63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2001
This album has to be one of the most influential Metal records in history. After a lackluster debut with "Rocka Rolla", the band changed drummers and redefined their sound from bluesy quasi-psychedelia to molten gothic heavy metal. I don't think Priest has ever created such a formidible document of powerful songwriting and instrumental skullcrushing since this landmark 1976 work. They sure haven't made a more serious record since, with lead track "Victim of Changes", arguably their greatest song. This album has so much emotion and range from "Epitaph" and "Dreamer Deceiver" (the greatest metal ballad ever) to "Tyrant", "Genocide" and "The Ripper" Downing and Tipton became a true team on "Sad Wings" and fully established their twin lead guitar attack. Rob Halford providing possibly his greatest performance and one of the most profound in the history of metal. The lack of commercial success that the band received for this LP is shocking yet maybe the world wasn't ready for music this intense in its sonic fury. I bought this originally on record when I was 15 and didn't really like it compared to "Screaming for Vengeance" and "Defenders" but man have my tastes and appreciation changed in the last 17 years. Now I think this is the greatest of all Priest albums. For all the critics who have laughed off much of '80's era Priest and all the so called fans who prefer the more commercial sounding post-"British Steel" material, then I say give "Sad Wings" a listen find out why people like Lars Ulrich and Dave Mustaine rave about this album!
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2000
This is one of the most influential metal albums ever made. No rock collection is complete without this. "Sad Wings" was the next step in metal after the initial wave of Sabbath, Purple, and Uriah Heep.Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Metallica, Fates Warning and virtually all of later progressive metal would be inconceivable had this record never been made. Great writing, playing,changes in tempo, texture, and mood throughout all the brilliant compositions. The opener "Victim Of Changes" is THE Essential metal song. Halford's vocal range is astounding throughout. His style re-invents the metal vocalist here. The two guitar onslaught of Tipton and Downing is staggering and blazes the trail for Hammett and Hetfield, Denner and Sherman, and virtually any heavy band to come that would feature two axe slingers. This record commercially was criminally ignored in it's time, but like all great underground works, those who bought it were influenced and formed bands. Today's younger set may be a little mystified by the stone age production, but any young musician wanting to attempt the heavy stuff should begin here.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2006
I'm going to review the 12 Judas Priest CDs from 1974-1990 except the two live CDs. I am a huge Priest fan. I first got into Judas Priest 20 years ago and have stayed loyal to them ever since. This may limit my objectivity since these reviews will really be comparing the different CDs to one another not to other bands. There is no bad Judas Priest CD, only less consistent ones. Judas Priest is a band that have repeatedly experimented stylistically. Some of these experiments were more successful than others. There are CDs that are much heavier than others. I will try and bring all these factors into my reviews as well as attempting to summarize the general consensus among hardcore Priest fans about each individual release.
Judas Priest are possibly the most important act in metal history and they are certainly metal's most unwavering exponents. They helped invent heavy metal music, helped refine and perfect it, helped popularize it and have remained "defenders of the faith" during metal's darkest hours, while other "metal" acts ran for the hills. They are a legendary band whose role in popular music can not be overstated. If a metal band was not heavily influenced by Judas Priest directly, then they were heavily influenced by another band that was. Their reach is inescapable.
Judas Priest are led by Rob Halford, one of metal's most recognizable icons and possibly the greatest vocalist the genre has ever known. Halford's unearthly delivery and range are as responsible as anything else for Judas Priest's signature sound.
Judas Priest were not the first band to employ the services of two lead guitarists but they were certainly the first to fully implement them. Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing are both phenomenal lead soloists but it's their riffs and songwriting that have made Judas Priest one of the greatest guitar bands of all time. Both are criminally underrated in the guitar world but Downing is even underrated among Priest fans.
Bassist Ian Hill rounds out the band. A founding member along with Downing, Hill is responsible for keeping the rhythm section humming along through Priest's many drummer changes. Hill is not a flashy player but is certainly competent and on the rare occasions the band's songwriting allows him to shine, he never disappoints.
