodes in your face with that super epic chorus kicked off with robs awesome "YEAH!! I've left the world behind!". The song also has some wicked soloing, and for its time, that soloing was downright insane (heck it still is).

The rest of the album adheres to a much quicker pace, and sometimes kicks into overdrive (Saints in Hell), and lets not forget that legendary opener: Exciter! "Exciter" is probably one of the best album openers ever. This song is just insane, you really have to hear it to know what I mean. A song this fast and heavy in 1978 was just unheard of, and it was a real game changer. It is blazing fast, with wicked drums and riffing, it has awesome lyrics (I love the thermal lance part so much) and spectacular solos. I could try to name the standout tracks, but it's kind of pointless, as everything is really that freaking good. I've known fans of this album to have different favorites than I do from Stained Class, but in my personal opinion, the best are the title track, "Invader", "Saints in Hell", and "Beyond the Realms of Death"

The instrumentation is, as always with Judas Priest, masterful. The riffs, the solos, the vocals, the rhythm section, all epic. The riffs on the album have a very cool style to them. This was the era of Priest where they were progressing further and further, and developing heavy metal. They were still transitioning from their more bluesy sound and getting more complex and heavy, as a result the riffs and licks all have a groovy touch to them, while still being pretty hardcore. The result is a bunch of very creative riffs (See "White Heat, Red Hot" or "Saints in Hell"). The soloing is top notch (it's KK and Glenn, so that goes without saying), in some cases they can be super fast, but as with the riffs, they all have this awesome groovy touch to them. My favorite solos on Stained Class are the ones from the title track (the part at around 3:40 into the song is killer, especially how it transitions back into the verse) and from "Invader". Also, Stained Class is my favorite album for Rob, his singing is so awesome on here. I think it was around here where he really mastered the use of his super high pitched side, as in some cases he sings entire verses with it (See the title track).

The rhythm section is awesome too, as I said, Les Binks rules. His drumming is top notch and he does not have a weak part any where on here. The same goes for Ian's bass lines, he has always been the type to play whatever benefits the song as a whole, and he never really showed off any. His bass tone is actually pretty awesome, with a mean growly low to it, you might not notice it at first, but it is actually him that contributes a ton to the super heavy sound of the record. All in all, this is Judas Priest firing on all cylinders and I think this is their greatest achievement (Sad Wings is a close second for me, although a lot of people like that one more). The songwriting is absolutely fantastic, you can just read the lyrics to this stuff and be amazed at the gravity to what they were writing. Another thing I would like to point out is how well everything is done when it comes to not just the lyrics, but how they are sung. For instance, to sing a line like, "Transfixed at deliverance, is this all there is? Faithless continuum, into the abyss." When you hear how the song is structured, it's really amazing how such intricate lyrics can be sung effectively, that alone is no easy task, and they pull it off flawlessly.

Stained Class is truly one of greatest achievements of not just heavy metal, but rock music in general. The sheer combination of talent, skill, art, and class (no pun intended) make for what is undoubtedly one of the greatest albums of all time. Each and every track is outstanding, heck even the artwork is badass. I would recommend this to anybody who likes good music, and this should be a staple of any heavy metal fan's collection. There is a reason why my username on everything is named after this album, it's just that great.