Judas Priest – ‘Point of Entry’ (1981) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

After the tour supporting the band’s last album, ‘British Steel’, the band went right back in the studio to do the follow-up, ‘Point of Entry’, which would be the band’s eighth studio album. The last album did so well, the band didn’t want to change things up so we basically got the same album as before, except maybe not quite as heavy or as good. The hauled all their equipment to Ibiza Studios in Spain to record this one and not a bad place to be I can imagine, but did it bring any fresh inspiration? I think not. I think a big problem was the band had a real substance abuse problem, especially Rob as he

The band, believe it or not, stayed in tack with the same drummer as last time, David Holland. That alone is a massive achievement for the band. The remaining cast of characters were still Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill. The main core of the band. They recorded the album from October-November of 1980 and released the album on February 26, 1981. I won’t say the reception was lukewarm, as the album did go gold and produce a few singles. It only went to #39 in the US and #14 in the UK which isn’t a whole lot worse then the prior album, but the prior one did go platinum.

I think a big problem was the band had a real substance abuse problem, especially Rob as he tried to cope with his every growing loneliness being a gay metal rocker. But I think another problem was this resort like atmosphere of the Spanish island, gave the band way too many distractions. They would some time working and some time riding motorcross and partying. Hard to get proper work done when you are focusing on other things. I think these distractions led to a slightly disjointed album.

The album though does kick off with a great, classic Priest tune “Heading Out to the Highway”. It opened with a great dual guitar riff from Downing & Tipton and then great rhythm section from Hill & Holland and then Halford bad ass guy vocals sounding all tough and mean. It is a great driving song as its speedy tempo makes you want to crank it up and push the foot on the pedal a little harder. I remember seeing the song and MTV and cranking the TV as loud as it would go which wasn’t that loud as it was such a crappy TV.

“Don’t Go” comes up next and thumps along and slow yet heavy beat and is quite seductive and sexy. The song then explodes at the chorus which is very catchy. The guitar solo is the highlight as it really screams to be heard. It is almost the climax of this seductive dance.

“Hot Rockin'” brings it back to a more uptempo metal pace. It is a straight up rocker and one of my favorites on the album. It is full of energy and Halford attacks it with gusto and another guitar solo that is just as brutal as Rob’s vocals. By the time the song ends you are exhausted yet dying for more.

Next we get “Turning Circles” that opens with a non-sounding Priest guitar riff. It isn’t as gritty and powerful. The song feels like it is going in circles and unable to find any place to go. The music is repetitive sounding and leaves you wanting more. Rob sounds great vocally, but I found it dull overall.

But don’t fret, as the next song, “Desert Plains”, gets right back on track. It opens with a loud, heavy drum peat from Holland and if full of duel guitar work from Tipton and Downing and thumping bass line from Hill. Halford comes on and gives a serious tone which almost feels a little ominous in presentation. It is another song that feels like you are driving fast down the road weaving in and out of cars and that there is a dangerous element you can’t escape from and is following you about to catch you. Overall, this is a killer track and might be my favorite track on the album. A great way to close out the first half of the album.

The second half of the album kicks off with “Solar Angels” and a some great dual guitar work. Plus you get a Tipton solo and then a dual solo at the end. I think the highlight of the song is the musicianship as it seems to be more music and less vocals. There are some wild space sounding effects thrown in to go with the song title and add some flair. It is a decent track and might be the better song on the back half. The album starts to lose me from here.

“You Say Yes” is a song with a pretty awful chorus. The rest isn’t much better, but this song screams filler even if there is some cool bass by Ian Hill, though not cool enough to save the song. It is quite dreary and I am ready to move on to the next track.

Next up is “All The Way” and I’m not sure this is a metal song. It seems so contrived and the band seems to be reaching for a radio hit or commercial friendly sound. It seems like they are trying to write a party song as it is too chipper and is that supposed to be a handclap sound…oh goodness, spare me.

“Troubleshooter” is a little better as it is a little darker and has a great groove to it. The guitar work is sensational with Tipton starting the solo and Downing finishing it up. I do love when they share the solo, that is always worth a listen. I think it helps save the song…a little.

The final track, “On the Run”, actually has a strong opening and Halford’s vocals are soaring. He sounds smooth and the high notes are sensational and what I love from him. Give me this Priest any day of the week. Another hard, driving beat and some great drumming by Holland as well. They saved Side 2 from being a dismal failure with this track. This is more like what I want to hear from the band.

