Category Archives: Judas Priest

Judas Priest – British Steel [Album Review]

1980 - British Steel

Judas Priest – British Steel [Remastered]
2001, Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings
Original Release: 1980, Columbia Records

Buy the album

1. “Rapid Fire”
2. “Metal Gods”
3. “Breaking the Law”
4. “Grinder”
5. “United”
6. “You Don’t Have to Be Old to Be Wise”
7. “Living After Midnight”
8. “The Rage” 4:44
9. “Steeler” 4:30
Bonus Tracks:
10. “Red, White & Blue”
11. “Grinder”

Rob Halford – Vocals
K.K. Downing – Guitar
Glenn Tipton – Guitar
Ian Hill – Bass
Dave Holland – Drums

Producer: Tom Allom

There’s a lot of classic albums that I own but for some reason I never got around to reviewing. British Steel is one of those albums though I could’ve sworn I reviewed it before. But what can I say about this classic release that hasn’t already been said millions of times? While still being heavy metal, British Steel saw Judas Priest entering the 1980’s with a less-technical, more commercial sound. “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight” are two of the ultimate metal anthems and both enjoyed mainstream success while “United” was another anthem with a huge chorus.

That’s not to say there aren’t some other interesting tracks either. “Rapid Fire” is one of my favorite Priest songs and is an amazing choice to open the album (though it was the second track on the original 1980 issue). “Grinder” and “Steeler” are typical Priest-style metal and I mean that in a good way. Then there’s the very interesting “The Rage” with stands out for its portions that have a reggae vibe, almost sound like something The Police would do before morphing into a plodding metal number.

The 2001 remastered edition comes with two bonus tracks. A live version of “Grinder” from the Long Beach Arena in 1984 and a studio track called “Red, White & Blue” which was meant to be on the purposed double album Twin Turbos project (which was stripped down to one album and called Turbo). One thing that bothers me about these 2001 edition bonus tracks is that their placement seems kinda random. “Red, White & Blue” sounds very polished and very out of place with the rest of the tracks but it’s still cool that it saw the light of day.

While I could go the rest of my life without ever hearing “Living After Midnight” and “Breaking the Law” again, the album is a classic from top to bottom and began the commercial rise of Judas Priest. Shame on any fan of classic metal that doesn’t own this one.

Judas Priest ‘British Steel’ coffee by Dark Matter Coffee


With a few extra bucks to spare, I decided to order Dark Matter Coffee’s limited edition Judas Priest ‘British Steel’ coffee.


The bonus was that each order includes a cassingle featuring “Grinder” (What else?) from British Steel and “Snakebite” from the bonus edition of Redeemer of Souls.

What can I say? I’m no coffee connoisseur but if you’re a big fan of Judas Priest and coffee and want the cool exclusive cassingle, this is a must-buy. Head on over to and see if you can still order a bag!

My order # was 6666!

Ranking the Judas Priest Discography recently published a list ranking Judas Priest’s studio albums from worst to best. Lists are always fun and good for debate. It got me to thinking about how I’d rank the band’s discography. It goes something like this…

17. Rocka Rolla – Yes, the band’s debut album is their worst, IMO. #SorryNotSorry That said, I don’t think it’s bad but I don’t think it’s very memorable. It’s really only notable because it was the band’s debut album; they were still finding themselves.

16. Jugulator – Most fans who can stand the Ripper era prefer this one, but I don’t.

15. Nostradamus – Said it before and I’ll say it again, this album is a bloated in every fashion possible. Trim it down to one disc and you’d have something decent, but as a double album it’s a bore and chore to sit through.

14. Point of Entry – An okay album with one excellent song (“Desert Plains”) that was nowhere near a follow-up worthy to British Steel.

13. Demolition – This is the Ripper-fronted album that has a greater number of songs that I enjoy. I have a soft spot for it because I bought when it was first released; it was my first “new” Priest album.

12. Turbo – A lot of people dislike this one but it’s a guilty pleasure to me and features a few great tracks.

11. Ram It Down – A harder-edged version of Turbo, it too falls under the category of being a guilty pleasure.

10. Angel of Retribution – Another album I have a soft spot for since it was Halford’s return to the group. I was very excited for this one. It was a good but not great reunion album.

