Musically there is a lot going on, the tracks cover a lot of ground; are flashy and virtuosic and still manage to actually rock hard. For example the opening track ‘Sinner’ has impressive vocal performances, great guitar work and even impressive drumming, especially when it slows down in the middle; all individual areas shine yet don’t compromise the song’s energy or attitude for the sake of showing off.
Sin After Sin is also interesting to listen to from a vocal stand point as Rob tries out dozens and dozens of different voices, from lows to highs, hard to soft and sometimes adding in surprising emotional weight too. The amount of territory covered really is rather surprising and more and more variety is revealed upon repeat listening.
With such great vocals, improved drumming and the ever wonderful twin guitar approach of Downing and Tipton, Sin After Sin is a very strong and enjoyable record. In addition to the aforementioned ‘Sinner,’ other highlights include the heavy ‘Dissident Aggressor,’ the catchy upper-mid-paced ‘Starbreaker’ and the speedy Queen influenced ‘Let Us Pray/Call The Priest.’
Interestingly, the album features the concert favourite Joan Baez cover song ‘Diamonds & Rust’ which was previously recorded but eventually omitted from previous albums. This was the first of the few cover songs that the band would officially release, alongside ‘Better By You Better Than Me’ and ‘Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)’ which came out on the next two records.
Overall, Sin After Sin is a great record by Judas Priest with a few absolute classics and a mixture of interesting ideas, noteworthy drumming and a huge range of vocal approaches by Rob Halford. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the band or early metal in general.
**** If you get the version with bonus tracks, you are treated to another cover song called “Race With The Devil,” which was recorded during the sessions of their next album Stained Class in addition to a live version of Defenders Of The Faith era song ‘Jaw Breaker’ recorded live in 1984. ****