Beyond the Realms of Death

Album: Stained Class (1978)
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Songfacts®:

  • According to guitarist K.K. Downing, most of the guitar parts for this song (excluding the solos) were written by Priest's drummer at the time, Les Binks. One day during the recording of Stained Class, the left-handed drummer came into the studio, picked up a guitar and came up with the riff, with the guitar turned upside down. This was to be Binks' only songwriting credit during his time with Judas Priest. The song has since become a live staple on many of the band's tours.
  • The lyrics, which were written by singer Rob Halford, revolve around a depressed person who has entered a nearly apathetic state of mind and finally dies, most likely by his own hand. This made the song a focal point in the famous subliminal message trial in 1990, with the prosecution (wrongfully) claiming the song to be pro-suicide. The allegation was dismissed since such expressions of art are a form of free speech. Furthermore, the lyrics ask the question, "is knowledge worth this bitter cost?" strongly suggesting an anti-suicide stance. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jon - Sweden, for above 2
  • Rob Halford was a closeted gay man in the very heterosexual world of heavy metal, which caused him a great deal of internal conflict. In this song, he sings:

    I'm safe here in my mind
    I'm free to speak with my own kind


    He considers this one of his most personal lyrics. In his autobiography Confess, he states: "In 1978, the idea of being able to talk to other gay men, openly, freely, and without stigma, seemed as likely as polevaulting to Mars. I just knew: It will never bloody happen."

    His bandmates, and many Priest fans, suspected Halford was gay, but he didn't come out until 1998. When he did, he received a great deal of support.

Comments: 7

  • Robert Marshall from Newmarket/ontarioGreat group, played the drums for over 45yrs myself, until a sickness took the sticks out of my hands. We played alot of Judas Priest, but our singer could never match Rob Halford. He was a good singer, don't get me wrong. But since I heard Judas back in the early 70's. Rob Halford has been, and always will be, my favorite singer. Being gay, still doesn't stop him from being one of the best front man that I finally got to see, with David Coverdale and Whitesnake. Another excellent front man and singer. Scott Travis, and Tommy Eldridge, two of my favorite drummers. Rock on.
  • Sim from Cleveland RocksBest lead ever from Tipton?
  • Scott from Lompoc, CaI have a little different interpretation of this song. I worked in a nursing home for 5 years, and I saw a lot of people in their 60s that if they wanted to, could still walk around and function, they just chose not to. (He found a place in his mind and slammed the door). These individuals required total care as they were not willing or able to do it for themselves. (They washed and dressed him, fed him by hand). And I would leave one evening and they were still alive, and the next morning they were gone. So I think it is just a song about giving up on life and turning yourself totally inward and shutting the entire world out. This is not suicide per-se; maybe a kind of MENTAL suicide.
  • Zero from Nowhere, NjWords can't describe how powerful this song is. At times I feel this song can describe me to a tee (I've tried suicide several times). And no, it's not pro-suicide. Ozzy got sued for the same reason for the song "Suicide Solution", though I'm not sure what the overall message in that song is. By the way, EPIC solo's (especially Glenn's solo in the middle)!
  • Tony from Bayonne, NjMy comment isn't backed by fact and although it may have been intended as a song of depression and suicide I never took that from the song. Yes, it is about death, but a welcomed death. I actually find the song the be helpful in coping with the loss of a loved one who has suffered and passed.
  • Dave from Melbourne, AustraliaI love this song. There is nothing wrong with suicide songs ...
  • Erik from Brownwood , Txthe songfact about suicide was featured in the billy joel song we didnt start the fire! also a good song.
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