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Judas Priest - Beyond the Realms of Death


Judas Priest - Beyond the Realms of Death - Meaning of the song


According to guitarist K.K. Downing, most of the guitar parts for this song 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.

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.


Beyond the Realms of Death - Lyrics


He had enough

He couldn't take anymore

He'd found a place

In his mind and slammed the door

No matter how they tried

They couldn't understand

They washed and dressed him

Fed him by hand


Yeah! I've left the world behind

I'm safe here in my mind

Free to speak with my own kind

This is my life, this is my life

I'll decide not you


Withdrawn he'd sit there

Stare blank into space

No sign of life

Would flicker on his face

Until one day he smiled

It seemed as though with pride

The wind kissed him

Goodbye - and then he died


Yeah! I've left the world behind

I'm safe here in my mind

Free to speak with my own kind

This is my life, this is my life

I'll decide not you


Keep the world with all its sin

It's not fit for livin' in

Yeah! I will start again

It can take forever, and ever, and ever

And ever, but I'll still win.


How many like him,

Are there still

But to us, all

Seem to have lost the will

They lie in thousands

Plagued and lost

Is nothing worth this bitter cost


Yeah! I've left the world behind

I'm safe here in my mind

Free to speak with my own kind

This is my life, this is my life

I'll decide not you


Keep the world with all its sin

It's not fit for livin' in


Beyond the realms of death


Judas Priest - Beyond the Realms of Death - Album track



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