The Bonus Tracks on this one consist of “Thunder Road” which was recorded during the “Ram It Down” sessions from 1988 which makes no sense for it to be the bonus track on an album from 1981. It is a solid, heavy ass rocking song though. Production wise, it doesn’t sound clean and fully finished, but song wise, it is great and better than a lot of songs on this album. I like Hill’s bass as it is the Thunder on this Road (see what I did there!!).

The next bonus song is “Desert Plains” which was recorded live at Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, Missouri; 23 May 1986. The song feels like it is sped up a little from the studio track. There is a lot of double bass from Holland how was still with the band in 1986 believe it or not. The studio version is still better, but this shows how the band can tweak a song live and turn it in to something a little different. Now it is faster and heavier and still pretty good.

Track Listing:

  1. Heading Out to the Highway – Keeper
  2. Don’t Go – Keeper
  3. Hot Rockin’ – Keeper
  4. Turning Circles – Delete
  5. Desert Plains – Keeper
  6. Solar Angels – Keeper
  7. You Say Yes – Delete
  8. All The Way – Delete
  9. Troubleshooter – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  10. On The Run – Keeper

Bonus Tracks:

  1. Thunder Road
  2. Desert Plains (Live)

The Track Score is 6.5 out of 10 or 65%.  This is the first album so far I have actually been a little disappointed in.  Don’t get me wrong, it has its moments, but overall it was the first album I didn’t see growth of some kind. It was ‘British Steel’ light or 2.0…but not as good.  They tried to copy the success of ‘British Steel’ to no avail.  They had too many distractions and the band was in a bad place with this one and you can tell from the sound of these songs.  Overall, I will only give it a 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars as I still liked more than half the tracks, the rest was just weak.

UP NEXT: ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ (1982)

THE COMPLETE ALBUMS COLLECTION SERIES:

  1. Rocka Rolla (1974)
  2. Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
  3. Sin After Sin (1977)
  4. Stained Class (1978)
  5. Killing Machine / Hell Bent For Leather (1978)
  6. Unleashed in the East (1979)
  7. British Steel (1980)
  8. Point of Entry (1981)
  9. Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
  10. Defenders of the Faith (1984)
  11. Turbo (1986)
  12. Priest…Live! (1987)
  13. Ram it Down (1988)
  14. Painkiller (1990)
  15. Angel of Retribution (2005)
  16. Nostradamus (2008)
  17. A Touch of Evil: Live (2009)

Judas Priest – ‘British Steel’ (1980) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

Judas Priest had massive success with the live album ‘Unleashed in the East’ and now it was time to hit the studio again. However, this time they would lose their drummer yet again. Les Binks was not paid for his work on ‘Unleashed in the East’ and was slightly pissed and so he left the band forcing Priest to find their 7th drummer all thanks to manager Mike Dolan not paying Binks.

The band found a new drummer by the name of Dave Holland formerly of the band Trapeze. Dave would stay with the band all the way up to 1989 which will be the longest running drummer at that point in time. The band started recording in December 1979 at Startling Studios in London, but they weren’t feeling it. They ended up at Ringo Starr’s house where they finished the album by February 1980. The band was in awe recording at Ringo’s house because prior to Ringo owning the house, it was John Lennon’s house and they couldn’t believe they were in the same house as two former Beatles where a lot of history had been made.

The album saw its release on April 14, 1980 and they would see the album go to #34 in the US and #4 in the UK and the album would reach platinum status selling well over 1 Million copies. The album would go on to have 3 Singles and we would see the band keep to a more accessible sound they started doing with ‘Killing Machine’. Judas Priest was hitting it big and a Metal was becoming more mainstream thanks to albums like this. This was sort of the start of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBH).

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Judas Priest – ‘Unleashed in the East’ (1979) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

While on tour in support of their album ‘Killing Machine’/’Hell Bent For Leather’, Judas Priest decided to record a couple shows for use on a live album. The shows that were recorded were the February 10 & 15, 1979 shows at Kosei Nenkin Hall and Nakono Sun Plaza in Tokyo, Japan. After 5 studio albums, it was time for the world to see what Priest was like live for those that had not seen them in concert. The 70’s were big for Live albums, as seen by UFO, Peter Frampton and Kiss, so why not Judas Priest.

