It’s 40th year of Stained Class.
70s sort of form that bedrock of heavy metal, those initial rungs of a genre now riddled with thousands of sub-categories. With early Judas Priest we actually get to experience that seismic shift – how that relatively upbeat hard rock and electric blues start to exhibit darker tones. In other words, Stained Class provides numerous glimpses into the impending transformation of metal.
“The streets run with blood from the mass mutilation, as carnage took toll for the bell” – is definitely not characteristic blues rock Led Zeppelin or an Aerosmith. Nor is that intense and multi-faceted– “You poisoned my tribe with civilized progress, baptizing our blood with disease” – lyrics which could be easily perceived as a commentary, critique or British sarcasm.
Scorching leads, layered and progressive dual guitar melody and that inimitable steely Rob Halford scream. All the vital components which would later shape 80s metal can be traced back to Judas Priest. Essentially, they accentuate the downtuned darker aspects of blues rock, and did that without significant deviation from that blueprint. Stained Class is part of that framework which directly leads to speed, progressive and power metal – essentially triggering a wave – still mutating and afflicting all corners of the civilized world.