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on 30 May 2007
I love everything about this record. I still have an original vinyl copy on the Gull record label somewhere hidden away. Halfords voice is perfect and the songs are crafted superbly. Victim Of Changes, Ripper, Genocide and Tyrant would remain live favourites for years. I still prefer there original studio versions to those found on Unleashed In The East. Dreamer Deceiver is also a stunning work, brilliantly sung with great lyrics. This leaves the haunting Epitaph and final track Islands Of Domination which climaxes with a dirty riff that even Tony Iommi would have been proud of. This isn't the leather and studs band that Priest would become but it stands very proud above all that they've released. Only Defenders Of The Faith has given me such immense satisfaction as playing this.
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on 11 May 2008
With this album Judas Priest rewrote the rule book as far as Metal is concerned. Only their second album and yet full of awesome songs.

The CD is unfortunately arse-about-face because it has the original track listing starting with what was actually side two, but this is a minor problem as there is not a bad track here at all. The popularity of Sad Wings was such that Priest's first live album - Unleashed In The East, contained no less than 4 of the 9 tracks from it.

Victim Of Changes is a wonderfully mad metal legend that sees Rob going through the entire range of his incredible vocal talents in one song including the most brutal roar you'll ever hear.

The Ripper, an ode to the Victorian serial killer, is a real assault on the ears. Short but intense.

Dreamer Deciever is a beautiful ballad which leads perfectly into the vicious Deciever. You can almost hear the band enjoying themselves at this point.

Prelude is an instrumental piano piece by Glenn, dark and brooding and leads into Tyrant which has awful lyrics but you can't help loving it and I defy anybody to not start headbanging when they hear it.

Genocide is another intense, almost violent, number that oozes menace.

Epitaph sees more piano dexterity from Glenn and some beautiful singing from Rob and is probably the best lyrics on the album. But it lulls you into a false sense of security as it leads into another furious blast in the form of Island Of Domination which closes the whole affair and leaves you wanting more.

It's not the best thing Priest have ever done (close but not quite) but it put them on the map, gave them the sound they needed and redefined the term Heavy Metal. I love this album to death and would urge anyone who has not heard it to do so in the very near future. You can't claim to be into metal and not love this record.
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on 24 March 2009
I've only just discovered this now, in 2009, and am so glad I did. Best thing I've heard in years. Nice loud bass, inventive production, great song writing, flows really well as an album in a proggy way, killer riffs, yet laid back at the same time. Lots of changes to keep you interested too. Just buy it. Don't confuse with later Priest either, it's quite different. Better! I can see it appealing to Sabbath, early Queen and BOC fans.
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on 31 March 2010
By the early 80s Priest had evolved, Darwinian like, into a truly awesome `Metal Monster'. A top a bludgeoning duel guitar attack the group could easily tackle lofty subjects such as the Metallian (a big tank with the face of a tiger) or the Hellion (a big bird) with care and sensitivity - the Lochness Monster with it's 'eyes of onyx' was also not beyond their inspired pen, nor a future Sentinel that would throw knives at his unsuspecting victims - it was truly stirring stuff. Hell, even Nostradamus get's the Priest treatment - and who'd have predicted that.......(apparently, not Nostradamus).

And yet in the mists of time (the grimy mid 70's) there existed a different Priest, one that thought more of world genocide, dictatorships, old age, alcoholism and so on - to the casual observer, the dumming down seems impossible. And here's the point - Sad Wings is a pretty gloomy and gothic cd (even the burning angel looks a bit hacked off). But what it represents is part of the basic foundations of metal as we know it and not in some `difficult to listen to but, yeah I can sort of appreciate it sort of way'. This is a truly classic metal album (albeit with a 70's delivery) - from the opening grandeur of Victim of Changes, the 'Victorian melodrama' of The Ripper, to the metal defining double barrelled menace of Genocide/Tyrant it is jaw droppingly good. OK there are a few missteps - the disjointed and jarring 'Island Of Domination' doesn't quite feel right, nor does the haunting and somewhat eerie ballad, but these quirky outings add to the whole and it certainly wouldn't be the classic album that it is without them in the mix.

Whilst 'Rocka Rolla' was the sound of the band crawling out of the primordial prog rock soup, 'Sad Wings' is the evolution to walking metal primate (where is this going?). So, forget the dreary and grinding beginnings of Sabbath - this is where the evolution of 80's metal started, ending, fully formed, with the slick and leather clad 'Killing Machine' in 1978.

