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Review of Judas Priest's "Sin After Sin"
Recorded and released in 1977, "Sin After Sin" was metal band Judas Priest's third studio album. It was also their very first to be released on Columbia Records. While it was well-received by critics at the time, it did not have the exact same response as "Sad Wings of Destiny" did before it. Additionally, the production, compared to anything modern, is severely lacking (what's to expect from the 70's?) so here I will be reviewing the remastered .flac edition.
Track Listing (writing credits to Halford, Tipton, and Downing)
1. Sinner 6:46
2. Diamonds and Rust 3:28
3. Starbreaker 4:49
4. Last Rose of Summer 5:37
5. Let Us Prey/Call for the Priest 6:12
6. Raw Deal 6:00
7. Here Come the Tears 4:36
8. Dissident Aggressor 3:07
When reviewing this classic Judas Priest album, I had to go back and give some of the other songs another listen. Common Priest hits, like Diamonds and Rust and Sinner, I was obviously familiar with, but not so much with others that had faded from memory. I remember when I first started listening to Judas Priest, I had all their albums on my MP3 and thought, “There is no way I could learn all these songs on all these albums, I'll get bored and listen to KoRn,” but here I am less than two years later and now these guys are my favorite band.
One thing to note is that I always listen to classic albums in .flac quality and commonly remastered. What that means is that there are minimal production flaws and the sound is much fuller to the point you'd be unable to tell that the music is from the 70's. This album, on its own, isn't the most well known of the Judas Priest releases, but let's examine whether or not it's for diehard fans only.
The whole thing begins with Sinner, easily one of the biggest hits on the CD, and commonly played at live shows (i.e. “Unleashed in the East). The song was pretty heavy for its day and details the rising of one of the many creatures in Judas Priest's catalog. For this time, Rob's singing was a mix between really high notes and deeper, stronger notes. This contrasts a bit with the second song, Diamonds and Rust. When I first got this CD, I wasn't aware of Joan Baez's existence nor aware of the fact that the song is a cover of her original. It adds a bit of a metal touch compared to hers, and cuts out a bit of the unnecessary parts. The Priest recently started doing more acoustic editions of the song at live shows, which also work well. It's definitely a song not to skip.
The third tune, Starbreaker, is decent in its own right, but not a clear cut hit like the first two. It's like one of those songs that you don't always skip, but sometimes do; a cross between a “filler” and a great song, but it gets into unneeded repetition near the end. The fourth song, unlike the third, is a song you always skip because you'd like to believe that Priest can do no wrong at this point. Last Rose of Summer is probably the worst song on the entire release, not necessarily because of its softness, but mostly because of its softness and length. Don't get me wrong, I like the softer Judas Priest songs, like Before the Dawn and Night Comes Down (hell, I even liked Diamonds and Rust!) but this will not do. Skip this track.
Let Us Prey/ Call for the Priest is a different story! While the lyrics aren't remarkable, it still retains its bad-ass attitude and sound. What a great and overlooked track, especially when it gets super-f*cking-heavy around the 4:55 mark. One of the best moments of the album, without a doubt. Then we have Raw Deal, which is also a solid tune. It is most likely about Halford's gay exploits in different bars and clubs and such, but I don't notice many people insulting the musicianship or quality of the music. Thank God we have Halford in the world of heavy metal; he's the most bad-ass, gay, and metal singer of his time. The most notable part of this tune starts at the four minute mark, signaling the end of the song. I always get emotional at this part, where Rob laments: I'm going, no loss. Damn powerful stuff.
The last two songs are titled Here Come the Tears and Dissident Aggressor. The former the second soft song on the album, perhaps even more provoking than the end of Raw Deal and is definitely a great ballad-style tune. The latter of the two was so damn heavy, Slayer couldn't beat them with a cover of it. It details war and fighting and all that good stuff, except with Halford's sky-high vocals and the dual guitars attacking the listener himself. A fine finish, to a fine album.
Overall: 8/10 While not as superb as other Priest albums, this is criminally underrated album that deserves recognition from the metal community.
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