“The Essential Judas Priest” by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Essential Judas Priest”
Label: Columbia Records
Release Date: 4/11/2006
Style: Heavy Metal
Rating: 9/10

The market has really seen a flood of Judas Priest product on the shelves since the reunion of Rob Halford to the bands lineup. We have seen a career spanning boxed set, three DVD’s and a new studio album so was it any surprise when we find a more affordable “Essential” or Anthology being released? If you have been following the band for any number of years and own most of the above as well as their individual remastered back catalog then there is no need for you to purchase this CD. However, if you just want a solid selection of Priest greats for the car, summer house or the office then this is a must have. The two CD collection spans the entire Judas Priest catalog but interesting enough totally bypasses any music recorded by Tim “Ripper” Owens. Perhaps it was due to their being on a different record label or perhaps the band wants you to forget about this music and only focus on the classic lineup. There are a number of good tracks left off the release such as “Desert Plains”, “Solar Angels” and “Evening Star” but I am a long time Judas Priest fan and to me there are more rocking tracks than there are lacking ones. For the most part the selected numbers are “essentials” and cream of the crop as far as the band is concerned.

Given the omission to a few of my favorites I was still able to find forgiveness for the band by their NOT choosing to give the listener the rendition of “Johnny Be Goode” or “Parental Guidance”; these tracks are no where near essential and I am glad that they have been left off. They include a fold out booklet with some solid liner notes and several good photos from across the bands life they also feature graphics of the entire Judas Priest catalog (even the Ripper ones but that’s all you get from those). Two tracks are present from the bands 2005 “Angel Of Retribution” and they serve as bookends to the release in sort of a “here is where we are now” and “here is where we have been” and while I know this was the single, I felt that far better tracks were present on the release than the CD’s closer of “Revolution”.

Despite my limited reservations on it, the hard core Judas Priest fanatic will purchase this, and load it onto their music player and be strumming that air guitar that Judas Priest music always seems to bring out in a person. The tracks are remastered and the production level has almost a new life. Given this, you really can’t go wrong. Here’s to the Metal Gods! Long may they reign.

Track List:
1. Judas Rising
2. Breaking The Law
3. Hell Bent For Leather
4. Diamonds And Rust
5. Victim Of Changes
6. Love Bites
7. Heading Out To The Highway
8. Ram It Down
9. Beyond The Realms Of Death
10. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
11. Jawbreaker
12. A Touch Of Evil
13. Delivering The Goods
14. United
15. Turbo Lover
16. Painkiller
17. Metal Gods
18. The Hellion
19. Electric Eye
20. Living After Midnight
21. Freewheel Burning
22. Exciter
23. The Green Manalishi
24. Blood Red Skies
25. Night Crawler
26. Sinner
27. Hot Rockin’
28. The Sentinel
29. Before The Dawn
30. Hell Patrol
31. The Ripper
32. Screaming For Vengeance
33. Out In The Cold
34. Revolution

Official Web site: www.judaspriest.com

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