Sound — 9
Wow, this album is awesome! I am just going to say it right away. Released in March of 1976, Judas Priest's sophomore album covers all of the fundamental basics of both classic rock and early heavy metal, and can be considered just as influential as "British Steel" or "Screaming For Vengeance". I think this album truly defines the style of early Judas Priest. It is recorded with a heavy tone, but given very careful and delicate attention. The instruments all mesh well with each other and give the impression that there is a real band playing, not just some soloist with backup. The flow of this album is also near perfect. If you put this in and listen to it from start to finish, it will take you places and allow you to get lost inside the music. Few albums, especially metal, have this effect.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are also like the perfect icing to the cake. Just like the music on this record, they tend to dive deep and take you places or make you think at several points along the performance. The lyrical themes seem to sway back and forth from personal confliction to world confliction. I must also say that the vocal performance on this record is absolutely outstanding. Even in 1975, Rob had a golden voice of the gods. The quality of this vocal performance is so mind-numbingly unbelievable that it will make you wish you could have seen them perform back in the day. I don't know if Judas Priest were aware of the heavy metal direction they were moving in at the time, but I think they had to know that the extraordinary singing skills of Rob Halford were going to get them somewhere.
Overall Impression — 10
I will begin and end with the same thing. This album is awesome. It simply rules. If you fancy yourself a Judas Priest fan, this record is necessary. If you fancy yourself an early heavy metal fan, this record is a necessity. This was the album that put Judas Priest on the map. Their first release (Rocka Rolla) was slightly choppy and didn't seem to grab attention that well. This, however, is an absolute classic. Not only does this deserve to be in your CD collection, or on your Ipod, but also hanging on your wall, in its vintage vinyl sleeve, glowing its musical godliness across the room.