9. Redeemer of Souls – Given that this album was only released a few months ago, it’s hard to truly determine where it stands in the Priest catalog. I feel like it is definitely a top 10 album for the band. It’s certainly the best album the band has made since 1990’s Painkiller.

8. Sad Wings of Destiny  – While the band’s debut didn’t offer up much of interest, their sophomore effort saw the band heading down a heavy metal road that would eventually end with them being crowned as Metal Gods.

7. Defenders of the Faith – Released between the classic Screaming for Vengeance and the controversial Turbo, this one delivered a few classics in its own right.

6. Sin After Sin – The very first Priest album I ever bought.

5. Stained Class – This one is a near tie with the next album…

4. Hell Bent for Leather – …except this one wins out thanks to tracks like “Hell Bent for Leather”, “Before the Dawn” and “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown)”.

3. British Steel – I know there’s a strong case to be made for this being the band’s best releases, but there still some filler on this one.

2. Screaming for Vengeance – The band’s commercial breakthrough. I could go without ever hearing “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” for the rest of my life, but I’ll never get tired of “Riding on the Wind”, “Bloodstone”, “(Take These) Chains”, “Electric Eye” or “Screaming for Vengeance”.

1. Painkiller – This one, thought well-reviewed, still does not get enough love as far as I’m concerned. It’s the heaviest, fastest album the band ever did. A lot of people point to this album as having simple comic book lyrics, but who cares? Every track is an atmospheric heavy metal classic. It’s just too bad it was released in 1990 just as heavy metal was starting to slip a bit in popularity.

Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls [Review]


Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls [Deluxe Edition]
2014, Epic Records
Buy the album at

CD 1:
1. “Dragonaut” 4:26
2. “Redeemer of Souls” 3:58
3. “Halls of Valhalla” 6:04
4. “Sword of Damocles” 4:54
5. “March of the Damned” 3:55
6. “Down in Flames” 3:56
7. “Hell & Back” 4:46
8. “Cold Blooded” 5:25
9. “Metalizer” 4:37
10. “Crossfire” 3:51
11. “Secrets of the Dead” 5:41
12. “Battle Cry” 5:18
13. “Beginning of the End” 5:07

CD 2:
1. “Snakebite” 3:14
2. “Tears of Blood” 4:19
3. “Creatures” 4:25
4. “Bring It On” 3:18
5. “Never Forget” 6:25

Since the release of the somewhat controversial Nostradamus six years ago, we’ve seen Judas Priest go on a “farewell” tour and also lose founding member K.K. Downing (he didn’t die, he retired) under still not quite clear circumstances. Well, I, for one never believed Judas Priest was going to call it quits. Does anyone really, ever? Though I wasn’t happy that K.K. was leaving, I was hoping that the addition of 31-year old guitarist Richie Faulkner might rejuvenate the band much the same way Scott Travis did when he came on on as drummer in 1990.

Nostradamus isn’t a terrible album and it was a brave thing to do, but it was still a misstep and the band seemed to have lost themselves. Now, it’s possible that if Downing had stayed on then perhaps the band would’ve delivered an album similar to Redeemer of Souls, but who knows? All I know is that Richie gets a co-writing credit on all of the tracks alongside Rob Halford and Glenn Tipton. I’m glad he was allowed to jump right into the deep-end and contribute immediately, unlike how some “replacements” are treated. Tim “Ripper” Owens’ term in this very band comes to mind in regards to being creatively silenced or at least limited!

Whether it’s the fact that the band has new blood or whether it was a conscious effort to deliver a much more tradition Priest album, the band nailed it with Redeemer of Souls. This really is a culmination of many eras of the band and despite the fact that the deluxe edition has a total of 15 tracks, this album is lean ‘n’ mean. It’s a refreshing back-to-basics approach after the overblown and overproduced Nostradamus.

The deluxe edition includes a second disc that includes five great tracks and it is well worth picking up this version. “Snakebite”, “Creatures” and “Never Forget” should’ve been on Disc 1, but I could see how “Snakebite” wouldn’t fit. It’s a bit of a loose testosterone-fueled rocker; like a heavier Whitesnake.

