Arguably the greatest Judas Priest album and, thus, arguably one of the greatest albums of all time, Sad Wings of Destiny saw its 40th anniversary on March 23, 2016. That should make many, many people feel very, very old. If it doesn’t make you feel very, very old then it means you need to to a whole lot more listening and whole lot more shutting up.
When it come to arguing about the roots of metal it’s easy to bounce around between Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest as the most important bands in history. Priest is easily one of the most influential and important bands in the history of music (likely more so than Iron Maiden even) and with their second album, Sad Wings of Destiny, Priest lept forward into the prime of their career. This is a seminal turning point in metal where some chose the path of glam, some chose the path of opium-laden riffage and a brave few chose the path of the Priest.
Despite being British born, Sad Wings of Destiny was recorded over a two week stint in Wales at Rockfield Studios. Co-Producers Jeffrey Calvert and Gereint “Max West” Hughes took time off from their band Typically Tropical to record the album. Despite the leatherl clad, hard-swigging image, Sad Wings of Destiny was actually recorded 100% sober. Published and distributed by Janus Records, Sad Wings of Destiny saw critical acclaim and, in 1989, achieved gold status. In contract to other heavy metal bands on the market like Scorpions and Rainbow, Priest brought a more raw, less glam image to their music. Thus, Sad Wings of Destiny was the album on which heavy metal solidified it’s direction that would hold for the next, well, forever thanks to stoner metal and hard rock bands.
It is with an eye toward history and a very open embrace that we sit back and listen to forty years of history. Sad Wings of Destiny is truly a masterpiece that deserves all the attention, acclaim and accolades. The album itself inspired many people to take up the guitar and forge ahead with a career in heavy metal (e.g. Dave Mustaine).