I would have to say that Sin After Sin is my favourite Priest album and here's why. Lately i have felt a very strong urge to dig up all my old Priest vinyl as thats the only medium i have of theirs and after much deliberation it came down to three; Sad Wings Of Destiny, Stained Class and Sin After Sin. I don't know what's come over me lately, i guess the band announcing their farewell tour and KK leaving got me all dewey eyed. To be honest i hadn't listened to JP in ages and moved on in to other areas of music, especially alternative and electronic, dance etc, but the mighty Priest always fascinated me as they defined my early teenage years of growing up etc and have always been dear to my heart.
Sin After Sin was their third album released in 1977 with their third drummer Simon Philips and is similar in production to Sad Wings. You could almost argue in hindsight its a continuation of its themes. Title track Sinner is simply stunning and flawless heavy metal played with conviction. It features a breathtaking solo from KK Downing which gives it its epic status and is propelled along by some absolutely amazing drumming which is prevalent throughout this record. Next up we have Diamonds And Rust which sounds nothing like the original i am delighted to say. When Priest do covers, they do it their way and like all their others they almost re invent the song, making it their own, and its a brilliant showcase for Rob's vocals too that take on a classical edge. Next up we have Starbreaker which features a simple but effective riff that showcases their more gothic side and is another heavy tune with some tasty leads from Glenn and KK with Rob cutting through again with his operatic voice. Side one ends with probably my favourite Priest song, and its the ballad Last Rose Of Summer. I often sing this song out aloud at times as it helps me through the winter. Its just a beautifully crafted song thats timeless and shows a very different side to the band.
Side two opens with a speed metal epic Call For The Priest and drives along on a jagged riff which twists and turns at every opportunity. Once again the famous harmony leads of KK and Glenn climax the song which displays most of the octave range of Halford, and its breathtaking. Raw Deal is more relaxed but just as intriguing with some rather revelatory lyrics about Rob's hidden sexuality at the time!! The second ballad is Here Come The Tears and is another heart stopping song about loneliness and despair coming in with lovely acoustic textures before developing into a more sinister tune as the riffs cut in. The album ends with arguably their greatest song from a creative/artistic perspective, Dissident Aggressor! From its eerie beginning it builds on chugging riffs and you don't know what's coming until it erupts into the most gargantuan chords ever conceived or put on record coupled with some thunderous drumming. This is Priest laying the gauntlet down and screaming at the world that they indeed had arrived! They won a grammy for it and you can see why, and i love the way Rob screams out in defiance to the Cold war