Overall, Rob still sounds great and the new twin axe attack of Tipton/Faulkner is a powerful and worthy guitar duo to pick up where Tipton left off with KK Downing. I figured the album would be good, but not this good. Easily the best album the band has released since 1990’s Painkiller.

Highlights: “Dragonaut”, “Redeemer of Souls”, “Hell & Back”, “Cold Blooded”, “Metalizer”, “Crossfire”, “Secrets of the Dead”, “Beginning of the End”, “Snakebite”, “Creatures”, “Never Forget”

Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls [Single Review]


Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls [single]
2014, Epic Records
Buy the single at

1. “Redeemer of Souls”

Rob Halford – Vocals
Glenn Tipton – Guitar
Richie Faulkner – Guitar
Ian Hill – Bass
Scott Travis – Drums

Well, we’re finally getting new Priest music some 6 years after their last release of original music. So far, all we’ve gotten to hear is the album’s title track “Redeemer of Souls” (the album itself is due to be released July 15, 2014 in America) but I thought it was worth talking a bit about. It’s important to note that KK Downing is no longer in the band and while his absence is disappointing and not how I would prefer things to be, I think this track is indication that Richie Faulkner is a fine stand-in to work alongside Glenn Tipton.

For anyone afraid of what the band might release after having done Nostradamus, have no fear. “Redeemer of Souls” is very good metal track and Rob’s voice is in fine condition, better than I expected. In fact, he’s sounding better than he has in years. I wasn’t blown away by the song when I first heard it. My honest reaction was that it was a slightly generic slab of power metal. As I keep listening to it, I’m starting to like it more and more. It does not sound like Judas Priest throughout but you can still hear parts and go, “yes, that’s classic Priest”. I guess if you had to compare this song to an era from the band’s past you could go with Defenders of the Faith?

Most feedback I’m seeing online ranges from “it’s okay” to “it’s good”. I think the song is better than anything from Nostradamus and I also think it compares to some of the best from Angel of Retribution. I’ve seen people say they hope the rest of the album is better than “Redeemer of Souls”, well if that’s going to be the case, I think Priest is going to deliver one heck of an album!


My thoughts on K.K. Downing “retiring” from Judas Priest

The world of metal was rocked (no pun intended) on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 when Judas Priest issued this statement:

It is with regret that Judas Priest announce that K.K. DOWNING has formally retired from the band and will therefore not be joining them on their forthcoming EPITAPH Tour.

The band respect his decision and naturally all wish him well.

There’s a more fleshed-out (and rather upbeat & casual) press release linked with that statement that basically states the band plans to continue on with the  Epitaph world tour (for those that don’t know, it is being hyped as the band’s final major world tour) and also still has plans to record and release a new album next year. Oh yeah, and the replacement is 31-year-old Richie Faulkner from England. I had never heard of him before but his most noticeable credit is playing in Lauren Harris’ (the daughter of Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris) band.

The whole thing with Priest has been weird for a while. First, there was the vague announcement that they were retiring and that the 2011 Epitaph tour would be their farewell tour. Weeks later, they backtracked and said “No, this is just our last MAJOR world tour and we’re still going to make new music”.

Which is fine. I think most people realize these guys are 60-ish and deserve the break from the rigors of the road. They are legends and deserve to sit back and relax for the rest of their lives if that’s what they want.

But who exactly in the band wants that? Here is the press release issued by K.K. on April 21, 2011:

Dear friends,

It is with much regret that I will not be with you this summer. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your concerns about my health. Please rest assured that I am O.K.

There has been an ongoing breakdown in working relationship between myself, elements of the band, and the band’s management for some time.

Therefore I have decided to step down rather than to tour with negative sentiments as I feel that this would be a deception to you, our cherished fans.

However I would urge you to please support the Priest as I have no doubt that it will be a show not to be missed.

