Good day all,
On July 17, 1982 the fantastic Judas Priest released the fantastic album Screaming for Vengeance. As this is the 30th anniversary of this album I thought it would be cool to talk about the album as well as Judas Priest. Now just because this album came out on my 9th birthday does not mean I think that they released it just for me, but that is quite the coincidence right? Anyway, you have to look at this album and Judas Priests ability to survive for so long and be somewhat amazed. Sure they didn’t hit with every album but you have to admit that they scored more than they failed. Plus the late 80’s early 90’s where weird for all bands.
So it has been 30 years since Screaming for Vengeance first filled our ears with the power and joy that Judas Priest brough forth on this album. But Priest had been around since 1969, coming out of Birmingham England, also the birth place of Black Sabbath, they stormed on the music scene with their double guitar attack of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton and the unmistakable scream of Rob Halford. There had been plenty of lineup changes in the band’s early history but they really didn’t break out as the metal gods that they are now until Sad Wings of Destiny was released and really showed what they could do as a band. This album helped propel them from under the shadow of Black Sabbath and into an entity all their own. This time period brought us the heavy metal that we know today. They may not have been head to toe in leather and studs yet but the sound of heavy metal and their immediate contribution to the genre was obvious. Gone were the days of the rock and roll band or the hard rock band and in came the group that solidified heavy metal to a whole new audience. Sure Black Sabbath will always be the godfathers of metal, but their doom and gloom sound was a contrast to what Judas Priest was doing at the time and in the future.
Obviously later in years there have been some major departures from the band. The first that I remember as a kid was when drummer Dave Holland left the band after the Ram it Down album. My impression at the time was this will be the end of Judas Priest and they will never sound the same again. Boy was I wrong! After Hollands departure and the hire of Scott Travis, Judas Priest made one of the greatest metal albums of all time, granted that is my opinion, but Painkiller was one of the hardest, fastest albums of the time, and arguably the addition of Travis allowed this to happen. Bringing in some younger blood with a bit of a lean toward harder faster music allowed Judas Priest to expand their already impressive wings and forge new territory in metal.
But we should talk a bit about Screaming for Vengeance, the album that actually turns 30 this year. One of the things I always think about when I look back on this album is the foresight the band had in regards to song topics that would be relevant and stand the test of time. It is one thing to discuss the politics of the time in a song, but to be able to write a song like Electric Eye and have it still be relevant today is amazing to me. Additionally, the title track, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin, Riding the WInd, Pain and Pleasure, Devil’s Child were all songs that not only brought this album together dynamically, but showed everyone else how great metal was accomplished.
Screaming for Vengeance for a lot of us was the first real Priest album that we forced our parents to take us to the store to buy. Sure some of us had older siblings who bought this for us, but I remember as a kid, going with my mom to Murphy’s and seeing the album for the first time with “The Hellion” on the cover, it was a must have for me and all of my friends. I am not even sure if I had heard a song of the album at that time, but I knew I had to have this album. Just because it was Judas Priest was enough for me. But taking it home and putting it on the turntable for the first time was just an awesome experience. This album did everything for me that I was longing for in music. From the opening salvo of The Hellion until the closing chords of Devil’s Child this album had me mesmerized and in awe of what sound could come from this band and in turn my speakers.
Priest followed this album up with Defenders of the Faith and again this was a masterful album full of great songs and the double guitar attack of Downing and Tipton. What followed after this album is up for argument, I personally love Turbo and felt that the band took chances while keeping their original sound in tact. That being said, there were plenty of cheesy songs on that album I could have done without. The same basically goes for Ram it Down, which was a solid album but not one of my favorites. Luckily they were able to redeem themselves with Painkiller, my feelings on this album stated earlier, but the departure of Rob Halford after this album was kind of when I checked out on Priest until Rob returned. Let’s face it, Jugulator and Demolition where not good albums. Speaking of Judas Priest albums that disappoint, why, oh why, did we need Nostradamus? I know a lot of fans like this album but I felt it was an abhorrent failure. Worse than how bad the album was, was how long they made me wait for it just to be disappointed. But hopefully the rumors are true and a new Priest album will drop some time later this year and it will bring Judas Priest back to the top of the metal world, much like Anthrax and Testament have been able to do with their brilliant new albums.
Screaming for Vengeance is 30 years old and Judas Priest has been around for a very long time in one incarnation or another, and have carried the mantle of metal for all of these years. One thing I can say about Priest is no matter how bad of an album they may put out, their live show is still one of the best you will see. I had the pleasure of seeing them on their most recent Epitaph tour and it was worth every penny. They still play like they are teenagers just out of Birmingham. It is a shame that K.K. is no longer in the band, but if Richie Faulkner’s live performance is any indication of his recording performance, Judas Priest should be OK! Looking forward to it! Happy Birthday Screaming for Vengeance!
Song of the Day, of course: http://youtu.be/aMwsadlUHCE
Until Later, Peace!