“Hell Bent Forever: A Tribute To Judas Priest” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Hell Bent Forever: A Tribute To Judas Priest”
Label: Deadline Music
Release Date: 9/16/2008
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

The contributions of Judas Priest to the Heavy Metal world are many and based on this fact it makes sense that we would periodically find albums being released that feature other musicians offering up tribute to them by giving us their own versions of legendary classics. “Hell Bent Forever: A Tribute To Judas Priest” finds what appear to be a number of Glam Rock bands taking a stab at the material along with some of the more notable heavy acts of today. The release begins with Motorhead who give us a great rendition of “Breaking The Law” which is followed up by Fozzy’s “Metal Gods”. The band Fozzy features WWE’s Chris Jericho, and he is actually really a good singer and not just someone playing the part of one for kicks. For the most part I found this one to be a rather enjoyable listen and I was able to do this by not expecting every singer on the release to hit the soaring high notes that are second nature to a performer like Rob Halford. I was not sure how I would feel about Great White’s rendition of “Diamonds And Rust” and while this one is vocally on target, I felt that the drumming could have been a little more interesting. I was raised on the “Unleashed In The East” version with the Les Binks’ double kicks from Hell and kind of wanted to hear them on the cover of the track. Warrant does a decent job of “Hell Bent For Leather” but there is some weird solo break added before the original one which I could have done without. Other interesting offerings come from L.A. Guns and Firehouse who each tackle tracks that I would have never expected them doing on their own. There are a couple of numbers that could have been added to this one and perhaps even swapped out for some of the others that we found being done but in the end the track listing ends up reading like a decent “Best Of” collection. I admit that I would have loved to see “Green Manalishi” or “Freewheel Burning” included more so than “Heading Out To The Highway” even though this is a more mainstream tune.

Vince Neil (Motley Crue) gives us a kick ass version of “Desert Plains” and I was happy to hear how close to the mark he was able to get and of course there is no need to describe the quality of the track delivered by one time Halford replacement Tim “Ripper” Owens who does a rousing version of “Exciter”. This track always gets the crowd moving and is sure to get you up off of the sofa when it plays. The only track that I had an issue with was the Sepultura version of “Screaming For Vengeance” because the vocals are so off base for this kind of band and to hear the usually soaring high notes instead done by a gravelly Death tone just made me wish the song would end faster than it should. I would recommend this release more for those fans of the players involved than the Judas Priest faithful acolyte, as that type of individual stands to over analyze each and every note. This release does not require that one do that and instead advises that they sit back and enjoy the tributes being offered up to the Metal Gods. The album comes to us several months after Priest had released their very first concept album “Nostradamus”. It is a brave move on the bands part and one that reminds us of why they have been so inspirational for so many decades.

Track Listing:
1. Breaking The Law – Motorhead
2. Metal Gods – Fozzy
3. Electric Eye – Jani Lane of Warrant
4. Diamonds And Rust – Great White
5. Heading Out To The Highway – Angel City Outlaws
6. Devil’s Child – Broken Teeth
7. Hell Bent For Leather – Warrant
8. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ – Firehouse
9. Living After Midnight – L.A. Guns
10. Turbo Lover – Sin City All-Stars
11. Exciter – Tim “Ripper” Owens
12. Screaming For Vengeance – Sepultura
13. The Ripper – Icarus Witch

Official Website: http://www.cleopatrarecords.com

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