There is a lot of debate on whether the album is actually live. The short answer is yes, it is….sort of. The long answer is much more complicated. The music is definitely live with maybe a few touch-ups in the studio. The vocals, however, are not truly live. Yes, a live person sang them live in to a studio microphone, but these are not the vocals from that show because according to Rob Halford, his vocals on the tape get messed up and they had to be redone. They did record him singing as he would in a live concert setting except he was in a studio. Which explains probably how some of those notes were hit so perfectly. There is a common name people call this album and it is usually, Unleashed in the Studio. Regardless of any of the above, it doesn’t seem to have bothered the buying public because the album quickly went Platinum and is one of the best live albums of all time thanks to the work of producer Tom Allom. You know Tom, he was a recording engineer and producer of the likes of Black Sabbath and he produced Def Leppard’s debut album ‘On Through the Night’.

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‘Confess: The Autobiography’ by Rob Halford

If you follow my site at all, you know I am in the middle of a Judas Priest Review Series where I am reviewing all the albums from the Judas Priest Collection Box Set (and a few more it missed). I thought as I am immersing myself in their catalog, why not find out some information about the band by reading Rob Halford’s book, ‘Confess’. They sum up nicely below who Rob Halford is but it is really a bland description. I think they left out is that Rob is the ‘Metal God’, Rob is a man who waves the Rainbow Flag proudly, Rob is sober for over 30 years, Rob is human, which means Rob is fallible.

The story of Rob Halford, told by Rob Halford, covers a lot of time. It starts off him as a child growing up in the Black Country of the U.K. His stint where he wanted to be an actor, and then his discovery that he could sing. And man can he sing. It spends most of the time talking about his time with Priest, but it really is about Rob, the person. His struggles in life, but not just with being gay. He struggles with that, but it was more about his struggles with hiding it as being the lead singer of a Heavy Metal band and what would be the fall out if it came out. Honestly though, he didn’t really try to hide it because a lot of the early Priest songs actually talk about it, but no one was perceptive enough at the time to figure it out. The story really is about his struggles with finding love and with trying to have sex while on the road while the band had easy pickings of the female groupies, Rob had to go to seedy truck stops and bathrooms to find love. It didn’t always go well as we find out when Rob has his own George Michael moment. Rob was very lonely, for a very long time and that caused a lot of drinking and a lot of drugs and then rehab. He had many bad relationships with guys that were really straight, it was a tough road. Rob, however, found his way sober and finally found love and it all had a happy ending, thank goodness.

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Judas Priest – ‘Killing Machine’ / ‘Hell Bent For Leather’ (1978) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

Judas Priest wasted no time in jumping back in the studio after the Stained Class Tour. That album was released in February 1978 and ‘Killing Machine’ came out 8 months later on October 9, 1978. The band recorded the album between August/September of that year and they were a well-oiled machine at this point. The album would hit #128 on the US Charts and it would go Gold showing that a good metal album didn’t need to go high on the charts to still be successful. However, the album in the U.S. was different than the U.K.. In the U.S., they couldn’t use the name ‘Killing Machine’ as they had seen a rash of school shootings and thought that name was too aggressive for the U.S. market. The name was changed to ‘Hell Bent for Leather’ and they re-arranged the track listing.

Speaking of leather, Priest decided it was time for some changes, not in personnel, but in the style and substance. First is style. Rob had become a little obsessed with the whole leather and stud outfits as Rob and the band took to the change with no hesitation. The classic Priest look was now set. Then the change was substance. The band worked on making the songs more accessible and decided to shy away from the fantasy themes and make things more real, more what the U.S. audience would want to hear And I would say they succeeded as this is more a straight up metal album, all the songs are relatively short and although still have some dark themes, they are more radio-friendly might be a good way to say it. It was the start of some great things to come with the band.

Speaking of band, the line-up is unchanged yet again. It is still Rob Halford, K.K. Downing, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill and Les Binks. However, it would Les Binks’ last studio album with the band as by the time the next studio album rolls around, Priest needs a new drummer…AGAIN!! But for now, let’s have the music do the talking.

