Judas Priest

They'll take their Turbo and Ram It Down your Point of Entry, committing Sin After Sin until you're Screaming For Vengeance and needing a Painkiller for your Stained Ass!!!

Okay, I kinda fudged that last one.

*special introductory paragraph!
*Rocka Rolla
*Sad Wings of Destiny
*Sin After Sin
*Stained Class
*Hell Bent For Leather
*Unleashed In The East (Live In Japan)
*British Steel
*Point of Entry
*Screaming For Vengeance
*Defenders of the Faith
*Ram It Down
*'98 Live Meltdown
*Live In London
*Angel of Retribution
*A Touch Of Evil...Live

Birmingham, England's Judas Priest is one of the key bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NKOTB) movement, and has maintained its core membership of bassist Ian Hill, guitarist K.K. Downing and other guitarist Glenn Tipton since 1974. Other notable members over the years have included drummer Dave Holland, who recorded six albums with the band and then molested a teenaged boy, and vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens, who inspired the top-selling Hollywood film Rock Star starring Mark Wahlberg. Another vocalist they had for a while (20 years) (and then another 7 later on) (and counting) was (is) an astonishingly talented singer named Robert John Arthur "Bob" "Rob" Halford. This Mr. Halford has a four-octave vocal range. I'm lucky if I can hit an E.

Rocka Rolla - Gull 1974
Rating = 7

Like Jethro Tull, Rush and Black Sabbath before them, Judas Priest began their recording career as a bluesy hard rock band whose songs, though perfectly catchy and enjoyable, had little in common with the unique style that they would soon pioneer. In Judas Priest's case, the only hint of future heavy metal goodness to be found here is the tough but silly title track ("Rocka rolla woman for a rocka rolla man/You can take her if you want her -- if you think you can!"). But if you enjoy mean '70s riff rockers from the likes of Budgie, Bloodrock and Deep Purple, wrap the hell out of your ears around this record. "One for the Road," "Winter" and "Never Satisfied" give it to you straight and direct like a bluesman punching you in the heart; "Run of the Mill" and "Dying to Meet You" sprinkle the hot rock action with cocaine jazz chords and dramatic art prog respectively; and best of all, "Deep Freeze" is just KK Downing making stupid noises on his guitar! Yes, if you liked Black Sabbath's "F.X.," you'll love dipping your head into a derelict's colostomy bag! (and "Deep Freeze")

Apparently the band was upset by the album's mix, but I'm baffled as to why that might be the case. The guitars are loud, proud and stereo-panned; Halford is plenty audible (though he wasn't doing much of his astonishingly high-pitched singing just yet); and supposedly this drummer sucked anyway so who needs to hear him?

Although Priest purists complain that their sound was too Sabbath/Zeppelin-inspired at this point, it must be remembered that straightforward hard rock was a very popular genre in the early '70s, and this band played it as well as the majority of their competitors. They were not being 'derivative' of a specific band any more than every punk band alive is 'derivative' of the Ramones. There existed a popular style of music, and Priest wrote original songs in that style. The only reason I can imagine anybody being honestly disappointed by Rocka Rolla is if they insist on comparing it to peak-era Judas Priest. As a standalone record, it's perfectly entertaining! The riffs are mean and gritty; the guitars are raw and heavy; and Halford already sounds good, even with his early, less operatic vocal style.

Having said that, the 10-minute "Winter Suite" is obvious filler. The actual song "Winter" is fine, but the tuneless "Deep Freeze," gentle hippy ballad "Winter Retreat" and bland octave-jumping "Cheater" that comprise the rest of the suite sound hastily-written and out of place here. (Still, am I nuts or is "Cheater" the musical precursor to "My Sharona"?)

The lyrics aren't very interesting yet -- mostly just your basic rockin' blues themes, with only the anti-war "Dying To Meet You" pointing towards the graphic violence of their later material. On first listen, I thought "Cheater"'s tale of wife-killing retribution was another modern touch, but then I remembered that every blues musician of the 20th century at some point shot his woman down for messin' around, so never mind that one.

In conclusion, if you know anything at all about Judas Priest, then surely you understand the joy I feel every time I look at the back cover and see vocalist "Bob" Halford with his shoulder-length blonde hair and unbuttoned plaid shirt. Lookin' TOUGH there, Halford! Please! Don't hit me!

Say, here's something. I joined OKCupid yesterday, so it shouldn't be long before I'm knee deep in "that stuff"!!!! (gonorrhea)

Actually, that wasn't my point. My point is this: what the hell's up with all the bisexual women on there? What are they, a bunch of fags?

There. I'm absolutely certain that the last two paragraphs will earn me the respect and caring of a lovely woman within the next ten minutes.

(*nine minutes pass*)

And she'd better not be a HEIFER!

(*48 years pass*)


Reader Comments

I agree with most of what you said though this album is a 9/10 for me. Outside of Led Zeppelin, it is my favorite bluesy hard rock album.

Part of the reason the band didn't like producer was because he left off Tyrant, Genocide and Victim of Changes. In hindsight, I'm glad he did because they don't fit with this material and Sad Wings wouldn't be what it is.

What most people don't know is that many of the songs on their first two album were co-written by their original singer, Al Atkins. JP was originally called Freight, but Atkins didn't like it and they renamed themselves Judas Priest after a former band of Atkins by the same name. Amazingly, he left Judas Priest to have a day job. Atkins later released his versions of many of these songs which I've heard. Halford was a huge upgrade.

Yes very "sabbathy". Right down to the ozzy style vocals. I quite like the groovy 70's style rock on some of the tracks. Nice and chillled. That cheater song does sound like my sharona, but with a more stoned rhythm. Part of me prefers this to their later, more metal material....

Silly title for an album though.

Add your thoughts?

Sad Wings Of Destiny - Gull 1976
Rating = 7

Hi, I'm Dick Johnson! Or "Cock," as my friends call me! (because I have a rooster) But you can call me "Prick"! (because I'm a tattoo artist) Or "Pecker," as my friends also call me! (again due to the rooster) But one thing's for certain: I was born without a penis.


But enough of my caring efforts to help out my fellow man. We are here to discuss the first Judas Priest album that actually sounds like Judas Priest; Sad Wings of Destiny. From the opening notes of Sabbath-metal epic "Victim of Changes," it's clear that we are no longer dealing with the Rocka Rolla women for the Rocka Rolla men, takin' 'em if they wanna, if they think they can. I haven't done much thinking on the history of metal, but I'm told that this record is where the New Wave of British Heavy Metal got its start, and from the sound of it I can't disagree. Everything here sounds much more dramatic, bombastic and METAAAAAALLLLL!!!!! (*makes devil horns*)

(*is thanked by devil for the delightful brass instruments*)

Minor keys, classical piano preludes, somber atmospheres, evil licks, heavy bar chords and Halford's gargantuanly impressive vocal range are all on display here. And tracks like aforementioned "Victim of Changes," 'Paranoid'-style chugger "Deceiver," r'n'b riffer "Island of Domination" and monster speed rocker "Tyrant" should be considered classics of the genre if they aren't already. These headbanging beats, killer chugging chord sequences and dexterous note runs will have you literally sprouting metal ears out of your current flesh ears! Granted, it's all so ridiculously grave and serious that it's hard to take seriously in today's Age of Post-Irony, but it's in your best interest to try and try again!

Unfortunately, in what is shaping up to be a running theme with Judas Priest, a few of the songs are truly awful. The simplistic and embarrasing "Genocide" begs the question of why on Earth it's six minutes long; the WAAAAAY out of place piano ballad "Epitaph" combines hilariously corny vocals with a schmaltzy melody straight out of the Billy Joel Songbook Of Garbage And Urine; and I don't care how much everybody else in the world loves it, "The Ripper" is DUMB AS SHIT. Is that the appeal!? That it's dumb as shit? It sure doesn't rock, aside from the awesome riff that starts at 0:46 and ends at 0:48, then starts again at 1:10 and ends at 1:18, then pops up again from 2:32 to 2:42 -- for a total of 30 awesome seconds in an otherwise dumb as shit 3-minute song.

Also, strangely, just as Halford begins to dazzle you with the highest notes ever sung by mortal man (King Diamond is immortal), he forgets how to sing in his normal voice, instead adopting a goofily 'trying too hard to sound manly" delivery in calmer numbers like "Dreamer Deceiver" and "Epitaph."

But the lyrics? Oy vey! Just look at the song titles again: "The Ripper," "Tyrant," "Genocide," "Epitaph," "Victim of Changes," "Dreamer Deceiver," "Island of Domination."

And they're as dark as they sound!

(aside from "Prelude," which doesn't sound very dark at all)

So definitely buy this CD, but don't be surprised when you sneer as derisively as I did upon hearing Halford utter those fateful words:

"All hear my warning --
Never turn your back
On THE ZIPPER!!!!!!!!!!"

No come on it's "The Ripper" what the, who wrote this, get me a

Reader Comments

This album is a 9.5 which I'd round to a 10. I'll give you "Genocide is too long and near Spinal Tap material and responsible from my half point drop. "Epitaph" is corny but I enjoy it and Judas Priest understood something that modern metal bands forgot, which is that you need some mood changers on a metal album instead of wall-to-wall aggression.

Count me in the camp that thinks "The Ripper" is a great song. It doesn't have a single riff, but have several and I love the bridge. Besides the whole song was Halford warning Downing/Tipton/Hill about Tim "Ripper" Owens but they didn't listen.

This album shows that Ian Hill was a good bass player. After this album, JP definitely takes a pro-guitar, anti-bass production route.

You're right. Sudden improvement of the vocals. That first line on the album "(f)risky women don't you know you're driving me inSAAAAANNNNNNEEEEEEE!!!!!". Holy crap! I wasn't expecting that.

BTW does anyone else think Halford sounds a lot like Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson? With that "vibrato-on-the-high-note" thing?

Although generally they remind me more of Led Zep now than Sabbath. In fact if Robert Plant had fronted Sabbath after Ozzy left....although Halford admittedly has a better range than Plant.

However, I could do without tedious near-six-minute ballad Dreamer Deceiver.

Add your thoughts?

Sin After Sin - Columbia 1977
Rating = 8

I know it may seem odd to throw the word 'mature' around when discussing a band as bombastic and leatheriffic as Judas Priest, but Sin After Sin is just that. Neither the juvenile evil of "The Ripper" nor the embarrasing pop-metal of their later records are to be found here. Instead, the tone is that of the fifth and sixth Black Sabbath records (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage): extended compositions with room to breathe and develop, built upon confident vocal performances, thoughtful hard rock riffs and a guitar tone more motorcycle-menacing than morbid-heavy. Plus, it only has eight songs, suggesting that for once they didn't feel the need to throw in garbage filler to complete the sides.