"Sad Wings Of Destiny" is an all-time metal masterpiece. Savage blasts of sonic fury are punctuated and amplified by contrast to the softer, more harmonic sections of this CD. Some fans of Priest consider this their finest hour. I consider it a close second to another CD I will review later. On Priest's debut "Rocka Rolla", a listener gets the sense that they were trying different things to establish their musical identity. On this release, they found it. This album is easily and inarguably one of the greatest metal albums of all time and has been cited by many artists as a huge influence.
Track listing -
"Victim of Changes" - This is no knock on "Deceiver" because it is a great song. However, the first three tracks on this CD might be the greatest 3 song block of all time. They're that good. "VoC" is widely recognized by aficionados as one of Priest's greatest songs. A metal masterpice, it's many riffs and frequent tempo changes give it an epic feel that is solidified by Halford's otherworldly wailing... and gentle and plaintive mourning. This song personifies the entire album in that the softer, more delicate sections make the harder parts seem absolutely bonecrushing. This song uses this to good effect not once but twice. What must people have thought of this in 1976?
"Ripper" - One of Judas Priest's all-time great songs is also one of their darkest lyrical visions. Compact and surgically precise, this song tells the tale of Jack the Ripper and evokes the fear that residents of London must have felt in 1888. This song would start a trend in Judas Priest's guitar playing where a solo in the song is very economical and efficient while a riff is very scale-driven and fast-paced, making the riff harder to play than the solo. I'm referring to the bridge riff right after the solo. Great layering of Halford's vocals harmonizing with himself and creepy usage of tremolo sound effects highlight a true metal masterwork.
"Dreamer Deceiver" - This wolf in sheep's clothing starts with an ethereal-sounding Halford coupled with a beautiful acoustic
guitar. The vocals and the solo are among the finest of any Priest song. This song never really gets heavy at all and at the very end, as Halford shatters your speakers with his vocal register, the final guitar riff repeats it's last, and there seems to be a smattering of piano buried under this aural assault, "Dreamer Deceiver" strips itself of it's pretense of delicacy and becomes ...
"Deceiver" - Great galloping guitar riff opens and is quickly joined by another guitar riff sitting atop the first perfectly. Lyrically similar enough to it's immediate predecessor to be considered the same song, musically it's anything but. Although I do like the final few seconds of acoustic guitar that fades away. Short and sweet.
"Prelude/Tyrant" - "Prelude" is really too short to be considered anything but the opening for "Tyrant", therefore I consider these two songs to be one and the same. "Prelude is a beautiful, classical, instrumental piece. Tympani drums, piano, and a wah wah guitar line. Once again, we have a softer sound used to make the harder song that will follow it all the more vicious. "Prelude" ends in a clever way, sounding like a record player that has lost power, drifting into "Tyrant". If you equate speed with heaviness (I don't), you may consider this Priest's heaviest song up to this point. Chock full of great solos and riffs, this is a great guitar song.
"Genocide" - Similar to "Tyrant", this song is filled with a lot of riffs and guitar experimentation. Great rocking song is slightly hampered by lyrical disjointedness. This is still a good song but for me, it's a bit of a letdown after all the songs that precede it.
"Epitaph" - I can't believe the hammering this song is taking by other Amazon.com reviewers. It is breathtakingly beautiful
and by far, their lyrically most poignant song ever. I would plead that listeners to this CD treat this song like the old man in the song and "Spare a thought as you pass him by." Vocals and piano and more vocals as Halford continues to harmonize with himself, perhaps correctly realizing that noone else could really accompany him anyway. For the final time on this CD, a soft passage segues into a crunching metal riff andf the next song.
"Island of Domination" - This is probably the weak spot here. The first half of the song is nothing really special by Judas Priest standards. The middle part grinds down to a crawl and the riff becomes something you would expect a burlesque stripper to undress to.