All my love and respect,

K.K. Downing

For a while, it seemed like K.K. was the only one issuing updates on the Epitaph/recording plans, so you would think he was all for it. Perhaps Downing, and Downing alone, was the one pushing for a slower pace for Priest? Obviously, when K.K. mentions the band’s management there are some money factors at play. I’m guessing management (and perhaps the rest of Priest) have decided they want to continue full-steam ahead while K.K. is still wanting to operate at a slower pace. I think at some point all members were on board with some type of reduced schedule but money talks so it appears some members are more willing to keep up the pace than others. Perhaps this is similar situation to what Dream Theater recently went through.

Not that either side is wrong. No matter who wants to continue, who wants a reduced schedule or who wants it to all just be done — no one is really wrong. All of those options have their positive and negatives and while we certainly don’t know the full story (yet), I don’t begrudge Downing, Halford, Tipton or Hill for their choices in this matter.

I will continue to support Priest. Will it be the same band? Of course not. It’s going to be a different beast (especially when it comes to the new album) but I am not going to write them off. Who is to say the music still can’t be good? Priest isn’t just going to bring in any ol’ guy. The fact that they announced K.K.’s “retirement” from Priest and Richie’s joining in the same press release just means this is NOT something out of the blue and I know Richie had to have been carefully picked by Rob & Glenn. So in that regards, I think in a live setting the band will do just fine.

What I’m actually quite anxious to see is how the new album will turn out. The Halford/Tipton/Downing songwriting team has been responsible for some all-metal classics. Are we down to Halford/Tipton? Is Faulkner a hired gun like drummer Scott Travis or will Rob & Glenn let Richie flex some creative muscles? It will be very interesting either way and I hope K.K. will not wash his hands of music at this point. I would love to hear what he would offer up on a solo album.

Certainly, any way you slice it, this is very sad news. I’m hoping even if they have decided they cannot be business partners that the guys are still going to remain friends. You’d think even if Downing and the band had a difference of opinion on the future they could at least work through this final major tour but apparently not.

My feeling is that at some point Downing will be back. My fear is that it will be too late to really make a difference. These guys are not getting any younger and at this point in their lives they should be cherishing every moment they can have together as a band. For a veteran band, losing such a vital member this late in the game this can really set them back a ways. At least I was able to see the group in 2009.

Thank you, K.K., for all the decades of great music. I wish you the best.

JUDAS PRIEST – Rocka Rolla

Judas Priest – Rocka Rolla (2000, Koch Records)
Original Release: 1974, Gull Records

1. “One for the Road” … 4:35
2. “Rocka Rolla” … 3:03
3. “Winter”/”Deep Freeze”/”Winter Retreat”/”Cheater” … 9:30
4. “Never Satisfied” … 4:50
5. “Run of the Mill” (8:34)
6. “Dying to Meet You” (6:19)
7. “Caviar and Meths” (2:03)
8. “Diamonds and Rust” (3:14)

Rob Halford – Vocals, Harmonica
K.K. Downing – Guitar
Glenn Tipton – Guitar, Synthesizers, Backing Vocals
Ian Hill – Bass
John Hinch – Drums

Producer: Rodger Bain

Very interesting debut album from Judas Priest that is predominantly a blues-based “heavy rock” release (I’ve grown to love that term when talking about ’70s hard rock/metal bands). I’ve read a lot of reviews stating this album is nothing special but I have to disagree. Is it essential Priest? No, I don’t think so but it is still enjoyable ’70s hard rock that at times come across like early Black Sabbath (Rodger Bain produced the first three Sabbath albums after all). Admittedly, it was a bit of a shock listening to this album for the first time because it’s just not what you expect from Priest, it’s just not as fast or heavy as their later stuff, but it has grown on me.

There’s more than enough here to make this worth a listen. “Rocka Rolla” is a great, fun, loose hard rock track, something I can’t imagine Judas Priest doing ever again. “Run of the Mill” is an epic progressive song, just an amazing performance by Rob, and “Dying to Meet You” is an enjoyable doomy track before picking up at the end.

“Rocka Rolla”, “Winter”, “Never Satisfied” and “Caviar and Meths” were all written or co-written by original singer At Atkins before he left the group. This version of “Caviar and Meths” is very much shortened from the original version the band had worked on.