As an astute Allmusic.com reviewer (i.e. not Stephen Thomas Erlewine) points out, "Sin After Sin finds Priest still experimenting with their range, and thus ends up as perhaps their most varied outing." Considering how 'of a piece' their albums usually are, it is striking how much stylistic ground they cover here, so much so that I'll make a bulleted list about it:

- Happy Sabbath fuzz-rock epic ("Sinner")
- Joan Baez cover ("Diamonds And Rust")
- Angry brooding hard rock ("Starbreaker")
- Gentle Hendrix/Free blues ballad ("Last Rose Of Summer")
- Histrionic Queen vocal harmonies + high-speed thrash = 2gether at last! ("Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest")
- Pissy blues rock ("Raw Deal") Also, am I nuts or did Metallica steal this song's chorus for "The God That Failed"?
- Somber depressive ballad ("Here Come The Tears")
- Heavy, chugging, midtempo and MEAN! Fucken SLAYER COVERED IT!!!! ("Dissident Aggressor") Fucken SLAYER, MAN! Why didn't they cover "Let Us Prey," which actually sounds like Slayer? Who knows!? But this song TEARS your SPINE out and THROWS it out the WINDOW at some GUY wearing a HAT!

Sin After Sin is a self-assured and richly cultivated album of diverse hard rock that falters only during its plague of clumsy ballads. "Here Come The Tears" is stylistically appropriate but poorly arranged and honestly a total drag, and "Last Rose Of Summer" has a beautiful extended coda, but what the hell is a gentle Hendrix/Free blues ballad doing on a Judas Priest album!? Did Hendrix and Free sneak into the studio for a 'jamfest' while Rob Halford was out having sex with some guy?

PLEASE NOTE: You have just read the only reference to Rob Halford's homosexuality that you will find on this review page.

Aside from that one.

Lyricallywise, I have some questions. First of all, who is "Sinner"? By his description, he's some guy riding alongside the Devil. But who? Just any general sinner!? Here, look:

"Sinner rider, rides in with the storm The devil rides beside him The devil is his god, God help you mourn"

Is he just some guy who covets his neighbor's wife? WTHF? Then there's "Starbreaker":

Look out, here's Starbreaker
Cruisin' into town
Set his mind to stealin'
Every little heart around
Step out on the sidewalks
If you're feeling game
He comes but once a lifetime
Never ever seen again
Glides in from the sky
Takes you up so high

At first, I thought, "Well, that's stupid. He's discussing a comet as if it were a human being." But then I realized it was even stupider: it's about a comic book bad guy. Specifically, an energy vampire who is intent on destroying Rann and consuming the planetary energy. Come on Judas Priest, you're like 30 years old. Read a big book now.

Next up -- and granted, this may just be my stupidity, but the first several times I heard "Call For The Priest," I thought to myself, Okay, this seems to be an anti-critic/pro-rock screed, but then who is this priest they're talking about? Then finally it hit me like an oven in the night: JUDAS Priest. They're talking about themselves.

Next, there's "Raw Deal," featuring such lines as:

"All eyes hit me as I walked into the door"
"A couple cards played rough stuff, New York, Fire Island"
"The mirror on the wall was collecting and reflecting/All the heavy bodies ducking, stealing eager for some action"
"The true free expression I demand is human rights"

This song clearly takes place in a gay bar, and although I'm not exactly sure of the plot (it seems to be about a brawl at the gay bar, perhaps instigated by gay bashers? Not sure), it makes me wonder how the Hell any metalhead could've been surprised when Rob Halford came out of the closet 22 years later. Okay, that was another reference to his sexual homosexuality, but it was HIS fault this time. I'm just sitting here.

Finally, there's "Dissident Aggressor."

"Stab! Bawl! Punch! Crawl!
Hooks to my brain are well in
Stab! Bawl! Punch! Crawl!
I know what I am, I'm Berlin!"

Is this about Hitler? And if so, why is he crying? Someone clear this up so we can all get sleep.

Speaking of which, there's this new ad I keep seeing around town that says "Banking With Rewards," and I swear every single time I see it, I read it as "Banking With Retards." And sure it's a nice thought to help out the developmentally disabled like that, but do we really want them handling our IRAs!? Come on, that's what jobs bringing in carts at the grocery store are for. I don't want some dipsy-doodle spreading jelly on my life savings and shoving it up his ass like retarded people do all the time.

Also here's a great joke I just made up:

Q: How do you make Kitty litter?

A: Hide his trash can!

Feel free to use it at parties and other get-togethers, particularly if you want me to sue you for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Reader Comments

Now we get into a period of the band I don't like so much. Excluding the final song, which somehow won them a Grammy in 2010, and the song by f'ing Joan Baez, the rest is really second rate material. 6/10

Nice opener....urgghh galloping bassline on the second track.Make it stop! I told you they sounded a bit like Iron Maiden (or vice versa)

Starbreaker is yet another track that features the song title in the chorus' first line's first word (rolls eyes).

I actually quite like Rose's Lust After Sumner. But yes, Here come the tears is a major drag.

Hard to believe that this was recorded the year punk happened...or so I was told.

Raw Deal and Dissident Aggressor (great guitar solo) are pretty cool.

Coupla bonus tracks: Race With The Devil (OMFG is this a Iron Maiden cover?) and Jawbreaker (Live version, although I assume they didn't inspire the eponymous emo band?) The live Jawbreaker track on this album is actually a pretty cool indication of their live show.

Add your thoughts?

Stained Class - Columbia 1978
Rating = 7

It's October 31st! And you know what THAT means!!! In just two days, you'll have the opportunity to vote for wait what the f

It's October 31st! And you know that HATS mean!!! Tonight all the ghosts, ghouls, witches and goblins are out and about, spooking the rich and scaring the poor. And I have something special for all you boys and "ghouls" out there -- a ghoulish tale about ghouls, witches and demons! So come on boys and "ghouls," score your final field "ghoul," wave to a passing sea "ghoul," forgive my unmitigated "ghoul," and note that a fish breathes through its "ghoul" because it's time to settle down for a ghoulish "ghoul" "ghoul" "ghoul" story "ghoul"!

Mary was home alone late at night listening to the radio, when there a-came knockin' a special news bulletin about a psychotic killer having escaped from the mortuary just that night. "Oooh, that's creepy," she thought, turning off the radio and putting in her copy of Judas Priest's Stained Class CD. As the high-speed palm-muting metal madness of "Exciter" began blasting through her home, her feminine headbanging was suddenly interrupted by a loud telephone ring.

"Hello?" she answered, not even bothering to put "Exciter" on pause because it kicked so much ass. At first, she received no response. "Hello?" she repeated, eager to get back to "Exciter" in time for the pull-off solo and harmonized dual-guitar break. Suddenly a voice from the din whispered, "Heaaeeee... areereeeee.... GAAAAAAAH!" Frightened as a pea discovering it's alone in its pod, she slammed down the phone and stared at it with her hand in her mouth. There was a moment of tense silence. And then... IT DIDN'T RING AGAIN!!!!

As she sat back down on the green couch with polka-dot pillows, her thoughts drifted off to her opinion of Stained Class. "I don't know if it's just because I have the CD remaster or what," she thought, loudly, "but the guitars on here sound much more shiny, polished and chorusy than on the previous records." Just then she heard a scritch-scritching at her window. Filled with gallons of fear, she slowly crept on over to the shades. There it was again - a gentle scritch-scritch-scritch like the sound of a shiny silver blade clawing expectantly at a cold gentle window. With hand in heart on throat, she grabbed the curtain and yanked it open... IT WAS HER CAT!!!!

Returning trepidatiously to her golden chair with the silver polliwog etching, Mary began bopping her knee to the tuff blues-rock lick of the strangely-titled "White Heat, Red Hot," barely getting her funk on before it switched to the chugging headbang chorus. "This is the life," she thought, in Spanish. "Listen to all the echo, delay and futuristic sonic effects they employ on this record, though not in this particular song." Just then, the phone's ring sliced through the air like hard butter through a wet bowling ball. She lifted the handle to her mouth, scared but also frightened. "Heh-heh-hello?" she answered as if trying out for the lead role in Parker Posey's Party Girl. And her blood ran silent as the domineering voice on the other end announced, "Mary! We've traced the call! Please don't panic, but... IT'S COMING FROM NOWHERE NEAR THE HOUSE!!!!"

She thanked the hearty police officerman and returned to her cherry red Ottoman for the sexy fuckballs of Spooky Tooth cover "Better By You, Better Than Me." Eerily, her thoughts returned to that dreadful day in 1985 when two young Mensa scientists shot themselves in the face after listening to this song backwards. Little did they know that Judas Priest didn't even want to record this song; the record company forced them to do a cover song for single release, and this they chose. "Why didn't the dumbass lawyers blame it on 'Beyond The Realm Of Death,' a song that actually does seem to recommend suicide!?" she wondered, sucking on a cigarette shaped like the U.S. Capitol. Just then, she heard what sounded like somebody running down the stairs with an axe. Scared greatly and deeply, she grabbed her Judas Priest Stained Class CD and ran to her car as fast as her 3-inch feet could carry her. The door was open so she jumped in, shoved her key into the ignition and... THE CAR STARTED UP IMMEDIATELY!!!!

As she drove, she thought about how stylistically dated Stained Class sounded. "They're acting all tough again like on Sad Wings Of Destiny," she said to her car interior, which acted as a sort of primitive tape recorder. "It's hard to take this stuff seriously, but it's so catchy! Listen to that bombastic title track! This is METAAAALLLLL!" Just then, while stopped at a traffic light, she was horrified to see a large man in a hockey mask coming towards the car. Closer he came -- closer, closer. As her tongue jumped in her nose and her arms twirled agog at the hips, she realized to her terror... IT WAS A GUY PLAYING HOCKEY!!!!

"Hay, can you move your car? We're playing hockey," he said. "Also, did you notice how the theme of war runs through that whole album? Man fights man, nation fights nation, Earth fights space invaders, and finally saints fight demons in Hell! Even more interesting is 'Heroes End,' a heartfelt rocker that mourns the early deaths of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and James Dean. And can you turn up the volume? 'Invader' is 'pucking' awesome, if you get my hockey reference.'"

"No problem!" she replied, relieved. But no sooner had he skated back to his game than she heard a light scratching on the top of her car. Just a light scritchle-scritchle, like a one-armed psychotic killer scraping his hook against the metal, waiting for the right moment to attack. Against her better judgment, Mary slowly opened her door, peeked back and screamed in fright as she saw... A TREE LIMB SCRAPING THE ROOF OF HER CAR!!!!

