I can’t say I loved Screaming for Vengeance. It felt pretty commercial to me – a little too concerned with selling records and not enough with Metal!!
But the opening tracks here definitely feel like a bit of a shot across the bow as the band sounds like they are playing faster to my ears. Its’ still pretty catchy – this is Judas Priest after all – but it feels a little closer to what I think of as metal than my memories of Screaming for Vengeance do. There are still some songs here I don’t love but I think that’s the case with every Priest album I’ve ever heard.
I always enjoy listening to Halford’s lyrics through the lens of today. I find Halford to be a pretty middling lyricist – though, given that he’s a metal lyricist, that’s not really much of a criticism – but I find it endlessly fascinating to listen to his lyrics in light of his sexuality. “Love Bites” is about a gay vampire! I think about all the red blooded, straight men who have sung along with this song in the intervening 35 years and it tickles me.
Whatever bothered me about the production on Screaming for Vengeance is either gone or I’ve gotten used it. This is a pretty clean record – and those drums don’t sound great – but it’s not so clean that it’s objectionable. (Well, those drums could be less ’80s…)
Anyway, I will never love this band but I feel like this is not bad for ’80s commercial metal.
All tracks written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and K.K. Downing, except where noted.
- “Freewheel Burning” 4:22
- “Jawbreaker” 3:25
- “Rock Hard Ride Free” 5:34
- “The Sentinel” 5:04
- “Love Bites” 4:47
- “Eat Me Alive” 3:34
- “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” (Robert Halligan, Jr.) 4:05
- “Night Comes Down” 3:58
- “Heavy Duty” 2:25
- “Defenders of the Faith” 1:30
- Rob Halford – vocals
- K. K. Downing – guitars
- Glenn Tipton – guitars
- Ian Hill – bass
- Dave Holland – drums