1978, Music

Stained Class (1978) by Judas Priest

I do not like Judas Priest, at least as they compare to the other New Wave of British Heavy Metal (henceforth abbreviated NWOBHM) bands. I sort of assumed that was due to the fact that they predated those bands by years and that they jumped on the bandwagon. I am only familiar with their early ’80s work and so I assumed the reason they were like a poppier NWOBHM band is because they had seen NWOBHM as a way to be successful. So, I was wrong.

I have never heard Motorhead’s debut – released in 1977 – and don’t know what it sounds like, but this has got to be the closest thing I’ve yet heard to the “first” NWOBHM album. Yes, it’s not quite there – there are songs (especially the cover) that sound like they are from another time – but if you were to describe NWOBHM as the chops and volume of metal plus the energy and speed of punk, it’s hard to see how this isn’t NWOBHM. (Also, there’s the trademark Iron Maiden gallop on the title track and Iron Maiden hadn’t even put out a record yet!) Maybe Priest attached themselves to what was going on in the underground but if they did that’s actually to their credit – good on them for figuring out how they could sound current.

I still think I prefer other NWOBHM bands to Priest but this is a lot more my thing than their later, poppier records – it’s much more ‘metal’ for one thing. And it’s pretty hard to deny its importance (to the best of my knowledge).


  1. “Exciter” Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton 5:34
  2. “White Heat, Red Hot” Tipton 4:20
  3. “Better by You, Better Than Me” (Spooky Tooth cover) Gary Wright 3:24
  4. “Stained Class” Halford, Tipton 5:19
  5. “Invader” Halford, Tipton, Ian Hill 4:12
  6. “Saints in Hell” Halford, K. K. Downing, Tipton 5:30
  7. “Savage” Halford, Downing 3:27
  8. “Beyond the Realms of Death” Halford, Les Binks 6:53
  9. “Heroes End” Tipton 5:01
  • Rob Halford – vocals
  • K. K. Downing – guitar
  • Glenn Tipton – guitar, backing vocals
  • Ian Hill – bass guitar
  • Les Binks – drums

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