Another discography fully reviewed, and I have to say, this has been the best journey through the career of a band that I have done so far. I thought I knew, Judas Priest, but after listening to all 17 albums, I discovered that the band is much more versatile than I could ever imagine. I loved them before, and that love has only increased since, even if the road has been bumpy. Now comes the hard part, summarizing this massive career into some lists and sentences. So what am I waiting for? Let's go!
3. Sad Wings of Destiny
Even if the band still was in its early stage, and they were still developing their sound, I simply cannot imagine Judas Priest without this album. It is progressive, not too heavy, and not so fast, and when you first go into the album, you start to wonder if Judas Priest really made it or not, but once you get into the center of this lollipop, you get struck over how good everything is. It is an unreal album that has aged extremely well, and is a must hear for everyone.
2. Screaming For Vengeance
"British Steel" might be the album that truly put Judas Priest on the map, but it was "Screaming For Vengeance" that took the band to the next level. While still maintaining the core sound, the band put the pedal to the metal and delivered a fast knockout punch no one saw coming. Killer song after killer song is delivered, and they all help making "Screaming For Vengeance" a heavy and diverse experience.
Not only is this my favourite Judas Priest album of all time, it might even be my favourite album period. Everything in this album screams power, and all of the songs in this album are simply awesome. It took everything that the band had build up to during the 80's, and amplified it to 11. If anyone wants to get into metal, "Painkiller" should be the first step towards entering this magical lifestyle.
No matter how much trash the Tim "Ripper" Owens albums get, "Nostradamus" will always be the biggest disgrace of the Priest family to me. A brave effort that was way too long and too slow for me to enjoy, even if it had a couple of great songs. If the band is ever gonna do a concept album again, I suggest that they first of all actually write a story, and include their specialty, some powerful entity that saves the world with its super hero like power. I think that would be cool.
5. Halls of Valhalla
I bet that I am gonna get a lot of hate for putting this song over such classics as "Victim of Changes", "Breaking the Law", and "Hell Bent For Leather", but I just can't stop loving this song. "Halls of Valhalla" is epic, catchy, and contains amazing guitar work, making you forget that Downing left the band. And let us not forget Halford, who shows that he still can pull off his patented "Painkiller" screams.
4. The Sentinel
This song is one of those Priest songs that are way too underrated, often overlooked when the debate of the best song comes up. The riffs are so god damn awesome, the epic, and frightening, chorus makes you scream, and then we have the hair rising build up, ending with yet another Metal God scream (and a scream from yourself too). Do not miss out on this hidden gem.
No song has a greater first impact than "Painkiller, blowing you off from that chair with its slamming drum solo, and it just gets crazier after that. "Painkiller" is a frantic whirlwind that shakes and bakes everything and everyone to its core, with a arsenal of insane riffs and a Rob Halford that sounds like Satan himself. You will forever remember the first time you heard it, and it will always bring a smile to your face.
2. A Touch of Evil
Take your corpse paint, monsters, psychopathic murderers and shove them to a place where the sunlight cannot reach, because nothing scares me more than "A Touch of Evil", and I am loving it. The haunting keyboard, the pounding drums, the simplicity of the riffs, and Rob's demonic side all make this semi-ballad a true horror show. It is just like the song says, I can't resist "A Touch of Evil".
1. Beyond The Realms of Death
This song strikes me on so many level, but mostly on the emotional part. The story about a man longing for death is so sad and dark, and the music just adds to that darkness. It is just so beautiful, every note is carefully placed to fulfill the mood, making it as natural as it can be. Both the simple opening riff and the multi layered solo are so god damn amazing, showing just how skilled and versatile Downing and Tipton are. This song is the ultimate proof that Judas Priest is more than heavy metal, they are life.
Best album cover
Sad Wings of Destiny
Talk about a beautiful piece of art, this album cover looks like it is ripped out of a painting made by Michelangelo. The colors are astonishing, the story is portrayed beautifully, and we also get to see the famous Judas Priest pitchfork (think that's what it's called) for the first time. Can we all create a crowdfunding campaign to cover up the Sistine chapel ceiling with this cover please, because I think it would fit nicely into that environment.
Overall discography verdict
Okay, we have some stumbles here and there, but there is so much awesome stuff that this band has done that it is almost ridiculous. You could fill a warehouse with all of the treasure the band has presented us over the years.
I was surprised that the band was this creative, more than a band that could deliver killer riffs and fast paced steam rollers. They can do it all, ballads, groovers, corny 80's songs about automobiles. Yep, the band knows how to diversify themselves.
Band Chemistry: 8/10
It took some time in the beginning, but when the core of Ian Hill, K. K. Downing, Rob Halford, and Glenn Tipton was made, the band was more or less complete, only the drummer position was a question mark, and that was solved when Scott Travis joined. The short break of Rob and Downing's departure drags down the rating.
To say that Judas Priest consist of qualified musicians is almost an understatement, because the musicality that these guys bring is off the charts. All the members really know how to handle their instruments, maximizing their potential.
Yet another thing that shows just how versatile the band truly is. The Priest has a broad range when it comes to the lyrical department, writing songs about dark matters and themes, science fiction and fantasy, and even patriotism. And let us not forget their specialty, songs about all powerful beings, such as Painkiller, Hellrider, Metalizer, and Electric Eye.
Album rating summary
Rocka Rolla: 5,5/10
Sad Wings of Destiny: 8,5/10
Sin After Sin: 8/10
Stained Class: 8/10
Killing Machine: 7/10
British Steel: 6/10
Point of Entry: 5,5/10
Screaming For Vengeance: 9,5/10
Defenders of The Faith: 8/10
Ram It Down: 7/10
Angel of Retribution: 8/10
Redeemer of Souls: 7,5/10
Before I get into the next discography review, I am gonna do a bonus round! More exactly, I am gonna review all of the albums that Rob Halford has released outside of Judas Priest, which is 2 albums from Fight, 1 from 2wo, and 4 from his solo project Halford. Gonna try to plow through these albums as fast as possible, but I won't promise anything. After that, the next discography review will be on a band from the Big 4 of Thrash metal (hint, it is not Megadeth).
Robert "Sharkruisher" Andersson