5 Best Judas Priest Albums of All Time
For more than 40 years, Judas Priest has embodied all that is exhilarating, innovative, ridiculous, and wonderful in heavy metal. From their beginnings as a blues-influenced hard rock ensemble in Birmingham, England, through a string of genre-defining albums, surviving both the '80s and what can only be known as the "Ripper" Owens-era, Judas Priest is back with their 15th studio album, Redeemer of Souls, and a full-scale tour that finds them in Phoenix on Saturday. Here's a look back at some of the band's most influential, groundbreaking, and just plain greatest albums.
Stained Class (1978)
This is Priest's undeniable high point; Stained Class is where the band fully blossomed into a hideous beast of previously unheard brutality. The savage dual guitar attack of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing is honed to perfection; Rob Halford's alleged suicide-provoking lyrics delivered with an intensity he never topped -- Stained Class is speed metal's year zero.
Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
One of Judas Priest's most progressive-rock oriented efforts, Sad Wings proved to be just as influential as Stained Class, but to an audience geared towards technical virtuosity and long-form and complex songwriting. This album is also stunning in its widescreen scope of chilling lyrical nihilism that set a new standard for metal. Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" reaches its logical endpoint in "Genocide," and it would take almost a decade until the emergence of '80s acts like Slayer to match the utter bleakness of Sad Wings of Destiny.