JUDAS PRIEST HELL BENT FOR VINYL AS THEY ISSUE A BATTLE CRY
Acclaimed Birmingham formed Metal Gods Judas Priest have epitomised Heavy Metal since their 1974 debut 'Rocka Rolla' and two months after their new live album 'Battle Cry' was unleashed on CD and DVD it gets a heavyweight double vinyl release. Numbered, with gatefold sleeve, this is glorious on every level.
While Black Sabbath undoubtedly invented Heavy Metal, Judas Priest helped define it in its purest form. In the late 70s, through 'Stained Class' and 'Killing Machine', culminating in 1980s 'British Steel', Judas Priest were one of the first bands to notably progress Heavy Metal, transcending any blues, psychedelic or classical roots.
After a line-up change or two along the way and a Spinal Tap-esque rotation of drummers including John Hunch, Les Binks, Dave Holland and Simon Phillips, plus a well-publicised court case in the late 80s after two fans attempted suicide after listening to 'Stained Class', the band are still going strong.
With hits like 'Breaking The Law', 'Living After Midnight', 'Sinner', 'Turbo Lover' and more recently the concept album 'Nostradamus', vocalist Rob Halford still fronts the band after his return in 2003 to replace his replacement Tim "Ripper" Owens.
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The Priest’s twin guitar sound has influenced many, like their contemporaries Saxon and Iron Maiden, and they have found a new lease of life since the turn of the millennium when KK Downing surprisingly left the band and Richie Faulkner stepped up the plate gave the flagging Priest a right old kick up the arse.
KK's departure left Ian Hill as the longest serving Priest member. There are no original members left from their 1969 formation but Ian joined in the early 70s with Rob Halford replacing founder Al Atkins. Only Ian and guitarist Glenn Tipton have appeared continuously on record.
This live set was recorded on the 2015 ‘Redeemer Of Souls’ tour, the first album to feature Richie and what a stormer it is.
There have been a number of noted live albums along the way, including 1979s 'Unleashed In The East', dubbed 'Unleashed In The Studio' by certain factions of that era's music press, and while Judas Priest have had some fantastic cover art, 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' being a great example, further packaging was always a little light but not here. 'Battle Cry' on vinyl stands out as it's a double LP that feels good just to pick up and hold.
The intro leads nicely into 'Dragonaut' to which the band take the stage to a huge roar. Taken from the most recent opus, it shows how good the band currently are. The twin lead guitar is as good here as throughout the Priest catalogue.
'Metal Gods' and 'Devil's Child', from the classic ,Screaming For Vengeance' album get the crowd going and Halford eggs on the audience as well as he always does and there are plenty of early songs which are all crowd pleasers, 'Victim Of Changes' being a standout. This version is expanded to over eight minutes making for a much more enjoyable live experience.
Again from 'Redeemer Of Souls' is 'Halls Of Valhalla' and here is excellent, classic Metal in its purest form. If it’s guitar solos you want then the seven minute 'Beyond The Realms Of Death' will more than satisfy. If it’s lyrically simple yet honest, catchy as hell three minute blistering hit singles you want then 'Breaking The Law' is here too with the crowd in full vocal form.
'Painkiller' closes a blistering show and by this time Halford does sound a little hoarse on the introduction but he does however sound as good as ever when hitting those high evil notes in the song and te rhythm section are strong, precise and blistering throughout on a number where it counts.
Judas Priest sound fresh and energetic here - as though they are souls redemmed.
Rob Halford – vocals
Richie Faulkner – guitar
Glenn Tipton – guitar, keyboards
Ian Hill – bass
Scott Travis – drums
Tracklist: Side 1
Battle Cry (intro)
Victim Of Changes
Halls Of Valhalla
Redeemer Of Souls
Beyond The Realms Of Death
Breaking The Law
Hell Bent For Leather