Sin After Sin

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Sin After Sin
Studio album by Judas Priest
Released 8 April 1977
Recorded January - February 1977, Ramport Studios, Battersea
Genre Heavy metal
Length 40:07
Label CBS, Inc. (UK)
Columbia Records (US)
Producer Roger Glover, Judas Priest
Judas Priest chronology
Sad Wings of Destiny
Sin After Sin
Stained Class
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Sin After Sin is the third studio album by English heavy metal group Judas Priest, released in 1977. It was remastered in 2001 with two bonus tracks added.

The album represented several major milestones in the group's career; the band made their major label debut and were able to work with a famous musical artist as their producer, former Deep Purple member Roger Glover. The band also fully embraced an aggressive metal sound with this release, significantly toning down the arena rock and blues rock influences shown in their past work, and the group achieved widespread popularity on the radio stations for their first time, oddly enough with their hard-edged version of Joan Baez's song "Diamonds & Rust".


Despite a growing fanbase in the UK and strong critical reception of second album Sad Wings of Destiny, Judas Priest were unable to obtain any proper financial support from the small Gull Records label. The band members were forced to work part-time jobs or live off government welfare – and considered at one point calling it quits if things failed to work out. Friends and acquaintances convinced them that they would never make a decent living or achieve international popularity without signing to a major label, a suggestion that was quickly taken up. Judas Priest signed a deal with CBS Records in late 1976, a move that was seen as “a great breath of fresh air” even though their divorce from Gull Records happened under somewhat acrimonious terms (the band lost the publishing rights to their first two albums, plus all demo material recorded with Gull).[2]

CBS immediately realized the need for a professional music producer on Judas Priest’s next album, so they hired Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, who already had some experience with producing records; however, things did not work out well at first as Glover recalled that the band merely dismissed all of his suggestions out of hand. Concluding that they really wanted to produce the album themselves, he quit the project. Then, “A few weeks later, I get a phone call and it’s about [Judas Priest]. They’d just fired their drummer and were unable to get anything done and needed help.” Glover then returned to the studio, and with his help, the band managed to get the album recorded in one week.

During the recording sessions for Sin After Sin, drummer Alan Moore left. Although the band has never discussed the exact circumstances of his departure, Roger Glover’s above remarks indicate that he was fired for likely the same reason as Judas Priest’s first drummer John Hinch, i.e. being an inadequate player for their material. Instead, nineteen-year-old Simon Phillips was brought in to drum on the album. However, as Phillips had commitments to another band, he declined to join Judas Priest as a permanent member, and so for the album tour, they hired Fancy drummer Les Binks, an acquaintance of Roger Glover, as Binks was able to play double bass, and was one of the few drummers who could replicate Phillips’ sound live.

The album includes a cover of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds & Rust”, a decision which was encouraged by producer Roger Glover in the interest of adding a more commercial track. It was the first song by Judas Priest to get any radio play, and Baez herself reportedly enjoyed the cover. This was the band’s second attempt to cover the track, and the earlier version from the Gull Records era was only released later on compilations and as a bonus track on reissues of Rocka Rolla.

Judas Priest embarked on their first-ever tour of the US for this album, where they supported REO Speedwagon and Foreigner.[3] Judas Priest also opened for Led Zeppelin on two dates in Oakland, the Day on the Green festival, and opened the 1977 Superjam, headlined by REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent, at Busch Memorial Stadium in St Louis before an audience of 45,000[4]

The progressive rock influences from the previous two albums were toned down on this album; however, there are still notable moments of it, notably in the multi-sectioned “Sinner” and “Let Us Prey/Call for the Priest”, the complex lyrics, and in the Gothic ballads “Last Rose of Summer” and “Here Come the Tears”. These influences would further dissipate in their next album Stained Class before being completely abandoned afterward.

As the band continued to develop their sound and playing techniques, Sin After Sin displayed elements of proto-thrash metal on “Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest” and “Dissident Aggressor”, both vying for the heaviest songs released up to that point.

