Spin #59 : Judas Priest : Sad Wings of Destiny
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #59
I read somewhere that Judas Priest don't own the rights to their first two albums (Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny) due to splitting with Gull Records back in the 1970's. For this reason, they aren't available on Spotify and sadly I'm unable to add to this page as you read along. I did however find that someone has uploaded the album on you tube so click here if you'd like to listen to the album in full.
The people that introduced me to Judas Priest were a couple of work colleagues back when I was 18 years of age. They were all a bit older and had various tastes in music they all wanted to imprint onto the young worker. I went through a phase where I would find sales or cheap CDs from a band and buy their discography in their entirety. At the time I was on pretty good money and dedicated a portion of my earnings to expanding my musical collections instead of wasting it on the poker machines or drinks, like so many did at that age. The first albums I tried my luck on from Judas Priest were 'Painkiller' (1990), 'Screaming for Vengeance' (1982) and this one we are spinning today - 'Sad Wings of Destiny'. I love all their albums and appreciate the growth that this band has gone through over the decades. For some reason, I really gravitated towards this one and had to add it when I came across it on wax at Utopia Records in the mid-2010's. It might have been because it had such a blues and rock 'n' roll sound that made it so inviting. Similar to the first Black Sabbath album.
I have listened to this one a couple of times in the last year and I find myself singing along as I clean or build something in the front room. Judas Priest deserves to be played loud so I think I will have to play this one on the loungeroom set up of our Sherwood Turntable (PM-9805) and Sherwood Receiver (RX-4508), complete with 4 x Sherwood Bookshelf speakers spaced evenly across our loungeroom. So sit back and relax and come along for a trip back to the mid-70s as we spin record #59 from our collection - Judas Priest : Sad Wings of Destiny (1976).
NOTABLE ALBUMS FROM (1976): A Day at the Races - Queen, 2112 - Rush, Wings at the Speed of Sound - Wings, Boston - Boston, Thirty Three & 1/3 - George Harrison, Blondie - Blondie, Songs in the Key of Life - Stevie Wonder, Jailbreak - Thin Lizzy, Silk Degrees - Boz Scaggs, Ramones - Ramones, Rising - Rainbow, Presence - Led Zeppelin, Technical Ecstasy - Black Sabbath
Image: Rob Halford, Alan Moore, Ian Hill, Glen Tipton, K.K Downing
Lately, things have been going relatively well with our little family and putting some things in place for the future. Trying to enjoy the moments of each day and hold onto the good, more so than the bad. A record like 'Sad Wings of Destiny' makes that easier to do due to the musical journey that it takes you on. Probably a Judas Priest album that Night Kat Kiz would enjoy compared to some of their '80s and '90s outputs. Our son (K) and daughter (Q) have both been growing a lot lately but are still fussy as ever when it comes to dinner time. I feel bad for my wife sometimes because I have also been in the position of cooking a lovely meal for them, only to find that they'd prefer to throw it on the ground. I wish they could see just what we are doing for them and trying to help them grow up strong and healthy. Last weekend we had the Easter break and managed to jam a fair bit into the time together - bike ride, scooter ride, playgrounds, RC car driving, long walks, running, painting eggs, friends party, playing with relatives and puppies and more!
Our daughter is chatting a lot more this week and often comes up to me with a book now telling me to "sit, sit". It is super cute but usually she likes climbing up too much rather than sitting still and listening to the book. We had a nice moment this morning where I had my slippers on and she had her shoes on and the sound of us walking together was making her laugh. The simplest things make children happy most of the time and all they want is hugs and time.
Whilst you have been reading that, I have managed to pull the record out of its inner slip and place it onto the turntable.
Now it's time to dropthestylus !