My version of this album features the alternate cover that debuted on the mid-80s pressings of this album. The story goes that Coca-Cola and Priest were none too please with the original bottle cap cover and so reissues of this album got the much more heavy metal-looking cover above. I’ve always liked the original cover, even if it feels out of place for a band such as Judas Priest, and would have preferred to have found that version. Oh well. Priest apparently isn’t happy with the production either, that which I can agree with. Some of the songs have a bit of a hiss to them but it’s not too distracting.

Also, on original pressings of this album, I believe “Winter”, “Deep Freeze”, “Winter Retreat” and “Cheater” all had their own tracks. Not sure why they were thrown together on the same track for this edition. As a bonus track for this reissue, the band’s original recording of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust” (taken from the Sad Wings of Destiny sessions) included.

For people wanting a Priest recommendation, I wouldn’t name this album first but it’s definitely worth picking up if you’re a hardcore Priest fan and I probably like much more than most people do. It’s different but you can still hear the sound that would fully develop on later albums.

Highlights: “Rocka Rolla”, “Winter”/”Deep Freeze”/”Winter Retreat”/”Cheater”, “Never Satisfied”, “Run of the Mill”, “Diamonds and Rust”

JUDAS PRIEST – Sin After Sin

Judas Priest – Sin After Sin [Remastered] (2001, Sony Music/Legacy Recordings)
Original Release: 1977, Columbia Records

1. “Sinner” … 6:45
2. “Diamonds and Rust” … 3:27
3. “Starbreaker” … 4:49
4. “Last Rose of Summer” … 5:38
5. “Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest” … 6:12
6. “Raw Deal” … 6:00
7. “Here Come the Tears” … 4:37
8. “Dissident Aggressor” … 3:06
9. “Race With The Devil” … 3:06
10. “Jawbreaker” (Live) … 4:02

Rob Halford – Vocals
K.K. Downing – Guitar
Glenn Tipton – Guitar, Piano
Ian Hill –  Bass
Simon Phillips – Drums

Producer: Roger Glover and Judas Priest

Sin After Sin is Priest’s first major-label album. It is also one of the first Priest albums I had in my collection so I’ve always had a soft spot for it. I remember listening to this one a lot while I was on my own in Virginia attending a community college. Heck, I remember “Last Rose of Summer” playing in my car during that winter while I pulled into a Wendy’s drive-thru. Funny how the most random stuff sticks with you through the years, isn’t it?

By this point, the band was already starting to perfect their sound. “Sinner” and “Starbreaker” (what a cool title) are early Priest classics and I’ve always loved their cover of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust”. It wasn’t until many years later that I heard the original and I think it’s a pretty awful song. It’s amazing that Priest was able to work their magic with it. They totally made it their own.

The rest of the album is very good featuring Priest straddling the line between the early stages of heavy metal and what we would now call classic rock. The only stinker is “Last Rose of Summer”. Looking back at all the things the band has done since then, it just seems like a really weird song for them to record. They are no strangers to tossing a ballad or two our way even to this day, but this one is a very strange ’70s trippy number. “Here Come the Tears” is much more in line with the standard Priest ballad format but also features some great sorrowful wailing from Halford. I love his performance on this song. Then you’ve got fan favorite and early metal classic “Dissident Aggressor” which is pretty heavy even in this day and age, so I cannot even begin to imagine what this song must have sounded like to virgin ears!

All told, this is a classic release and essential for any fan of Priest and heavy metal in general. The seeds were being sown for the future and this album doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

Highlights: “Sinner”, “Diamonds and Rust”, “Starbreaker”, “Here Come the Tears”, “Dissident Aggressor”

JUDAS PRIEST – Screaming for Vengeance

Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance (1982, Columbia Records)

1. “The Hellion” … 0:41
2. “Electric Eye” … 3:39
3. “Riding on the Wind” … 3:07
4. “Bloodstone” … 3:51
5. “(Take These) Chains” … 3:07
6. “Pain and Pleasure” … 4:17
7. “Screaming for Vengeance” … 4:43
8. “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” … 5:09
9. “Fever” … 5:20
10. “Devil’s Child” … 4:48

Rob Halford – Vocals
K.K. Downing – Guitar
Glenn Tipton – Guitar
Ian Hill – Bass
Dave Holland – Drums

Producer: Tom Allom

This album was a great way to start my Judas Priest obsession. I bought it back in 1998 and I remember going up to Virginia to visit friends during winter break and making one of them play this in his car as we drove around town. Good times!