She drove away, screaming for an additional 75 minutes before realizing that "Saints In Hell" and "Savage" are slow boring pieces of dung that suck all the energy out of the album for a good nine minutes. "Beyond The Realms Of Death" wasn't much better, pairing a "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"-style arpeggiated verse to a chorus bearing far too close a similarity to that of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love." "Wha' happen?" she wondered in sadness and sorrow. "The first half of this album was so good. But thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat's myyyyyyyyyyyyyy liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife!" Just then the escaped maniac burst through her windshield, slashing at her face and naked breasts (oh I forgot, she wasn't wearing a shirt the whole time) as she shrieked, bled, felt tremendous pain, and... WOKE UP!!!! THE WHOLE THING WAS A DREAM!!!!

Covered in perspiration but squeaky-thrilled to be alive, she cranked up the last song on Judas Priest's Stained Class CD, the gritty mean ass-pounder "Heroes End." Then the world blew up.

Reader Comments

First, watch this awesome clip of Halford during the suicide trial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgKFJisceOw I wish I could find the whole thing. Now, on the album, it starts with a first rate song and then spends the rest of the time in the toilet with filler. The worst album of their classic period. 5/10

Oh...hrghrh. More dugahdugahdugahdugahdugahdugahdugah riffs, tired lyrics about something (evil no doubt). I can't deny Rob Halfords vocal talent, but the Sabbath style lyrics about...urgh god. What is he talking about ? Something vague about hell, repentance, the "devil" and...and...and..."Stained Class"? Hmm maybe this is some king of enlightened social comme....

No. Fuck. J.R.R. Tolkien you have a lot to answer for.

Add your thoughts?

Hell Bent For Leather - Columbia 1978
Rating = 7

You'll recognize this one by the awesome "killing machine" on the cover. Yes, you've never seen a "killing machine" quite like the one on this album cover. See that guy strapped into the "killing machine" getting his head crushed until his eyeballs are squeezed out of his head, exploding into bloody shards in his sunglasses? That guy is hell bent for leather.

The guitars are sounding raw again and Halford has added a growly, gravelly lower register delivery to his vocal arsenal, but what's with all the anthemic pop-rock and cornball proto-hair metal on here? Between the Nugent adrenaline riffing of "Delivering The Goods" and "Hell Bent For Leather," the KISS goodtime stomping of "Evening Star" and "Take On The World," the Spinal Tap-stupid "Burnin' Up," and the swingin' Foreigner/Van Halen pop metal of "Rock Forever," you may find yourself wondering what in Damnation Alley happened to the Judas Priest you grew old and died with. My guess is that they were trying to move more units by appealing to a younger, stupider demographic.

Things finally take a turn for the mean at track seven, an awesomely vicious cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Green Manalishi With The Two-Pronged Crown" (later covered on the first C.O.C. album!). "Running Wild" will smash your head in the face too. I don't want to keep describing individual songs though. All you need to know is that this is a typically inconsistent Judas Priest record with a higher percentage of happy riffs and sleazy rock'n'sex lyrics than usual.

For example:

"You better watch out and hold on tight
We're heading your way like dynamite
Uhhh! Delivering the goods"

"I'm in love, so in love
And I can't stop talking 'bout my Rock Forever!"

"We're gonna drive ya, we're gonna ride ya
We're gonna get right inside ya
And if you wanna keep going, just shout out for more!"

"We've got to make love, the time is right
We've got to make love tonight
'Cause we're burnin' up!"

"We turn and face each other
My fingers pull your hair
You wince and jerk my wrist off
I bite my lip and stare
Your stance at once defiant
I'm rigid to your pose
You clench your teeth in anger
My loving swells and grows!"


More importantly, here are some of my recent Facebook status reports, delighting the world over:

Mark Prindle read something interesting about dating today: "There is no such thing as rejection; there are only bad matches." I take this to mean that if somebody rejects you, you should set fire to them.

Mark Prindle has a date tonight. Please don't tell her about my Tori Amos page. Apparently women like that moron.

Mark Prindle went swing dancing last night and was shocked to discover that you don't just sit in a swing and propel your body back and forth. It's time that they stop misinforming the public like that.

Mark Prindle demands that "Weird Al" Yankovic get off his rump and record a hilarious parody of Metallica's "Metal Militia" entitled "Petal Patricia." It will be about a woman who likes flowers, and will become a huge sensation hit on the college charts.

Mark Prindle just conducted a friend purge. If you can read this, you don't suck enough.

Mark Prindle just realized that the song he can't get out of his mind is in fact the Ramones' "Can't Get You Outta My Mind." Thanks for the laughs, brain asshole.

Mark Prindle just remembered that last night I sang the second line of "Suffragette City" as "Henry's here on my phone" while holding up my open cellphone to a photo of Henry The Dog. I'm certain this was Bowie's original vision.

Mark Prindle just remembered that before singing "Night Fever" with Jim Laakso tonight, I warned the crowd, "If any of you don't get up and dance, I'm gonna come out there and punch you in the face." Within seconds, the dance floor was packed! Good old violence, and the many problems it solves.

Mark Prindle is writing something very vague about a negative feeling related to an undisclosed occurrence or action. Just call me "A Guy on Facebook"!

Mark Prindle Alright, we've all had our fun. Now enough of this silliness. Give me a job.


Mark Prindle just watched John Carpenter's 1978 TV-movie "Someone's Watching Me!," thus momentarily lending credence to its title.

Mark Prindle just looked at his "online friends" list and saw Apollo Liftoff (Hammerhead), Colin Jerwood (Conflict), Jon Wurster (Superchunk), John LaChapelle (Surgery) and Murray Langston (The Unknown Comic). If I'd known when I was a kid that I would one day be able to communicate directly with people like this, I would've grown up at three times the speed.

Mark Prindle would like to congratulation Judas Priest's "Screaming For Vengeance" LP for earning a 7/10. Congratulations, 28-year-old album! This award is for YOU!

Mark Prindle just voted. It hurt! Why did they make me jam the pen into my arm like that? And then remove my arm and put it through a meat grinder? They need to come up with a better system. Also, why is my polling station located in a run-down Texas house with animal bones everywhere?

Mark Prindle doesn't understand women at all. Especially when they're speaking Spanish.

Mark Prindle ate enough candy last night to kill five children. So I did.

Mark Prindle mailed out the "My Wife Left Me Because These Songs Are Terrible" promo CDs yesterday, so if you get one, be sure and give it a good review. In fact, don't even bother listening to it.

Mark Prindle had completely forgotten that he helped Lee sing Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" at karaoke Monday night. He called me onstage without telling me that we'd be singing that godawful song, so I responded by screaming "THIS SONG SUCKS!" several times and then singing one of the verses in my death metal voice.

Mark Prindle has become entirely too fond of the 2006 slang term "whatevs." I originally began using it as a joke, but now I actually find it endearing. This has still not happened with "Really?" But perhaps in another four years, I'll come around.

Mark Prindle thinks Wes Craven is all the proof the world needs that the 'auteur theory' may have some holes.

Mark Prindle quite enjoyed Bob Dylan's new "The Witmark Demos" CD on first listen. Which is too bad really, because that title just screams out for "Yeah, more like the SHITmark Demos!"

Mark Prindle can't help it. He's going to see this new "Paranormal Activity" movie in 40 minutes. He knows he is. That's the kind of person he is. Have you seen him? That's him!

Mark Prindle just awoke from a dream in which I learned of the death of baseball great Carl Yastrzemski. So if he dies any time soon, I think we can all agree that I killed him while sleepwalking.

Mark Prindle just watched the supernatural slasher film "Fingerprints." My one conclusion that most eloquently describes its lack of quality is this: I really enjoyed the scenes with Lou Diamond Phillips.

Mark Prindle didn't mean to click "like" on Victoria's Secret. Can I unlike that? I feel like a jackass now.

Mark Prindle at karaoke tonight sang Jethro Tull's "Aqualung" and assisted others with Dave Clark Five's "Glad All Over," Monkees' "Stepping Stone," "Something by Leonard Cohen" and "Something Else I Can't Remember." It was a terrible night filled with terrible people. They all gave me tubercolosis.

Mark Prindle saw "Jackass 3D" tonight. It was plenty funny, but come on -- 17 dollars!? And $42.50 for a box of Junior Mints?

Mark Prindle currently has a White Flag CD playing on the computer and a Black Flag album sitting on the turntable. Why hasn't the world blown up yet?

Mark Prindle just watched "The Wild Bunch." Unfortunately I liked it so I can't post "It was Peckinpathetic!" like I'd been planning to do since purchasing the film six months ago.

Mark Prindle started reading "Earth: The Book" and "Why Be Something That You're Not" today! At the same time, one out of each eye. So far, neither of them make any sense at all.

Mark Prindle Who doesn't love a dog that says "I love you"? May that person burn in Hell.

Mark Prindle just watched "Pontypool." It was neat! Neat. It was neat. I was neat. Do you have neat. Do I naught neat. Not neat. Neat neat neat neat neat neat neat neat

Mark Prindle passed a law back in '64 to give those who ain't got nothin' more. Apparently some jerk wrote a song about it decades later.

Mark Prindle sang Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," David Lee Roth's "Yankee Rose" and Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2" at karaoke tonight. I'm starting to think I annoy people when I walk out into the crowd and wrap the mic cord around their legs. Oh well.

Mark Prindle now has 1600 Facebook friends -- one for each point I didn't score on the SAT!

Mark Prindle watched "My Best Fiend" last night. Had I known it was just 90 minutes of Herzog talking into a camera, I'd have taken a camera to Herzog's house and said, "Hey tell me about Kinski."

Mark Prindle just picked up his meds from a pharmacist whose name tag read "Ms. Pringle." MY FUTURE WIFE!?!? No.

Mark Prindle just did a massive "Friend Purge," so if you're reading this, congratulations! You're not the one person I deleted before getting bored with the whole idea.

Mark Prindle can't wait until September 1st, 2025 -- or as he likes to call it, "Yes Day."

Mark Prindle greatly enjoyed performing "Parents Just Don't Understand," "Owner of A Lonely Heart" and Three Dog Night's "One," as well as assisting other folks on the Beatles' "Help!" and "Hey Jude" at karaoke tonight. My favorite moment was dedicating "One" to 'all you guys out there who've had your penis explode in the bathtub....'

Reader Comments

The nightmare with this album is that it has been released with so many track orders. The UK and US releases had the sides switched. I originally had it on cassette where they reordered the songs to save a 1/10 of a penny on extra tape.

In reality, most of this album is poorly written pop metal (excluding Green Manalishi which rocks), but it's so happy about it, that this album is a guilty pleasure for me. 7/10

I've got a great misheard lyric. I've been listening to this album for almost 30 years. I've always heard "Screams as curb piracy strikes" which I knew had to be wrong, but never looked up until today.

