|Sad Wings of Destiny|
|Released||23 March 1976|
Sad Wings of Destiny is the second studio album of British heavy metal band Judas Priest. It was released in March 1976 after the release of a series of singles, these being Deceiver, Tyrant and The Ripper, which included songs from Rocka Rolla and from this album.
After their previous release, Priest began to write new material, and went on tour with their new songs and previously composed stage classics. Throughout 1975, Judas Priest had gone touring in festivals and eateries, and even appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test, a British BBC2 rock music programme, for performances of "Rocka Rolla" and "Dreamer Deceiver". These tours were made to support Rocka Rolla, however they generated very little income with the gigs, and Gull Records did little to support them financially. After touring, the band fired drummer John Hinch, and subsequently approached Alan Moore, a drummer who had played with them in 1971-72. Moore agreed to join to play their recording sessions.
The album keeps the blues influences from Priest's beginnings, partially due to certain tracks that were reminiscent of Al Atkins. Tracks like "Victim of Changes" and "Dreamer Deceiver", both partially written by Atkins, albeit modified by Halford, Downing and Tipton, are stylistically similar to Rocka Rolla tracks. However, the band was clearly beginning to drift away from these blues influences, and were looking for a heavier sound. "The Ripper" and "Deceiver" are clear examples, which focus on high-pitched vocals and fast-paced guitar riffs. Glenn Tipton also plays piano on many tracks, particularly on "Epitaph" and "Prelude". The Joan Baez cover of "Diamonds and Rust" was omitted from the final tracklist, and appeared in their next album. A 1975 recording of the song was added to a remastered version of Rocka Rolla, issued in 1987.
The album was acclaimed by critics. It was a relatively innovative milestone for heavy metal. As Allmusic put it: "No metal band had been this convincingly dark since Black Sabbath [...]". They additionally stated: "Three songs rank as all-time metal classics, starting with the epic "Victim of Changes," which is blessed with an indelible main riff, a star-making vocal turn from Halford, explosive guitar work, and a tight focus that belies its nearly eight-minute length. "The Ripper" and "Tyrant," with their driving guitar riffs and concise construction, are the first seeds of what would flower into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement."
Despite this, Sad Wings received little attention, mostly due to lack of support from the small Gull label. However, it attracted the attention of the American Columbia Records, or CBS Records as it was known at the time in the U.S. and Canada, which gave Judas Priest the financial support and international attention for success.
After a short supporting tour, drummer Alan Moore left the band in early 1977.