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Judas Priest – ‘Stained Class’ (1978) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

After finishing up the tour for ‘Sin After Sin’, the band didn’t rest for too long before they jumped right back in the studio. They were on a brutal schedule of album, tour, album, tour, etc… It can be exhausting. The band’s fourth album and second with Columbia records was recorded between October and November 1977. The album, ‘Stained Class’, was released on February 10, 1978 and would barely break the Billboard 200 Albums chart going to #173. But the album did go Gold selling over 500,000 copies, but reality is that album only went Gold after the success of the band in the early 80’s. Still Gold nonetheless.

The band saw something strange happen with this album. They got a new drummer which would now be the fourth drummer in four albums. That isn’t the strange part as their drummer turnover has been legendary. The strange part is new drummer, Les Binks, actually stayed on after the album was done and would go on to record two more albums with the band. That is a huge record for them and they should be so proud of themselves for not letting another drum go. And that wasn’t all. This is the ver first album that all 5 band members got writing credits on an album. Yes, Les got one credit and so did long time bassist, Ian Hill.

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Judas Priest – ‘Sin After Sin’ (1977) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

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.

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Judas Priest – ‘Sad Wings of Destiny’ (1976) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

Judas Priest recorded their second album in only 2 weeks in November and December of 1975. That is not much time at all, but the record label, Gull, was pretty freaking cheap and the boys were only living on one meal a day. Heck, some of the guys had to work a side job to make ends meet. Doesn’t sound like a good record deal in my book, but what do I know. It was recorded at the Rockfield Studios in Wales and finally saw its release on March 23, 1976.

The album had positive reviews, but that did not translate in to sales as the timing in the UK wasn’t the best. There was a genre that was popping up and becoming real popular. It was called punk rock. As a result, the band only released one single and the album only went to #48 on the UK Charts. What is really great about this album though, is this is really the birth of the Judas Priest sound. This is what I was expecting on ‘Rocka Rolla’, but I didn’t get. This was the real beginning of Priest.

The band was basically the same line-up with Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill. They did have a new drummer as John Hinch left the band and they replaced him with Alan Moore. This was be the only album that Moore would play on because he wasn’t overly thrilled with the money situation and would soon leave the band. They seemed to have trouble keeping a drummer as I have counted around 9 different drummers over the years. Crazy!

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Judas Priest – ‘Rocka Rolla’ (1974) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

Welcome to another series on 2 Loud 2 Old Music. This time we are going to go through all the Albums that were in ‘The Complete Albums Collection’ Box Set that I received as a gift for this last Christmas. Here’s the thing, I have only really ever listened to the 80’s singles for Priest. I don’t know much about them other than who they are and maybe a couple albums, but I thought it was time to take a deep dive in to the Priest World and see what all the fuss is about. I also have Rob Halford’s new book ‘Confess’ that I am dying to read to learn even more. When I do something, I am not going to do it half-ass so we are going to start with the first album and work our way up to the final one. Now, this box set was missing the Ripper albums and the two most recent Priest albums, plus I am sure some live albums, but we will have 17 albums to go through that I am hoping to have done by the end of the year. Once I am done with those, we will go back and do the ones this set missed.

Judas Priest is out of Birmingham, England and were formed in 1969 and what I learned quickly is that Rob Halford was not the original singer of the band. That role was filled by Al Atkins. In fact, when the band released their first album in 1974, Ian Hill was the only original member. K. K. Downing didn’t come on board until 1970, Halford and John Hinch was 1973 and the Glenn Tipton was 1974. The classic line-up of the band was complete just in time for their first album. The main four guys less Hinch would go on to be together until 1992 then back again in 2003 up until 2011. Quite an impressive run.

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December 2020 Purchases – Vinyls & CDs

We are at the final month of 2020 and thank the Heavens. I hope 2021 sees an end to Covid, but not an end to my music buying. This month we have another treasure trove of stuff I have obtained over not just the month, but the last 6 months as a couple things I ordered in prior months finally arrived. And being December, there is everything I got for Christmas that is music related.

First up this month are a couple things I bought back in April/May timeframe, right when Covid started. My brother saw these on the Facebook market from a friend of his and knew I would like it so I told him I wanted them and he bought them (I paid him back of course). I told him to hold them and I would be down to Atlanta soon and boy was I wrong. We are now in December and I haven’t been down. I eventually asked him to mail them. I got another Kiss Tour Book and this was from the Alive/Worldwide Tour (1996-97) and the other is The Ultimate Kiss Fanzine Phenomenon 1976-2009 hard back book. They are both awesome and will be reviewed in detail in 2021.

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