In my earlier review of Judas Priest's debut "Rocka Rolla", I recommended "Screaming For Vengeance" as Priest's most accessible CD. I stand by that but if you're ready to take your metal studies to a higher level, you can't go wrong with this masterpiece. Amazon reviewers have given 8 Judas Priest CDs a rating of 4 1/2 stars but rest assured this is one of their very best as well as being one of the truly great metal CDs of all time.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2006
I was first turned on to this album around '83 - '84. I have a brother ten years older than me and he had Sad Wings on vinyl. When I first started getting into metal/hard rock it was Iron Maiden, Saxon, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Rush, 80's Priest. I was listening to Maiden/Killers one day in my room when he burst in, took the record off and started to put Sad Wings on. I was pissed at first and jumped up to stop him. He pushed me back down and said, "just listen". So I did. I must have listened to Sad Wings 20 to 30 times in a row that evening. I turned all my long haired, metal head buddies on to it the next day. It is probably, if not the best, then one of the best metal albums ever.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2005
After a very unsuccessful first album mainly due to its bland 70s rock sound and its crappy production (hell, even the band themselves don't really like it!) the METAL GODS go into the studio two years later and make one of their finest and perhaps most influential albums, Sad Wings of Destiny.
This is the album where Priest found their true sound and amazingly it was on only their second album! While many bands run out of the good material that made their first album a smash success and run into the dreaded 'sophomore slump' on their next album (like Van Halen), Priest were making metal history on their second!
So why is this album so damn good you ask? Well let me take a moment to explain in a classic albeit slightly boring track by track review! However, I will be doing it by the TRUE track order which Koch records screwed up on the remaster (they switched the A and B sides of the original vinyl).
Prelude- 9/10 Ok so this is the real opener folks, just a very soothing piano intro that blends into the next song...
Tyrant- 10/10 One of my faves on the album. Killer vocals that really portray the brutality of ruthless conquerors.
Genocide- 9/10 Another killer song with great lyrics kind of relating to the previous song's. Oh did I mention this Priest's best album lyrically? Yeah it definitely is. The deeply sung part in the song is just pure metal!
Epitaph- 9/10 Ok what's up with people not liking this one? I personally think it owns. Rob once agains shows the talents of vocals in a softer emotional sense. You might be thinking "a piano again???" but DO NOT skip this one!!! Listen to the lyrics too.
Island of Domination- 9/10 Another great one (surprise eh?) with more great shrieking from Halford...and it only gets better down the album!
Victim of Changes - 10/10 WOW! Ok now we're cookin' with gas people! After just listening to this once I fully realized why fans love this one. I mean it represents everything metal should be, furious dual-riffage, (from the best axe team in the game!) supreme vocals, great lyrics, and epic clocking in at almost 8 mins! This is hands down one of Rob's best performances ever.
A MUST LISTEN.
The Ripper- 10/10 Ah, the song that foreshadows the future cheesiness of Priest. (Painkiller anyone?) Dont get me wrong, Painkiller is one of my favorite albums and Priest is my favorite band but I call it like I see it. This is one of the heavier songs on here and one of my faves.
Dreamer Deceiver/Deceiver- 10/10 The true closer and actually my favorite song along with 'Victim' and has to be one of the best metal ballads ever with its beautiful melody, thrashing end part and mysterious lyrics. Another essential listen.
In conclusion, it's imperative as a metal fan that you own this album. This was back in the days when Priest made more "serious" albums (along with the brilliant Stained Class) which would end with Hell Bent For Leather. Downing and Tipton truly showcase the power of twin guitar action that paved the way for many other great axe duos. Plus Halford really shows off his talents by singing in a variety of ways throughout the album (Genocide, Epitaph, Victim of Changes). This album proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that metal IS real music!
One last thing, try listening to the album in this order, you might even like it better! I think saving the best for last is always a plus anyway. Later.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2006
It's ironic that i'm reviewing a heavy metal album at all - i don't really listen to a lot of metal. However, this is one of those records that never strays far from the turntable. And that is the clue to this review: I bought this on vinyl 15 years ago and when you've got the record the whole thing makes sense.
The track running order on the CD release is wrong. The LP starts with Prelude, through to Island of Domination as side one; side two has Victim of changes through Dreamer Deceiver. Play it in this order and you see what it is all about.
The album (obviously) starts with Prelude and sets the tone - slow, heavy, doomed, resigned... the album is about destiny, fate, the inevitable and the pressures of getting there, the "sad wings".
This really is a very heavy, psychologically deep and intense piece of doom rock and one that leaves you emotionally drained. Judas Priest changed direction slightly after this album - naturally, as this one says all that can be said about its subject.