Of the eight tracks on Sin After Sin, only “Sinner” became a concert staple (K.K. Downing described it as one of his favourite songs), along with "Diamonds & Rust", and both were regularly played live until the Turbo Fuel for Life Tour in 1986 when all pre-Killing Machine songs were dropped from the setlist ("Victim of Changes" made a return in place of “Hot for Love” or "Desert Plains" on some legs of that tour). “Sinner” was revived during the Ram It Down Mercenaries of Metal Tour two years later before disappearing again until the 2008 Nostradamus 2008/2009 World Tour. “Starbreaker” was not played from 1980 until the 2011-12 Epitaph World Tour. “Raw Deal” was performed only twice during 1977,[5] “Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest” only six times in 1977 and January 1978,[6] and “Dissident Aggressor” was not played after this until 2008, from when became a regular part of the setlist there and on the Epitaph Tour. “Here Comes The Tears” and “Last Rose Of Summer” have never been performed live according to available sources, although documentation of the earlier Priest tour setlists is very poor.

Sin After Sin proved a minor hit, reaching number 23 on the UK Albums Chart,.[7] It is also the earliest of eleven consecutive Judas Priest albums to be certified gold or more by the RIAA.[8] The faster, more technical playing on the album versus established bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath made Judas Priest well positioned to compete with the mushrooming punk rock movement in their home country.

Influence on the genre[edit]

Sin After Sin introduced the combination of the double bass drum and rapid sixteenth-note bass rhythms combined with rapid sixteenth-note guitar rhythms that came to define heavy metal, especially thrash.[9] While the double-bass rhythms from Judas Priest are generally measured and technical, “Dissident Aggressor” on this album pushed this to be an example of the style with an increase in “tempo and aggression” which was later adopted by other bands like Motörhead with a much harder-edged approach.[9]


Sin After Sin was Priest’s last album to feature their original “gothic cursive font” logo, though it was used on later Gull Records reissues of their earlier material.

This was the first (in order of release) of Judas Priest’s main albums to be remastered in 2001, which included all of the albums between this and their 1990 Painkiller album.


In 1988, Slayer covered “Dissident Aggressor” on their South of Heaven album. Halestorm also covered it on their 2013 EP ReAniMate 2.0.

Arch Enemy covered “Starbreaker”, which was eventually released on a bonus disc with their Wages of Sin album. “This track was never intended for Century Media's Judas Priest tribute album,” wrote guitarist Michael Amott in the Wages of Sin liner notes. “Originally we got a request from the label in Japan to record a cover – ANY cover for some sort of compilation they were planning. We decided to try out another studio in 1998 and our choice fell on a local facility where Daniel had worked with his previous band, Eucharist. The recording turned out really cool: the best out of the three covers we've done, in my opinion. The Japanese compilation never materialized and [this] was never released – until now that is. ” Devin Townsend covered “Sinner” for A Tribute to Judas Priest Volume 1.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Sinner"   Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton 6:45
2. "Diamonds & Rust"   Joan Baez 3:28
3. "Starbreaker"   Halford, K.K. Downing, Tipton 4:49
4. "Last Rose of Summer"   Halford, Tipton 5:37
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest"   Halford, Downing, Tipton 6:12
6. "Raw Deal"   Halford, Tipton 6:00
7. "Here Come the Tears"   Halford, Tipton 4:36
8. "Dissident Aggressor"   Halford, Downing, Tipton 3:07


Judas Priest
Additional musician

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[10] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Sin After Sin - Judas Priest". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  2. ^ Judas Priest Info Pages – Sin After Sin at the Wayback Machine (archived October 25, 2007)
  3. ^ "Heavy – The Story Of Metal – Episode II : British Steel FULL DOCUMENTARY | Karma's little spanker". 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ ‘Raw Deal’ Live performance statisitcs
  6. ^ ‘Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest’ live performance statistics
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 291. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  8. ^ "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - May 19, 2014". RIAA. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  9. ^ a b Cope, Andrew Laurence. Black Sabbath and the Rise of Heavy Metal Music. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 9781409493983. 
  10. ^ "American album certifications – Judas Priest – Point of Entry". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH