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“The Complete Albums Collection” by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “The Complete Albums Collection”
Label: Columbia/Epic/Legacy Records
Release Date: 1/24/2012
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

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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“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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