For My Sunday Song #299, I bring you “Dissident Aggressor” by Judas Priest. The song is from their 1977 album ‘Sin After Sin” and was written by Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing. Although the song didn’t win any awards upon its release, it was won a Grammy over 30 years later for Best Metal Performance as a live version from the album ‘Touch of Evil: Live’. Better late than never!!
The song is about Berlin and the wall. Rob was in Berlin looking out over the wall and noticed that West Berlin was all lit up with bars open and lights, but the East side was dark and blacked out, no life. That contradiction inspired the song. The song appears to be dealing with the brainwashing and violence as a result of those ruling East Berlin. The Dissident Aggressor is someone who goes against the political party and fights to see things change. And the wall does fall, but not for over a decade later.
The final track on the album is the best song on the album for me. “Dissident Aggressor” opens with that classic Halford scream that blows your freaking mind. The guitars are brutal and the double bass drumming by Simon will lay waste to everyone that hears it. The song is aggressive, nasty and everything that is great about Priest. Tipton and Downing trade solos and you are treated to a feast for your ears. However, this feast is one where you can devour at the buffet all night long and never tire or get full. Rolling Stone magazine described the song as “apocalyptic epic” and I think that sums it up nicely.
After the band’s second album, “Sad Wings of Destiny”, they were growing tired of their relationship with their current label Gull. They were discouraged at the cheapness of the label and the lack of funds they were receiving. And who can blame them. The band jumped ship and wound up with the first major label contract with CBS. All was right with the world.
We still had the same bandmates of Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill. The only difference was the drummer, yet again! This seems to be a huge trend with the band. They can’t keep a drummer. It is Spinal Tap in reality. During the recording of the album, the band was unhappy with current drummer, Alan Moore, so they fired him. The band picked up session drummer Simon Phillips to finish recording the album. Now, Simon didn’t want to be a full fledge member so they had to replace him as they needed a drummer for the tour. They wound up with Les Binks to handle those duties. We will see if Les winds up recording the next album.
Since the band was with a bigger label, they actually got a big name for producer. Well, he maybe wasn’t a big name as a producer, but he was a big name bass player for a little band called Deep Purple. They hired the services of Roger Glover to help produce along with Judas Priest. The band was all set. In January 1977, they went in to the studio and after one session with Glover, they fired him. Oh my!! The band finished recording the album on their own, well….not exactly. They struggled a lot so Glover was asked back to finish the album. The album was released on April 8, 1977 and would see the album go Gold. It was the first of eleven straight albums to go Gold for the band! Judas Priest were on their way to stardom.