by John Kindred
Staff Writer –
Judas Priest originally was formed in 1969 in Birmingham, England, but they didn’t solidify the core of the band until 1974 before recording their first studio album Rocka Rolla. Originally a four-piece outfit rounded out by Halford, Downing and Hill, their record label suggested adding another guitarist prior to recording their debut album. This brought Glenn Tipton into the fold and the rest, as they say, is history.
Launching a music career that has spanned four decades, Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill forged a legacy that has influenced countless generations of musicians and indoctrinated legions of fans. The band has withstood many storms that tested their mettle, but they have survived and persevered. Even today, lineup changes have not deterred the band’s audio assault on the world.
Over the years, the core members of the band, Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill, have been the forerunners of their style of rock. While known to the world as a Heavy Metal band, continued growth as a group and as individual musicians has evolved through several genres over the course of their careers. Starting out as a psychedelic hard rock band in the early ‘70s, they have traversed the genres from hard rock, heavy metal and thrash metal.
The voice of the band is Rob Halford, although Tim “Ripper” Owens admirably captained the ship for a few years and albums. Halford’s “hellion-ish” vocals pushed the envelope, reaching beyond the typical archetype for a hard rock or metal vocalist. Priest has had a few drummers sit behind the kit and bash the skins over the years, but Scott Travis (Racer X), who, since 1989, has elevated the metallic fury of the band to new heights. The twin guitar attack of K.K. Downing and Glen Tipton set standards for Metal bands worldwide to follow as they took their aerial assault to new levels of technical virtuosity.
The Complete Albums Collection Box Set is really the complete anthology of the Robert Halford -led Priest. The anthology contains the 15 studio albums and three live albums that, again, feature the four core members of the band: Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill, who all appeared on the band’s discography from 1974 to 2009. Again, albums that feature Tim “Ripper” Owens as Priest’s vocalist are excluded from the collection, which, in truth, is only three releases. The Complete Albums Collection Box Set isn’t 100 percent complete, but it’s damn close.
This is quite a comprehensive collection of music. Each album is packaged in replica mini-LP sleeves, reproducing the original cover art. Also included is a 40-page booklet with photos, album credits and liner notes by rock journalist and Priest fan Greg Prato. The majority of the albums are the re-mastered editions, including recently re-mastered albums Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings Of Destiny. The album Hell Bent For Leather appears under its original name, Killing Machine, a change brought on before its release in ’78 by Judas Priest’s record label.
Are you ready for a Judas Priest audio marathon? Starting with 1974′s Rocka Rolla fans can retrace the steps of the band as the find their way from a fledgling psychedelic almost hippy-rock to harder-edged heavy rock. The band travels many roads from their commercial-metal excursion on the 1986 Turbo, to their thrash-inspired 1990 Painkiller and moves along to the dynamic heavy metal return of Halford on 2005′s Angel of Retribution. Judas Priest certainly has cut its own path in the music industry.
Even today, change, it seems, is inevitable. In 2011, K.K. Downing retired from the band, creating the opportunity for new guitarist Richie Faulkner to become the latest member in the Judas Priest family tree. The Judas Priest machine moves on as the band rolls forward on its last world tour, Epitaph, but don’t fret because they plan to continue to release new studio albums and perform live on a smaller scale.
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rob Halford (v)
Glenn Tipton (g)
K.K. Downing (g) [from 1970 to 2011]
Ian Hill (b)
Scott Travis (d) [from 1989 to present]
Alan Moore (d) [appeared on Sad Wing of Destiny]
John Hinch (d) [appeared on Rocka Rolla]
Simon Phillips (d) [appeared on Sin After Sin]
Les Binks (d) [appeared on Stained Glass]
Dave Holland (d) [featured on albums released from 1979–1989]
ALBUMS INCLUDED IN ‘THE COMPLETE ALBUMS COLLECTION’:
Rocka Rolla (1974)
Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
Sin After Sin (1977)
Stained Class (1978)
Killing Machine (1978)
Unleashed in the East (1979)
British Steel (1980)
Point of Entry (1981)
Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
Defenders of the Faith (1984)
Ram It Down (1988)
Angel of Retribution (2005)
A Touch of Evil…Live (2009)
Label: Epic, Columbia, Legacy Recordings
Hardrock Haven rating: 10/10
by John Kindred
Staff Writer –
The Grandfathers of Metal are a quartet of egos molded into the guise of one of the most influential NWOBHM ever to grace the stage and are known to the world as Judas Priest. The band’s longevity has spanned 40-plus years. That’s four decades! Throughout the bands successful career, there has been dissension in the ranks, as members have left and were replaced, Judas Priest carried on.
The voice of the band is Rob Halford, although Tim “Ripper” Owens admirably captained the ship for a few years and albums. Priest has had a few drummers sit behind the kit and bash the skins over the years, but Scott Travis, who, since 1990, has elevated the metallic fury of the band to new heights. The guts of the band, bassist Ian Hill and guitarists Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing, have kept the train on the tracks without derailment through these transitions.
In 2011, Judas Priest has called it quits, well, not really. With continued plans to records and release new music, the band has called it quits to the grueling rigors of the road when it comes to touring the world. With one final hurrah, the band plans to close out this portion of its career with the Epitaph World Tour. Dissension in the ranks reared its head once again, leading to longtime guitarist K.K. Downing retiring from the band and walking away from the group’s final world tour. This created an opportunity for guitarist Richie Faulkner to join Priest.
