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Judas Priest - "Sin After Sin, 1977 (re-release)"
CBS Records 2001

After "Sad Wings Of Destiny" album failed to made commercial break through, Judas Priest find themselves in dead end. Whether to continue or to split? Faith was strong enough and just before dream would turn into worse nightmare, boys got contract with one of the biggest and richest record labels CBS Records. This was obviously destined to be, Judas Priest were the chosen ones, even if they still weren't aware of that. Guys surely got some extra special wings with new contract. Album was produced by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, an experienced man, who squeezed out from the band, what they wanted. By its image at that time band looked more like bunch of hippies than a group of men with chains and black leathers and also Halford wasn't toying with his Harley Davidson on stage. Still no sign of that, still we are deep in seventies and music was also providing pure seventies vibes. Alan Moore leaves the band and Simon Phillips, highly respected session drummer, who plays today drums in Toto, helped the band. What happened was that Priest begin to combine conventional seventies rock standards with their uniqueness. Fresh ideas were arriving merely from creative nucleus K.K. Downing, Rob Halford and Glenn Tipton. It was something yet to become heavy metal. Very fresh, different and attractive! A right path they've chosen to conquer the world of rock!

Songs such as opening Sinner in it's middle section, or Last Rose Of Summer, Here Comes The Tears or major part of Raw Deal still do not represent what we would understand under word classic Judas Priest.

Sound became even more arrogant and carried more power and rawness, but "Sin After Sin" still doesn't offer constant high dynamic atmosphere consisted from bunch of short spine tingling sharp edged strikers as for example "Killing Machine" (1978) or "British Steel" (1980) does. What's more, it gives overall impression not being so stark as it's predecessor.

Album opens with Sinner containing straight sharp riff. What shocks here is the way how Rob takes his verses. Direct from throat with rough colored voice. It was something that he haven't tried on previous two records. Now what brings great contrast into song is his high soaring deviations inside chorus and closing fade out. Sinner carries psyche middle section driven by twisted guitar sounds, as a part of seventies rock legacy. Now and then you can got frightened that song will lose it's intensity as in case of Victim Of Changes, because of the way how it is fractured, but main riff successfully holds aggressive stand through entire song. Diamonds And Rust (originally played by Joan Baez) is a fantastic cover, where we got typical disco seventies beat. Bass lines are together with drums pushed in front of production and along with Rob, plays the centre role in song. Sound of both nicely harmonized guitars is gently arriving from behind and fulfills whole sound picture on a highly effective way. Starbreaker carries the most devastating riff on a record. Riff is simple, yet strikes as hell. A great portion of young rebellion spirit of the band full of wilderness and lust for extreme actions..

Ballad Last Rose Of Summer somehow calm down high intensity of first three songs. Than they speed up things in Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest, but mid tempo six minutes long Raw Deal takes away a bit of high voltage power again. Raw Deal contains very nice ending riff (it runs approximately two minutes) that starts with verse "I'm Going! No Loss!" where song finally turns to be more fluid. Here Comes The Tears is another ballad, that opens familiar to Last Rose Of Summer, where Rob shows his blistering talent for soulful singing. Song contains catchy trick. It's sound turns to be nastier and nastier through every circle. At beginning we had only grand piano, than Priest add more and more sounds, at the end this song is exploding from attack of pure metal distortion. Dissident Aggressor is final song. Driven in vein of Starbreaker as another high kicking attack of great fluid guitar riffing and Rob's vocal acrobatics, spiced up with his evil shouting. This is maximum aggression placed on album's very end. It is funny, but any time I listen to this record I got impression that it kick offs with great intensive heavy riffing, that is calming down through the middle of a record and rises up on the same starting level right at the end.

Also what we got is two bonuses. First is phenomenal cover of song Race With The Devil, originally performed by band Gun. It is song from 1969 and you can find it's original on album "Gun", which was recently re-released by Repertoire Records. Second bonus is live version of Jawbreaker. This is big news for all of you who are missing a lack of aggression on this record. On the other hand it does not fit here, because Jawbreaker was song written in 1983/84 when Judas Priest already turned in something completely different in terms of their musical expression.

Remaster is phenomenal! Sound is crisp and clear and new "Sin After Sin" pounds out even more life. Remastered version didn't lose even a sparkle of it's seventies spirit. "Sin After Sin" quite a different experience than many of "big" albums that band delivered through years. It is masterpiece that slowly penetrates under your skin. It offers many musical ranges and captures a special kind of magic all over it. Something that never get old!

Author:   Aleš

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