For me, ‘Point of Entry’ was a little disappointing. The hard, heavy sound of the band was replaced with a more melodic album that was trying to repeat the success of ‘British Steel’, but failed. ‘Screaming for Vengeance” was the band’s answer back that they could still deliver heavy metal music and let me tell you they did just that. This time around, the band went off to Spain to record the album in Ibizia at Ibizia Sound Studios. If you are wondering why not record in England, well, due to tax issues in England, bands would find it better to not live in England all year long so this let them be out of the country for a spell (and probably why Halford had moved to Arizona years earlier). Okay, that was not really necessary information so let’s try and give you something better.
This album is a first for Priest. No, not the their first album silly. This is the first Priest album to feature a drummer who had played on more than two albums. That is right, Dave Holland was the first Judas Priest drummer to make it on three albums!! Wow!! Give yourself a hand boys, because for you, that is impressive. Dave would actually go on to play on four more albums plus a Live album. Congrats Mr. Holland. The drummer curse was now over. The band is still intact with Dave, Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill.
During this album, Tom Allom was a task master. The label was putting pressure on the band to deliver and album that the American fans would appreciate. A hard hitting, true heavy metal album. The label felt the band was about to break in America and they wanted the bands to deliver the goods that would do that. And well, we will see if they do…here’s a hint…they do!!
“The Hellion” opens the album with a band. It is a short instrumental piece that says to the world, heavy ass Priest is back. Then it kicks hard and heavy straight in to “Electric Eye”. The song is inspired by the George Orwell book ‘1984’ (one of my favorites btw). The song has an eerie vibe to it like the government is spying on your every move. Glenn Tipton lays down a brutal and vicious solo that lays waste to all that hear it. It is the perfect song to open the album as it screams that Judas Priest can still kick some major ass.
Then a barrage of pounding drums from Dave announces the next track “Riding on the Wind” which has Halford screaming at high pitch that is now making my dog Bear bark! That is all I need to know that this song is going to kick ass. It is almost speed metal as the tempo is turned up a notch. The dual guitar attack of Tipton and Downing is masterful and the song is an assault on the ears.
“Bloodstone” is up next and though a little slower than the previous track is no less heavy. Halford hits some notes that are so crisp and clean and still tough and mean. The chorus is simple with the repeating of the title, but it works. The guitar playing on the album keeps getting better and better and another killer solo that lifts the song up to one of my favorites on the album. A solid deep cut (not that deep as it is the third song on the album).
Then we get a song co-written by an outsider write and not a cover. Bob Halligan Jr. co-writes “(Take These) Chains” with Halford, Tipton and Downing. It is a different sounding song and is a lot more melodic, but still works surrounded by these mammoth metal songs. It was released as a single and I can see why as it is very radio friendly. Halford sounds fantastic and I appreciate the stylistic difference in the tune. It is a beast of a track.
What might be the weakest song on the album is “Pain and Pleasure”, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it is great. Rob’s delivery on this one is not quite as smooth and gives a different look at what Rob can do. Rob is a little grittier and doesn’t hit the signature high notes, but the song still works. It is a hard driving, methodic in approach track that is slowed down from the prior songs and helps bring variety to the album. A slow chugger that I did find better with each listen.
The title track, “Screaming for Vengeance”, lives up to its name as Halford lets out a signature scream to kick it off and then some blistering, fiery guitar riffs. Halford screams the vocals, the drums beats are at break-neck speed and everything about it “screams” heavy metal. It is amazing Halford’s vocals aren’t shredded after destroying the lyrics with his nasty-ass delivery. If that wasn’t enough, the dual guitar solo of Tipton and Downing is utterly brutal, destructive and mindblowingly amazing. All I can say is…DAMN!!!
When “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” kicks in there is something absolutely special about it. Instantly you hear a guitar sound like none other. The song feels important, groundbreaking and like nothing I’d ever heard before. For me, it might be my all time favorite song of Priest. It is head and shoulders above everything else they’ve done and they’ve done some amazing songs prior to this album and on it. I don’t know how to describe the ecstasy of joy I feel for this song. It is heavy, yet melodic and it has an energy to it that is infectious and the one song I can never tire of from the band. I am trying to think of other ways to describe how great I think this song is, but at a loss for words now.
“Fever” is an appropriate song next because I think I am sick with a fever over my love for the last song. “Fever” starts off slow before picking up tempo and is the most adventurous song on the album. It goes in to many different directions and doesn’t give us the same old rock song. It stretches the band both on guitar and on Rob’s vocals. I love the effect they put on the words “fever” when Rob sings them. Overall, a brilliant track.
The album ends with “Devil’s Child” and I thought I stepped in to an AC/DC album (and I would’t mind if I did). Rob sings like AC/DC and has that grit. The guitar sound is distorted and nasty. It is a hard rock masterpiece and shows another side of the band that I could enjoy as well. A great way to end the album.
There are two bonus tracks on this album and first up is “Prisoner of Your Eyes” which was recorded during the Turbo sessions in 1985. As I’ve said with a lot of their bonus tracks, it is strange they put a song from a different album session on an album that the song is not from. Makes no sense and the song doesn’t usually fit the vibe of the album they put it on. This one is no different. It isn’t a bad track though. The guitars are strong and solid and Rob sounds good delivering a rather somber performance as the song is a little melancholy. Another side of the band.
Lastly, we get a live version of “Devil’s Child” from the December 12, 1982 show in Memphis, Tennessee. Rob sounds like he is screaming a little more than the album version and he does hit some killer high notes.. I thought it was a great live performance but didn’t have the same AC/DC edge the studio version has. I’ll still take it though as I do enjoy live albums.
- The Hellion – Keeper
- Electric Eye – Keeper
- Riding on the Wind – Keeper
- Bloodstone – Keeper
- (Take These) Chains – Keeper
- Pain And Pleasure – Keeper
- Screaming for Vengeance – Keeper
- You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ – Keeper
- Fever – Keeper
- Devil’s Child – Keeper
- Prisoner of Your Eyes (recorded during the Turbo Sessions 1985)
- Devil’s Child (Live at Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee on December 12, 1982)
The Track Score is a solid 10 of 10 or 100%. Yes, I love everything about this album. Maybe it is because it is the only album I was familiar with prior to this series or maybe it is really that good. I am going to say it is a lot of both. The band brought back the heavy, they seemed more focused, they seemed more hungry and the delivered on all fronts. The heavier Priest is, the more I enjoy them which I don’t know what that says about me, but I don’t care. Bring the heavy and Priest can deliver a masterpiece of gargantuan proportions. Overall, this is easily a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars. Yes, so far, this is my favorite album and has really made me excited even more to explore the remaining album.
UP NEXT: ‘Defenders of the Faith’ (1984)
THE COMPLETE ALBUMS COLLECTION SERIES:
- Rocka Rolla (1974)
- Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
- Sin After Sin (1977)
- Stained Class (1978)
- Killing Machine / Hell Bent For Leather (1978)
- Unleashed in the East (1979)
- British Steel (1980)
- Point of Entry (1981)
- Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
- Defenders of the Faith (1984)
- Turbo (1986)
- Priest…Live! (1987)
- Ram it Down (1988)
- Painkiller (1990)
- Angel of Retribution (2005)
- Nostradamus (2008)
- A Touch of Evil: Live (2009)