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PiercingMetal Visits The Judas Priest Pop-Up Shop @ Sony Square NYC

This past Friday, March 9th – The Legendary Judas Priest released their 18th album with “Firepower”. In honor of the Metal Magnus Opus, the fine folks at Sony Square NYC have set up a small gallery of photographs, memorabilia and stage attire. Since I had to be in the city for the Michael Schenker Fest performance at Irving Plaza, I paid a visit to the store to see the gallery and shoot some photos and video for those too far away to get here themselves. The photos video were shot with the Samsung point and shoot while the Facebook Live and Instagram stuff were done with my new Galaxy Note 8. Let’s take a look at the video first shall we?

Pretty cool right? Now let’s share the photos of the exhibit on their own to allow for better appreciation of the mighty band. That first thing we saw was an interactive screen and it would do what you did. I tried to make it give the METAL HORNS and you can see me trying to type notes down in the left hand corner.

judas priest, sony square nyc, judas priest pop-up shop
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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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“The Chosen Few” by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “The Chosen Few”
Label: Sony Legacy
Release Date: 10/11/2011
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 2.5/5

After forty plus years of putting some incredible Heavy Metal music in the faces of their fans, the guys in Judas Priest have embarked on their “Epitaph” tour and plan for the most part to call it a career. It’s not the same news that the Scorpions gave as far as a full on band retirement, but the Priest said that no more worldwide extended touring will happen and that fans can still expect some new recordings when the inspiration comes to them. That news brings us to the very latest release by Judas Priest which is entitled “The Chosen Few” and well, how do I best describe this to you…….
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“Setlist: The Very Best Of Judas Priest – Live” by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Setlist: The Very Best Of Judas Priest – Live”
Label: Sony Legacy
Release Date: 7/13/2010
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3.25/5

The newest “thing” we are finding being done outside of the never ending supply of “Greatest Hits” packages is the issuing of classic bands and their rich history in the form of the “Setlist: Live” CD’s. These albums take a wide sampling of an artists catalog as done in concert and presents it to the listener in the hopes of giving them the feeling that they were taking part in the show. My first sampling of this new adventure came with the Judas Priest “Setlist” and having been a fan of the band since around 1978 or so, I could safely speak about what is included. Historically speaking, The Priest now has officially released six live albums. Four are with Rob Halford while two are with Tim “Ripper” Owens. This “Setlist: Live” CD delivers material from three of these six albums and I guess in some sense it’s a good way to start your live Priest journey. They start off with “Judas Rising” which hails from the bands “Angel Of Retribution” CD, which was the album that found them again with Halford on the microphone. I will admit that I felt a few different tunes should have been selected for the release and was scratching my head at some of the omissions but despite this did like that we get a healthy sample of “Unleashed In The East” which is not only one of my favorite live albums in the Metal genre, but also perhaps one of the best ever recorded in history. I was happy to find “Living After Midnight” excluded since we don’t need to hear that every five minutes but I would have swapped “Dissident Aggressor” for “Electric Eye/Hellion” in a moment. “Beyond The Realms Of Death” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” are the two tracks that were unreleased in the US Region but appeared on Japanese issues and while the first track is amazing, the length of ‘YGATC” is ponderous since we get the whole extended stage rap as well. Even though I love the song, I just hate how long it is during a show and feel the band should be sliding another song in for the crowd instead of “working us up” a little more.
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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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