A few weeks back I was on the live stream ‘Grab A Stack of Rock’ with Mike Landano and Harrison, The Mad Metal Man and we went through the giant 50th Anniversary Judas Priest box set. During the show, as we discussed each album, we picked are least favorite and our favorite song off each album. I thought that was a great idea and I thought I’d turn it in to a post as a recap. So, here are my picks for the Best and Worst song on every Judas Priest studio album and there are 18 Albums!! Now, let’s preface this with the fact that these are my choices and not necessarily yours as we can have different opinions. If you watched the show you will see that sometimes my worst song was their favorite so you never know what people like and we all like different things or this would be a very dull world. I hope you enjoy!!
Rocka Rolla (1974)
BEST SONG – “CHEATER”: Written by Halford and Downing. The song has a blues hard rock sound and opens with a great riff and slams it home from there. I love the swagger to the song, the cowbell and the harmonica all screamed classic rock and right up my alley.
WORST SONG – “CAVIAR AND METHS”: An instrumental track written by Atkins, Downing and Hill and at only 2 minutes it didn’t really have time to develop in to much of anything. It is too short, too repetitive and didn’t do anything for me, almost a waste of time and space as it doesn’t make sense with the album.
Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
BEST SONG – “VICTIM OF CHANGES”: An epic almost 8 minute track written by Halford, Downing, Tipton and Al Atkins. The song opens slowly and breaks into a cool double guitar riff. It seems to be a very complex song with lots of rhythm changes and heck even the moods and vibes change throughout. The song is so full of layers and textures that it keeps you engrossed which is needed for such a long track. The thing that clinches the song is Halford’s falsettos and that dramatic, climactic scream at the end. It is legendary!!
For My Sunday Song #300…wow…300, I bring you my favorite song by Judas Priest, “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”. The song is off my favorite Priest album 1982’s ‘Screaming for Vengeance’. It was written by Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing and was released as a single to their surprise. And it took off. I saw it on MTV constantly and I was immediately drawn to it. It started to catch on around the country and the next thin you know, the band had a massive hit on their hands. Well, not too massive as it only reached #67 on the Billboard Charts, but it brought people to the shows and that is all this band needed to deliver them the goods.
The song was a last minute add to the album. They were very pleased with what they had, but they just felt one more song was needed and then came this song. It was out of the blue and came to them quickly and easily. It is actually a song of hope and resilience. It is about rising above the noise and facing any issues or troubles that come your way head on and attacking them. It is quite inspiring.
When “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” 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. 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. It’s driving beat feels like you are in your car, top down, going 100 mphs with no cares in the world and loving every minute of it. It is a massive rush of adrenaline. I am trying to think of other ways to describe how great I think this song is, but at a loss for words now.
We are finally to the end of the Judas Priest Complete Albums Collection Series. And we are ending it with a ranking of all the Studio albums for the band which is a total of 18 albums to go through. That is a lot. I knew of Judas Priest and I had heard a ton of songs, but I had never dived deep in the band until I did this series. I received The Complete Albums Collection Box Set for Christmas 2020 and bought the 4 studio albums that were missing from the set and decided to review them all and it has been a blast. I will say that I am a huge fan now.
Out of the 18 albums, there are only 2 they have that I felt were below average and the rest are worth hearing at least to me. That isn’t bad to have 16 albums that rank at least a 3 or higher. My choices might be different from some people and that is okay as we like different things. I really enjoyed the bluesiness of the early albums and the more 80’s style and even the real heaviness of the more current records. I will even admit I liked one of the Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens albums. No matter what I heard, I found things I liked and didn’t like. But what I do know is that the original members of Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill were a powerful group and there was a magic to their music together. I like Richie Faulkner as he brought a new life to the band and I really liked Scott Travis on drums as he was a force to be reckoned with behind that kit.
Judas Priest was not a one trick pony. They weren’t just heavy metal…they had a blues influence, glam influence, straight up hard rock, speed metal and even a little death metal at times. They could do it all. Any time they had dual guitar solos or Halford hit that trademark scream, I was all in. These guys are one of the best bands to come out of the UK and I can’t believe we have had 50 years of Judas Priest. What a ride it has been. Now, let’s see how I rank the albums and away we go…
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!!
As you read yesterday, for Christmas I received Queen’s ‘Queen 40’ Box Sets. I also received this box set from Judas Priest called ‘The Complete Albums Collection’. Now this is not a very accurate title because it really isn’t the “Complete” albums collection as it is missing quite a bit. But before we get to tell you what it is missing, let me tell you why it is called the “Complete” album collection. That is because it contains all 17 Judas Priest albums featuring the classic line up of Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K. K. Downing and Ian Hill (2). That was the focus of the collection.
As a result, it is missing the 2 Ripper Owen albums including ‘Jugulator’ (1997) and ‘Demolition’ (2001) as well as 2 Live albums, ’98 Live Meltdown’ and ‘Live in London’ (2003). And since this was released in 2011, it is missing the two newer albums ‘Redeemer of Souls’ (2014) and ‘Firepower’ (2018) both Richie Faulkner on guitar and not K.K. Downing. Oh yeah, and the live album ‘Battle Cry’ from 2016. So technically this isn’t really the “Complete Albums Collection”…but I am okay with that as this is a great beginners set as you get a 17 albums for one low price to get things going.
Let us go through the timeline of what is included. But before we do that, all the CDs come in a cardboard sleeve that is similar to a vinyl album jacket with the original artwork recreated on the album jacket. There are no plastic cases and no CD booklet for each disc. Instead you get a 40 page booklet with photos, liner notes and album credits. And that is it. There is nothing extra special thrown in although a lot of the discs have a couple of the bonus tracks included. This really is just the CDs and no frills.