The year 1976 was crucial for the evolution of heavy metal, as landmark albums like Rainbow's Rising and Scorpions' Virgin Killer began to reshape the genre. Perhaps none was quite as important as Judas Priest's sophomore effort, Sad Wings of Destiny, which simultaneously took heavy metal to new depths of darkness and new heights of technical precision. Building on the hard prog of bands like Queen and Wishbone Ash, plus the twin-guitar innovations of the latter and Thin Lizzy, Sad Wings fused these new influences with the gothic doom of Black Sabbath, the classical precision of Deep Purple, and the tight riffery of the more compact Led Zeppelin tunes. Priest's prog roots are still readily apparent here, particularly on the spacy ballad "Dreamer Deceiver," the multi-sectioned "Victim of Changes," and the softer sonic textures that appear from time to time. But if Priest's style was still evolving, the band's trademarks are firmly in place -- the piercing, operatic vocals of Rob Halford and the tightly controlled power riffing of guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. This foundation sounded like little else on the metal scene at the time, and gave Sad Wings of Destiny much of its dramatic impact. Its mystique, though, was something else. No metal band had been this convincingly dark since Black Sabbath, and that band's hallucinatory haze was gone, replaced by a chillingly real cast of serial killers ("The Ripper"), murderous dictators ("Tyrant"), and military atrocities that far outweighed "War Pigs" ("Genocide"). Even the light piano ballad "Epitaph" sounds like a morbidly depressed Queen rewriting Sabbath's "Changes." Three songs rank as all-time metal classics, starting with the epic "Victim of Changes," which is blessed with an indelible main riff, a star-making vocal turn from Halford, explosive guitar work, and a tight focus that belies its nearly eight-minute length. "The Ripper" and "Tyrant," with their driving guitar riffs and concise construction, are the first seeds of what would flower into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. More than any other heavy metal album of its time, Sad Wings of Destiny offered the blueprint for the way forward. What's striking is how deeply this blueprint resonated through the years, from the prog ambitions of Iron Maiden to the thematic echoes in a pair of '80s thrash masterpieces. The horrors of Sad Wings are largely drawn from real life, much like Slayer's Seasons in the Abyss, and its all-consuming anxiety is over powerlessness, just like Metallica's magnum opus, Master of Puppets. (Though this latter preoccupation doubtlessly had more psychosexual roots in Rob Halford's case -- witness the peculiar torture fantasy of "Island of Domination.") Unfortunately, Sad Wings of Destiny didn't have as much impact upon release as it should have, mostly owing to the limitations of the small Gull label. It did, however, earn Judas Priest a shot with Columbia, where they would quickly become the most influential band in heavy metal not named Black Sabbath.
Performance CreditsJudas Priest Primary Artist
K.K. Downing Guitar
Rob Halford Vocals
Ian Hill Bass,Bass Guitar
Alan Moore Drums,Snare Drums
Glenn Tipton Guitar,Piano
Technical CreditsJudas Priest Producer
David Charles Engineer
Dave Charles Engineer
K.K. Downing Composer,Producer
Rob Halford Composer,Producer
Ian Hill Producer
Alan Moore Producer
Glenn Tipton Composer,Producer
Chris Tsangarides Engineer
Jeffrey Calvert Producer,Engineer
Max West Producer
Patrick Woodroffe Illustrations,Sleeve Painting
John Pasche Art Direction
Brad Wrolstad Graphic Design,Reissue Package
Dave Nives Reissue Producer
Krusher Liner Notes
Dom Lawson Liner Notes
Neil French Concept,Original Concept
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sad Wings of Destiny based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
This is Judas Priests finest album overall,and was certainly groundbreaking at the time.Halford's unbelievable vocal range is highlighted in Victims,and the foundation was set for all of there more successful later albums.
Judas Priest made one album in all their time that remains, even today, outstanding. Sad wings was creatively and emotionally written without slacking on the weight.Priest in their prime.Enjoy.
I grew up listening to this album and never did Judas Priest sound better. It was, to my knowlege, their second album after Rocka Rolla, which was another great album. It was an essential metal album long before metal was legit! Halford was in his prime when they made this album and the rest of the band were still in their creative days. Not to knock their later albums in the 80's, they lacked some of the heart and creativity that made Sad Wings so emotional. Definitely a must for any metal collector.
I'm not a big fan of judas priest, but in my opinion this album is great, paticularly dreamer deceiver that is such a good song, just a song to remember among the gratest