So what track listing is the correct way you ask? Well I have heard that the pressing starting with 'Victim with Changes' on Side A is actually a mistake that managed to keep getting pressed and you'll find this is the intro song for most of the presses. In fact, the first song was supposed to be 'Prelude' which starts of Side B and 'Victim of Changes' was supposed to be the start of Side B. On the UK first pressing copy that I have, the track listing on the back sleeve has 'Prelude' leading things off and the people making the labels got it wrong. If you want to listen to this album the way it was intended, then try it with Side B first. I guess that someone at Gull Records made that mistake but luckily for this album, Judas Priest have made it flow so well that it doesn't really matter which side you play first. The band don't really speak about it because contractually, they have no say on the first two albums at this stage.
The stylus is working its way through the groove of first song, 'PRELUDE'. It's a lovely instrumental introduction that feels odd when it starts off Side B to be honest, but still works. I honestly feel it was meant to start off the album. In other variants pressed later, 'PRELUDE' doesn't even make the album which is incredibly sad. Tipton is playing the piano and as a listener you don't know what to really expect - will the album be a ballad? will it be heavy? Luckily, we get a good mixture of that across the album. A lot of artists speak highly of 'Sad Wings of Destiny' and hold it in high regard. I love the guitar work that gets you straight into the riffing monster that is 'TYRANT'. I'm not too sure if this is true but the band might have been inspired to write this song about Vlad the Impaler, due to the terrible method of torture he used (also inspiration for Count Dracula). Halford's vocals when he sings the bridge gets all our feet tapping, "Mourn for us oppressed in fear. Chained and shackled we are bound. Freedom choked in dread we live since Tyrant was enthroned". This song has a big finish that sets up the funkier sounds of the next song nicely.
Our son (K) is loving his new big boy haircut and he couldn't stop dancing around looking at himself in the mirror. When Night Kat Kiz and I looked at him, he looked as if he had grown another couple of years instantly. I could see it in her eyes that she was thinking, "my little boy is growing up too quickly". 'GENOCIDE' is up next and is such a funky blues song with a great rock 'n' roll and metal balance. I think even though the album is quite strong, I'll choose this song as my favourite. It doesn't get a lot of attention compared to the bigger hits but every time I listen to it, I still headbang at the bridge section after the spoken word interlude - "Frantic mindless zombies. Grab at fleeting time. Lost in cold perplexion waiting for the sign. Generations tremble, clinging face to face. Helpless situation to end the perfect race".
If you listen closely, the softer 'EPITAPH' is starting to come through the speakers and straight away reminds me of Queen song. I can picture Freddie Mercury playing the piano and singing this one, easily. It might also be the use of harmony, fused with piano which is played by Glenn Tipton, that gives me that feeling. The dual guitars, that dominate so much of what this band put out, are sidelined for this song and replaced with an uplifting piano driven song that works well into the knock out punch of the next two tracks. It's also a chance to hear Rob Halford differently with clean harmony vocals. The end fades into the starting guitar work of next song and I have to give a lot of credit to the production and mixing of this album (even if they did get the label wrong). 'ISLAND OF DOMINATION' is a lot heavier than the previous song and a hell of a way to end Side B( Intended Side A - sorry for the confusing track listing). "We gotta get, we gotta get, we gotta get out of this place. There's a man with a needle who's pleading to get at my face. Hide me and hold me control free as best as you can, It's all becoming too much, I can't cope, for one man. Love the baby elephant style slowdown and bass guitar of Ian Hill towards the end. "Skyrider supersonic flyer, nightdriver demon of desire. Spinesnapper tried your best to break us, Throatchoker thought that you could take us". As long as I don't have to go to said island, then I'm happy with that as it doesn't sound like a enjoyable time.
Time to flip LP over and refresh your drinks and take a toilet break.
