Stained Class

Judas Priest

Columbia, 1978

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


In late '70s, Sad Wings Of Destiny and Sin After Sin were heavy enough for heavy metal. However, for the most part, punk beat heavy metal in terms of attitude, speed and nihilism. Coming from the same region that some of the most definitive punk was berthed, Judas Priest spent no time trying to one-up punk in terms of relevance, speed and sheer savagery with the release of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Stained Class.

With Stained Class, Judas Priest helped usher in the wave of "new metal": primarily British-oriented, death and S&M-obsessed lyrics and enough leather to rival a rodeo. Sure, time has dulled some of the fright of Rob Halford's dentist-drill vocals and the dual-guitar attack of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. But for the most part, Stained Class remains a tight and focused 45 minutes of fury.

"White Heat, Red Hot" and "Beyond The Realms of Death" are immortal heavy metal songs, not to mention the anti-religious hypocrisy oath "Saints in Hell." While their previous efforts were good enough to make a name for themselves, Stained Class elevated Priest to the realm of innovators. Musically, Judas Priest adds more harmony muscle while remaining loud and ominous.

Unfortunately, what made Stained Class more famous since the mid-'80s was its center in a teen suicide case. Their cover of Gary Wright's/Spooky Tooth's "Better By You, Better Than Me" allegedly had subliminal messages promoting suicide. The fact that this was able to land into a courtroom was more frightening than anything in the song.

Even with its controversy, Stained Class has only improved in prestige, especially knowing about Halford's openness about his own sexuality in the past few years. Still, strip Stained Class of the controversy and the gossip about Halford and you still have an album that is a must-have for metal fans.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia, and is used for informational purposes only.