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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Title: “Two For The Show” (remaster)
Label: Epic Legacy
Release Date: 7/1/2008
In 1978 Kansas released “Two For The Show” which was a double vinyl live recording that truly captured an exceptional band at their best. The original recording was done during the tour that supported their album “Point Of Know Return” and it would be the first such release for the band but one that found them at what seemed to be the peak of their career with numerous hits already under their belt and support of mainstream Rock radio very much behind them. In order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this release Epic/Legacy not only gave it a fantastic remastering job but also dug deep into the vaults for additional music which allowed the means for a full second CD to be included with it. In the end this made the full release now possess twenty four tracks and come off as what seemed to be a full show of the band. The first CD featured thirteen tracks and such juggernaut songs like “Song For America”, “Point Of No Return” and of course “Carry On Wayward Son” while the second disc features eleven more tracks from the gig. The interesting thing for the fans is that of these eleven tracks, only “Closet Chronicles” had been heard before on the original vinyl while the other ten were as yet unreleased gems from the bands repertoire performed on this tour. Another point of interest in that “Closet Chronicles” was omitted from the initial release of this CD and that has thankfully been rectified for the remaster. I must admit that my own exposure to Kansas during my youth was primarily focused around the bands hits which were all mainstays on Classic Rock and conventional Pop radio stations of the time because back then these were the kind of bands that one could easily find at the turn of a dial. Try finding the band easily in today’s realm and all you will hear is commercial drivel. The members of the band who recorded these selections are Phil Ehart (drums), Kerry Livgren (keyboards/guitars), Robby Steinhardt (violin/vocals), Dave Hope (bass), Steve Walsh (vocals/keyboards), and Rich Williams (guitar). Collectively the tracks do NOT come from a single performance are instead compiled from various shows over the span of three tours from 1977-1978.
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Artist: Quiet Riot
Title: “Metal Health” (remaster)
Label: Portrait/Epic Legacy
Release Date: 8/28/2001
Genre: Heavy Metal
Quiet Riot was originally founded as far back as 1975 by guitarist Randy Rhoads and singer Kevin DuBrow and the pair recorded two albums together, but while a Hollywood fan base found them popular, their fame and a US record deal was still many years away. Rhoads would leave the band to join Ozzy Osbourne’s group in 1979 and tragically die in a plane crash in 1982. It was following this tragedy that DuBrow would attempt to reform the band with a returning Rudy Sarzo on bass as well as guitar wizard Carlos Cavazo and drummer extraordinaire Frankie Banali. Their album “Metal Health” was unleashed to the world in 1983 and with it the music scene for Heavy Metal and Hard Rock would be dramatically transformed and propel the band into the stratosphere. There were a number of factors at play here and while I think that a large part of it was in the overall talent of the band who was definitely a Hollywood staple act, I also think that the growing scene in Los Angeles was set to overflow at any moment and had to peak at some point. It was not long after QR’s signing the deal that the rest of the world would be taking notice of the many bands that were on the Hollywood club circuit of the day. Quiet Riot as a band definitely delivered catchy songs with memorable guitar hooks and as result the album “Metal Health” was a fan favorite across the board. It might have frightened the more Doom Metal based followers of Sabbath and the like but you could not take away the fact that based on this album Heavy Metal music was considered a booming industry.
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