JUDAS PRIEST — Stained Class (review)

JUDAS PRIEST — Stained Class album cover Album · 1978 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
SouthSideoftheSky
Fall to your knees and repent if you please!

1978’s Stained Class was the third excellent album in a row by Judas Priest! Sadly, it was also to be the last excellent album they would ever do, but that’s a story for another time. Judas Priest was a band in constant evolution in the 70’s, developing and changing their style with each subsequent album. With Stained Class they further emphasised every distinct aspect of their sound. Indeed, the present album might be seen as the one that best represents both the early and they later Judas Priest. However, some of the things that made the previous two albums great were lost when they “streamlined” their sound somewhat.

Like the previous album, Stained Class also opens with an exceptional piece of Metal music in Exciter. Indeed, this is one of my all time favourite Judas Priest songs and it has all of the band’s trademarks; great riffs, strong vocals, elaborated lyrics and some of the best twin-guitar work I have ever heard! I particularly like the way the two guitarists contrast those almost competitive duels with passages when they play in unison like at 3:37 into the track. That is just brilliant! What follows is one great song after another including a cover of the Spooky Tooth song Better By You, Better Than Me. While I think this cover is the least good song on this album, it by far outshines the original version!

Though every song on this album is great, they are mostly of the same type. By the time I reach Savage, I begin to feel that I hear more of the same. Thankfully, the excellent Beyond The Realms Of Death more than recaptures my interest. This is another highlight of the album for me. There are no ballads as such on this album like there were on all the previous albums and I must say that I really miss the diversity of Sin After Sin and Sad Wings Of Destiny. But this is really my only criticism of this classic album.

One thing to notice on this album is the lyrics. Rob Halford is simply a genius in the way he plays with words in these songs. There are some quite brilliant lines particularly in Saints In Hell and the title track. They also experiment with different effects which is great. This is quite inventive Heavy Metal. This is a truly essential album together with Sad Wings Of Destiny and Sin After Sin
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