Put it in the correct running order, treat it as the heaviest concept album of all time and listen again.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2005
This was their first of two albums to be released in 1977, and it was the last album with Gull Records (the band jumped to CBS records after recording this album). "Sad Wings Of Destiny" is a perfect heavymetal album. If you don't have it you can't be considered a music lover! Here are my reviews of the songs based out of 5 *****:
"Victim Of Changes" - Hypnotic sounding guitar intro plunges into a thumping bass and chugging guitar. Very Sabbath sounding. Some fantastic guitar work from Glenn and KK with heavy distortion and wah-wah/whammy bar use. Rob begins his trademark wails here. Some of Rob's highest pitches are heard here. This is a great heavymetal song. Still in the live set. Some great tempo changes that were copied by Mercyful Fate and others. A landmark tune. Rating - *****
"The Ripper" - Chugging guitar and some very high-pitched screaming from Rob. Heavy thumping bass from Ian. A short song. Haunting guitar solo. Very moody piece well suited for "The Ripper". A classic metal song. Rating - ****
"Dreamer Deceiver" - A beautiful ballad with a message, with great singing from Rob. Very colorful lyrics which are enhanced by Rob's mournful sound. Some fine acoustic guitar and solo. Rob's hits lows and highs on this song that show what a tremendous voice he has. Journey wishes they could have done a ballad like this! I love this song! It should be in their live set if it isn't! Rating - *****
"Deceiver" - The "Dreamer" wakes up to a nightmare! This is no ballad here. The tempo is fast and mean. A barren wastland is what the "Dreamer" awakes to and Rob tells the story with conviction! Great guitar solo. A great heavymetal song! Rob has never sounded better! This song SCREAMS to be in the live set! Rating - *****
"Prelude" - A piano and drum roll (reminds me of "Funeral For A Friend" by Elton John) which announces the arrival of.....
"Tyrant" - Man this song RULES! One the best heavymetal songs ever written! A fast, aggresive song well suited for a tyrant. Intelligent and descriptive lyrics help paint a violent picture brought to life by Rob's howls! A gem of a song. Fine fret work from KK and Glenn. Nice, heavy bass from Ian. "War Pigs" on speed! Rating - ******
"Genocide" - The speed doesn't let up as this is another cardiac-arrest producing tune. A violent and ominous sounding guitar intro leads into heavy bass and highpitched singing from Rob. Rob is exhilerating on this song. Some heavily distorted guitars add menacing flavour. Another song with numerous tempo changes. Another song with great lyrics (OH, please bring back these types of songs!) A thick and chunky tune that prepares you for the slaughter. A CLASSIC! Hear this live and turn into a sack of jelly. Rating - *****
"Epitaph" - A piano song accompanied with some fantastic singing from Rob. Very mournful and emotional. A very mood piece as an epitaph usually is. I love this song! Thought provoking lyrics set the stage. Rating - *****
"Island Of Domination" - The metal sludge renews, as this is a very heavy heavymetal sounding tune. Strong S&M overtones. Rob goes from gutteral lows to piercing highs on this one. Some tremendous guitar work from Glenn. Fine bass playing by Ian accompanied by multiple tempo changes in the song structure. An excellent metal song. Rating - *****
This sophmore album is lightyears ahead of its predecessor. The sound here would be emulated on their next album Sin After Sin (Exp). See my review for that album.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2005
I've only got 3 Priest albums, but this is definitely my favorite.(The other 2 are 'Painkiller' and 'Stained Class') Those 2 are both good, but 'Sad Wings of Destiny' is both more varied and more consistent, and it's just more, well, interesting. No real filler here, and plenty of absolutely classic material as well. Serious metal fans need to check this out, for historical significance, at the very least. I know lots of people are turned but of by how 'cheesy' Priest is but well, lighten up, metal supposed to be fun sometimes, and 'Stained Class' and 'Sad Wings of Destiny' really aren't very cheesy, really. 'Painkiller' sure as hell is, as it what I've heard of their 80's material, but this one ain't, so don't let your preconceptions deter you.
