The beginnings of a cataclysmic shift in heavy metal can be felt on Sad Wings of Destiny. To understand the album, one must view it in its context. The '70s were in their latter half, Sabbath and Led Zeppelin had long since peaked, and hard rock was in desperate need of a new jolt of electricity. With “The Ripper,” “Deceiver,” and “Tyrant,” Judas Priest delivered the jolt, and nothing has been the same since. As the rest of music surrendered to the gauzy pop of Abba, The Carpenters, and Elton John, Priest’s response was to turn hard rock into something leaner, fiercer, and more piercing than anything before. As proud as a pack of marauding pirates, Priest delivered squealing masterpieces like “Genocide” and “Island of Domination” with a fervor that resounded across the metal landscape. Priest had not completely outgrown the ponderous jams of their early years (headbangers have been skipping “Prelude” and “Epitaph” for decades) but by 1976 the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was definitely beginning to crest.