Sound: This is the definitive priset album of the '70s in my opinion. Taking all of the directions they had been working on in previous albums and developing them into a brilliant record. The album has styles and touchings of various genres shwoing that Priest were not afraid to cross boundaries and experiment.
01. Exciter - the opening track, starting off with a drum intro before a brilliant string skipping riff, and one of the first ever speed metal songs. A fast paced guitar backing lays the framework for rob halfords screaming vocals and the solo is fast and frentic. This is clearly an infulence for other bands like Metallica and Megadeth.
02. White Heat, Red Hot - a good song with a funky metal riff and a great sing a long chorus and imagery, a good example of priest duel lead.
03. Better By You Better Than Me - one of the best songs on the album, a catchy riff and great singing from halford, his voice really conjures up feelings of guilt and regret. Only problem is no main solo apart from the intro.
04. Stained Class - the albums title track, very sci-fi and a great galloping feel throughout the song, a very epic chorus showing stylings of proggresive rock.
05. Invader - brilliant phasing intro and quite bass heavy, a great solo and some very prog rock moments.
06. Saints In Hell - a very unusual song, menacing with a black sabbathy feel to it, overall though very impressive, albeit no solos.
07. Savage - a good song, though only feels like filler material, it makes up for this fact with an impressive solo by K.K.
08. Beyond The Realms Of Death - the big one, the best song on the album and quite possbily Priests greatest ever song. A menacing acoustic riff is followed by a heavy chorus and amazing vocals by Rob halford, reaching notes that some singers can only imagine. The first solo By Glenn Tipton is a triumphant melodic masterpiece, while the ending solo by K.K downing is a brillaint piece of wah soaked, breakneck blistering guitar work, an absolutley perfect song and example of what Priest were capable of.
09. Heroes End - the closing song and one of the 3 best songs off the album.The song simply asks why do people have to die before they are recognized as heroes for their efforts? Some terrific vocals by halford, a menacing interlud riff and screaming solo is the fitting end to this terrific song. // 10
Lyrics: A sad thing about Priest is that they are overlooked for the brilliant lyrics, not just mindless metal cliches but songs with sub-texts and references to the modern world, along with amazing verses and lines such as "And many gods will join the list compiled with dying care/ Hungry mouths are waiting to bite the hand that feeds." "Transfixed at deliverance, is this all there is/Faithless continuum, into the abyss/Fierce is my conviction, absolute my belief/I spit at you apathy, and seducer deceit." Some gripping and poetic stuff. As always Halford proves he is one of the greatest signers in any genre ever, conjuring up screams, growls, or emotional vocal styles that leave most singers sounding run of the mill and boring. Halford is one of a kind. // 9
Overall Impression: This is basically one of the greatest metal albums ever, murging together amazing guitar work, intense vocals and awesome lyrics. It seems a sort of concept album at times, as most of the songs feature the main theme of a good vs evil attitude. I've used this CD to convert many of my friends into Priest fans and if I lost it I would definitly buy a new one! // 10