My Sunday Song – “Blood Red Skies” by Judas Priest

For My Sunday Song #294, we are going to discuss the song “Blood Red Skies” by Judas Priest off their 1988 album ‘Ram it Down’. The song is not an official single from the album which had some real crappy singles so this would’ve been way better as a single then what the chose. Ok, probably not a better choice as the song is over 7 minutes long so way to long for radio. The album did go gold thanks to songs like this (but mostly due to past success). The song was written by the normal trio of characters with Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Rob Halford.

The song to me is so powerful. There is a real struggle and battle with the singer. And since the singer is Rob, I believe the battle is his struggle with and the world’s acceptance of his homosexuality. He was so afraid of being found out and what that would do to the band and to him. Rightfully so as this was the metal community back in the 80’s and being gay was not widely accepted yet. The song dives in to his personal struggles and what religion says will happen if you are gay, he’s being watched by everyone and is afraid the fame will all go away. But damn it, he is who is and he is going to fight for the right to be who he is and as history has shown, no one cares that he is gay. We all love Rob for Rob and it never hurt him or the band and he is finally happy being who he is.

The most epic song on ‘Ram It Down’ is “Blood Red Skies” the song feels like it is wrapped in a whole Terminator-like vibe. It feels like science fiction in music. The song starts off slower and it sounds like we are in space or something atmospheric like that. There are some acoustic guitars and Rob comes in soft and gentle to keep with the feel of the music. His falsettos are stellar. The song kicks up the tempo with some guitar synthesizer sounds and heavier drumming (although they sound programmed which sucks a little). Rob changes his vocal approach as well getting a little more sinister and angrier. The song takes me back to earlier Priest when they were doing a little more Prog stuff (without the synths though). This is one of the better songs on the album and really reaches new heights with the grand levels it reaches. It is engaging and feels like it is telling some powerful journey which it actually is.

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My Sunday Song – “The Seventh Seal” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #146, we are going with the Sammy Hagar fronted tune “The Seventh Seal” off the band’s 1995 album ‘Balance’ which happens to be their tenth studio album.  The song was the first track on the album and the first single which only went to #36 on the Mainstream Rock Chart songs.  The song was strong enough that it was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.

“The Seventh Seal” song opens with some chanting monks from The Monks of Gyuto Tantric University and then turns into a straight-up rock song.  It is full of religious themes and has an almost mystical feel to it.  Eddie’s guitar sound is in full force and Alex’s drum sound is unmistakeable.  It is Van Halen coming out of the gate swinging.  I won’t say its his best solo, but it is still a great lead off track for the album.

The song was inspired by Eddie’s new found sobriety.  Through the help of his therapist, he was encouraged to look at where he was and who he was now that he was sober.  Maybe he was finding religion as there are a lot of religious overtones in the song. Maybe he was still struggling with sobriety and the song is a cry for help in getting through the battle’s he was facing.  The fact that he could feel again probably was hard to deal with and I am sure a tremendous challenge.

Van_Halen_-_Balance

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