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* Unleashed In The East (Live In Japan) - Columbia 1979 *
Rating = 10

We'll get to the Priest in a second. First I need to talk to you people about a couple of things. The first is this hilarious thing I did on Halloween Eve. It was ultimately harmless, so it's not as interesting as my stories usually are, but I still think it's a fine example of the sorts of idiocy I've been up to lately. I was at a super-crowded party in a Williamsburg apartment enjoying vodka and a cover band that performed everything from Radiohead to The Sweet's "Little Willy" when I suddenly realized that somebody had drank the rest of my vodka. Thankfully, another person was passing around a bottle of whiskey so I took some swigs, some more swigs, and then some additional swigs. I guess this did the trick, because a few minutes later I was chatting with some friends in the apartment's courtyard when a Motorhead-looking stranger with a long black beard walked over and asked, "Free acid?" I politely responded, "No, we don't have any acid." And he chuckled and said, "No no, I'm giving away free acid!" So I replied, "Oh, okay!" and opened my mouth so he could put a tab in there.

Now see, I know you do acid every few minutes, but I've never used any hallucinogens at all so in retrospect I find it extremely entertaining that I would've unquestioningly said, "Oh, okay!" and let a motorcycle gang-looking stranger with a long beard throw a hallucinogen in my mouth. For all I knew, he could've placed a hemlock leaf or arsenic stamp under my tongue, thus murdering me and fulfilling the demand of his Samhain God!

Ultimately, nothing happened as far as I can tell. My friends said I was acting pretty spacey, but I remember it pretty clearly and I was just super-drunk. So here's my warning to you: if a scary Joe Coleman-looking man you've never met offers you free drugs, take them! Then, even if nothing interesting happens, you can still write about it on the Internet.

But here's the more important thing I need to discuss with you. Actually, you men can skip this part because it's directed towards the ladies.

What the hell is up with you woman people? In the last two nights, I have been led on and stood up by two completely different women from entirely different parts of the world. Am I that ugly!? Or am I ignoring some sort of dating etiquette with which I'm unfamiliar? Here, let me tell you my melancholy tales of woe, and you can provide your thoughts in essay form on the other side of the paper.

On Monday night I went to my usual karaoke hoedown at Piano's NYC, where I seemingly caught the eye of an attractive Venezuelan blonde woman. She laughed heartily at my disco moves during the Jim Laakso/me "You Should Be Dancin'" duet, danced with me throughout the night, invited me onstage to sing The Police's "Roxanne" with her, and occasionally held my hand or wrapped her arms around me like a woman will do. In fact, at one point some guy I didn't know called me over to chat just so he could say, "What are you doing? She wants you! Get her!" Having no clue how exactly one goes about "getting" another human being (I'm really not much for "hitting on people." It feels sleazy and foreign to me), I told him thanks and went back to what I was doing before. At some point late in the evening, I offered to buy her a drink and she accepted. But then all of a sudden these three Spanish guys started talking to her, and that was it for Ol' Prind! After 2-3 hours of flirty good times, I was tossed aside like an old salad. This was fine because I already knew that she was just visiting from San Francisco and would be returning there shortly. But still, how could it not make me feel like an ugly bald stupid jackass!? What had I done wrong? Was it just a matter of the Spanish guys being better-looking? They weren't exactly Enrique Iglesias their own selves! I do know that at one point earlier, the woman had said to me, "Why are you analyzing everything? I can see in your eyes that you're analzying everything." So maybe I was constantly taking myself out of the moment without realizing it. Weird. I get that she was just there to have fun though, so maybe it was simply more fun speaking Spanish with the Spanish guys than watching me American Boy analyze everything.

But this second example REALLY confuses me. There's a very cute 26-year-old woman there on the OKCupid, and we've been exchanging little email thingies here and there. Explain this one to me:

Her on OKCupid, Saturday: "Happy Halloween to you as well! Do you want to do maybe Tuesday? I can meet you in the city after work im done around six."

Her on OKCupid, Monday night: "So my number is [REDACTED], i most likely wont be done with work until around seven or eight, so just let me know if you want to meet up for a drink around then...cheers."

I called her yesterday (Tuesday) at about 6 PM, asking if she was still available for a drink. She immediately texted me back saying, "Hey still at work ill call you when i leave and maybe we can meet." I therefore texted back, "Ok. Speak to you soon!"

At 9:45, having heard nothing from her, I texted, "Hi! How's it looking?"

At 12:24 AM, having heard nothing from her, I sent a note on OKCupid saying "Did I miss your call? Or did you end up working really late?"

She has not been on OKCupid since 5:15 yesterday, hasn't texted, hasn't called.


Did one of you tell her I'm an asshole or something?

So my conclusion is that nobody will ever love me again and I will die alone curled up in a ball of shit. Now then, about the first live Judas Priest album. Although it starts off a bit trebly and Halford has admitted that all of his vocals were re-recorded in the studio, this set list is to die hard or live trying for. Comprising four Sad Wings of Destiny tracks, two each from Hell Bent For Leather and Sin After Sin, one from Stained Class and an undeserved zero from Rocka Rolla, Unleashed In The Easter Egg Basket is the most consistent Judas Priest album you're going to find anywhere in my collection. "The Ripper" is still so dumb I want to invent a sonic dunce cap for it, but they've really cranked up the viciousness of the formerly tepid "Genocide," and the other seven songs have kicked ass since the day(s) they were written.

If you own a turntable, you will probably find this in a dollar bin very soon. BUY IT. If you're not sure whether or not Judas Priest is up your alley, this album will show you. Trust me -- if you are incapable of enjoying early metal tracks as fistpumpingly killer as "Running Wild," "Sinner," "The Green Manalishi," "Tyrant" and "Victim Of Changes," you are not a Judas Priest fan. I can't call it a necessity for those who already own the four preceding studio records, but even those folks should get a kick out of the rawer, louder live versions of "Genocide" and "Exciter." And if you're not "jerking the gherking" to the shirtless bare-chested photo of a half-naked Rob Halford astride a phallic motorbike, holding his arm erect in the air as the stage lights glisten off of his sexy leather jacket, then mister, you ain't gay.

PLEASE NOTE: That was not a reference to Rob Halford's homosexuality; it was a reference to his chosen style of dress on the back cover of this LP. So it doesn't count towards the page total.

Can I say something about fruits real quick? I just want to make it clear that fruits are an unfairly maligned group of people who absolutely deserve the same rights -- including marital -- that us non-fruits have. If you hate fruits, take a close look at yourself and question what you're so afraid of. I'm pretty sure I'm speaking to the converted (i.e. fruit supporters) here anyway, as my site tends not to attract fruit haters. But just on the off-chance that a fruit-bashing Nazi ever shows up here to make fun of Robert Halford's fruituality, I want to make my official position on fruits clear: fruits are some of the sweetest people you'll ever meet, and only half of them fuck little kids. So let's g

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British Steel - Columbia 1980
Rating = 8

Reader Comments

Great Review Mark! That's so true about "United". It so doesn't fit this album and sounds like a "Hell Bent" session leftover used to pad this album. A 9.5 in my book with United dragging it down.

Ever fantasize about how much better certain songs would be if they were peformed by other groups?

Well, I have. Don't judge. Fear could have demolished "Breaking The Law". Imagine Philo Kramer embellishing the mind blowing opening chord with his mastery while Lee Ving barks out the lyrics like a marine corps drill sergeant (with a few gratitutious swipes at gays thrown in for good measure). Not that there's anything wrong with that.....

Now THAT would be a song for the ages.

Other alternative track scenarios I like to mull over include:

Johnny Cash singing Penny Royal Tea. F--- the Nine Inch Nails cover. Cash was born to sing Penny Royal tea. He left some unfinished business behind.

A reggae version of Hotel California by.....whoever does passable reggae. It would work like soya sauce on vanilla ice cream (try it; try both if you have access to a reggae band).

I may never stop laughing at this review.

Kristian Gustafson
O, British Steel
I won't waste anyone's time reiterating all of the awesomeness found here. ("So say we all!") Just a couple of interesting points:
1.The drums sound fantastic on this album. My opinion of Dave Holland as a drummer is pretty darn low, but the production was right on. These drums rumble with a crazy amount of ferocity.
2. Why isn't there a JP Greatest Hits album called "Metal Gods?"
3. That bit in track 4, starting about 1:18 -- "Fearing for our lives/Reaped by robot scythes /SWOOSH/Metal Gods" followed by four power chords -- is, hands down, the best 17 seconds in NWOBHM history.

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Point Of Entry - Columbia 1981
Rating = 6

First things first: I was singing this album's mean manly single "Heading Out to the Highway" at karaoke just two nights ago when I realized, "Wait a minute. The karaoke company(TM) is making fun of Robert 'Rob' Halford's vocal style here!" And mister, I wasn't tellin' no lies. Here is just a small example of what the screen read to me:

"Making a curve-ah
Or taking the strain-ah
On the decline-ah
Or out on the wain-ah"

First of all, that's unnecessarily mean. Secondly, what would these guys do if they decided to put some Fall in their machine!? Top doctors agree that their brains would literally turn into a bunch of fire ants and crawl out their ear.

Irregardless, the song rocks the dick out of my ass (which is fine because I really shouldn't have a dick in my ass anyway, what with the heterosexuality). Unfortunately, the rest of the album is a textbook example of Judas Priest at its most aggravatingly inconsistent. The problem is two-fold: (a) the album was almost all spontaneously written and recorded in the studio -- meaning they didn't rehearse the songs enough times to realize how simplistic and boring some of them were (see Metallica's St. Anger for an even worse result of this working process); and (b) presumably inspired by the commercial success enjoyed by "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight" on the previous album, they seem to have gone out of their way to make this record as radio-friendly as possible.

To their credit, side one -- though much cleaner and more accessible than British Steel -- is still quite strong, full of dark musical themes and a thick, rich guitar tone. But the second side is bogged down with incredibly basic goodtime rock'n'roll cliches -- as if the foremost thought in their minds was not following their muse or pushing metal forward, but rather getting as many songs on the radio as possible.

Perhaps for this very reason, most of the lyrics are dumb-as-bell sex/rockin' nonsense (ex. "I see the crowd/I hear the roar!"; "You're nothing but a teaser/Gimme some relief!"; "Alright baby/You know how to have a good time don't cha?"; "You bring me round with your velvet hands/You're gettin' new life to me!"; "I'm a rockin' and sellin' my soul/Cause I'm livin' for rock and for roll!"). But I have to hand it to Robert "Robert Pollard" Halford for at least not making "Heading Out To The Highway" actually about heading out to the highway. It's a metaphor! Specifically, a metaphor for going your own way, not falling in with the crowd, and living your life the way you want to without fear or regret. And that's why he hid his sexuality from the world for the first 24 years of his career.

