Tag Archives: judas priest remasters

“Hell Bent For Leather” (remaster) by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Hell Bent For Leather” (remaster)
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 11/6/2001
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

“Hell Bent For Leather” is one of the most interesting albums in the Judas Priest catalog. It’s more a blend of solid Hard Rock with a quasi-Metal vibe yet when it needs to rock it surely is able to do so. Cementing the bands look of leather and spikes, the record was originally called “Killing Machine” and was renamed “Hell Bent For Leather” in order to be released in the US. It was an album that drew a lot of press for the group and until the blockbuster “British Steel” would be the biggest converter of followers to the Judas Priest cause. Reviewing the albums tracks the listener will find a large number of slower, more trudging numbers (“Delivering The Goods”, & “Take On The World” among them) which showed that being heavy was as much an attitude as a format of music. While the album also featured several commercially viable songs with “Evening Star” and “Rock Forever”, the most enduring of the tracks would be the title track “HBFL” and the Peter Green cover “Green Manalishi With The Two-Pronged Crown”. To this day I don’t know what a “green manalishi” is, but according to some net research, Green had stated it was about money representing the devil. Despite it not being as heavy as its predecessor “Stained Class”, it’s still an excellent release and a must have edition to the Priest catalog in your collection. For this album the lineup roster would be the same as “Stained Class” and would be the record toured that gives fans the incredible live recording of “Unleashed In The East”.
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“Unleashed In The East” (remaster) by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Unleashed In The East” (remaster)
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 11/6/2001
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 5/5

“Unleashed In The East” would capture Judas Priest in the element that they seemed to rule over and this would be the concert stage. Recorded during one of the shows supporting the “Hell Bent For Leather” album, this release would feature a strong amount of material from that particular recording as well as earlier staple numbers . Fans of the band who owned this on CD when it originally came out will appreciate the 4 added tracks but should be aware that while from this time period, they do not seem to be from the same performance. Outside of the 5 “HBFL” tracks, the listener is treated to knock down versions of “Exciter” and “Diamonds & Rust”, the blistering lead guitar work and stellar drumming behind Rob’s banshee vocals made them two of the albums best tracks. I remembered being influenced as a young musician by this album’s drumming which made Les Binks one of my favorite Hard Rock players at the time. Sadly this would be the last appearance in the band by Binks who would be replaced on the forthcoming album by Dave Holland. Binks gets a brief drum solo in “Starbreaker” which serves as a fitting closer to the chapter of the book he was a part of. As a whole I loved this album and remember wearing my vinyl release down to almost nothing and recall replacing my original copy at least once from either use or from someone failing to return it after borrowing it. To this day I don’t remember the real reasoning behind it, but it could be the last one as I now seem to have a strict policy on my music loaning. The overall strength of the album make favorites very subjective to the particular listener and of course there are always those that dispute live recordings as to their total “authenticity”, but even with obvious studio cleanups this is one of the best live Metal records to have ever been released.
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“Priest Live” (remaster) by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Priest Live”
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 3/19/2002
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3/5

“Priest Live” was recorded during the bands tour for their album “Turbo”; the lackluster fan response to this release on its own made fans quickly choose sides when it came to a live album based on this tour. “Turbo” was a lot more commercial than many fans were ready for and the style-look of the group members was very “flashy” or “glam”, which caused a stir among the believers in their Heavy Metal gods. “Turbo” followed “Defenders Of The Faith” which was a monster of a record and much along the style of “Screaming For Vengeance”, so when the group suddenly delivers keyboard-laden guitar synth sounds you can see where the confusion begins. It would have been smarter to release some live release from the “Defenders” tour but they had just released “Live In Concert”, a VHS recording of the “Screaming For Vengeance” tour. During this time in history, live concert videos were few and far between, as bands did not release every single tour on video like we see done today (Iron Maiden, Dream Theater etcetera). I saw this tour and had a problem with the song selection that they did for it, but of course, it was geared towards the new album. Outside of “Out In The Cold” and “Locked In”, I felt the album was sub-par and was aiming in the wrong direction. It was a view that songs like “Private Property” and “Parental Guidance” made stronger every time they would be played on the radio. For a live recording this does sound good and Priest still makes sure to get heavy on the no nonsense numbers such as “Freewheel Burning”, The Sentinel” and “Screaming For Vengeance” but the lackluster tracks from a Metal fans standpoint truly take more away from this release than they bring to it. This is an album that is more for the completeist who wants no gaps or perhaps those that found “Turbo” to be their very favorite of the Judas Priest back catalog.
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“British Steel” (remaster) by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “British Steel” (remaster)
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 5/29/2001
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

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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