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The Essential Judas Priest

Judas Priest’s 2006 compilation album entitled The Essential Judas Priest is a great 2-CD retrospective covering the classic heavy metal band’s 1976-2005 career. Judas Priest weren’t just called the Metal Gods for nothing. For decades, the core of Judas Priest which are guitarists KK Downing and Glenn Tipton, bass player Ian Hill and lead singer Rob Halford and the cast of drummers have successfully defended the faith of metal!The Essential Judas Priest contains thirty-four tracks overall. Released by Columbia Records, the set covers the band’s Rob Halford years from 1976-1990 and reunion in 2005. It covers tracks from twelve of the band’s fifteen studio albums released over the years. The band’s 1974 debut Rocka Rolla was not covered though some would have wanted its title cut here. The band’s sophomore effort 1976’s Sad Wings of Destiny is represented by the classics and finally properly remastered versions of the studio recording of “Victim Of Changes” and “The Ripper”. Whilst the album, like its predecessor was on Ovation Records (a long out of print label here in the US), didn’t sell well upon release it did find the band’s sound that it would adopt for the rest of its career. The band’s third album (their first for CBS/Sony affiliate Columbia) 1977’s Sin After Sin (which saw the addition of powehouse drummer Simon Phillips (who would work with Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford on his Smallcreep’s Day album and with Pete Townshend and The Who and later Toto in his career)) is represented by “Diamonds And Rust” and “Sinner”. The album’s key tracks were chosen though some whine that album tracks like “Starbreaker” and “Dissident Aggressor” are missing. The group’s fourth album, February 1978’s Stained Class (which was the band’s first studio album with drummer Les Binks) is represented by “Exciter” and the classic “Beyond the Realms of Death”. They put the album’s two best tracks on here but left off the infamous “Better By You Better Than Me”. The band’s fifth studio effort titled Killing Machine in the UK (released in October, 1978) and as Hell Bent For Leather here in the US (released in February of 1979) is represented by “Hell Bent For Leather”, “Delivering The Goods”, “The Green Manalashi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)” and the ballad “Before The Dawn”. The album’s UK hit “Take On The World” is missing but the other songs from this album featured here are superb. The band’s 1980 breakthrough album British Steel (which was their first with new drummer Dave Holland and producer Tom Allom) is represented by “Breaking The Law”, “United”, “Metal Gods” and “Living After Midnight”. No Priest compilation is complete without “Breaking The Law” and “Living After Midnight”, so the set has that base covered. The US Top 40 charting Point Of Entry from 1981 is represented by the big US rock radio smash “Heading Out To The Highway” and the UK hit “Hot Rockin'”. The concert favorite “Desert Plains” and “Solar Angels” are missing but you can’t have them all. The band’s biggest selling album in the US 1982’s three million plus selling Screaming For Vengeance is represented by the band’s signature track “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” plus the superb opener “The Hellion” and “Electric Eye” plus Screaming’s title cut. Good picks but they could have added Devil’s Child and Bloodstone but gives one a reason to buy Screaming in its own right. The 1984 follow-up, the US Platinum selling Defenders of the Faith is represented by the big hit “Freewheel Burning” plus album favorites like “Love Bites”, “Jawbreaker” and “The Sentinel”. Great choices though some yearn for “Rock Hard Ride Free” or “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” on here. The 1986 Platinum seller Turbo is represented by “Turbo Lover” and the classic “Out In The Cold”. When Priest experimented with guitar synthesizers with Turbo, the album and got a very mixed reaction. Nonetheless, the album still did well in the eyes of many of the band’s fans. “Locked In” (the album’s first single) is missing though. The next studio album 1988’s Ram It Down is represented by its title cut and “Blood Red Skies”. Another controversial album for the band. I wish “Monsters of Rock” was on here but c’est la vie. The band’s 1990 album Painkiller (their first with current drummer Scott Travis) is represented by the title cut, “A Touch Of Evil”, “Night Crawler” and “Hell Patrol”. Painkiller was the swan song from the classic lineup, until the 2003 onwards reunion. After two questionable pop-metal albums, the band released their heaviest album to date. The title track is killer. The other tracks featured here are no slouches as well. Still, the epic “One Shot at Glory” could have been included. After Rob Halford left in 1992, Priest soldiered on with singer Tim “Ripper” Owens and released two mediocre albums 1997’s Jugulator and 2001’s Demolition (neither album has any songs featured here thankfully). The band’s 2005 triumphant comeback and reunion album with Halford titled Angel Of Retribution is represented by “Judas Rising” and “Revolution”. Good choices but “Deal With The Devil”, “Wheels Of Fire” and “Loch Ness” should have been included as well (but you can’t have them all). If you are a newbie, start with this SUPERB compilation and then work your way through the catalog. Check it out!

The core of vocalist Rob Halford, lead guitarists Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing and bass guitarist Ian Hill worked with several drummers in the earlier years, with longtime current member Scott Travis rounding out the definitive lineup due to his incredible power and versatility. JUDAS PRIEST knows that what matters is the music, and its ability to blend unforgettable melodies with atomic-bomb power has never been equalled.




The Essential Judas Priest Review


I’ve never been a big Priest fan, but they have some great hits that I wanted in my library such as Breaking the Law, Hell Bent For Leather, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ and Living After Midnight. The rest of it is great Hard Rock with some fantastic hard rock guitars. I never was a big metal head, but am playing catchup with this double CD with lots of good Metal to get me closer to Metal Head status! “Because if it ain’t Metal, it’s Crap!”, quoting Dee Snider on the radio show “House of Hair” where I was exposed to some great music I’d forgotten about! -Read Reviews-

Having been an avid collector of Judas Priest cassettes, I was looking for a CD that would include all of my favorite Priest tunes without breaking the bank. This CD has all of the hits from the band’s earlier albums, as well as the hits off of Screaming for Vengeance and beyond. Judas Priest 3. 0 includes three discs with a total of 41 songs at a price that can’t be beat. I strongly recommend this CD for any older metal head that wants to revisit their head banging years. An awesome collection to say the least.

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