Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “The Complete Albums Collection”
Label: Columbia/Epic/Legacy Records
Release Date: 1/24/2012
Genre: Heavy Metal
If you are truly a card carrying Heavy Metal fan then you most likely not only hold the name of the band Judas Priest in high regard but you also probably have at least four to five of their albums in your collection if not more. On the other hand should you call yourself a Metal fan and you DO NOT own any Judas Priest albums I will need to see your paperwork and am afraid that I will have to prohibit you from citing this genre as being among your interests. The boxed set “Complete Albums Collection” by Judas Priest is one of those items meant for the absolute diehard and features remastered editions of the bands works. Oh wait a second. Technically that is not true as none of the albums featuring Tim “Ripper” Owens are offered up here and instead we get what is called the legendary lineup of Halford, Downing, Tipton and Hill. Over the years the band had a number of drummers before locking the talented Scott Travis into place with 1991’s “Painkiller”. As this release is a massive one and features seventeen of their albums I decided to offer up a quick viewpoint about each CD and say what it meant to me as a fan of the band for the time I had been into them. One of the most immediate exciting points about this release was the inclusion of the group’s first two releases of “Rocka-Rolla” and “Sad Wings Of Destiny” which had never before been available as sanctioned albums by the band and their label of many decades.
Rocka-Rolla (1974): While it’s great to have “Rocka-Rolla” in remastered form at long last, I will admit that if this was my own first go at Priest that I might not have been originally sold on them. Of course it was released in 1974 and has more of a Heavy Rock vibe with some essence of trippy Psychedelics. Yes there were some stand out tunes but the bands best material was ahead of them.
Sad Wings Of Destiny (1976): Now this was more like it and I think was many fans first foray into the bands magnificence. I was still nowhere near my first meeting with the Priest but I would be here soon enough. Classics on this album like “Victim Of Changes”, “Tyrant” and “Genocide” are still very important songs to the bands set list. With “Sad Wings” Judas Priest had arrived.
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I think it’s time to use this blog to celebrate some momentous Metal occasions and particularly so when we find an iconic release reaching a big anniversary. With that being said let me start out by wishing Judas Priest a very Happy Anniversary on their album “British Steel” hitting its 30th year of release. Wow. When “British Steel” first came out in April of 1980 I had only been a Judas Priest fan for a few short years. I was already a heavy music fan but I got my Metal education in the bands work thanks to one of my guitar players who had three of their albums and we were listening to them after practice. I was hooked and immediately asked my folks to buy me this new album for my birthday which would be at the end of the month after it hit the record shops. Yes, this writer owned the album on classic vinyl LP at one time.
From the moment that I first played this album I would blast it nice and loud much to the families and neighbors chagrin and as I was just beginning to start out with my interest in drumming I found tunes like “Breaking The Law”, “Living After Midnight”, “Metal Gods” and “Rapid Fire” to be fun ones to work ones chops out to and aim for harder and harder material. Not long after its release many of these tunes became staples of Rock focused radio stations. I realize that the term might elude many of you younger readers but yes at one time Radio ruled the roost and there were Heavy Rock stations that afforded material like this some attention. To me as a Metal fan this is still a completely relevant album that I love listening to from beginning to end. What does it mean to you as a person who claims that this type of sound is of utmost importance to them? Feel free to let us know in the comments but do stick to topic of course.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, a special edition version of the album will be released sometime next month. I’ve read that it will feature a live DVD performance of the album from the recent tour that they did as well. That is pretty cool for them to do. Back in 2006 I started reviewing some of the Judas Priest remasters that had come out in 2001. You can check out that article by clicking HERE. I opted to paste that Amazon.com link below instead of the first remaster since its something that all of you should add to your collection.
Official Website: www.judaspriest.com
Official Album Wikipedia Entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Steel_%28album%29
Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “British Steel” (remaster)
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 5/29/2001
Genre: Heavy Metal
British Steel would follow the incredibly powerful live release of “Unleashed In The East” and cement Priests place in Metal as a powerful force of music. The core members would remain the same but the drum chair would prove to be revolving once again as the album would introduce Dave Holland on drums (he would replace Les Binks). This decision was one of those musical mysteries because the level of technique the two had between them was vastly different. Binks had a proven level of superb double bass drumming across the last few recordings while Holland seemed to be more simplistic and straightforward. As a result the drumming of Priest would become a little less complex focusing more on the impact of the vocals and the guitars. Still, despite any of this The Priest had an absolute winner with this record due to the instantly accessible tracks of “Living After Midnight” and “Breaking The Law”. The two songs became responsible for millions of air guitarists around the world and I defy you to play them and not find yourself reaching for your own invisible axe. The album would also give us “Metal Gods”, a title that Halford would take for himself going forward in the first person. He would be forever referred to now as “The Metal God” and there are not many who will argue this title with him. Fast numbers like “Rapid Fire” and pounding “Grinder” would show the world that Priest had not gone commercial and would still deliver the Metal as needed while “United” became a number just begging for the audience at large to sing along. The production level of the remaster is great and to sweeten it up they tossed in a couple of extra tracks. However, the couple of tracks in this case would be a live version of “Grinder” which is all right as well as a disposable studio track called “Red, White and Blue” (this was an outtake from the “Turbo” recording sessions).
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