Judas Priest - Sin After Sin
Columbia
Traditional Metal
8 songs (43:46)
Release year: 1977
Judas Priest
Reviewed by Phil

Sin After Sin, Judas Priest’s third album, followed the classic Sad Wings of Destiny and preceded the classic Stained Class. Honestly, I think this one-two-three punch of powerful releases pack more heat than the 1980s trio of British Steel, Point of Entry and Screaming for Vengeance. The band was still young, and they were willing to take a ton of chances with performance and songwriting. This atmosphere of creativity really pushes these early albums to a higher plateau.

Sinner is a rollicking opener full of true grit. Sturdy drumming and Halford’s throaty screams provide power to spare. The chorus lyrics are: “Curse and damn you all, you’ll fall by the hands of the sinner!” Them’s some classic heavy metal lyrics right there, man. Halford then screeches “Sinner” again and again in the chorus until you’re slobbering like a hungry dog. After a mini breakdown around the two-minute mark, an extended guitar solo fully showcases the power of Tipton/Downing duo. And, as if that wasn’t enough, the song then slows and there’s tons more guitar pyrotechnics. Considering it’s 1977, the complexity of this sprawling, almost seven-minute song is simply amazing. Next up is a cover of Joan Baez’s Diamonds & Rust. I can’t think about this track without getting weepy. No doubt about it, this song is all about Halford’s soaring vocals. Listening to it now, it’s apparent that Halford is probably the only metal vocalist who could pull this off. His clear, powerful voice really lets the lyrics paint pretty pictures.

After all that emotion, Star Breaker brings the album back to earth with a chunky riff. As the drums pound and Halford screams, the sturdy little song cooks along for almost five minutes. But, the rocking is short lived. Next up is the ballad Last Rose of Summer. When you think of Priest, this is probably one of their most un-Priest-ish tracks. The laid-back song is subdued, but it features a couple of nice guitar solos. And it’s hard to argue with any song that features this much balls-out bellowing by Halford. Let Us Prey/Call For the Priest gets the album back up to speed quickly. Let Us Prey is a Queen-like guitar intro with a smattering of Halford’s screams. Once Call For the Priest really kicks in, you’ll be begging for mercy. The rolling drums and pulsing bass line provide a solid foundation for some crunchy guitar playing and tons of violent vocals. The first four minutes of the song feature a typical verse chorus verse structure, but there’s a section in the middle that blow the doors off. The drums and bass hold steady while Downing/Tipton do everything they can to set their frets on fire. For 30 seconds they trade solo sections back and forth in an attempt to melt your eardrums. Then, they bust out a harmonious guitar line/solo that will make you pull out your hair by the roots. Amazing, amazing stuff here. The verse and chorus make a final appearance, and the song ends with a crescendo, then echo, of the main riff.

Raw Deal is a rowdy seven-minute rocker. There’s some definite attitude on display here. The first two minutes feature a “fightin” riff that will make any metal fan feel tough. Then, the song kicks into a mid-paced section that sounds like it features primitive double bass drumming. Here, the guitar solo sticks you like a knife while the drumming hits you about the face, breast, neck and head. We’re back to the main riff at the 3:30 minute mark. At four-minutes, the guitar outro takes over and the song switches gears. The beat stays steady, and Halford’s vocals really start to cook. By the end of the song, he’s screeching in his highest register. Here Come the Tears is a fantastic track. The one-minute intro is full of echoing guitars and fuzzy, soft vocals. After a brief break, the track really starts. There’s acoustic guitar, piano, restrained percussion and Halford singing in his sweetest voice. Though Halford starts in first gear, he soon has an outburst of powerful screaming during the dramatic chorus/ending. The base riff is solid, and an emotive guitar solo gives this section a regal feel. After the solo, Halford ends the song with more vocals in his highest register. The band closes the album with Dissident Aggressor. The song is grade-A, 100 percent unrefined heavy metal. Seriously, it’s as strong as steel and as heavy as molten iron. The only thing better than the murderous verse is the killer chorus. It packs energy galore and ends this beast of an album with a real roar.

Well, I hadn’t intended to give this album a CLASSIC designation when I started, but I’ve thoroughly convinced myself now. In the late 1970s, while Sabbath were wallowing in excesses and twiddling with keyboards, Priest stepped up, grabbed the mantle of metal and ran with it.

Killing Songs :
All except for Star Breaker
Phil quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Judas Priest that we have reviewed:
Judas Priest - Redeemer of Souls reviewed by Thomas and quoted 70 / 100
Judas Priest - Killing Machine / Hell Bent for Leather reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Judas Priest - Screaming For Vengeance reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Judas Priest - Stained Class reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Judas Priest - Nostradamus reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
To see all 20 reviews click here
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