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(Shut up!) Judas Priest!

I don't know, this could fall under a "guilty pleasure" category, or maybe one of those "A History
Lesson for Ya, Junior" things I have done before......although it's hard to beleive, Judas Priest, for a fwe minutes late 1970's/early 80's, could TRULY bring the heavy metal noise, a sort of a Black Sabbath/Iron Maiden sort of blend......they started their ascent to Suckville quickly and remained in that town for years, their stabs at pop/metal ("Head Out to the highway", "ANother Thing Coming", others) are SO generic and faceless that they could LITERALLY be anyone, but earlier in the eday, these guys specialized in absolute BONE CRUSHING heavy metal, for which I have always had a weakness......we're going to explore the period before they tried to become pop-stars here. Couple things, I did see them live a couple times in the late 70's, they were in a way almost comical with thier leather getups, whips, etc, and it became even MORE humorous when singer Rob Halford announced his homosexuality, which literally confused the HELL out of some of the band's more savage fans (and this band did have some RABIDLY SAVAGE fans)......

From Birmingham England, Judas Proest were more or less halford, twin lead guitarists Glenn Tipton and KK Downing, bassist Ian Hill, and a muriad of drummers....they developed thier unique sound right off, with Halford's screeching, almost operetic vocals and the twin lead guitar rumble......just a LITTLE (not TOO much, but a little) too "technically proficient" for myself, I'd have prefered they be a bit "sloppier", but that isn't what they were about.....this was "clean", loud, slickly produced heavy metal, but it was no question HEAVY METAL and it has it's rewards, should you take the time too seek them out.

So, the debut, 1975's "Rocka Rolla", is really
nothing special, the highlight of course being the added-later bonus track, Joan Baez'"Diamonds and Rust" (if you look hard enough, this type of music actually DOES, on occasion, show a sense of humor).......there are some hints here, though, that something was going on......if you were, at the time, a fan of Led Zeppelin, or Black Sabbath, or Blue Oyster Cult, certainly Judas Priest were at least good enough to come along for the ride.
And we were rewarded in 1976 with "Sad Wings of Destiny", a minor classic of rock-hard, hard-rocking metal from that era........"Victem of Changes", "The Ripper", "Tyrant", lots more....it blends into a very good work of head crashing METAL.....great album. You don't like it? Hmmmm, give it another shot? Don't take it too seriously, it ROCKS.

And, so, in fact does 1977's "Sin After Sin", perhaps theier best work, it is loaded....."Sinner" is my favorite Priest track EVER, an awesome opus of metal riffs/solos, ridiculous lyrics, and hysteric vocals.....always a highlight performed live, the studio version is great as well....the original "Diamonds and Rust" is here as well, as is the grest "Dissident Aggressor"......don't get me wrong, this is not 5-star disc, it's more like a 3, but sometimes, you just want your eardrums to bleed a bit, and the late 1970's Judas Priest answered that call and then some.

As sometimes happens, they achieved commercial success along with what was probably thier best album, 1978's "Stained Class".....wonderful, classic metal album, especially the second side (this WONDERFUL vinyl rip SMOKES the CD version).......the album opens with the great "Exciter" ("Fall to your knees and REPENT if you please"), They cover a Spooky Tooth number, and add the fine title track to side one, but the second side is damn near flawless......"Saints In Hell", (especially) "Savage", (also especially) "Beyond the Realms of Death", also a fine live tune), and "Heroes End" are as good as it gets......a GREAT album, I love it, the sound is somewhat unique, and I could listen (and DO actually) to this one over and over.......GREAT album.

OK, this was the "peak".....next up was the MUCH lesser "Hell bent For Leather", really a sharp turn
downward.......to be honest, I don't think there is a standout cut here, evn the comical Fleetwood Mac (!) cover "The Green Manalishi (With the Two Pronged Crown)......really, it's a generic hard rock album, doesn't sound ANYTHING LIKE as great as "Stained Class", and is included here ONLY because I happen to have one.

OK, they were generally respected for their considerable live chops more than their albums (much like their contemporaries AC-DC), and 1979's "Unleashed in the East" DOES NOT DISAPPOINT.......a fantastic live album, smoldering versions of "Sinner", "Diamonds and Rust", "Exciter"......a fine live album, probably the one I'd slip on right now if I were wanting a Priest fix!
Ok, I also have the studio album "British Steel", it kind of sucks, actually, with thte "singles'"Breaking the Law" and "Living AFter Midnight", both of which I think suck it big time, but there are also the listenable "Rapid Fire" and "Metal Gods" in case you are interested.
So, what else I got? Well, a few things at least, no studio album post-"British Steel", just couldn't take em, but how about a live set from Osaka Japan 1978, great performance, and all the "right" tunes ("Sinner", "Realms", "Exciter"), fairly rare I think, and one of the better Priest boots I've heard.
The two-disc "Meltdown" is a collection of live recordings from here and there, including some of the more recent, well known stuff ("Another Thing Coming", "Electric Eye"), but plenty of classic takes, this would be for fans of the band, but there are a fwe hard to locate gems here, if this is your thing, jump on.