Priest showcased the album at the Reading Festival in 1975 and amazingly there is some 8mm footage of this on Youtube - a real piece of Priest history (put in 'Priest' and '8mm'). The audio version of the show is also on YT complete with the never released song 'Mother Son'.
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VINE VOICEon 11 June 2008
Most bands blow their energy on their early releases before honing their craft to produce something with depth. On this evidence, Judas Priest did it the other way round. 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' suggests a mature band, a well-structured work of linked tracks with a wide musical scope, yet without a track out of place. Whereas some see this as revolutionary, however, I feel its quality is more reminiscent of early 1970s rock than a foretaste of the all-hell-and-no-notion metal that dominated the 1980s. Uriah Heep, Mountain, Nazareth and UFO are among the bands that some of the passages remind me of, while the magnificent guitar interplay of 'Dream Deceiver' tends to recall Wishbone Ash. The subject matter meanwhile follows, to a limited extent, in the footsteps of Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult.

One of the most startling features is Rob Halford's versatility, his mischievous growl turning to falsetto and vibrato, while on the quiet, piano-backed 'Epitaph' he comes across like Scott Walker. The showpiece track, 'Victim Of Changes' is a triumph, featuring the band switching moods, powerchording at one extreme and atmospherically menacing at the other. Though the quieter moments serve mainly as interludes, they are not makeweights. 'Prelude' is an ideal lead-up to the brutal 'Tyrant', for instance. The material is consistently good rather than great, but JP get the best out of it. This is a worthy album, but not quite a masterpiece.
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Sad Wings Of Destiny was the second full-length studio album by the legendary British Heavy Metal band Judas Priest. It was released in 1976 and was their final studio album to be released on the small label Gull Records.

Since its initial release, Sad Wings' has gone on to become one of the band's most popular and enduring records and also one of the most definitive and influential albums in the history of Heavy Metal. The band have represented the album well in live shows and compilations all throughout their career and numerous important bands have covered tracks from it throughout the years.

Musically, Sad Wings Of Destiny is an interesting and impressive album that was years ahead of its time and miles ahead of its 1974 predecessor Rocka Rolla despite much of the material being written roughly around the same time.
Practically every song on the album is either instantly loveable or a grower that will become loveable over time, or else a mixture of the two, such as on `Victim Of Changes' which just kind of gets better with every listen and also becomes even more dynamic and explosive on their live albums.

Stylistically, the band mix grand piano lead tracks with lengthy semi-epic tracks, acoustic moments and outright rockers, and end up delivering at least something for all kinds of fans. Tracks like `The Ripper,' `Deceiver' and `Genocide' with their use of twin guitar work, power chords, palm muting and powerful steady drumming foreshadow almost two decades of Metal music, and still stand up as good songs to this day.

Then the more Progressive Rock influenced moments like `Prelude' and `Epitaph' showcase the talent and variety that the band were capable of musically and the immense range that singer Rob Halford can operate within, and ultimately help prevent the album from seeming one-dimensional or dull.

Overall; If you like Metal music this is something you should seriously consider listening to and if you like Judas Priest it is an absolute must-have record that no fan should be without for long. Sad Wings Of Destiny is not just an important historical document, but a genuinely enjoyable album that still stands up remarkably well to this day.
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on 14 March 2007
There are no superlatives that can be said to overstate the quality of this album. Simply the best metal album of all time. The guitar work is second to none and Rob Halford's voice is at the peak of perfection. Every single track fallows seamlessly from the previous one. With titles like Tyrant and Island of Domination, this could have been another cliched metal album but do not be put offf by the titles, the proof is in the music and the music doesn't get much better than this. BUY NOW
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on 16 December 2001
A couple of years after the lamentable "Rocka Rolla", the Priest returned to the studio sounding like... well, the same band only a million times better!
Confident and focussed, they combine the guitar heroics of Deep Purple, the mythic quality of Led Zeppelin, and just a hint of progressive rock pretension into the bargain. All the staple Priest classics are here, form the short, sharp shock of "The Ripper" to the spine-tingling epic that is "Victim of Changes".
One could argue that this album has been largely superceded because all the best tracks are on the live masterpiece "Unleashed in the East". But this album fits together beautifully as a concept, and that is how the tracks should be listened to. And anyway, it still boasts the Best Album Title in the History of Rock.
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on 13 April 2015
Well.what can I possibly write anymore about "PRIEST".I've written so many reviews regarding them,I don't think there's anymore superlatives that exist in the OED to describe them.40 Years and still going stong ,Bow to the "METAL GODS"!!!!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 August 2013
`Sad Wings of Destiny' saw Priest finding their fully developed style as songwriters, the credits slimming down to be shared between Halford, Downing and Tipton. Tipton in particular is important here, as he joined the band too late to put much compositional input into `Rocka Rolla' - on "Sad Wings" he gets a credit on every song, three of the numbers (`Ripper', `Prelude' and `Epitaph') being credited solely to Glenn, who also brings his keyboard skills (piano and synth) into play prominently on the album, making the bands' broad tonal colour palette - established on `Rocka Rolla' with his synthesizer- even broader. This use of traditional and electronic keyboards and acoustic guitars was de rigeur for `progressive' musicians at the time and an accepted part of what was rarely actually called `heavy metal' in those days. By 1978, when Priest broke through, the genre had escaped its early originators and had become a formula. Young listeners should recall that when this record was made, heavy metal wasn't an established set of rules, but a genre still forming out of the combination of blues and prog. Ian Hill has no songwriting credits here and original singer Al Atkins' presence remains only in the first two thirds of `Victim of Changes'. My feeling is that Tipton inspired both Halford and Downing to be more incisive co-writers, Halford lyrically, Downing musically, himself (Tipton) taking on both and helping the three gel as master arrangers too.

