Judas Priest “Stained Class” (1978)

From its chrome dome cover down through a production job as dry as a sun baked skeleton, Judas Priest’s “Stained Class” is a tight-fisted onslaught of gleaming metal riffs overlaid with Rob Halford’s villainous vocals and earsplitting screams. With the buzzsaw guitars of “Tipton and Downing” sending blue sparks of electricity through the rallying cry “Exciter,” other-worldly attackers of “Invader,” and burnt human cinders littering “Stained Class,” the album is both a frowning indictment and energizing call to rock without reservation. The band’s Spooky Tooth cover, “Better by You, Better Than Me” is an instantly infectious groover, while on the other end of the spectrum lies morbid suicide solution, “Beyond the Realms of Death.” Another bulletproof set from the masters in their prime. Fall to your knees and repent if you please! –Ben

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