Albums That Built The Foundation Of Heavy Metal :
Artist : Judas Priest
Album : Sad Wings Of Destiny
Released : March 26, 1976
M.M. Album Rating : 5/5 (The First True Album To Contain All Of The Elements Of Heavy Metal Music !!)
Simply stated with the exception of Black Sabbath there is no band more important to the Heavy Metal genre as Judas Priest. Yet unbelievably they don’t get the same iconic respect that Sabbath does. Earlier this week I wrote an article on the father of Rock And Roll music Chuck Berry, and spoke about how as Music fans we took him for granted because he was here while Buddy Holly, and Elvis Presley no longer are. In many ways Heavy Metal fans do the same thing to Judas Priest, not realizing how important the sound they created was to what we know now as the genre. Unlike Sabbath it was Priest who added the second rhythm guitar, and the speed that would eventually become thrash. To record the music they made in the mid-1970s was mind blowing at the time. Today it really doesn’t seem to be as much, because everyone and their grandmother has now done it. It would be the members of Priest though who would have to deal with the persecution of getting this type of music to the general public.
I personally was too young to know what it would’ve been like to bring a record like “Sad Wings Of Destiny” (arguably the first album to have all the elements of Heavy Metal) home in a year like 1976. One thing was for sure, it wasn’t easy for them to get this Heavy music played. At the time the Punk scene had really begun to take off, bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and even Led Zeppelin had seen their best days of making music behind them. Even their record label Gull (which no longer exists btw) tried to convince the band to make a more melodic sound, but thankfully (and all Metal fans should be thankful for this) they didn’t give an inch, and still recorded the heaviest, and darkest music they could make. Even during the making of the album they were all so broke that they all had day jobs. K.K. Downing worked in a factory, Glenn Tipton as a gardener, Ian Hill, and Rob Halford drove delivery trucks. They would eat basically one meal a day, and then record the album at night.
Recorded in just two weeks the band came up with songs that related to their Birmingham Steel Town roots. Unlike their debut album “Rocka Rolla” from 1974, these new songs were much more focused stylistically and musically. This is where Priest would develop the sound they would later become known for. The wide range of Rob Halford’s voice, plus his amazing falsetto, also the twin guitar attack done purposely to give the music much more power with K.K. Downing, and Glenn Tipton, to Ian Hill’s dark bass playing, all inspired by the surroundings of their home town. This also would be the only album with drummer Alan Moore, (their third official drummer) who gave the music a power that would go on to influence the sound of the genre. He would quit the band shortly after the record was recorded though, and has been untraceable for years. Both biographers of the band, and even music journalists have no idea where he is.
When “Sad Wings Of Destiny” was released it underperformed due to lack of promotion. Not only did the killer cover art seem to scare everyone, but radio also had no idea what to do with an album like this in the mid-1970s, especially during the Punk Revolution. The following year the band would sign a contract with Columbia Records that would start to build them a following in America. As the years have passed though the album has become known as a true pioneering record of the Heavy Metal sound. Songs like “The Ripper”, “Victim Of Changes”, “Tyrant”, and “Genocide”, have all become live staples for the band at one time or another. Dave Mustaine of Megadeth has commented many times that this album was the main inspiration for him to embrace Heavy Metal music, and to become a musician himself. What’s most impressive of all though is 41 years after it’s release it still sounds fresh and relevant. A monumental record just as important to Metal as the early Sabbath records. An absolute “MUST HAVE”.
Track Listing :
Side one :
Victim Of The Change
Side two :
Island Of Domination