With all that said, we now can jump ahead to the band’s latest studio release titled The Chosen Few. This is an interesting compilation of songs that was not culled by the band or label but by the band’s peers within the music industry. The compilation features 17 songs that appear in the chronological order, according to album release dates. With exception of the band’s last four studio albums and 1981′s Point of Entry and ‘88′s Ram It Down, the rest of Judas Priest’s albums are represented on the compilation.
This is not the first compilation release by Judas Priest. Besides the original albums that have been remastered and re-released, there are plenty of “greatest hits” packages out there. Fans ultimately are going to have to decide if they want to buy another one. It’s best, really, to allow the artists who chose the track listing to provide a reason why they chose their selection of favorite Priest songs.
Here is a sampling of their commentary, which can be read, in full, in the liner notes in the CD booklet. The bands and artists that picked the track listing include: Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Steve Vai, Kerry King (Slayer), Randy Blythe (Lamb Of God), Alice Cooper, Slash, Joe Satriani, Klaus Meine (Scorpions), Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Chris Jericho (Fozzy), David Coverdale (Whitesnake), James Hetfield (Metallica), Vinnie Paul (Hellyeah), Corey Taylor (Slipknot), Gene Simmons (Kiss), Lars Ulrich (Metalica) and Lemmy (Motorhead).
GENE SIMMONS. KISS
“Priest has always meant one thing — take no prisoners. For decades, across one continent to the next, they have never wavered in their commitment to treating the Stage as Holy Ground. Do not tread lightly there. This is a place reserved for the few. The proud. The mighty. A toast then, to a band that has given its all to the fans. And the magic will continue when the next 15 year old puts on his first Priest record, pumps his fist in the air and is instantly transported to a land where only Metal Gods roam.”
“This has always been one of my favorite Judas Priest songs…. I just want to know what the fuck that note is that Rob Halford hits in the beginning of the song. Fucking hell!! That note is probably just below what only dogs can hear.”
KERRY KING, SLAYER
DELIVERING THE GOODS
“I could pick a dozen Judas Priest songs! Favorite band of all time. Picking one is far more difficult. Favorite album – Stained Class. Favorite song…being put on the spot I’d have to say Delivering The Goods off Hell Bent For Leather. Great song for all the reasons I like Priest. Killer riffs, killer lead into my favorite lead break they’ve ever done, straight into taking the song in a complete different direction. Awesome.”
RANDY BLYTHE, LAMB OF GOD
THE GREEN MANALISHI (WITH THE TWO-PRONGED CROWN)
“While the true meaning of the lyrics to Fleetwood Mac’s The Green Manalishi are apocryphal, the song has always seemed well, sinister to me. In the hands of The Metal Gods the tune becomes elevated to frightening. I still don’t know exactly what the The Green Manalishi is or what it does with the
two – pronged crown, but after hearing Halford’s snarling version, I sure as hell don’t want to meet
it in a dark alley. Hail Priest!”
LIVING AFTER MIDNIGHT
“For a metal band, Priest has always used tons of melody… when you have a singer as great as Rob Halford, you have to write great riffs WITH great melodies, you can’t just have riffs. Living After Midnight is the perfect example. This is Judas Priest’s most memorable anthem. This is every metal head’s party song, because naturally…the party always starts after midnight. Actually I think Rob has been to most of those parties.”
BEYOND THE REALMS OF DEATH
“The blueprint for the epic rock ballad. Copied thousands of times, never eclipsed.”
SLASH – SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE
“Judas Priest have put out their fair share of great albums to be sure. But my all time favourite is Screaming For Vengeance. It was, and still is, one of the best metal records ever produced, and the title track is, in my humble opinion, still ahead of its time.”
COREY TAYLOR, SLIPNOT
YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER THING COMING
“Judas Priest: the blueprint for the ultimate heavy metal band…..”
Genre: NWOBHWM / Heavy Metal
Current Band Lineup:
Glenn Tipton (g)
Rob Halfornd (v)
Ian Hill (b)
Scott Travis (d)
Richie Faulkner (g)
1. Diamonds And Rust (1977) – chosen by Joe Elliott (Def Leppard)
2. Dissident Aggressor (1977) – chosen by Steve Vai
3. Exciter (1978) – chosen by Accept
4. Beyond The Realms Of Death (1978) – chosen by Lars Ulrich (Metallica)
5. Delivering The Goods (1979) – chosen by Kerry King (Slayer)
6. The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown) (1979) – chosen by David Coverdale (Whitesnake) & Randy Blythe (Lamb of God)
7. The Ripper (1979) – chosen by Ozzy Osbourne
8. Victim Of Changes (1979) – chosen by James Hetfield (Metallica)
9. Breaking The Law (1980) – chosen by Lemmy (Motorhead)
10. Rapid Fire (1980) – chosen by Vinnie Paul (Pantera & Hell Yeah)
11. Grinder (1980) – chosen by Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society)
12. Living After Midnight (1980) – chosen by Alice Cooper & Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath)
13. Screaming For Vengeance (1982) – chosen by Slash (Guns n Roses)
14. You’ve Got Another Thing Coming (1982) – chosen by Klaus Meine (Scorpions) & Corey Taylor (Slipknot)
15. The Sentinel (1984) – chosen by Chris Jericho
16. Turbo Lover (1986) – chosen by Jonathan Davis (Korn)
17. Painkiller (1990) – chosen by Joe Satriani
Hardrock Haven rating: n/a