No one’s written an album review in a while, so I’ll share my thoughts with you all on none other than Screaming For Vengeance!
This is the album that British Steel wishes it could be. Unique guitar tone, consistent & developed songwriting, and of course Halford’s trademark high pitched vocals. All three of these (moreso the latter) were kinda missing from Steel, and a Judas Priest album without Halford’s screaming vocals (to say the least) is like Carmen Electra shooting a photospread while she still has clothes on!
In addition, this is album is more or less the logical successor to Priest’s “Killing Machine” effort, whereas Steel was more or less a carboard cut out, with its recycled and kinda formulated anthems.
Right within the first few seconds of the album, you know that Priest isn't gonna waste a damn good title on an album like this. The album starts off with “The Hellion,” which completely flattens every other album intro out there (and yes, that includes the one to Hell Awaits). This, as most of us know, goes right into “Electric Eye.” One thing I’ve never been able to understand, however, is why this song was split into two tracks? Not just here, but on about every compilation with this song on it. It really is more annoying than anything else, as you won’t be able to play this album on shuffle (amongst other things). Again, everybody knows Electric Eye comes after The Hellion, even live! What are Priest gonna do, play The Hellion and the go into fucking Out In The Cold? I’m sorry, but I gotta take points off for such a stupid inconvenience.
Anyway track split aside, “The Hellion/Electric Eye” is nothing short of awesome. One of the more up-tempo Priest numbers, with nifty/goofy lyrics about spy satellites (I realize they were going for a more realistic concept, but come on; “Oh look at me I’m the Electric Eye, and I film you when you’re having sex with your hot celebrity wife while you’re on vacation. ...yeah). Catchy melodies just about everywhere, especially that sweet “Electric Eye, in the sky” bridge part, make this song a fucking classic and mandatory concert staple.
Next up is the slightly faster Riding On The Wind, which starts off with a crazy drum intro (probably the highlight of Dave Holland’s career), and then rips into some viciousness. Priest shred and scream their way through this one and the album’s production accents this song quite nicely. The third song is Bloodstone, which is a bit more midpaced, but is still a beast of molten metal. Oh, that sweet intro riff! Oh, that soaring chorus! It just goes to show that Priest can make legendary shit at any speed they want to.
Next up is "(Take These) Chains," which is, well, a heavy “Little Red Corvette” (Prince) really. Not a bad song at all, but kinda weaker than the first three, and a bit on the cheese side. Pretty typical 80's metal. “Pain and Pleasure” starts off nice with another sweet intro riff, even though it was already used by Sabbath and Zeppelin, but then it just kinda goes through the motions. Another Halford love song. *yawn*
Now, you may be wondering “the album doesn’t get worse than that does it?” FUCK NO, IT DOESN’T! It is, in fact quite worth the wait because next up is the title track, which is probably the heaviest song they’ve written since “Exciter.” It takes a couple of glances at the liner notes to have this song memorized, but there’s something about yelling along with “everyone who makes it in the great escape, leaves a thousand more who suffer in their wake!” and of course “SCREEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAMOOOOOOOOOONNN!!!!” that just satisfies the soul.
Then. There’s. The. Rock. Anthem.
"You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’" is not only the best “hit song” that Judas Priest has ever written, it is the number by which all arena rock fist pumpers are compared to. Pour Some Sugar On Me, Balls To The Wall, Rock You Like A Hurricane and the like barely hold a candle to this one. A very catchy number too. About 4 or 5 listens and you’ll have the whole thing memorized (solo included).
Unfortunately, things kinda go downhill after that. “Filler” is to this album as "Beth" was to Destroyer. You don’t put a ballad (much less one drained of emotion), after Rock & Roll All Nite dammit! Things pick back up one last time with the last song but just about anything could follow the previous mess. “Devil’s Child” sounds more like an AC/DC song than anything else(a la Brian Johnson obviously), but who the fuck said they were a bad thing? “I BELIEVE YOU’RE THE DEVIL! *riff!* I BELIEVE YOU’RE THE DEVIL’S CHILD!!!!”
So let’s review. Worth getting? Hell yea. Classic? I’d say so. If you’re thinking about sinking your teeth into 80’s Priest, this is the definitely the place to start.