45 Years Ago: Judas Priest Redefine Metal on ‘Stained Class’

In 1978, heavy music was at a critical juncture. The bands that ignited the hard rock torch in the late 1960s and kept it burning for several years were fading or dying out. Deep Purple disbanded. Black Sabbath had only one Ozzy Osbourne album left, his. Their best days were farther and farther away in the rearview mirror. Even the great Led Zeppelin only had one of his LPs left in Tank. Through the Out Door Nothing compares to what it used to be. Meanwhile, disco’s reckless beats and pointing dance moves threaten to overtake rock, and punk rock’s “year zero” mentality threatens to render old rock bands obsolete, especially those with virtuosos and singers. there was.

And on February 10th, Judas Priest was released. stained classhoists a studded black leather banner that it has defiantly waved for over 40 years.

In the heavy metal canon, Black Sabbath’s 1970 self-titled debut is commonly referred to as the genre’s first album (Led Zeppelin, Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Yardbirds, The Who). , The Kinks, Blue Cheer, and more). acts as a precursor).But in the 1970s black sabbath Commemorating the birth of metal, Priest’s fourth album, stained class, When I got my driver’s license. When you get your first wheels, that’s when you really start pulling away from your parents. That’s when you start learning what you like, what you don’t like, and what you stand for. It’s time to start establishing your identity.

Rock ‘n’ rollPriest’s 1974 debut hinted at their future, but it’s a psychedelic rock record and a solid one. Wings of Sad Destiny and the 1977s sin after sin What came next was to implement the sound that would later become a hallmark of metal, but these albums dusted off (at least once a year!) and traces of blues-based rock were everywhere. You can But Priest’s songwriting was more cohesive, his guitar attack stronger, and, crucially, Rob Halford still exploring outside his vocal range.

upon stained class, the priest began to establish an identity, socially and visually. And heavy metal followed suit. Up to this point, Judas Priest was not much different than Zeppelin or Purple. Now they’ve started replacing denim with leather, giving it a sleeker, rougher look. Darker, the band had shunned the blues influences of all its predecessors, with twin lead guitars from Glenn Tipton and KK Downing, the siren-like wails of Rob Halford, and the ferocity of their newest member, Les Binks. The speed of drumming was opening up the future of metal.

stained classwith its artistic cover and newly unveiled now-iconic logo, its LP jacket featured five alchemists – Halford, Tipton, Downing, bassist Ian Hill, and Binks – reworking Judas Priest. This is the place that changed the hard rock brand into pure heavy metal.

Binks introduces himself and the album in the first five seconds of the opening track “Exciter,” with a powerful piece that inspires this sound with a parade of double kicks and manic fills. Considered by many to be the first speed metal song. “Exciter” sows the seeds of future thrash metal. This is his 1978, Lemmy, Fast Eddie Clarke, Filthy Animal, a year before his Taylor threatens Motörhead’s eardrums and knocks out the world. overdoing and Bomber.

Judas Priest “Exciter”

The mesmerizing composition of “Beyond the Realms of Death” is perfect. Binks, a drummer who can also play guitar, copyrighted the song and created the hypnotic acoustic opening for him, which he made a complete work of the five. The whimsical passages float over Rob Halford’s calm, squat breath. The voice unleashes freely to match the song’s character’s painful relationship with life.

The chorus leadfoot’s hammering rhythm and Metal God’s yells level the ethereal mood, then propel forward on the feet of Binks’ steady kicks. A passionate, thrill-seeking solo soars on a sustained guitar swell and Ian Hill’s four-string quiver. “Beyond the Realms of Death,” with its more polar musical energy, climaxes with Binks giving the drum kit a beatdown and the final piercing falsetto fading into the ether as the song fades out. welcomes

Lyrically, this represents the darkest moment stained class, although the competition was not sparse. Quickly lowering the ax to the necks of the children of flowers, seeing their futile dreams of utopias and unruly worlds, I find no trace of optimism. was not seen through rose-tinted glasses, and there was no “girl with kaleidoscopic eyes.”

Hiroshi Hasebe/Shinko Music, Hulton Archives/Getty Images

Hiroshi Hasebe/Shinko Music, Hulton Archives/Getty Images

For all that metal has to do with religion, Priest takes a neutral stance on “Saints in Hell,” calling the Martyrs “second hellMay a brutal execution take place. On the other hand, they take a hard look at societies that treat public violence as entertainment. “Saints in Hell” is a menacing track, one of the band’s most underrated him, featuring one of Halford’s most menacing vocal performances to date. increase.

despite the presence of moody subject matter stained classIn 1990, Judas Priest claimed to have said “do it” in the song, and ultimately the most controversial was his cover of Spooky Tooth’s “Better By You, Better Than Me.” Accused of “backmasking” the message, a civil lawsuit alleged that it was the reason James Vance and Ray Belknap signed a suicide pact. Belknap successfully committed suicide, but Vance, who shot himself in the face, was seriously injured and died three years after the tragic incident in 1985. However, the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.

Judas Priest “Better By You, Better Than Me” (Spooky Tooth Cover)

Inexplicably, stained class A hidden gem in Priest’s discography.Its value isn’t lost among diehards who hail it as a near-indomitable classic, but it’s generally lost in waves of metal linchpins like british steel, cries of revenge and defender of the faith.

Stripping crunch and power from one of metal’s most formidable guitar duos, the production succeeds in creating the Halford sound. that too Sometimes strong for materials. This is what we all want from another producer. Dennis MacKay’s experience has primarily been in jazz/fusion his acts such as Curved Air, Brand X and Mahavishnu Orchestra. For example, if Martin Birch (Deep Purple, Rainbow, he later worked with Iron Maiden) was on the board, this record might have been more useful.

And unfortunately, there aren’t many live representations of these songs as an alternative to studio cuts. “Beyond the Realms of Death” has endured as one of Priest’s most-played tracks, but most of the others have never been performed live and, like “Saints in Hell,” have been criminally criticized. Some have never been played. live arena.

In 1970, Black Sabbath gave the essential tools for playing heavy metal, rubbing sticks together, and sparked the genre. Eight years later, Judas Priest stained class Suddenly, I breathed new life into the fire.

And just a few months later hell bent for leather Completing the metal package of Priest, and then Rob Halford, imposing a rebellious and daring image of studs, leather and chains on the genre’s staunch defenders, these records came together to form nearly everything that followed. created a prototype that affects Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Testament, Pantera, Sepultura and other legions.

“Catch the Scream Eagle, unleash the Wildcat,
Unleash the King Cobra and the Vampire Bat. ”

Judas Priest album ranking

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