Released in 1978, “Stained Class” is among one of the most popular Judas Priest albums of their catalog. My first time hearing this album and the band in fact was around 1986. As soon as the opening track called “Exciter” opened with the double bass drums and drum rolls, followed by the fast guitar riff in the opening, I was blown away. Hearing Rob Halford’s screaming vocal performance completely blew me away. Once the first solo came in screaming and screeching I was stunned. This is one of my favorite Heavy Metal albums and it will be for many more years to come.
The musicianship of this album is very good. I love Rob Halford’s vocal style. He is such an amazing vocalist, whose voice is very unique. Then you throw in the dueling guitars of K. K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, both of which produced some of the best Heavy Metal guitar riffs in the 1970’s and 80’s. Ian Hill on bass compliments the duo of the guitars. Keeping with the up beats, fast tempos, and timing is Les Binks on drums. His drumming is epic. No other word to describe it.
Musically, this album has a lot to offer. Great riffs, great leads, fast drumming and screaming vocals. All ingredients for a great Heavy Metal album. The song structures were very unique for its time. The combination of styles on this album is still heard throughout Heavy Metal today. The speed alone on several songs made this one of the fastest records around during it’s heyday. This style of music helped to create Thrash and Speed Metal. Production on this record is very clean from the instrumentation to the vocals.
1. “Exciter” 5:34
2. “White Heat, Red Hot” 4:20
3. “Better by You, Better Than Me” (Spooky Tooth cover) 3:24
4. “Stained Class” 5:19
5. “Invader” 4:12
6. “Saints in Hell” 5:30
7. “Savage” 3:27
8. “Beyond the Realms of Death” 6:53
9. “Heroes End” 5:01