Halford really shines on this album. His upper-range and shrieking are as effective as always, but he uses a lower range more often as well, one which nearly sounds like a completely different person. This is honestly one of the very best and most varied vocal performances I've ever heard on a metal album of any sort. The instruments are solid, though the guitar tone could stand to be quite a bit heavier. The leads are fantastic, in particular, as they are on all the Priest albums that I've heard.
They screwed up while transferring this album to cd, and flipped the LP sides, so that track five is the actual first track on the album. The album flows better if you start there, and you definitely should start there, simply because thats the way it was meant to be listened to. The first full track is 'Tyrant' and it is flatly awesome, and definitely the best track on the album. It's not quite speed metal, but it's getting, with the incessant single note alt-picking during the verses and an excellent, immediately memorable chorus. Furthermore, it's got solid vocal melodies throughout the song and a fine middle break is great too, particularly the harmonized vocals sections. Definitely a classic. 'Genocide' is another rocker. It's not that memorable, but it sounds good while you're listening to it, so that'll do. 'Epitaph' is really, really odd and unexpected. It's a schmaltzy piano ballad- essentially a torch song. I gotta say, I actually like it quite a lot. Nice vocal lines, with a great juxtaposition of Halford's different voices, and it's just so bizarre and unexpected that it just works through sheer novelty. 'Island of Domination' is another more driving track. It's got some very, very odd vocals, but another very catchy chorus. Not the best thing here, but not a throwaway track, by any means. 'Victim of Changes' is an epic, with an extended middle sections with lots of soloing and a rather mellow, minimalistic part. It's a bit slower and blusier sounding, but it still rocks pretty hard, and it doesn't get boring throughout it's 8 minutes. Halford's shrieking at the very end is totally great, too. 'The Ripper' is totally classic. Not quite as good as 'Tyrant' but definitely in the same league. The lead licks this track has are sweet totally sweet, and Halford's vox are particularly brilliant. 'Dreamer Deceiver' and 'Deceiver' combine to be the nearly 9 minute closing epic, and another classic song. 'Dreamer Deceiver' is the better half. A very, very mellow ballad, with some very sad guitar work, more amazing shrieking at the end and a very long, fantastic solo. (Nearly equal to the one on 'Beyond the Realms of Death'.) 'Deceiver' kicks it up a bit. Another, fun catchy track. It's not that brilliant in and of itself, but it is good, and it works well in conjunction with 'Dreamer Deceiver'.
This album isn't remastered, but it sounds pretty decent, and really not all that much worse than the remastered 'Stained Class' which I have. Get it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2000
Every track on this recording is a keeper, truly classic doom rock on par with any cut from Sabbath's "Paranoid". The dual guitar work of Downing and Tipton is deliciously raw (even for this period, ca.74)and the vocals of a young Rob Halford are incredible. Priest were not all about bludgeoning riffs, however; they were masters of balancing light ("Dreamer Deceiver", "Epitaph")with the brutally heavy ("Tyrant","Victim of Changes", "Genocide"). Halford was quite capable (and is STILL quite capable) of conveying rage, fear, and genuine sorrow (listen to the aforementioned "Epitaph")all with equally convincing vocal vigor. My personal favorite is "Island of Domination"; it conjures up fevered images of stranded soldiers trying to escape from the island stronghold of a brutally despotic regime (this is colored, of course, with Priest's typical S&M inspired fantasies! ). If you are a true metal head, don't miss out on this one.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2000
OK, I think this cd "Sad Wings Of Destiny" really shows all sides of Judas Priest. From a slow ballad Dreamer Deciever to your hard rockin' Tyrant or Genocide. This cd also shows what talent lies in Glen Tipton as well. We all know that Rob Halford is one of the best vocalists in heavy metal, and we also know the talents of KK Downing & Glen Tipton, and the rest of the guys, but if you don't own this cd, you might just hear a side of Glen Tipton that you've never heard before. He plays one of the finest emotional guitar solos on the song "Dreamer Deceiver" that I've ever heard. It's one solo which has an awesome display of blusey feeling rarely heard from Glen. Most of the time he just plays his usual rockin' guitar solos, but this one is different from his usual guitar style. It's a smooth solo which builds up to a climactic ending with Glen and Rob Halford hitting the same extreme high note together....This cd usually stays in my cd player for unusally long lengths of time. It's an oldie but a goodie!