Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1976 – Part 1.4: Judas Priest – Sad Wings Of Destiny

It’s not on Spotify as their original label Gull owns the rights and the split between artist and label was hostile.

Judas Priest recorded this album on a very small budget, whilst working part-time jobs and living off of one meal a day. As they say, hard times and adversity breeds genius.

This album is the transition point between blues rock and a new style about to be born, which is basically the metal that I got to know.

“Victim Of Changes”

It kicks off the album, a combination of two separate songs. “Whiskey Woman” from the band co-founder and original singer, Al Atkins (who also gave the band its name) and “Red Light Lady” from the person who replaced him, Rob Halford.

The riff reminds me of “Stormbringer” from Deep Purple and both songs came out at a similar time. There is a little lick towards the end of the riff that Metallica swiped for “Seek And Destroy” which they use to “get out” of the intro riff pattern and into the verse riff. Wikipedia quotes a source that the riff was inspired by “Black Dog” from Led Zeppelin.

Regardless of the source inspiration, it’s a beautiful example of how you take little bits and pieces of what came before and make it your own.

“The Ripper”

A lot of bands at this time were doing similar riffs, borrowing from each other and allowing themselves to be influenced. The main riff here is reminiscent of “Stranglehold” from Ted Nugent, however both songs came out at the same time. It could be pure coincidence, but it also means that the artists in question had the same influences.

The Chorus riff feels like a Pink Panther soundtrack and the solo section is the way Muse do their solo sections.

“Dreamer Deceiver”

If you want to know the inspiration behind “The Warning” album from Queensryche, just listen to this.

It’s one of those moody slow tempo songs I really like from acts in the Seventies. From a Judas Priest viewpoint, this song is an underrated cut. I would even call it a masterpiece.

Halford covers so much ground with his voice, singing across four octaves at different times of the song.

And the guitar solo from Glenn Tipton. One of the best guitar solos of all time. So overlooked. It’s on par with “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd for pure emotion.

As the solo went on, Halford came in with his super falsetto ohhhs and ahhhs.

“Deceiver”

It has the triplet galloping style of riffing that Sabbath used in “Children Of The Grave” which came out in 1971. And Halford is going to town with his falsetto voice, clearly showing a certain Scandinavian singer called King Diamond, how to develop his style.

“Prelude”

It’s soundtrack music. A friend of mine said, its influenced by “The March Of The Black Queen” from the Queen “II” album. Listen to em both and you decide.

“Tyrant”

I reckon a young EVH was clearly influenced by the riffs in this song. Listen to the intro riff and you will hear it sounds like a certain Van Halen song.

“Genocide”

There is a lot of Deep Purple in this track. “Smoke On The Water” and “Woman from Tokyo” come to mind, from a groove and feel point of view.

“Epitaph”

It’s a progressive song, with layered vocals while musically, it’s just a piano riff. Black Sabbath’s “Changes” and Queen and ELP comes to mind.

“Island of Domination”

And they close off the album with a track that reminds me of “IV” from Sabbath.

The main riff sounds an awful lot like Nazareth’s “Railroad Boy” released a year earlier.

And you all know my view on this, all music is a derivative of some other music. If you listen closely, the section from 2.20 reminds me of “Wake Up Dead” from Megadeth.

For just their second album, there is a lot of ground covered.

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15 thoughts on “1976 – Part 1.4: Judas Priest – Sad Wings Of Destiny

  1. Agree- early 70s led zep , Nazareth,sabbath deep purple and queen are massive influences on this album. I think the strange thing is the singing- I can’t think of anyone else using this style at that time.. Freddie mercury a little, but not as evil sounding- more theatrical

    • Yes the singing style was different with that banshee falsetto wail merging with his normal baritone and tenor voice.
      Definitely a game changer for any young up and coming vocalist in the 70s.

  2. Really good album. You are spot on with your comparisons to their sound. They were still finding their sound, but man what they captured here was fantastic. The first side alone is stellar.

  3. I think every RSD Gull releases a different version of this album…lol Halford in his book talks about them not getting the rights to this album.

  4. Ken Taylor says:

    I do love this album but i brought a Judas Priest album as a kid called Hero Hero and is a compilation album released by Gull records, as a kid i never knew this and only after a few years ago i could never find that album on iTunes. Dreamer Deceiver is an amazing song and also as teenagers sit around stoned and play this song to death! lol

    • “Hero Hero”. This is the first time I’m hearing about it. Yeah Gull Records are exploiting the first two JP records and the band can’t even claim their rights back.

      Have a few of the top ay to Dreamer Deceiver?

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