There were a number of tracks that I instantly fell in love with. The killer 1-2 combo of “The Hellion” and “Electric Eye” is legendary. “(Take These) Chains” I always thought was really good and pretty underrated. Priest is really good at writing haunting ballads. “Bloodstone” I think is another Priest gem. Of course, even years before this album I was familiar with “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” (freakin’ Burger King feature it in a commercial at one point!).

The album is a great return to classic material after the unimpressive Point of Entry, but it sees the band caught in the middle of transition from ’70s heavy metal act to ’80s commercial metal act. With their next few releases, the band streamlined and glossed up their sound and kept looking for a mainstream hit.

As good as this album is and as popular as it is (going double platinum, Priest’s best-selling album), it jump-started an era of the band that some people do not like. Personally, I love their slick synthesizer-heavy albums of the ’80s.

Highlights: “The Hellion”, “Electric Eye”, “Riding on the Wind”, “Bloodstone”, “(Take These) Chains”, “Screaming for Vengeance”, “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”

JUDAS PRIEST – Angel of Retribution

Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution (2005, Epic Records)

1. “Judas Rising” … 4:15
2. “Deal With The Devil” … 3:54
3. “Revolution” … 4:42
4. “Worth Fighting For” … 4:17
5. “Demonizer” … 4:35
6. “Wheels Of Fire” … 3:41
7. “Angel” … 4:23
8. “Hellrider” … 6:06
9. “Eulogy” … 2:54
10. “Lochness” … 13:28

1. “Breaking the Law”
2. “Diamonds & Rust”
3. “The Hellion/Electric Eye”
4. “A Touch of Evil”
5. “Metal Gods”
6. “Hell Bent For Leather”
7. “Living After Midnight”
8. Documentary

Rob Halford – Vocals
Glenn Tipton – Lead Guitar
K. K. Downing – Rhythm Guitar
Ian Hill – Bass
Scott Travis – Drums

Producer: Roy Z

This album was a soundtrack to 2005 for me! Despite owning Demolition, I thought Priest with Tim “Ripper” Owens was merely “okay”, but at the same time, I was loving what Rob Halford was doing in his solo band. When it was finally announced Halford was back in Priest after a 13 years absence, I was really excited about it (though a bit disappointed that his band would be put on hold).

Much to my surprise, the lone single from the album, “Revolution”, actually got a fair amount of radio play in my area. I’ve got good memories of blasting it real loud in the truck I was driving while doing lawn care whenever it came on. It’s a great track and definitely my favorite on the album. It’s a bit modern, but a bit classic Priest as well.

Roy Z, who produced Halford (the band) produced here as well and he does good job of not letting this become a lame nostalgia album as he combines classic and modern metals sounds. “Judas Rising” and then “Deal With The Devil” are definitely old school Priest and after the awesome “Revolution”, “Worth Fighting For” is my second favorite song and it has an ’80s Priest vibe sounding like something could have come from Ram It Down or Defenders of the Faith. “Wheels of Fire” takes it back even further, sounding like something they might have done in the late ’70s!

Lyrically and conceptually, the album is supposed to be somewhat of a sequel to 1976’s Sad Wings of Destiny, but a lot of lyrical references are made to other albums and songs throughout the band’s career, which is a really cool thing to pick up on if you know your Priest history.

This album was pretty well-received by metal fans across the land, but looking back, I think I like this album even more than I did back when it was new and it easily trumps the two Ripper albums (sorry, Tim).

There were two versions available upon release. You could get the “DualDisc” CD or the CD/DVD combo. Of course, I went for the DVD combo which features a few live performances.

Highlights: “Judas Rising”, “Deal With The Devil”, “Revolution”, “Worth Fighting For”, “Wheels of Fire”, “Hellrider”

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