Okay, let's be honest; I'm mentioning it a lot more than I'd intended to.

But more importantly, what is up with this ongoing problem of songwriting inconsistency? Every track is credited to Tipton/Halford/Downing (and has been for the past few albums), but at this point I really have to question whether it's one guitarist coming up with all the great material and the other churning out the shit songs. Because otherwise it makes no sense! How could the same men who blast your brain across the rock and roll galaxy with "Hot Rockin'" (EDITOR'S NOTE: GAYEST VIDEO IN HISTORY. GO TO YOUTUBE AND WATCH IT RIGHT NOW), get your emotional heart pumping FM radio blood to "Turning Circles," and AC/DC your face off with "Desert Plains" and "On The Run" so easily shed hundreds of IQ (Ice-Qicking) points in order to spew out boneheaded embarrassments like clunky grunt-funker "Don't Go," tortoise-paced pop rocker "Solar Angels," sophomoric KISS ripoff "All The Way" and Foreigner-lite doldrum "Troubleshooter"? And don't tell me 'eggs' because 'eggs' aren't the problem with everything stop blaming 'eggs.'

The final equation for Point Of Entry is as follows:

(and please note that not once in this review did I reference the staring-you-in-the-face anal sex imagery of the album title)

Dumbed-Down Songwriting
+ Happy Goodtime Rock'n'Roll
+ Commercial Aspirations
+ 'eggs'

Reader Comments

I'm apparently one of the few people who really likes this album. You don't like "Solar Angels" but I love that song - Halford carries it. But I agree it has the Bermuda Triangle on the second side ("You Say Yes", "All The Way", "Troubleshooter"). 7.5/10 probably.

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Screaming For Vengeance - Columbia 1982
Rating = 7

"If you think I'll sit around as the world goes by
You're thinkin' like a fool 'cause it's a case of do or die
Out there is a fortune waitin' to be had
If you think I'll let it go, you're mad
You've got another thing comin'

I have just quoted:
(a) the first Judas Priest song I ever heard
(b) my favorite Judas Priest song
(c) a song whose title is either a strange pun or simple misquote of the old cliche "You've got another think coming."
(d) Judas Priest's most successful U.S. single ever, reaching #67 on the Billboard Hot 100

If you are reading this page, I can't imagine that you haven't heard "You've Got Another Thing Comin'." However, if this is the case, please go to YouTube and listen to it right now. I can't think of another song that so perfectly encapsulates the sound of early '80s mainstream heavy metal. With a driving midtempo beat, mean stutter-chugging guitars, a fantastically hooky chorus and coda, and a typically excellent (and sardonic!) vocal delivery, the song is a perfect introduction to the Judas Priest aesthetic at its most straightforward and ear-rewarding. And it thrills the dirtlights out of me that a song this uncompromisingly pissed-off-sounding made the band a household name in a way that its slicked-up commercial predecessor had failed to do.

And that's actually the secret of the entire album: chastised mercilessly by fans and critics for the (correctly) perceived sellout of Point of Entry, the band here returns to the angry NWOBHM sound on which they'd made their name, played their game and found their fame. Released on the ninth birthday of top-selling music critic Mark Prindle, Screaming For Vengeance is an angry, brooding, simmering, dark METAL album to send METAL up your ASSBUTT. America responded with fistpumps of onanistic joy, after which they washed their hand and bought the album, driving it to Double Platinum status! Indeed, the album literally turned into Kiss's Double Platinum immediately upon purchase. It was weird, not sure how they did that.

Unfortunately -- and feel free to call me a 'piss boner' if you want (though I suspect you actually mean 'piss and moaner') -- Screaming For Vangelis is just as inconsistent as Hell Bent For Loukas, Stained Koulouris, Sad Wings of Demistry and Rocka Jon Anderson before it. Its finest songs -- speedy metal god "Electric Eye," mean as blood "Bloodstone," AC/DC headbanger "Devil's Child" and Best Song Ever(TM) "You've Got Another Thing Comin' -- are joyful joyful I adore thee, but elsewhere the record either relies on high energy to mask generic rock 'n roll licks (the title track, for example, is just a simplified ripoff of Deep Purple's "Burn") or bogs down its meanness in listless, sluggish tempos (Does "Fever" ever end!?! I swear it's still playing from when I turned it on three weeks ago).

Still, though song quality varies from track to track, it's heartening to note that the album's only nod to accessibility is the outside composition "(Take These) Chains," a terrible pop ballad that should've been sold to Bon Jovi, not Britain's hard rocking Judas Priest Band & Combo. Foolishly, the band released this wretched commercial bullshit as a single, which proceeded to... not chart at all!

On the topic of lyrics, they mostly leave behind the nauseating sex'n'rock nonsense of recent times to focus instead on themes of betrayal, revenge, conformity, self-reliance, and even surveillance spy cameras (in "Electric Eye," apparently based on Orwell's 1984) (though not as apparently as the David Peel album 1984, featuring such tracks as "The Members of 1984," "The Proles of 1984," "Totalitarian 1984" and "1984") (I know -- who would've guessed that the man behind Have A Marijuana could demonstrate such a lack of subtlety?).

Here are some great jokes I just made up at 5 in the morning, the world's most creative time:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Rob Halford
Rob Halford who?
You know, the one whose sexual preference you bring up every few minutes
Oh, the GAY one!

What do you get when you cross Rob Halford with a saber-toothed tiger?
I don't know, but you'd better keep it away from Neil Hamburger! Because he'll recognize it as a joke I stole from him.

How many members of Judas Priest does it take to screw in a light bulb?
If by "light bulb," you mean "little boy dressed up like a light bulb," then just Dave Holland.

What's the difference between "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" and Miley Cyrus?
"You've Got Another Thing Comin" hit #67 on the Billboard chart, and Miley Cyrus did #69 with the Billboard editor

Why did Judas Priest cross the road?
I don't know. Why do the British do anything? Probably wasn't to brush their teeth or make decent food, I'll tell you that much.

Reader Comments

Isn't "The Hellion/Electric Eye" the most kickass intro to an album ever? Bon Jovi with "(Take These) Chains" would have been a Hurricane Katrina disaster in the making. Halford saves the song and I quite enjoy the solo. Halford completely makes the title track as well and then it is so funny that he drops his voice like two octanes on the next track. I'll admit that "Fever" drags on too long, but that is the only flaw for me on this album. 10/10 and probably the best metal album of all times.

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Defenders Of The Faith - Columbia 1984
Rating = 7

Okay, I have to tell you about something that just happened because it was totally gucked up. You know how last night at like 5:00 AM I kept playing "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" over and over again as I was writing a review about how much I love "You've Got Another Thing Comin'"? Well, so of course the song got stuck in my head, which is fine because it gucken rules, so today while I was jogging I had "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" running through my head and then later while walking Henry The Dog I again had "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" running through my head and yeah sometimes it's a pain in the ass to have a song stuck in your head but when it's a great one like "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," it's okay. So anyway I walked Henry The Dog to McDonald's to get a cheeseburger, and then to the Pet Store to get a treat -- and it was between these two destinations that I was actually singing "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" out loud so you know I'm serious about it. And then after the Pet Store, we headed over to the Drug Store where his friends always give him Milk Bones. Okay, so we entered the store and strolled to the last aisle when suddenly I heard a guitar lick that was ALL TOO FAMILIAR. "Whoa," I thought. "I didn't just hear that." But I stopped -- because I had to know. And it kept playing. "I'm just hearing things," I thought. "Just like I used to always think I heard Bono singing in the bathroom at my ex-wife's old apartment, when clearly he couldn't have been there because he was tied up in a sack in the closet." But I wasn't crazy, nor insane. And to prove it, I stood in the middle of a drug store aisle staring at the ceiling with my mouth agape for the entire second half of Judas Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Comin'."

Surely this couldn't have just been a coincidence. First of all, why the hell would Judas Priest be playing in a drug store!? And at the exact moment I entered!? Not twelve hours after I wrote a review praising the song as if it were the Baby Jesus!? No, this was no coincidence. This was Divine Fate and Providence. This was God telling me, "Hay man, thanks for finally reviewing the Priest. Did you know Rob Halford is a Christian? He is, and I totally dig that because that's my religion. Actually, my first religion was Jewish I guess, but then after my son Jesus Christ was born, I became a Christian. You know, you gotta support your kids. Not sure why they picked the name 'Christian' though. Why not 'Jesusian'? Or just 'Christo'? And then we could drape colored cloth all over everything and go to Heaven for it. Ha! Little joke. But I'll let you get back to what you were doing, there at the drug store. If they have any of those hairbands shaped like animals, pick me up some of those." And the only way I can think of to appropriately thank God for offering me this rare sign of his presence and benevolence is by saying, "Thanks, God, for playing that Judas Priest song in the drug store." Because if he expects me to stop shoving a Bible up my ass every time I masturbate onto a nun, I'm sorry but that's just not going to happen.

Defenders Of The Faith is a strange record. Probably the strangest in the Judas Priest catalog, actually. First of all, the songs are even harder and more metallic than on Screamin' For Vengeance, but the drums are all run through this corny '80s gated/reverb effect that makes them sound like Billy Idol pop-metal bullshirt. Secondly, the songs are far more developed and built-out than anything they've done in ages, often running through several different riffs, playing styles and emotional moods in a single track. Thirdly, Halford gives his higher register a major workout, probably confusing the heck out of listeners previously privy only to his manly "You Got Another Thing Comin'" delivery. Fourthly, this is definitely the band's most serious foray into Power Metal -- the sort of humorless, overdramatic, minor-key-laden bombast metal that Iron Maiden has been churning out for three decades. And fifthly, THIS.

As former Engine drummer Brendan McCusker wrote on Facebook the other day, "The guitar work on Defenders is about as good as it gets with Priest." I concur 50 bajillion times. JJ and Steve (or whoever) clearly put a lot of effort into this one, ensuring that the songs never just go 'chord chord chord' like their straightforward work of the past several years. These compositions instead feature memorable arpeggios, dual-guitar breaks, melodic solos and line-ending licks and all kinds of other sonic input to keep your ears and brain interested between the chord changes.

Aside from the hideous drum tone, my only problem with the record is that I prefer loud'n'proud Judas Priest to stone-faced Iron Maiden, and over-earnest songs like "Rock Hard Ride Free," "Love Bites" and "Jawbreaker" really tread the line. Heck, Halford even sings like Bruce Dickinson in "Jawbreaker." The guitarwork and vocals are untouchable throughout, but the disc could use a few more smile-out-loud facepunchers like "Freewheel Burning" and "Eat Me Alive."

