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Judas Priest- Sad Wings of Destiny (Album Review)

Updated on June 14, 2012
The album cover for "Sad Wings of Destiny".
The album cover for "Sad Wings of Destiny". | Source

Artist: Judas Priest

Album: Sad Wings of Destiny

Year: 1976

Score: 94/100

“The Best Judas Priest Album and a Metal Classic”

My title up there pretty much says it all. “Sad Wings of Destiny” is the finest Judas Priest album, and one of the best metal releases of all time. Now, I’m someone who’s always found Judas Priest to be just a little overrated. They had a good run of classics and are a consistent band, but I’ve always found some of their albums to be either boring or not nearly as good as people claim they are. But this release is simply amazing. “Sad Wings of Destiny” is a triumphant metal album that really defined the metal sound in the late 70s. This work, along with Black Sabbath’s releases, defined the meaning of heavy metal.

One of the reasons that this is my favorite release from Judas Priest is because of the great guitar riffs. They’re lean and mean and gritty, as opposed to the polished sound that would be found on later releases. “Victim of Changes” is a good example of this, as it is filled with classy riffs all the way through. The guitar work has just enough melody for this kind of older metal album, but it doesn’t go overboard with it. I also love the audibility of the bass on the album. It’s clearly present on all songs, and adds to the heaviness of the entire release. I also like the vocals on this release more than any others from the band. Rob Halford switches from a low, smooth voice to a high-pitched wail. He’s quite an impressive vocalist, and “Sad Wings of Destiny” shows him in his prime.

The song "Victim of Changes".


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(Review Continued)

The overall sound of “Sad Wings of Destiny” is heavier than everything they would do after (though “Sin after Sin” gives it a run for its money). It has that great old school sound to it. The songs are very well written; many of them are rather short, as well. The choruses are catchy, but not in a pop way. I’m not one for the slower songs here, but they really do show the band’s talent at creating different styles. They also fit in well with the rest of the tracks. Speaking of this, there are different versions of the track listing. I’m only familiar with the one that begins with “Victim of Changes”, but I can’t imagine that the songs could be any worse in a different order. That’s how strong they are individually.

All of the songs except the ballads are standouts. “Victim of Changes” is brilliant, it’s nearly an epic. The thing is chock full of incredible guitar work, with a loud bassline. The vocals are also incredible. This song is one of Halford’s best vocal performances. I’ve always loved “The Ripper”; it’s a quick burst of pure heavy metal. The guitar work is very melodic and the vocals during the verses are menacing. It was my first favorite off of the album, though the title of absolute favorite has been replaced by “Victim of Changes”. “Tyrant” was another standout for me when I first heard this one. It’s a little faster with a smooth chorus that is outstanding. “Tyrant” is still one of my favorites from the band, as it is among their most aggressive and powerful songs. “Deceiver” has a building riff during the verses that sounds like a prototype for countless metal riffs that would one day follow. “Island of Domination” has a lot of good dynamic changes throughout the course of the song. It too is one of the best. I’m not a big fan of ballads (don’t know why, but it’s always been like this for me), so I can’t honestly say that any of the three ballads are highlights for me. I can say, however, that they’re nice for what they are. “Dreamer Deceiver” is probably my favorite of these slower songs, a lot of the guitar work is very hypnotic. It’s almost psychedelic sounding, and it’s great coming right before “Deceiver”.

“Sad Wings of Destiny” is a true classic of metal. I am of the opinion that every metalhead should hear this album at least once. They will almost certainly want to listen to it again. It’s what I would consider one of the most influential albums ever recorded. The influence it had on such distinctive genres as melodic death metal and thrash metal is incredible. When listened to closely, it is easy to hear nearly every major metal genre that would follow in this album. Not only this, but all of the songs are great. I absolutely love it, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has any kind of interest in music.

Best songs: “Victim of Changes”, “The Ripper”, “Tyrant”, “Deceiver”, “Genocide”, and “Island of Domination”.

This review was originally posted at:

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    • TheHeavyReview profile image

      TheHeavyReview 5 years ago

      Thank you for the comment! "Sad Wings..." is one of the all time best classic metal albums! I agree "Dreamer Deceiver/Deceiver" could be considered as one song, they sound very good together.

    • Steve Orion profile image

      Steve Orion 5 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Hell yeah! One of the most classic metal albums from one of the greatest bands of all time! Favorite songs are Tyrant and Dreamer Deciever/Deceiver (yes, they are and should be considered one song). Great review!

    • TheHeavyReview profile image

      TheHeavyReview 5 years ago

      Thank you for the comment! "Sad Wings..." is definitely a classic album.

    • InTuneWithCooking profile image

      InTuneWithCooking 5 years ago from Australia

      Awesome, I still remember listening to this album on my old cassette headphone player in class and getting in trouble. Definitely a classic.

    • TheHeavyReview profile image

      TheHeavyReview 5 years ago

      Exactly! But the great thing about this one is that they still retained the rawness of their debut, while making their own sound at the same time. Thanks for commenting!

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 5 years ago from The Garden State

      Hell yes. This was the album where Priest started to develop their "own" sound. The previous disc (ROCKA ROLLA) was mainly the young band aping their influences (Deep Purple, Zeppelin, etc.)