In the spring of 1977, Judas Priest released their first major label album, ‘Sin After Sin’, and with this record the band firmly established themselves as the new innovators of this thing called heavy metal. Devoid of many of the cliches that many followers and Priest themselves would be guilty of by the middle of the next decade, ‘SAS’ was a pretty unique record with many stlyes that Priest would rarely revist again. The lp kicks off with a seventies metal classic and the title track, “Sinner”, an epic by anyone’s definition. Brilliant drumming, fantastic hellspawn vocals and the legendary dual guitars are all in attendence here. Downing even emulates his hero Jimi Hendrix during the slow tempo mid-section. Other metal standards include “Starbreaker”, “Call for the Priest” (speed metal indeed!!) and much beloved track from hell “Dissident Aggressor” (awesome power from Rob!). What makes this album a curiousity is the inclusion of some much slower material and of course the Joan Baez cover “Diamonds and Rust” which I have never cared for but many metal fans seem to like. Following up possibly their greatest record and a metal landmark like ‘Sad Wings of Destiny’ was no easy task but Priest would meet that challenge for the rest of the ’70’s. One note on the bonus tracks for this reissue, I think “Race with the Devil” is one of the better of these songs since it also fits in with the album chronologically, which you can’t say the same for many of the others and because of the rawness of the sound, simiiar to early Schenker UFO in some ways. Why “Jawbreaker”??? Why not “Sinner” or even better “Call for the Priest” or better yet why bother with these live cuts from overly familiar songs in the first place! Anyway, get this record for a prime example of late seventies, changing of the guard, metal.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
A solid example of a major label debut, 1977’s Sin After Sin, while unnoticed at the time, stands as a foundation to the mighty heights that Judas Priest would soon exceed. Not as dark and morbid as what Sad Wings Of Destiny was or what Stained Class would become, this release occupies a still-powerful middle ground between those two landmarks. Highlights include “Sinner” (easily one of the best driving songs ever), “Let Us Prey/ Call For The Priest”, “Starbreaker”, “Raw Deal” & (on the 2001 remaster only) “Race With The Devil”.
This CD is great, Last Rose of Summer and the remake of Diamonds and Rust are achingly beautiful and heartfelt. The rest of the CD rocks! The sound quality is a little dry and compressed, but it somehow it works.
WOW! Let me first start off by saying that each Judas Priest studio effort is a distinguishable classic. The Judas Priest Remaster series is both good and bad. Good because each studio release sounds sonically superior to the old versions. All of them sound clean, crisp sounding from Sin After Sin through Painkiller. Also good on some of the reissues are the studio bonus tracks. I will review each bonus track as I review each reissue, some are better than others. The bad part about the studio ablum remasters series is the live bonus tracks (do not be confused, the live bonus tracks on both live reissues are great, and I include those bonus tracks in the reviews). ALL the live bonus tracks are lousy. The sound quality is good, just the performances are uninspried, and lame. From Sin After Sin’s Jawbreaker (Halford sounds weak here) to Painkiller’s Leather Rebel (which is made worse because it’s rpobably the weakest song on Painkiller). If you are a fan who has all the studio albums already and are looking to wet your ears with the live tracks, forget about it, they will let you down. Seriously, the songs off of the Halford-less 98 Live Meltdown are more inspirational than these live bonus songs. Well that sums up the Remaster Series as a whole,now on with the individual review…Sin After Sin is Judas Priest’s debut in a sense. And in alot of ways. The major one being for a major label, CBS. The other being produced by (at the time) former-DP bassist Roger Glover.This album pretty much sounds like no other in the Priest cannon.It’s metal, rock, contemporary, etc. THeir are beautiful ballads like Diamonds and Rust, Last Rose of Summer, and Here Come the Tears. Their is Rock like on Starbreaker, Call of the Priest.And finally is their METAL. Sinner is just balls out METAL! Great song to open the album, but it is Dissident Aggressor that closes the album that is pure METAL HEAVEN!!! Halford is at his vicious best on the vocals. If this song does not make you head bang, then my friend, you are not METAL. As for the studio bonus track, Race With The Devil is a raw sounding, straight ahead rocker. Good bonus track. To me, SAS is their best 70’s album, and probably their best overall in their career. Sinfully delicious!
This is the 2nd album to be released by JP in 1977 and was their first one for CBS. This album was ignored in America even though it received tremendous press reviews. Lightyears ahead of its 1st album, this is their third release and it’s classic heavymetal with some of the best ballads to ever be released. Here are my reviews of the songs based out of 5 *****:
“Sinner” – From the opening wail of the guitar to the hard surging bass and guitar, this song makes me want to repent! Very Sabbath sounding. Some great guitar distortion and fantastic wah-wah solo by KK. Solid drumming from session man Simon Phillips (too bad he didn’t join the band – he was the best drummer they had!) A classic metal epic/anthem. Rating – *****
“Diamonds and Rust” – A Joan Baez tune done right by JP and Rob. Joan is a great story-teller and Rob sings tremendously. Done at a mid-tempo pace. Very haunting. Fine drumming from Simon again makes this piece. I love this version. Rating – *****
“Starbreaker” – Drum solo opens the song for some hard crunching guitar. Rob is again in fine form. A quicker paced song. Solid bass playing from Ian and good drumming again. Rating – ****
“Last Rose Of Summer” – A GREAT piece! No matter that it is a ballad, it is just a fantastic song! Sung heart-wrenchingly by Rob. A great love song that would have been a hit if done by a pop singer. Rob’s range is on full display here. A nice clean guitar accompanies the piece. Tremendous. I would love to hear it live! Put it in the live set! Rating – *****
“Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest” – I love this tune! Opens with a church sounding guitar and organ proceeding….into the fastest song on the album. The seeds of “Freewheel Burning” and “Screaming for Vengance” are heard here. These songs are heard on this tune. The only difference is that this is “Freewheel Burning” and “Screaming” with brains. The song has intelligent lyrics with a speedmetal sound. NEEDS TO BE PLAYED LIVE! Great soloing done by Glenn and KK. Speedmetal before it became speedmetal. Some great wails by Rob! Rating – *****
“Raw Deal” – Another underated song. This is Priest at its best! A song about going to into a gay bar wasted. This also should be put into the live set! A great crunching, metal song. Rob sounds mean and animalistic. Great drumming. Nice tempo changes throughout. Fantastic guitar playing from Glenn and KK. Alot of distortion. Great high-pitched screams by Rob to end the song. Would love to hear live! Rating – *****
“Here Come The Tears” – A short haunting melody and song about lost love. Some fine acoustic guitar and solo from Glenn, with piano accompianment. Rob once again shines on this tune. Rob cries out for love and you can feel the sorrow and anguish overflow. More fantastic wailing by Rob to end the song. GREAT SONG. Once again, needs to be put into the live set. Rating – *****
“Dissident Aggressor” – A CLASSIC! Heavy metal would never be the same after this. THE HEAVIEST song ever! Well ahead of its time! This also needs to be put into the live set. (Slayer covered it, ’nuff said) Rating – *****
Overall, an album well ahead of its time. A pure metal masterpiece! If you don’t have this you are nothing but a metal poser. Their sound changes on the next album, “Stained Class”. For better or worse? See my review to find out.