On the lyrical jij, "Love Bites" is about a vampire, "Jawbreaker" is about a big dick, "The Sentinel" is about a guy killing an entire gang by hurling knives at them, and "Love Bites" is about Rob Halford forcing someone to give him a blowy at gunpoint. Anyone who cares even slightly what the other six songs are about clearly hasn't read the previous sentence.

Even if a 7/10 isn't the most impressive grade you've never seen, I do urge you to buy this one. They did a good job of creating a record that doesn't sound quite like any other Priest disc on the market.

Not that Judas Priest literally has any discs "on the market." Why, can you imagine? Stockbrokers trading shares of Stained Class and Sin After Sin as if they were corporate entities? The release of Turbo would've thrown the country into a Great Depression unlike any since 2009!

(See next review)

Reader Comments

You heard Judas Priest in a drug store. I'll take your bet and raise you - I heard the original unedited "Time Warp" (Rocky Horror Picture Show) in a family burger joint. Nothing says family values like the phrase "pelvic thrust"!!!

"Defenders Of The Faith is a strange record." No Joke. I've had it since probably the week it was released, listened to it hundreds of times, and I still feel like I haven't digested it.

"Love Bites" is brilliant but doesn't sound like Judas Priest at all. I'm not a big fan of "Eat Me Alive" but in hindsight, it is hilarious all the women's groups getting upset over this song. But my favorite thing is that this album and Spinal Tap did similar sounding songs called "Heavy Duty" and given the timing I don't think they knew of each other doing it.

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Turbo - Columbia 1986
Rating = 2

Yeah, more like TURDbo if you ask me!

Listen, I'm sick. I've spent the last 30 or so hours blowing bloody mucus out of my nose, spitting gooey slop out of my mouth, and releasing gallons of perspiration from my Olympian torso. However, if you were to collect all of that snot, phlegm and sweat into a bottle, pour it onto a bowl of Cheerios, and ask me to choose between eating the cereal and listening to this album again, I'd probably have to flip a coin.

Those in the know will tell you that this is Judas Priest's "synthesizer" album, but that's not the real problem. Yes, there are synths and electronic pulse beats on the record, but it's still very much a guitar-focused record. Nevertheless, Turbo is a bewildering misstep that makes absolutely no sense in the band's discography. Defenders of the Faith, though mixed poorly, was a testament to the power of the creative guitarist and gifted vocalist. Turbo, written and recorded a mere two years later, is one of the worst hair metal albums ever released.

Imagine the members of Def Leppard, Poison and Motley Crue shoved into a gigantic blender and liquified into a thick paste. Now keep this pleasing image in your mind and maybe you won't throw up while sitting through such humiliating, obvious, pussy-assed, lipstick-wearing birdshit as "Locked In," "Private Property," "Hot For Love" and "Rock You All Around The World." You will find neither aggression nor ideas on Turbo; just sleazy stupid cliches and pedestrian goodtime garbage. And God that fucking DRUM TONE!

The few enjoyable moments include:

1. The hilarious 'gay disco' vibe of "Turbo Lover"
2. The catchy pop vocal melody of "Parental Guidance" (just the verse though; the chorus sounds like Warrant)
3. Rob's insane wailing delivery that elevates the otherwise cornball pop metal "Wild Night, Hot & Crazy Days" to something like 'AC/DC meets White Lion'
4. The emotional, haunting, dark metal verse of "Reckless" (quickly displaced by a boneheaded Bullet Boys chorus)
5. The sound of the tone arm lifting the needle from the record and returning to the parking pylon

Thankfully the lyrics are especially challenging and erudite, thrilling language scholars and political leaders worldwide with such innovative thought processes as:

"In the cities of the World, You know every boy and girl
Goes crazy to the beat of rock n' roll
And as the volume is soaring, all the crowd is roaring
Let it roll!"

"Come on, gettin' hot tonight
Come on, that's right
Come on, there's no end in sight
Come on alright!"

"I tremble and I quake
When you shake the things you shake!"

"You always chew me out
Because I stay out late
Until your three-piece suit comes back in date,
get one thing straight
We don't need, no, no no no parental guidance here!"

"So keep your hands off, Private Property
Hands off. Oh oh
Keep your hands off private property
Hands off me. Hands off. Keep your hands off me!"

If you buy this album, I promise your baby will come out retarded.

Reader Comments

You are being very kind to this album and "Ram It Down". Both deserve ZEROES and the less that's said about them the better.

Add your thoughts?

Priest...Live! - Columbia 1987
Rating = 7

I'm so tired I can't even get my bearings straight (Bering Strait). How do you people do it -- get up every day and do things? I had to get up at 6:30 AM this morning and now, a mere 18 and a half hours later, all I want to do is retire to my bed bug collection for a good night's itch. So let's write this shittin' review and do it quick-a-lo.

Priest...Live! was recorded on June 15, 1986 and June 27, 1986 and features one Point of Entry song, two Screaming For Vengeance, three British Steel four Defenders of the Faith and a nauseating five from Turbo. The rough live sound renders them slightly less nauseating than before, but they'll still do the trick if you accidentally eat a chicken bone off the street or something.

An interesting thing here is that they don't include any songs from their first five albums, as if to say, "That era was adequately covered on our first concert album (except for Rocka Rolla because it doesn't have anything off that one)." But if you've decided that your Judas Priest collection should include nothing but live albums, this one features strong performances of the classics "Heading Out To The Highway," "Breaking The Law," "Living After Midnight" and "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," as well as additional singles "Freewheel Burning," "Electric Eye," "Turbo Lover," "Love Bites," "Parental Guidance" and "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll." "Metal Gods" stinks on here though. Where's the menace? Where's the hypnotic harmony vocal? Where's my pillow? I'm sleepy.

Here are a few jokes that I'm going to make up right now, to prove to you how sleepy I am.

What kind of flower is also a fish that urinates?
A pee-tuna! (petunia)

Why did the Aerosmith fan cross the road?
To get to "The Other Side"!

What do you get when you cross a Styx album with a collection of Star Wars action figures?
Laid, of course!

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Knock knock!
Knock knock who?
My name is "Knock Knock," you fucking asshole! Open the cocksucking shit door!

How many light bulbs does it take to change a vacuum cleaner?
It depends on many variables!

I know that last one appeared to be just lazy nonsense, but I urge you to spend a few hours ruminating on it, just in case there's an actual joke in there somewhere.

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Ram It Down - Columbia 1988
Rating = 4

Okay, I'll be honest. The more I watch that gay "Hot Rockin'" video, the more I think I love that song to an even greater degree than "You've Got Another Thing Comin'." It's so punky and stupid! And now that I can't hear the song without picturing the shirtless band pumping iron and taking a shower together, it's even better! Plus -- and this is something I totally missed until a Facebook friend pointed it out -- "The final scene is priceless: A literally flaming band rocks out in front of seven or so teenage boys." At this point, I can't even take Henry outside without singing, "I wanna go! I wanna go! I wanna go -- DOG WALKIN'!" What a video! What a song! What am I doing talking about it in the review for Ram It Down!

Judas Priest apparently intended Ram It Down to serve as an apology for Turbo, but they might as well have apologized for flooding the planet by making a shitty rainbow because this album blows nearly as much as its rightfully maligned predecessor.

It starts off quite promising with a high-energy title track that makes you think you're about to have your ears lifted off your head by the force of rock. But then no other song comes even close to the same speed or aggression. Why do bands do that!? Put a really fast song at the beginning and then follow it up with nothing but midtempo material? Obviously they understand the power of a fast song; that's why they put it first! So (a) why don't they include more fast songs, and (b) why don't they realize how disappointed their listeners are going to be when they're tricked into expecting an uptempo thrash attack and wind up with a bunch of limpdick cock rock?

For you see, that's what Ram It Down is - corny 'tuff' cock rock. It's an improvement on happy hair metal, sure, but not much of one because the songwriting is still stranded in the gutter of corny cheeseballs. And sure, Corny Cheeseballs sounds like a great snack, but do you really want it in your stereo? Of course not. All the crumbs and sodium would mess up your laser.

Furthermore, the album has one of the worst production sounds I have ever heard on a major label release. It sounds like a demo! The way everything is mixed, it literally sounds like Judas Priest consists of the following members:

- Rob Halford, Godlike Vocals From Hell
- One guitar player, possibly KK Downing
- A drum machine

It's as if the entire band quit and Halford replaced them with whatever he had lying around the house. Some tracks even feature synth bass, a boon for Seinfeld fans but schlock nightmare for us true metal fans out here. Not that I'm a true metal fan, but this album sucks.

You know what I mean by corny 'tuff' cock rock, right? It sounds like the band THINKS they're kicking ass, but all they're doing is sounding like idiots. The Priest has proven time and again that they know how to legitimately kick ass, but all of these clich d and poorly written riffs reek of trying too hard. It's the sonic equivalent of action film actors trying to look badass by wearing dark sunglasses and never smiling. You don't kick ass by writing macho licks that call attention to themselves; you kick ass by buckling down and KICKING ASS. I realize that's a terrible definition, but Judas Priest shouldn't need one. They did British Steel, for Christ's sake.

On another topic, I met a new woman that I like a lot. In celebration of my good luck and posture, here is a list of things to do on a first date:

1. Before your introductory handshake, hide an egg in your palm so that it cracks open violently when your hands meet, spilling yolk and white fluid all over both of your arms. Then romantically tell her, "That's what my dick's gonna do to your egg!"

2. It is customary for the man to order for his date, so after you've told the waiter what you would like, be sure to add "And just bring Fatso an apple."

3. Go out of your way to make sure that your date feels safe with you by demonstrating your nunchucks skills sporadically throughout the meal.

4. Don't bore your date by talking about yourself the entire meal. Instead, bring a TV to the restaurant so you won't miss the game.

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Painkiller - Columbia 1990
Rating = 8

Astonishingly, this CD lives up to its title, fully healing the pain inflicted on our eardrums by TurBOO and Ram SHIT Down. Dumping hair metal and cock rock into the toilet of history where they belong, Painkiller is a ludicrously over-the-top "METAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!!!" album so mean, histrionic and overearnest that it could almost pass for a Spinal Tap album if the lyrics were a bit less funny. Not that this band was ever the picture of understatement, but between Rob's unrecognizably manic high-pitched wails, new drummer Scott Travis's love of the double-bass kick drum, and Downing/Tipton's metal-up-your-ass riffage, Painkiller finds Judas Priest at their most outrageously overblown ever. Amazingly (considering the low quality of their last two records) the musical and vocal hooks are strong enough to make this outdated balls-to-the-wall approach sound downright AWESOME!

