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…
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.
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.