Review by Adam M on November 30, 2014.
Stained Class remains one of Judas Priest's absolute finest albums and one of the pinnacles of their seventies era material along with Sad Wings of Destiny. It shows them dropping some of the progressive tendencies that album had in favor of a more molten, pristine sound that remains compelling although it might sound a bit more straightforward. All of the songs display energy and passion that you'll very rarely witness in a metal album. There's a purity that really stands out as a strong point.
One of the greatest songs of all time can be found in Beyond the Realms of Death which is a long ballad that features one of the best solo breaks you'll ever hear. It really packs an emotional punch. But that's not the only marvelous track to be found on the disc. Stained Class and Better By You Better Than Me are both metal classics that have the drive and standout chorus' necessary to completely enrapture the listener. The entire album is really a tour de force of solid songwriting and performances. It shines with power and grace on numerous occasions. Halford's vocals are excellent as is the guitar playing of Downing and Tipton throughout.
Taken as a whole I think this is one of the three best Priest recordings along with the aforementioned Sad Wings of Destiny and Screaming for Vengeance. It has the consistency and majesty to remain one of the greatest metal albums of all time forever. The band really found a sound that was splendid here and would slightly commercialize it on their Hell Bent for Leather and British Steel albums. This comes absolutely recommended to any and all metal fans that for some reason have yet to hear it yet. Essential.
Rating: 10 out of 10