Let's be honest -- 1990 was far too late for somebody to put out a NWOBHM album this unironically headbangy. Even if it were a speed metal album (which it's not; only four of the ten songs rise above a medium pace), even that genre was pretty much dead in the water by 1990. But these songs are (a) catchy as all hell, (b) not cliched or predictable, and (c) so METAL!!!! that you'll literally feel studs and leather growing out of your skin as you listen. So even if you can't listen to it without laughing until you wet your pants, you also can't help but bang your fist, shake your head and Hail Anachronistic Metal!!! (as you wet your pants)

Ridiculous song titles include "Hell Patrol," "All Guns Blazing," "Leather Rebel" and "Metal Meltdown." Enjoyable tracks include everything aside from the awful ELP-gone-metal mistake "A Touch Of Evil," which inexplicably wound up on the band's next three live CDs as well. If you take your music seriously, you may have difficulty getting into the mood of this unintentionally goofy release. But if you're into rock for the fun of it, get the dick out of your ear and prepare yourself for some straight-up face-clinched fist-scrunched MEDDLE!!!!!

I'll leave you with some Painkiller jokes I bought from Jimmy "J.J." Walker for this occasion:

Knock knock
Who's there?

What do you get when you cross a dinosaur with a mite?

What do Jay Leno and David Letterman have in common?
They both began their careers writing jokes for me, and their massive success makes me want to commit suicide.

(with DYN-O-MITE!!!!)

Reader Comments

I know a lot of people love this album, but I have to take painkillers everytime I try to listen to it. Halford singing like a girl. Guitarists sound too thin. The bass completely vanished. Not as horrible as the two prior albums or the next two, but I can't make it through an attempted listening without turning it off. At most 2/10.

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Jugulator - CMC International 1997
Rating = 1

A Self-Help Guide

In a musical environment populated by such artists as Kanye West, My Chemical Romance and Kings of Leon, it's becoming more and more difficult to record the worst album ever. However, if you follow these trusty hints, you too will soon be able to tell people, "Hi, I'm Billy Corgan."

1. Replace your four-octaved lead singer with an Alice In Chains fan who hasn't moved his bowels in a year and a half.

2. Nickname your new singer after one of the worst songs you recorded with your old singer (e.g. Sammy "Take Your Whiskey Home" Hagar, Gary "Can't Stop Lovin' You" Cherone, David "That Entire Last Album" Lee Roth).

3. If your audience consists of 95% NWOBHM fans and 5% thrash fans, what they're really saying is "Hay, sound like Korn."

4. Nobody likes a surprise. Make your listeners feel more comfortable and 'at ease' by having every single song follow the same exact structural formula. Example: (a) opening sound effect, (b) instrumental 'spooky' note riff, (c) two boring heavy chords and an idiot bellowing like he has a porcupine stuck in his asshole.

5. Vocal melodies are for fags. You don't want to be like that last guy, do you? Hell no! So can the "la-de-da" and just yell everything in a stupid voice.

6. Replace your double-bass kick drums with two lightweight plastic buckets. This will give your drums a powerful 'piddapa-piddapa' sound similar to a galloping Shetland pony.

7. Nobody will notice your new singer sucks if you back up half his vocals with a pitch-manipulated 'scary voice.' They'll be too busy laughing at the 'scary voice'.

8. At some point in the lyrics, use the word 'questionize.' And by 'word,' I of course mean 'not a word at all.'

9. Give the CD a title that will ensure brisk sales to the largely illiterate Insane Clown Posse fan base.

10. Put some blue piece of shit on the cover and voila! A ravioli viola!

Reader Comments

Your item #9 is better than anything on this album or "Demolition". The music here is better than the prior 3 albums, but The Ripper completely sucks. And nothing about this era sounds Priest-like.

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'98 Live Meltdown - SPV 1998
Rating = 5

Here is the albumical breakdown of Tim "Ripper" Owens and His Judas Priest Band's first live album:

Rocka Rolla - 0
Sad Wings of Destiny - 2
Sin After Sin - 1
Stained Class - 1
Hell Bent for Leather - 2
British Steel - 5
Point of Entry - 0
Screaming For Vengeance - 3
Defenders of the Faith - 1
Turbo - 0
Ram It Down - 0
Painkiller - 4
Jugulator - 5

When Tim "Ripper" Owens from Akron, Ohio was singing for Brainicide, Winter's Bane and Judas Priest tribute band British Steel, little could he ever have dreamt that some day he'd replace Rob Halford in his all-time favorite band. This was because his favorite band was Warrant, a band that Halford was never in. Nevertheless, when Tim "Ripper" Owens was singing for Iced Earth, Beyond Fear, Yngwie Malmsteen and Charred Walls of the Damned, little could he have guessed that several years earlier he'd sung for Judas Priest. This is his story.

He sucks.


No, but seriously. On this live album, Owens proves that he can indeed carry a tune in a bucket when one is provided him. Unfortunately, his voice is much more (late-period) Dio than Halford and showcases absolutely no charisma at all. The notes are correct, but the timbre is just growly and bland. This is interesting because it makes you realize exactly how much charisma Halford has -- not only in his insane high-pitched delivery but in his lower register as well. His voice has a lot of personality; Owens (and honestly, most people in the world!) simply can't compete, and the previously killer songs are weakened as a result. It may be the classic Downing/Tipton/Hill line-up performing these Judas Priest classics, but without Halford at the helm, it just sounds like a cover band -- and not a particularly inspired one.

Also, whenever Owens tries to sing the high parts, he wiggles his voice and sounds like a campy transvestite. And if there's one thing I will not have in my Judas Priest, it's a singer who isn't 100% masculine, fucken girls left and right on his big ol' horse dick.

One thing Owens does have going for him is that, in his between-song banter, he sounds a lot like Burton Cummings -- similar accent, voice and cocky atitude. Either that or Burton Cummings keeps running onstage between each song to say things like "The Priest is back! It's time to put you into something called a Heavy... Metal... GRINDER!" But why would Burton Cummings do that? Doesn't he realize that he's simply inciting the Judas Priest fan community to start chanting "'Stand Tall! Stand Tall!'" and begin throwing armchairs left and right, to and fro? Come on Burton Cummings, stop making riots happen like you did in Watts that time, with "These Eyes."

The band performs fine, but the vocals are a bit too loud. Hopefully some day they'll remix it because it would actually sound pretty great with louder guitars and all the vocal tracks replaced by Rob Halford.

I'll close tonight's session with a pair of limericks I made up especially for you, (INSERT NAME HERE).

There once was a man named Rob Halford
Whose fans said he'd look better altered
So he grew a goatee
And shaved his head - whee!
Went on Sesame Street, fucked that tall bird

There once was a man with an elbow
Dave Holland his name; who could tell though?
He drummed for the Priest
post-Unleashed In The East
Went on Sesame Street and raped Elmo

My question is: why do they keep inviting members of Judas Priest onto Sesame Street if they're just going to have gay sex with everybody? Come on Children's Television Workshop, kids shouldn't be watching graphic hardcore sex on PBS. That's what school is for.

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Demolition - Atlantic 2001
Rating = 1

Reader Comments

Derek Zender
This review rules.

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Live In London - SPV 2003
Rating = 6

Ever since The Rolling Stones released Got Live Album If You Want It back in 1974, every band in town has been desperate to share their in-concert prowess with the agoraphobic demographic. The best of these albums made superstars out of previously marginal artists (ex. Frampton Comes Alive, Cheap Trick At Budokan, Having Fun With Elvis On Stage, Kiss Alive!), but the majority were extraneous throwaways that did nothing but clog our landfills and choke our sea turtles to death. UNTIL NOW.

Judas Priest's Love On Lindin isn't just a live album; it's a strive album, striving to bring you the finest possible performances of the greatest possible songs from the entire history of popular music. And if you hadn't heard of Judas Priest before this album came out, you sure do now! And believe me you, you're sitting at home going, "Rob Halford? Do you mean 'James Hetfield'? He's the singer of Metallica. But I've never heard of any 'Rob Halford.' Oh, wait! Do you mean the vocalist of Fight? Who put out that Christmas album last year? Oh, I know him. But he wasn't in any band before Fight, was he? He was!? Oh, this I have to see to believe!" Because you and I both know that Judas Priest didn't even mark a rectory poke in the anus silt before Tim "Ripper" Owens climbed aboard to ride them to the Top Of The World.

Here then is the albumical breakdown of Tim "Ripper" Owens and His Judas Priest Band's second live album:

Rocka Rolla - 0
Sad Wings of Destiny - 2
Sin After Sin - 1
Stained Class - 1
Hell Bent for Leather - 3
British Steel - 5
Point of Entry - 2
Screaming For Vengeance - 3
Defenders of the Faith - 1
Turbo - 1
Ram It Down - 0
Painkiller - 2
Jugulator - 2
Demolition - 3

Eighteen of these twenty-six songs were also performed on Live '98 Meltdown, released just five years earlier. And I'll be honest; they haven't changed much in the interim. Nor has Tim Owens' idiotic stage patter. ("WHAT'S MY NAME!? WHAT'S MY NAME!? WHAT'S... MY NAME!? The Ripper!"). However, the guitars are much heavier and louder this time out, so "Ripper"'s lack of charisma isn't quite as distracting. Also, he's finally learned how to hit the high notes without wiggling his voice like a transvestite. Their studio albums were terrible though, so thank God Rob Halford returned after this release and Owens got shitcanned.

That's right, I said "shitcanned."

Seriously, picture Tim Owens being hit in the face with a can of shit. It's awesome.

I know everybody went zany about Judas Priest picking their new singer from a Judas Priest tribute band, but what the hell was this guy doing in a Judas Priest tribute band to begin with!? He sounds NOTHING like Rob Halford! Could he just not find a Dio tribute band willing to put up with his smelly teeth? Come on "Holy Diver", he could've gone to the dentist. Give him a break "Saints & Sinners", he probably just needed to floss more. What gives "Stand Up & Shout", couldn't you have at least offered him some mouthwash? I'll give you a break "DIA" because you're an all-girl band, but you still could've asked him to cut his dick off, he might've said yes.

But look, I was kind enough to create a list of things that Tim "Ripper" Owens can do with his time now that he's no longer singing for Judas Priest:

1. Change his nickname to "Gipper" and tour as Ronald Reagan.
2. Write a one-man show entitled Layne Staley and Ronnie James Dio: Two Corpses Lodged In My Voicebox.
3. Start singing in Braille, for blind people.
4. Go ruin some other band.