This one sounds really good through the 4 x Sherwood speakers and the slow fade in guitar work hits you before you realise what is going on. 'VICTIM OF CHANGES' kicks off with the guitars of Downing and Tipton as the rest of the band come in for what would be one of the bigger songs on the album. I still feel this is the best way to start off the second side of the LP. "Whiskey woman don't you know that you are drivin' me insane. The liquor you give stems your will to live and gets right to my brain. Don't you know you're driving me insane. You're tryin' to find your way through life, You're tryin' to get some new direction". The song splits into a different kind of beast half way through and the drumming of Moore is so clear as Halford wails over the top to great effect. Very King Diamond sounding vocals and if you don't know who that is, check them out on streaming - Classic album would be their 1986 album 'Fatal Portrait'. Then you have this insane solo from Downing and Tipton that leads into a completely different song again - talk about being a Victim of Changes as a listener....Bad dad joke there. This one is probably one that you'd play through headphones, as there is quite a lot of hidden sounds and depth.
I find it fascinating that the legend of 'THE RIPPER' - (Talking about Jack The Ripper from London 1888), is so well known, yet we still have no idea who the hell he was. Unless I haven't done my research correctly, there seems to be only assumptions as to who it might be but really lacking in evidence. With this next song Judas Priest bring you along for the ride. This one might be a favourite with you all and I can see why. Another track that uses the wide range of our speakers with Halford yelling and wailing as we have front row seats to the song about the Whitechapel Murderer. So listen to Halford as he sings, "So never turn your back on The Ripper". I remember when Night Kat Kiz and I were moving places and I was taking our items to storage at all hours of the night. In the daytime it was fine but the facility became a bit eerie as the sun went down. I had to close the roller door that was not very discreet before pushing the trolley loaded up with our boxes into the dumbwaiter style lift. Then walk up the stairs and meet the trolley before pushing it down the sensor activated corridors. Of course I did all of that whilst listening to music through my headphones and this song came on. Not that I was scared but if there had of been anyone else loading up their storage at the time, I think I might have mistaken them as The Ripper!
Softer vocals and guitar work come through on next song, 'DREAMER DECEIVER'. It sounds like this song was intended as the dream part before we get into the next song, or it could be combined as one continuous track. It's not until the 4th verse that we get a different sound that gradually builds to something more sinister, maybe getting ready for the Deceiver to appear. Probably a song to close your eyes too and listen along to the guitar work with not a care in the world. Downing and Tipton play off each other and create this sonic force that pulls you in as the listener. You be the judge - is the ending a big finish or is it the middle between the two songs? Probably the toe-tapping best riffing and chugging come on last song, 'DECEIVER'. This track sounds a lot more chaotic and angrier in comparison and may be because the person has woken from the dream, feeling spent. Maybe they felt they had something within their grasp, only to be tricked upon opening their eyes and the realisation was too much to handle. Judas Priest chose the final sounds of guitar to end this album and they fade out pretty quickly. The stylus starts hitting the dead wax and that tells me our Sunday drop or Spin has come to an end.
I hope that you enjoyed this weeks Spin #59 - 'Sad Wings of Desiny' by Judas Priest and found it enjoyable. I feel that many people think Judas Priest only make one style of music and maybe this album will open up your mind to how talented this band is. Keep stopping to enjoy life and make sure you are doing the things that you love. If you are doing it tough this week and need a little inspiration:
"We must understand that sadness is an ocean and sometimes we drown, while other days we are forced to swim" - R.M. Drake
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who love blues infused metal and be Kind to your Wax!
JUDAS PRIEST, JEFFERY CALVERT AND MAX WEST
SPEED PLAYED AT
ROCKA ROLLA (1974)
SIN AFTER SIN (1977)
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 x BLACK LP, PAPER SLEEVE
"Frantic mindless zombies grab at fleeting time. Lost in cold perplexion, waiting for the sign. Generations tremble, clinging face to face. Helpless situation, to end the perfect race"~ Genocide -Side B
LP / SIDE
VICTIM OF CHANGES
LP / SIDE
(LISTENING TO THIS SIDE FIRST)
ISLAND OF DOMINATION
Judas Priest performing live