Gull weren't the most exacting of labels and despite commissioning a superb cover painting (by top fantasy artist Patrick Woodroffe) for the cover of "Sad Wings", Priest albums at this time often ended up with misprints on labels - in the case of this album, what appeared to be side two going by the track listing on the rear of the sleeve was indicated as `side 1' on the record label. So I, and doubtless many other fans, used to play the record starting with `Prelude' (which made sense), instead of `Victim of Changes. Personally, I still prefer to hear the album ending with the closing acoustic reprise of `Dreamer Deceiver' at the end of `Deceiver' instead of the grand-canyon echo of Halford's voice at the close of `Island of Domination'. But despite these faults, Gull did get that cover right and the live photographs of the band, in their Glam-Historical finery are a superb illustration of their high-drama `game-of-thrones' presentation of their epic songs from this period. I think the photographs may stem from the bands' legendary appearance at Reading Festival, where they blew everyone away (crowd and other groups) and showed they were worthy of superstar status.

And what songs they are - arguably the very pinnacle of Heavy Metal achievement; although the production sound is different to what `classic' metal listeners are used to (the highly electronic, crunchy, hard sound we think of today as definitive Priest finally appeared with `78s `Stained Class', a record that is basically the sound of high voltage current), the power of the music and quality of the songwriting and playing cannot be faulted.

The album opens with riffmonster `Victim of Changes' a song about a girl suffering from alcoholism, hard and lengthy, with a haunting, gently strummed coda section that allows Halford to sing softly before the number builds to a giant climax and some leviathan-sized, note-perfect screaming that may be inspired by Gillan, but that outstrips Ian G tonally by many miles. Technically, Halford is the greatest singer ever in rock music and with this song, he fully arrives.

Single `Ripper' (as it was on the original album, retitled on later pressings and other live recordings as `the Ripper') is up next, a great Gothic retelling of saucy jack's serial killing adventures. This brief and dynamically amazing aural horror movie pretty much indicated to Iron Maiden what they could base an entire career on: high operatic melodrama in the western tradition at its finest. `Dreamer Deceiver' is a gorgeous, mostly-acoustic bit of acid-drenched new age transcendence, prefiguring the full-blown Nietzschean angst of `Beyond the Realms of Death' two albums later. Halford's screams and Tipton's piano cascade into the brief spacerock riffing of `Deceiver', a sterling sharp rocker built for Halford to scream over. Excellent!

The second part of the album opens with the rather Medieval `Prelude', a great doomy piano and synth led number with tympani and keening guitar of some majesty and melodic lyricism that recalls Ritchie Blackmore (early Rainbow were not unlike priest in this respect, merging Arthurian fantasy with psychedelia),merging plangently into an exciting segue as `Tyrant' rips into space, a hard and fast riff-gallop of Biblical proportions, telling of a wicked despot. The words are eloquent, the melodies dramatic and perfectly poised (especially on the refrains prior to the choruses (listen to the double tracking and multiple chord-changes - beautiful!) and the singing is to die for. Tipton's debt to Blackmore is revealed in the last guitar solo, whose bluesy crying - which should seem out of place in this fantasy setting, but works perfectly - recalls Deep Purple's `Pictures of Home' (from "Machine Head") in its melodic style and tone colours, but outstrips Blackmore in its eloquence.

Another classic follows with `Genocide', similar in tone to `Tyrant', but more serious - its' a lumbering beast with a sting in its tail - the echoing synth stabs out of the speakers as the tempo of the song changes with the` galloping section at the end of the number. `Epitaph' is the kind of thing Queen tried to write but could never manage - and of course Halford sings heartrendingly in middle and low registers here, while `Island of Domination' is simply great fun, a story of a fantasy raid on an s&m kingdom, just marvellous rock and roll stuff.

Myriad screams in pefect pitch, solos you can sing, literate lyrics, guitars exploding with riff `n' squeal power, "Sad Wings of Destiny" may be the best metal album ever (if not, it's "Stained Class"), entertaining, intelligent, rocking, wailing like a siren in the night. Genius.
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