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Angel Of Retribution - Epic 2005
Rating = 6

I don't know how you people feel about socks, I mean we all have our different opinions but the other day I was wearing some socks on my foot and I totally forgot about it and then suddenly I was like "OMG! What the hell is on my foot?!" I was really scared because I thought it was a spider or something but then I realized it was just a toe, and it got me to thinking about how a rock and roll band is a lot like a foot in that each toe is of the utmost importance and you can't just go around replacing them with toes that you found in a Foot tribute band, I guess it's not that big a deal when you replace the pinky because he's just the drummer but for Pete's sake if you've got a big gay toe named Rob Halford on your foot, think twice! Next thing you know that little piggy is off singing "I Am A Pig" (acknowledging his toedom) and you're stuck with some growly big toe with no personality. And don't even get me started on the three toes in the middle, who are suddenly writing the dullest and most dumbed-down industrial-metal ever dreamt of in my philosophy. So thank Christ bleeding to death on the cross that Rob Halford missed his friends in Judas Priest, because his return to the band for Angel of Retribution has resulted in their best album since Rob Halford left Judas Priest!

Stranger of Contribution features a heartwarming variety of different metal and hard rock approaches, including:

- TWO! (2) excellent pieces of AGGRESSIVE MODERN METAL similar to the "Ripper"-era material, except for the "excellent" thing
- TWO! (2) very well-written BALLADS of the sort they haven't written since Flabby Wings Of Density
- TWO! (400,000) disappointing TEPID MIDTEMPO METAL tracks - one a decent riff weakened by moronic vocal effects, the other a depressing ripoff of Metallica's "Attitude"
- ONE! (1) hooky COMMERCIAL POP/ROCK song that sounds so much like Urge Overkill you'll swear the Priest moved to Chicago and became arrogant drug addicts signed to Geffen with a drummer named "Blackie Onassis"
- ONE! (a) TRUDGING EPIC of bombast and drama, weakened by the fact that it's about the Loch Ness Monster
- ONE! ($) old-school Priest SPEEDTHRASHER rendered useless by corny out-of-touch chord changes
- ONE! (pr. "own") atrocious combination of FUNK-METAL and Jane's Addiction's "MOUNTAIN SONG"

As you can see, Halford's return didn't solve their age-old "consistency" problem, but it at least turned them into an above average metal band again (for a very, very brief period of time).

(That was foreshadowing)

(And now, here's some outright foreTELLING)

As delightful as it is to have Mr. Halford doing his jive turkey Judas Priest thing again, one can't help but notice that he doesn't actually sound like Rob Halford anymore. He's singing in a lower register and with a more theatrical tone. Furthermore, it's a little distressing to hear Britain's hardest rocking rocker guys prissying up the second half of Mangy Old Constitution with piano, strings, goofy operatics and, in the case of "Loch Ness," a vomit-inducing show tune chorus. Don't get me wrong; the piano and strings are used appropriately in a dark Danzig-style ballad. But can you imagine how horrible it would be if the Priest were to take those strings and keys and pair them up with goofy operatics and vomit-inducing show tunes? And then do so over and over again until they've filled up two whole discs?? And then MAKE ALL THE LYRICS ABOUT NOSTRADAMUS!?!?!?

Thank God we know this will never happen, because Nostradamus would've predicted it and buried himself alive in the desert.

Reader Comments

Did this ever come out of the blue? I gave up on the damn band 20 years prior. Sure, it is mostly mid-tempo but every song is almost perfect (except for the overblown final song). What if they had released this back in 1986 instead of Turbo. An 8.5/10.

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Nostradamus - Epic 2008
Rating = 2

My father was a born rocker. When I was but a wee lad, he was wearing out copies of ZZ Top's Eliminator and AC/DC's Back In Black on every format possible. Later on, he surprised me by extolling the virtues of Metallica's Load, and even later, I rode with him in a car as he blasted a compilation by my very own JUDAS PRIEST! As such, surely you can understand the horror and nausea I felt the time I returned home for some reason or other and discovered that he'd developed a taste for (gag) show tunes.

How had this happened!? Had The Who's Tommy served as a gateway musical, trapping him in its lair and laughing evilly as he developed an insatiable hunger for wimpy overblown sing-songy garbage? I don't know, but it hurt me deep inside where only pain and torment lie (the duodenum). Finally I came to the conclusion that it was simply a consequence of the aging process. As your body slows down to prepare itself for death, your brain changes to become attracted to things that would've made a younger you sick to your stomach (ex. Bingo, church, your old bag wife). Still, I never thought it would happen to the most important role model in my life! Alas, it did indeed happen to Rob Halford.

World, meet Nostradamus.


Somewhere children laugh and childs play, but not here - not since the almighty Judas Priest released an hour-and-forty-five-minute -long double-CD that sounds like a musical about Iron Maiden, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Forget what you heard about Turbo; that album may stink to Hare Krishna, but at least it's short. The experience of hearing Nostradamus for the first time is akin to putting on an AC/DC album only to have Madonna's Evita pour out of the speakers, paralyze you in your chair with its audio poison, and hold you hostage for 24 hours until every last boneheaded la-di-da of bombast and fake emotion is complete.

I hate this album. In fact, if I were Roger Ebert, I'd say "I hate, hate, hate this album!"

Well, not out loud, I guess.

If you like Judas Priest, there is nothing for you here. The songs are split evenly between ballads and rockers, but the ballads sound like Disney material, and the rockers are (a) as pompous and operatic as the worst Iron Maiden, and (b) so buried in strings and cheesy synthesizers that you can barely hear the guitars at all. Furthermore, every single one of the 24 tracks has the same mood (dead serious, with a tinge of melancholy) and, adding insoles to injury, Rob Halford sings every note with a loathsome theatricality that belongs on some shitty off-off-off-Broadway stage, not on my living room carpet covered in vomit!

In short, if you are into Judas Priest for the histrionic vocals, the crunchy guitar abandon, the hard rock hooks, and above all, the FUN, avoid Nostrildumbass like the Red Death.

On the bright side, my father recently underwent a Rock Renaissance, canning the show tunes to spend time with new discoveries like Rush and The Killers (along with all his old favorites). So the Old Person Curse is not irreversible. Pray that the Priests of Judas have a similar reawakening before their next entry into the studio!

In fact, here are some potential album titles to get them on the right track:

Violator of Humiliation
Shove It In Really Hard
Brown Motorcycle of Violence
Clenched Pink Doorway
Sweat of the Muscular Gladiators
In Through The Out Door
Butt Fuckin'

Reader Comments

I know everybody hates this album. I'm not going to claim it's great, but there are a few decent songs floating around. First, it should have been a single disc. Fortunately, like Billy Corgan and "Mellon Collie", they did us a huge favor and put them all on the first disc. I do enjoy the rockers on the first disc though Angel was better.

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A Touch Of Evil...Live - Sony 2009
Rating = 6

In just a moment, you will be wowed by the albumical breakdown of Rob "Bullet Train" Halford and His Judas Priests' third live album:

Sin After Sin - 1
Stained Class - 1
Screaming For Vengeance - 1
Defenders of the Faith - 1
Painkiller - 3
Angel of Retribution - 2
Nostradamus - 2

Look at the world weeping at the news that even after five live albums, we've yet to receive an in-concert performance of any Rocka Rolla or Ram It Down tracks. Why is Judas Priest doing this to us, after our sadness with 9/11 and Michael Jackson?

Compiled from recordings made on the band's 2005 and 2008 tours, A Touch Of Evil...Live contains a surprisingly high percentage of slow-to-midtempo heavy songs, not to mention a disappointing number of mediocre non-hits like "Hellrider," "Riding On The Wind," "Beyond The Realms Of Death" and "A Touch Of Evil." It's great to finally have a live recording of Slayer's "Dissident Aggressor" though, as well as post-Priest...Live! face smashers "Judas Rising" and "The Hammer And The Anvil." But come on, nothing from Rocka Rolla or Ram It Down? What if aliens came down and all they knew of Earth were the cassette tapes of Rocka Rolla and Ram It Down that Buzz Aldrin had mistakenly dropped down the Space Toilet and flushed into the Cosmos? Now they're here on Earth and they can't find a live album with any songs from Rocka Rolla or Ram It Down! Next thing you know, they blow up the White House and eat everybody. Thanks for nothing, JudASS PriestHOLES.

The live sound is fine. Scott Travis's double-bass kick drums are awfully loud, but at least they're heavy instead of pippity. Sadly, Halford is more gravelly than ever and can't hit all his high notes anymore (particularly in the depressingly raspy "Painkiller," in which he sounds like Fly On The Wall-era Brian Johnson), but hey the guy's 400 years old so am I to mitch and boan.

Interestingly, a near-synthless version of Nostradamus's "Death" suggests that that album might not have sucked so much pepper-covered sneezy dick had they left out the pussy girl instruments, but unless they decide one day to release Nostradamus Naked, I guess we'll never know.

Of course, knowing Rob Halford's sexual preference, it'd probably be a photo-book! Haw haw!

In conclusion, say what you will about Judas Priest, but one thing's for certain: Rob Halford is straight.

Reader Comments

Rob Harland
Great to see the reviews up. Just one teency thing: Judas Priest are not a NWOBHM band, although they were a big influence on it. The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (couldn't they have come up with a shorter name? Jeez) was metal's response to punk. Out went flares and tie-dye, in came enough studded leather to armour up a horde of barbarians and ... spandex tights (oh dear. Add rolled up sock for maximum authenticity). Out went (for the most part) proggy "suites" and in came punchy rockers. Tempos shifted up a gear and bands discovered the joys of independent label releases while still singing about typical metal concerns of violence, shagging, and science fiction / fantasy. Not to mention rocking, of course.

These bands tended to start out in '78 and (if lucky) hit it big in '79, just in time to give Lars Ulrich a hard-on and wind up as openers for the likes of Priest. Howewever, Judas Priest had been around for years before then (formed in '68), but the twin leads, fastish tempos and screaming vocals were certainly a big influence, and Iron Maiden toured with them in 1980. NWOBHM Priest ain't, no more than UFO or Thin Lizzy (mind you, Lizzy were Irish too) ... though you could maybe make a better case for Mot rhead.

BTW, Spinal Tap got part of its inspiration from (the actors Guest, McKean, and Shearer) touring with NWOBHM spandex kings Saxon as roadies, right down to the bass guitarist's hand in the air posing. And I think they may have listened to this song by one Marseille: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIxj7NThxgI

Go to the UK Amazon (prices for this stuff on the US one are a rip off even when you factor in shipping) or Youtube and just type NWOBHM.

Two good comps: Lightnin' to the Nations: the 25th Anniversary of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (3 discs) OR New Wave of British Metal (Caroline label, 2 discs).

Goodnight and thanks for the post.

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