"Hell bent For the BBC 1981" is anothyer slew of live cuts, with a bonus of three NYC 1978 tracks tacked on, hey, another live version of the great "Sinner" is OK by me.....
An finally we have "Live and Rare", which basically is a bunch of live tunes thrown together haphazardly and the "Hi Octane Mix" of "Turbo Lover".......for some reason I have a feeling this is NOT a band that has a lot of unknown treasures in the vault.

Hey, folks, I strive for variety......I liked Judas Priest when I was in high school, then they wanted to be pop stars and I jumped off, but, lemme tell ya......the sound track of 1977-1981, with quaaludes and pot brownies and Ronin Hood Cream Ale, Judas Priest were a HUGE part of that soundtrack......make fun of them/me all you like, but this shit NO QUESTION could rock the house, which is often all that matters.
ROCKA ROLLA-01 One For the Road/02 Rocka Rolla/03 Winter/Deep Freeze/04 Winter Retreat/Cheater/05 Never Satisfied/06 Run of the Mill/07 Dying to Meet You/08 Caviar and Meths/09 Diamonds and Rust
SAD WINGS OF DESTINY-01 Victim of Changes/02 The Ripper/03 Dreamer Deciever/04
Deceiver/05 Prelude/06 Tyrant/07 Genocide/08 Epitaph/09 Island of Domination
SIN AFTER SIN-01 Sinner/02 Diamonds and Rust/03 Starbreaker/04 Last Rose Of Summer/05 Let Us Call For the Priest/06 Raw Deal/07 Here Come the Tears/08 Dissident Aggressor/09  Race With the Devil/10 Jawbreaker (Live)
STAINED CLASS-01 Exciter/02 White Heat Red Hot/03 Better By You, Better Than Me/04 Stained Class/05 Invader/06 Saints In Hell/07 Savage/08 Beyond the Realms of Death/09 Heroes End
HELL BENT FOR LEATHER-01 Delivering the Goods/02 Rock Forever/03 Evening Star/04 Hell bent For Leather/05 Take On the World/06 Burnin Up/07 The Green Manalishi With the Two Pronged Crown/08 Killing Machine/09 Running Wild/10 Before the Dawn/11 Evil Fantasies
UNLEASHED IN THE EAST-01 Exciter/02 Running Wild/03 Sinner/04 Ripper/05 The Green Manalishi With the Two Pronged Crown/06 Diamonds and Rust/07 Victim of Changes/08 Genocide/09 Tyrant
BRITISH STEEL-01 Breaking the Law/02 Rapid Fire/03 Metal Gods/04 Grinder/05 United/06 Living AFter Midnight/07 Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise/08 The Rage/09 Steeler
OSAKA JAPAN 8/5/78-01 Exciter/02 White Heat Red Hot/03 The Ripper/04 Sinner/05 Beyond the Realms of Death/06 Better By You, Better Than Me/07 Victim of Changes/08 Genocide/09 Starbreaker/10 Tyant
MELTDOWN DISC 1-01 Hellion/02 Electric
Eye/03 Metal Gods/04 Grinder/05 Rapid Fire/06 Blood Stained/07 Sentinel/08 Touch of Evil/09 Burn In Hell/10 Ripper/11 Bullet Train/12 Beyond the Realms of Death/13 Death Row
MELTDOWN DISC 2-01 Metal Meltdown/02 Night Crawler/03 Abductors/04 Victim of Changes/05 Diamonds and Rust/06 Breaking the Law/07 The Green Manalishi With the Two Pronged Crown/08 Painkiller/09 You've Got Another Thing Comin'/10 Hell bent For LEather/11 Living AFter Midnignt
HELL BENT FOR THE BBC 1981-01 BBC Intro/02 Hell bent For Leather/03 Breaking the Law/04 Sinner/05 Beyond the Realms of Death/06 Grinder/07 Victim of Changes/08 The Green Manalishi With the Two Pronged Crown/09 Living After Midnight/10 Tyrant/11 Better By You Better Than Me/12 Genocide/13 Starbreaker
LIVE AND RARE-01 Beyond the Realms of Death/02 White Heat Red Hot/03 Starbreaker/04 Breaking the Law/05 Living AFter Midnight/06 The Green Manalishi With the Two Pronged Crown/07 Breaking the Law/08 You've Got Another Thing Comin'/09 Private Property/10 Turbo Lover (Hi-Octane Mix)

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